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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Francesco Balena
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
What VB level is expected of a reader?

Most of the reviews of this book are very positive. The few that are not are complaints from "moderately experienced" VB programmers. I am probably a novice myself, so I'll give you an example of what is expected of you. On page 178 is an example using arrays to make an appointment calendar. This example is fairly typical of what you might run up against in the author's examples. The appointments in the example are stored in an array called apps(day). Early in the code one finds the line
If IsEmpty(apps(day)) Then
It took me a while to find out how to make this line work. From the online help you will find that IsEmpty is meaningful only for variants, and even then returns false if there is more than one component in the array apps(day), whether it is empty or not. So by watching the locals window while doing a lot of experimentation, I found that I could arrange that when apps(day) happens to be empty, it is not treated as an array at all, but just an empty variant variable. However, if instead (as is quite natural) you define the empty apps(day) as an empty array, the code won't work.
Personally, I think that a few words of warning to the reader and a short Sub Main() to exercise the code would have been in order. Certainly there are much more obvious matters that are discussed in more detail.
So, bottom line? There is a lot to think about here, and many imaginative implementations of the language. But be prepared to mull things over and invest a bit of time.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Building Robots With Lego Mindstorms : The Ultimate Tool for Mindstorms Maniacs
Publisher: Syngress
Authors: Mario Ferrari, Giulio Ferrari, Ralph Hempel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Building Robots with Lego MindStorms

This book strikes me as an ideal text for an advanced course in robotics Lego style. I am impressed with the depth the authors explored each segment of the MindStorms experience. The reader will find a variety of explanations for each segment ranging from simple to rather complex. This allows the reader to choose the level of complexity that is most comfortable.
The early chapters deal with several rudimentary characteristics of the MindStorms system. Many of these are part of the joy of discovery that plays a huge roll in the experience of this set. I believe that this book should be used after one has experienced all that the Constructopedia has to offer. The thrill of learning through experience is too great to give in to reading the solutions beforehand.
I have always envied the individual who is about to open their first MindStorms Robot Invention System. They are about to experience a trip into the future. This trip will last as long as imagination will allow. The efforts of Mario and Giulio Ferrari will continue to ignite curiosity and inspire the reader to venture further armed with the ideas and information contained in the chapters of this book.
I am pleased to have this fact filled book at my side to continue to learn more about this system. Mario and Giulio have done an outstanding job assembling 575 pages packed with new ideas to build, program and enjoy your MindStorms creations.

Bob Fay

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Dynamic HTML: The Definitive Reference (2nd Edition)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Danny Goodman
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The value of an out-of-date book

In designing a new DHTML website for a client that is at the cutting edge of technology, we carefully made it compatible "down" a browser or two (with a default site for non-compliant older browsers) -- only to discover after launch that half the client's employees have Netscape 4.06 installed as the official company browser. This book is just the reference I need; for one thing it will remind me (and other web designers) that not everyone is using my favourite browser on my machine with the latest version of every bell and whistle -- and show the way to maximising audience with a creative, stable, and efficient website that doesn't depend on installing IE 9.5. And O'Reilly have never let me down.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days (4th Edition) (Sams Teach Yourself)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Rogers Cadenhead, Laura Lemay
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Java book that switches over to HTML at the end week 1

This book started off great, but then it expects you to have an understanding of html to continue on with day #7. If you don't have an understanding of web publishing in html stay clear of this book. Now I have to learn web publishing in html before I can finish the rest of this book!