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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: How Computers Work, Seventh Edition
Publisher: Que
Authors: Ron White, Timothy Edward Downs
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent illustrations with text used only when necessary

On occasion, I teach a course with a title having the form, "Introduction to Microcomputers", where the goal is to introduce students to some of the fundamentals of how computers work and what they are used for. Generally, the material that they find easiest to understand is that which can be illustrated by examples demonstrated on a computer. In second place are the concepts that are explained using high quality illustrations. That is where this book is extraordinary. The author and illustrator clearly put a great deal of thought and effort into the structure and appearance of the illustrations, they are the best demonstrations of computer fundamentals that I have ever seen. The publishers are also to be commended for using high quality coloring and paper, which makes the pictures very easy on the eyes, although there are a few times when the contrast between the text and figure colors is not enough to make it easy to read the text. They quite correctly let the illustrations do as much of the explaining as possible, resorting to text only when necessary. It is split into eight parts:
* Boot-up process.* Microchips.* How software works.* Data storage.* Input/output devices.* Multimedia.* How the Internet works.* How printers work.
covering all of the material that is the normal coverage in an introduction to microcomputers course. There are also occasional segments of glossary, where the key terms in the section are defined. This is a high quality book, the best introductory material on how computers work designed for the novice that I have ever seen. If study questions were included, I would start using it as a textbook.
This review refers to the seventh edition.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, 4th Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Michael Meyers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
It helped me pass the A+ Exam

I thought the book was excellent. It's true that it isn't as narrowly focused on the exam as some may like because the author goes into depth about the history and logic behind why things are they way they are. I learn better conceptually, rather than by rote, so this was the A+ book for me. The CD-ROM is mostly useless in my opinion except for the practice test which, after taking the test, were pretty much right on. I read the whole book, cover to cover, then re-read exam-focused parts and I passed both on my first try. (Beware, the OS part is definitely harder. You'll want some Win 98 and Win 2000 hands-on if at all possible.) Overall, an excellent book for those willing to put the time it. Also, it was well written and had a good flow for a technical book. Most technical books butcher English in my opinion. Though I wish the pictures were in color or at least a little clearer for the hardware section.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Step-By- Step.
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Michael Halvorson
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Microsoft's Step By Step books aren't robust enough

I was surprised that Microsoft of all companies would have such a watered-down instructional book, but other than being visually pleasing, I didn't find it educational or a good reference because of its shallow descriptions.--a computer instructor in Missouri

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Non-Designer's Design Book, Second Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Robin Williams
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
good info, but i would have liked more!

as an aspiring web page designer (who always believed she had a "good eye" but often needs hours of trial and error to find that acceptable look), i was looking for a practical, beginners' introduction to graphic design. i am not interested in the theory or schools of thought or even terms so much as practical, usable info that i can put to work right away.
i found this book to be straightforward, simple, quick to read, and very useful. the same day i got it, i was able to use the principles to improve the design of my web page immediately in significant ways! my only beef with the book is that it didn't take me far enough. i would have liked to get a lot more of the same! someone who has some background in graphic design would probably not get too much out of the book, but i would reccomend it to those without any formal training as a good starting point.