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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The C++ Programming Language (Special 3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Bjarne Stroustrup
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Wonderful for the expert

Begone heathens! Bjarne Stroustrup is, of course, THE primary guru of C++, and his book shows it. THE C++ PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE is not for the faint of heart, nor for the inexperienced programmer, nor - I would hazard - for the novice C++ programmer. TCPL is best for the intermediate - wishing to become masters - or for the master - wishing to recall subtleties.
Bjarne's writing style is clear, to the point, and full of cross-references. The book cannot, easily, be read cover-to-cover only once, as each chapter does NOT build sequentially on the reader's knowledge of C++; each chapter discusses a topic or two, making reference to other chapters (which may be hundreds of pages after) where necessary. It's obviously intended to be more of an encyclopedia rather than a digest; the simple-to-complex structure of the book is merely a surface convention. For the expert or even intermediate, this is not a difficult book to read, however the beginner would be best served with Prata's C++ PRIMER PLUS (a shameless plug - I am a contributing author and technical editor for the 4th edition) to wet his/her feet before plunging in.
TCPL covers the "pure C++" of the 98 C++ standard. Don't expect user interface issues, or anything OTHER than straight C++ - it's all here - and coupled with Bjarne's own commentary on style and implementation. TCPL is a book certain to be pulled from your shelves for many years to come.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Introduction to the Personal Software Process(sm)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Watts S. Humphrey
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Measure everything, interpret carefully

The Personal Software Process (PSP), which is a registered service mark of Carnegie Mellon University, is all about measuring and recording. Nearly everything is measured, from lines of code produced per unit time to the time spent playing/watching sports. Charts are everywhere in the book; some plot the progress of software development projects and others the weekly schedule of a college student. Therefore, there are charts that are headed "Student Y's Fixed Weekly Commitments." The initial premise of the book is that of a college student who must plan their time in order to complete all that needs to be done. Of course, the point is to emphasize that planning major projects, such as your life, requires that you set reasonable goals that are compatible with everything else that you want to do. Once the goals are set, the next step is to order your time so that all activities are allotted an appropriate time slot. The second segment deals with tracking a software development process from start to end. It is all about time, how much you expect to spend on each section and how much was actually spent. The goal is to track now so that your future projections are more accurate. With so many charts and entries, there is nothing that can be measured that does not appear somewhere in a chart. While I am a proponent of measuring and recording the significant characteristics of any project, one must take care to avoid an over reliance on the act of measuring. Even though software development is a team game, it is still very much an individual effort. There is a great deal of room for the occasional "brilliant stroke", where someone has a flash of insight into a problem that solves it in a new, unique and more efficient manner. The best programmers are still in many ways artists and regimentation can stifle their creative sides. The PSP is also different from the agile processes, which reduce the software planning cycle to a few weeks rather than a longer term. Very little is also written down in agile processes, and planning to the minute is considered counterproductive. However, even if you are a firm believer in the agile approach, reading this book will be of value. When you write down very little, you must make sure that what is written down is important, so by studying the PSP, you have a better chance of recording what is critical. Humphrey is on one end of the software development spectrum, in that he sets down a process with extensive planning. Agile processes are on the other end, where there is a minimum of planning. Most development groups will find their best location somewhere in the middle. Since the best way to find your location is to study the extremes, all software developers will find value in this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Digital Photography All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: David D. Busch
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5

I bought this book after reading all the positive reviews from other buyers. I'm afraid I disagree with all of them: the thickness of this book looks really impressive, but the contents was quite dissapointing. I started out with the sections on image editing, which stretch out over 4 'books' (this book is supposedly 7 in 1 books). They are virtually identical in contents, so you keep reading the same instructions over and over again. Usually with (too) small variations and even conflicting here and there. It gave me the impression of someone adding a few hundred pages without checking what had already been written.The most important part, the 3 first books, focus on 1. which camera to buy 2. which accessories to buy and 3. how to take good photos in general and some specific kinds (macro, portret, sports etc). Book 1 once again contains sections on basic image editing, beats me why. Because books 1 and 2 didn't interest me (I already have a camera), I skimmed them and moved on to book 3, which promised to finally teach me how to make good photos. Although I did pick up a few useful tricks, they are all fairly basic and not really detailed.
If you are serious about learning to take great photos, this book is not for you. It is just too basic. If you want to learn about image editing, the book might help you to experiment on your own, but it remains a bit basic for my test. You'd do much better to pick up a book specific for the graphics program you are using.If you are a real newbie, this book might be what you need to get started, but you'll soon 'outgrow' it if you have some common sense and experiment a little.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A+ Certification for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ron Gilster
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Its possible to pass, but you better over prepare

I have now used Ron Glister's A+ (the 2001 variety), Server+ and Network+ for dummies. What I've found is you learn as much if not more from the practice tests in the back. The info is VERY easy to read and is great for those who are not familar with all of this - but there is also a lot to be picked up elsewhere.
In the A+ I passed both the OS and HW parts by the seat of my pants (something like <700 on each test) and the Server+ I got an 80% (you need a 75%). I used the server+ book for about one month. Im taking the Network+ at the end of this month, but using my professor's help from DeVry University instead.
If you're going to take ANY tests, what I suggest is getting your hands on testing material. Some questions on the test are only learned when you've taken and failed them on a practice test. Don't spend money on a cert class, and don't spend too much on a test on line. Neither are very worth it.