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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Dreamweaver MX 2004 for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Janine Warner, Susannah Gardner
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Should you upgrade?

Susannah Gardner, one of the authors, here. I thought it might be useful to know whether it's worth upgrading to Dreamweaver MX 2004 if you are already using MX.
There are some significant changes to the interface in MX 2004, most particularly in the area of implementing Cascading Style Sheets (previously fairly messy to do). CSS is now part of the Properties inspector, and changes made to the style of text, etc., on the page will automatically create a new style. Things like page link colors, background colors, text colors and styles have also been implemeted through style sheets in Page Properties.
Also helpful are some new inline image editing tools, again located in the Properties inspector. You can crop, resize and optimize from within Dreamweaver, using an integrated Fireworks tool. This would be a great tool for folks who are updating a page but don't have a graphics program on their computers, or who simply don't know how to use a graphics program.
Finally, and this really is pretty cool, you can now copy and paste from Word and Excel and retain all the formatting of those programs, including a table structure for Excel data. This has really reduced some of my production time, since I frequently have clients who send me Microsoft Word files with fonts and layouts they want duplicated on the Web.
I hope this information is useful for you. Please don't hesitate to contact either Janine Warner or myself if you have questions about the book. Happy Web designing!....

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: JPEG2000 : Image Compression Fundamentals, Standards and Practice (The Kluwer International Series in Engineering and Computer Science)
Publisher: Springer
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Know why you're buying this book

This book is quite good but any potential buyer should know exactly why he would buy it and if it really matches his expectations. Indeed, this book is hardly a helper in implementing jpeg2000, but more a reference book for highly skilled image processing professionals/researchers. It is divided in two parts: the first part is about general image processing topics and provide some explanation about the choices made for jpeg2000. It is the "theorical" part. The second part is about jpeg2000 itself. The latter could have been much more practical and better directed to implementors. In fact, I was thinking of this book being able to clarify some aspects of the norm that are quite blur, but I find the way it is written, even for the second part, overly complicated and scientifically oriented, not "engineering" oriented. Most of the topics are better explained in the norm itself than in this book, even if the latter is much more detailed. Clearly there is room for another book on the topic but this time directed to implementors, with less theory, less scientific notations, are more, much more, real world examples working on real bit-streams.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop CS: The Art of Photographing Women
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Kevin Ames
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Bulls eye

This is an excellent book filled with beautiful imagery and relevent information. The examples are clear in purpose and delivery. I would whole heartedly recommend this textbook for those that wish to expand their basic knowledge and application of Photoshop skills. We are using Kevin's book as required reading in our Digital Photography program at The Creatvie Circus school in Atlanta. I look forward to the next installment of Kevin Ames' Photoshop working manuals, as they are very useful and user friendly. A++

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Secrets and Lies : Digital Security in a Networked World
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Beware the Author's Motives

Firstly, let me say I have a great deal of respect for Bruce Schneier. "Applied Cryptography" is a superb book. True to form, so is "Secrets and Lies". However, both books exist purely as a vehicle to advance the authors career. Isn't it interesting that when Schneier focused his business interests predominantly on cryptography-related consulting work that he was able to release two editions of "Applied Cryptography" in rapid succession? However, today when Bruce is now in the "managed security monitoring" business suddenly he can't find the time to update AC and instead produces "Secrets and Lies": a book that takes an unashamedly non-technical approach to giving a broad overview of the status of computer and information security. And guess what the overwhelming theme of the book is? "No system will ever be secure and all security will inevitably fail: you must take another approach." Of course this statement is true -- just not in the absolute, black and white sense that Schneier presents it. The purpose of this book is purely and simply to gently nudge and guide quasi-technical IT managers towards the obvious and overly-simplistic conclusion that since all security is doomed to failure, the approach that must be taken is to try to handle that failure when it occurs. Bruce's recommended solution: his managed network security business.
Of course this is all fair enough, albeit slightly underhanded, and "Secrets and Lies" is a highly readable, enjoyable and (mostly) technically accurate book. It's just not the book we need! What we need is a technical book, aimed at the same people who read and loved "Applied Cryptography", which shows how various security vulnerabilities come into being and thus how they can be minimised. Such a book would bring much more benefit to the world than "Secrets and Lies". And Bruce, while you're at it, please update "Applied Cryptography"!