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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jakob Nielsen
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Simply Put: Good book Bad Layout

As a technical writer and a web/graphics designer, I was eager to read a book that seemed to focus in both areas of my professional life: content authoring and design. Jakob Neilsen has authored a sound book about the need for simplicity in both design and content. He goes to great lengths to provide examples of what works and what doesn't. I was especially pleased by the amount of time he spent on navigation. An area that MANY web designers are very weak in. As he says in his book, so many focus on "kewl" and forget usability. Hence customers don't return. Be warned though, that this book is not a weekend read. I really felt I was reading a college thesis and not a typical web reference. So be prepared, it is a bit dry. It is however worth plowing through. He points out some very good strategies for identifying and maintaining a strong structure for your designs and site content. One other thing to note is that as one other reviewer I noticed already alluded to the book's poor layout. While it is not very fancy, it is somewhat distractful to the content as it is rather amatuer looking; surprising since it is a New Riders book. In summary, it is a book worth buying, as long as you have the time to sit and read it through and through with a pot of coffee and a notebook. If not, buy something else.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming a Multiplayer FPS in DirectX
Publisher: Charles River Media
Authors: Vaughan Young
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Top Notch Code

I'm about half way through the book now and the code that comes with the book is top notch. I even heard the author saying he went through all of the code removing the error checking before releasing as to make it easier to read. Its well maintained, simple and clever. The code is also definitly encapsulated well so you can bring it to other projects easily if you'd like with little dependencies.
Warning to those who are intermediate directx users - the first 2-7 are mostly directx basics and you will most likely skip this to get to the meat.
Although there's nothing incredibly complicated in this book, I think it gave me a healthy dose of not over estimating myself. The author only spends time on the what is required to complete the project and reuses his code a lot (i think the initial linked list was reused about 100 times in total) So if you ever find yourself making projects that always fail half way through - this is a good book for you.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Official Final Fantasy VII Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
a well done strategy guide

This book hasn't only a walk-thru for the game , it also has characters weapons , materias habilities and maps of the game .
It could have more pictures and it could also be more detailed on the walk-thru part .
If you got stuck and/or is Final Fantasy Fan , it's worth buying .

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Business of Software : What Every Manager, Programmer, and Entrepreneur Must Know to Thrive and Survive in Good Times and Bad
Publisher: Free Press
Authors: Michael A. Cusumano
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Solid Overview of the Software business

Cusumano presents a solid overview of selected topics relevant to the software business. He focuses on the following topics: strategy for software companies, best practices in software development, and software entrepreneurship. He makes use of case studies and provides insight on the inner workings of Microsoft, IBM, Netscape, Business Objects, and i2. In the chapters discussing strategy, he analyzes product versus service focused organizations. He also discusses market segmentation and whole product solutions as described in Geoffrey Moore's "Crossing the Chasm." With regards to best practices in software development, much of the material is from "Microsoft's Secrets." Cusumano describes the pitfalls of waterfall development and describes the key concepts of Microsoft's synch and stabilize technique. A few pages are devoted to outsourcing and specifically the rise of the Indian software business. I would have expected more analysis on some of the newer agile development methods -- such as XP. Lastly , Cusumano covers software entrepreneurship. He provides an eight point framework to evaluate a software start up. Does it have the following characterisitcs ?1. Strong management team2. Compelling new product, service, or hybrid solution.3. Strong evidence of customer interest4. An attractive market5. A plan to overcome the credibility gap.6. Business model showing early growth and profit potential7. Flexibility in strategy and product offerings8. Potential for large payoff to investors.The text also has a useful appendix with income statement analysis of Business Objects and i2 , and growth comparisons between various organizations. There is nothing in the text I would consider groundbreaking, but it is a solid overview of the software business appropriate for software managers and entrepreneurs.