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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Visual C# .NET
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Jason Price, Mike Gunderloy
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
I highly recommend this book


I liked this book because it is the only one I've found that covers advanced material like security in .NET. This book is also great because it can be used by both beginners and advanced programmers, and that's very rare in most books written today.
I bought several books on C# including the O'Reilly and Wrox books, and decided to keep this Sybex book as it was the best of the bunch. This book is even better than the Microsoft Press books on C#!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX ActionScripting: Advanced Training from the Source
Publisher: Macromedia Press
Authors: Derek Franklin, Jobe Makar
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Really Good Flash Scripting for Novices to Intermediates


"Flash MX ActionScripting Advanced", by Derek Franklin and Jobe Makar, is for me as a novice Flash script writer very easy reading and extremely well presented. Actually, I began reading this text exactly at the point which interested me the most, namely at the last Chapter 17, "Loading External Assets", in order to create rolling banners comprised of individual animating flash movies. It was precisely this topic which lead me to buy this text. However, I could have easily been interested in sending and receiving data into a Flash "front end" from a server all of which is easily presented and understood in Chapter 11. It is this modular nature of "Flash MX ActionSripting Advanced" which is most compelling for me in recommending this text. I definitely appreciated also that there was a Windows/Mac CD disk for the source code and graphics necessary to complete each lesson chapter. As far as some other reviewers' disappointment that the ActionScript is not advanced enough for them, I would say that that critique may very well be true but simply and only for those advanced flashers. Look, Flash is difficult, no doubt about that. It not only comprises considerable graphics capabilities but also a mathematical capability called ActionScript which by the way almost always works in practically every and all browsers and operating systems unlike JavaScript (the technical reason for this is due to something called the DOM - Document Object Model - which is differently implemented in different browsers and different operating systems). For me, a novice, the ActionScripting presented in this text is given with considerable understanding for those persons ready to employ these mathematical capabilities of Flash at perhaps a beginning to intermediate level of expertise. Great for all of us Flash novices out there, a majority I would say! And the text does not discriminate as between Windows and Mac people!!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Web Metrics: Proven Methods for Measuring Web Site Success
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Jim Sterne, Jim Sterne
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Not Just For Corporations and Marketing Departments


Whether you're a small business owner, a corporate manager, or
someone just starting a business venture, Web Metrics is a must-
read. For small and new business entrepreneurs who cannot afford a marketing department, Web Metrics gives an inside look into how
experts in leading industries improve their online marketing
strategies.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Take Back Your Life!: Using Microsoft Outlook to Get Organized and Stay Organized (Bpg-Other)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Sally McGhee
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Useful -- a few minor issues


I was glad to read this book, it certainly gave me some ideas about using Outlook better. It soon becomes obvious that Outlook is not an "information organiser" - you have to provide the organisation with some form of process or discipline.

This is the wisdom Sally McGhee tries to impart and she provides a daily method for using Outlook better. I like the way she encourages you to look at your bigger aims and to tie your personal and business activities to these. Her focus is refreshing because she puts your outcomes first, and the tool second. What do you want to achieve this year? How does each daily task relate to my bigger objectives?

There are many basic but true ideas in this book, such as her discussion about Collection points, supporting reference materials and so on.

There are a few small problems with the book, which would be nice to see addressed in the next version.

Firstly, the book is too verbose. Inside this book there's a smaller book trying to get out. While the fundamental ideas are important, there's too much preamble and repetition of concepts. This is meant to be a practical book and I found myself struggling to get to the actions. I really think it could be half the size and more beneficial. Getting organised isn't served well by a large book.

Second, I suspect the author hasn't really used her method with the PocketPC, as she suggests. Being a Microsoft book, a lot is made of the synchronisation between Outlook and Pocket PC. However, a few things don't work as she describes. Her category names are too long, so they don't work on screen on the handheld device. So you use the category "Projects" instead of "Supporting Projects" and "Objectives" instead of "Meaningful Objectives", etc. Also, I found that things appear in the wrong order on the Pocket PC screen, so the judicious use of "." is helpful (for example, try ".SNA Call" instead of "Strategic Next Actions: Call"). These probably seem like minor niggles, but if you're really going to use Sally's method on PPC, you want it to work! There are also some technical areas which are simply not covered, for example ActiveSync only synchronises Tasks when wired to the desktop PC, but not over the air like Pocket Calendar and Pocket Inbox. No discussion on this :o(

Third, I don't know of any support in Outlook to link task items hierarchically. This means that you do more maintenance which is a pain. Sally recommends a structure of Objectives -> Projects -> Tasks, and she asks you to maintain your Objectives and Projects as 'top level' task items which you refer to like reference entries in your task list. This works, but the linkage between these is YOU and you keep it working by cutting and pasting and updating things between the levels. It would be nice to have some simple SOFTWARE to manage this three-level tree so you could see it all at a glance and only update things once. Sadly Outlook only has a list view for Tasks, it doesn't understand Task relationships or trees. Perhaps she could offer this tool from her website as a freebie? Not that hard to do.

Fourth, I feel she doesn't give enough guidance to get started progressively: she takes an "all or nothing approach", a big bang. This is a problem because it needs several hours to set the whole system up. I understand Sally is a trainer and consultant, so she gets a full day with her clients - but when working from the book, you might find it hard to commit a whole day to setting up the system. She just needs to include some progressive steps to getting started, so you can move things across from how you work today.

Fifth, I don't find Sally's recommendations on filing that helpful, and again there's no plan for moving from your current arrangements to her suggested system. When you have gigabytes of material from many aspects of your business it's hard to envisage reorganising it all.

These are fairly minor problems. I do recommend this book if Outlook presents you with information overload rather than clarity and focus. I found it very useful and I use her ideas.