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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Robot Building for Beginners
Publisher: Apress
Authors: David Cook
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Awesome for Beginners!

This book is perfect for high schools and introductory college courses. Every educator should take a serious look at including this in his or her curriculum. It would make a fine summer course as well. Lab materials for building the complete robot would run under $100 per student, less when purchased in bulk. Or, since the experiments are laid out on reusable solderless breadboards, the subject could still be effectively taught at a lower cost. A wonderful way to get more students on the path to science and engineering. Highly recommended.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Design Patterns
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A good <<Software Development Resource>>

An interesting book for thinkers who are desinging software. Not really for brute force, keyboard bangers. Start using the terms in the book and you lose a few of these kinds of friends. This reference is quite useful, because patterns exsist in designing and programming. Most of the time they are not documented. This work shows how these design patterns interact with each other and how to use them together. There might be some other new or different patterns which resemble or are derived from the foundation laid here. Personally it has help me think and design faster; after a first reading, I found it easier to read through, understand and remember source code written by other programmers. What I can say is that the terminology will sound alien to anyone who has not read the book, but the patterns will be easily recognized by anyone into serious reusable OOP. The botton line is that this book is an asset for any designer, programmer; it helps you to think. You have to read it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book: Creative Techniques in Digital Painting
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Cher Threinen-Pendarvis
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Finally, Digital Painting Fully Explained

Books on Photoshop and Painter are usually written to teach you to use all of the program's features. Learning to actually draw and paint with a graphics tablet has barely been covered. If you've been a traditional artist for years, you still need basic exercises to learn how to handle the "digital brush." If you're a beginner, you need not only the basics of using a graphics tablet, but an understanding of how art is created. Cher's book provides you with both. Software instruction is kept to the minimum you need to complete the lessons.

Through each lesson, Cher carefully explains how the pen makes different marks depending upon how we hold it, how much pressure we use, and how we modify the "brushes" we use. After a couple of frustrating starts, I found myself fighting the pen less and less, and reading more carefully about tilt, angle, pressure and the speed with which I made my strokes. My traditional `pencil and paper' style needed to change, and the lessons helped me concentrate on making those changes.

Strategies for getting from your first stroke to your last are explained in detail. Media can be mixed in ways that are very difficult, if not impossible, with traditional media, and a good portion of the book discusses your digital options. But this is real drawing and painting, no faking it, and the lessons will take some time to finish. The shortcuts and advantages of digital media aren't ignored. Scanning sketches, tracing, using photographic reference, and even direct cloning are covered thoroughly. Whatever digital tricks you use, though, you'll be the one painting the entire image, stroke by stroke, keeping the painting fresh and original.

There are two features of Cher's book that I found made the book easy to learn from. The pictures of her work in progress are so clear you can easily follow along with her methods. I would have preferred expensive spiral binding, but the book is bound well enough to stay open fairly easily while you refer to it. My second favorite feature is that all of the lessons are so timeless and useful, you can repeat them with different subjects, choosing different brushes, and never make the same painting twice. This is one computer book that won't be obsolete a year from now. Even as the software, Painter and/or Photoshop, changes with new versions, the lessons in this book remain the backbone of digital painting.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Core Web Programming (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Marty Hall, Larry Brown
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
CWP is an excellent book.

I thoroughly enjoyed Marty Hall's Core Web Programming. I started out completely ignorant of web development, and now I'm an expert webmaster! Chock-full of examples provided on the accompanying CD, I found the topics easy to comprehend and experiment with. The author's easy style and irrepressible humor made the experience most informative and entertaining. I emphatically recommend the book to aspiring and experienced web developers alike!