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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential XML Quick Reference: A Programmer's Reference to XML, XPath, XSLT, XML Schema, SOAP, and More
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Aaron Skonnard, Martin Gudgin
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Essential and Quick XML

I've passed IBM's exam 141 "XML and related technologies" using this one. It covers about 90% of the material you need for the exam. Having in mind comparatevely low passing score, this book may be your only source for the preparation. Well written with well designed examples.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Windows XP Professional
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Mark Minasi
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Dispoinitng boo from Mark Minasi

I bought this book "Mastering Windows XP Professional" and also "Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out". I recommend "Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out".
If you've never used a prior version of Windows, and are just looking for a book to get you started with XP, you will probably be happy with this book. Indeed, it may be the better book for beginners. However, I'd still recommend buying Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out instead. BOTH books address most questions you'll have from simple to complex, but "Inside Out", in my opinion, is easier to understand, easier from which to get answers and goes into greater depth in a clearer style on the advanced issues. Even if you're a novice, you may eventually appreciate the greater depth and the extra details that can sometimes make the whole picture fall into place.
I ordered both books from Amazon because I wanted to learn how to use "Share-Level Access", available in Windows 95/98/Me, in Windows XP. Specifically, I wanted to assign a "Read-Only" and "Full Access" password to my hard drive on my Windows XP Professional computer and share it with my other Windows 98 and Windows ME computers on my Windows peer-to-peer network. In "Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out" I found the answer in "Chapter 31: Managing Shared Folders and Printers" at the top of page 947 under the heading "A Third Model: Share-Level Access in Windows 95/98/Me". The "answer" is that Share-Level access no longer exists in Windows XP Professional, and unfortunately the "work around" requires setting up appropriate user accounts on the XP computer for the 9X/Me computers that wish to gain access to the XP computer. I was unable to find this answer in "Mastering Windows XP Professional". Also, in researching this question in "Mastering Windows XP Professional", I found the following quote in the chapter "Connecting to Windows XP Peer-to-Peer Networks and Domains" on page 641 under the heading Creating Shares:
"WARNING If you are using the NTFS file system on your computer and the other computers are using FAT or FAT32, they will not be able to access a drive on your computer even if it is shared."
Since I knew from my own experience that this was clearly wrong, I notified SYBEX, the publishers. To their credit they provide their website address on the back of the book, and on the site they invite you to report errors via an easy to use online form. Imagine my great surprise when I got a speedy e-mail reply (in one day) and soon thereafter got a personal phone call from Sybex management thanking me for bringing the matter to their attention, asking for suggestions for further improvements, and promising a speedy correction, which I believe they will implement. To err is human, but for a company to admit it, correct it, and provide that level of customer service is divine. I'll be keeping both books.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Active Server Pages 3.0 (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: David Buser, John Kauffman, Juan T. Llibre, Brian Francis, Dave Sussman, Chris Ullman, Jon Duckett
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Good user interface

As a beginner in web design, it is a great book that tells you what is what, and how to think and start your design. I advice it to any body that want to learn ASP from the beginning, or develop his skills.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop CS Classroom in a Book (Classroom in a Book)
Publisher: Adobe Press
Authors: Adobe Creative Team
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very helpful.

Like many people out there, I've been using computers for decades, and while I've dabbled with Photoshop over the years to do layer-based image touch-ups, enhancements, resizes, and related simplistic tasks (making tape/CD covers, greeting cards, etc.), I've never taken the time to work through a book to learn the other features of the program.
Adobe Photoshop CS Classroom in a Book (CIAB) is a worthwhile starting point for users who know how to use their computers, but might only know how to use some of the functions of Photoshop. This book spends most of its time on layers, masks, pen tools, and webpage basics (slices, animation, and image maps).
I found the pen tool chapter to be the most useful, since I had never really understood how vector-based drawing worked, and I am now eager to learn the basics of Adobe Illustrator CS as well.
The webpage chapters are also good for those who have lots of ideas in their mind about how their webpage should look, but don't have intuitive tools to do it. ImageReady CS (included with Photoshop CS or Adobe Creative Suite) makes creating precise web graphics, image maps, etc. almost too easy.
I found several errors in the book that occur in later chapters, but none of them prevented me from completing the lessons. There are some spelling, grammatical, and formatting errors throughout the text. However, these will not prevent the average user from running into roadblocks. The biggest error occurs in Lesson 15, where the image references in the sample HTML file do not correspond with the actual image filenames. Basic HTML/text editing can fix this, but as an official Adobe product, this should have been found before duplicating the CD-ROM which accompanies this book.
Otherwise, the lessons are presented well and are very easy to follow. The text is clear and easy on the eyes. I was able to complete all 20 lessons in about 4 days. To get the most out of this book, it would be wise to complete a lesson, and then apply what you learned to your own project to help with retention of the material.
Overall, a good first step to other more in-depth texts. I'd like to see full-color in future installments, as well as more detailed descriptions on why certain selections and options are chosen. Also, I think the monitor and color calibration chapters should be moved to an earlier part of the book. It's odd that these are the last topics covered, especially since topics like levels and color correction precede it.