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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Design Patterns Explained : A New Perspective on Object-Oriented Design (2nd Edition) (Software Patterns Series)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Alan Shalloway, James Trott
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Much improved

Although the first edition of this book was pretty good, after reading the second edition I'm inclined to think the first edition was more like a beta.
The authors do an excellent job of describing approaches to design involving design patterns. One of the most interesting aspects of the book is how they describe the "derivation" of patterns, rather than just present them as cookbook recipes.
The book is very well written and easy to read.
I wouldn't mind seeing a bit more concrete examples with real code, although I understand this is not the focus of the book. The code examples that are there are so simple that they don't add very much. I also agree with another reviewer - the margin comments are not useful and are slightly distracting. Lastly, I found the final section, Part VII - Factories, quite weak. There is a lot of repetition about why you should separate creation and management from the code that uses the objects, but I didn't find the examples very compelling.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop Elements One-Click Wow! (3rd Edition) (One-Click Wow)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Jack Davis
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Buy more for the software than the book

When I got this book with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0, I found three surprises:
-- The book refers to Photoshop Elements 1.0, while the current version being sold is 2.0;
-- The explanatory text is for, and all the screenshots are from, the Apple Macintosh;
-- The book is a very slender 58 pages ... and the text really ends on page 19!
That said, there's a lot here to like. Adobe Photoshop Elements One Click Wow! (do I really have to write the whole title again?) is not a manual; Adobe Photoshop Elements comes with a very nice printed manual that's over 250 pages long. Instead, it's a collection of slick styles you can apply to your images and layers to create some very cool effects. These layer styles are on the enclosed CD-ROM, and *that* is what you're spending your money on.
Dispensing with the tutorials in about 20 clear, information packed pages, the rest of the book is your 'catalog' of the styles and effects that One-Click Wow! includes. As a sample, here is the list from the table of contents, under "Graphic & Type Effects:"
Chromes Metals Glass, Ice & Crystal Gems & Smooth Stones Plastics Polished & Textured Woods Rock, Brick & Other Textures Weaves & Patterns Strokes, Fills & Shadows Glows, Neon & Halos
In short, the software is a huge toolkit of great-looking textures, gradients, effects and styles to improve the look of your photographs or graphic art from within Adobe Photoshop Elements.
A cynic might suggest that One-Click Wow! is really software being sold as a book, and as so, perhaps not worth the price-tag. However, the book is nicely printed on heavy-stock paper, the tutorial chapters are good, and 38 pages of 'catalog' really are more useful than the tiny thumbnails that show up in Photoshop Element menus.
In summary, I recommend this book and it's disc to anyone wishing to learn more about, and get more out of, Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Product: Book - Turtleback
Title: Layout Index: Brochure, Web Design, Poster, Flyer, Advertising, Page Layout, Newsletter, Stationery Index
Publisher: North Light Books
Authors: Jim Krause
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Amazing book

Like other reviewers of this book, I am a professional designer. This book is one of the most helpful tools I have ever found. With all due respect, I would like to emphatically disagree with the comments of some other reviewers--I beleive that it is very easy to misunderstand a book like this. The author mentions in the intro (I'm paraphrasing) that this is NOT a book a answers, it's a book of suggestions. A person might think that some of the layouts are unfinished, or plain (not always the case--some layouts are finished and beautiful); I think that this is because a significant effort has been made to avoid presenting layout ideas that leave no room to build. The essentials of good design are never dated. If you are able to look at this book as a treasure chest of ideas, rather than a showcase of someone else's finished work, you will find endless fuel for your own work. As for the size: i LOVE the small format and the plastic cover!! It sits unobrusively on my desk at all times--easy to grab at a moment's notice. This is an amazing book, not like any other in concept, content or form.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself ABAP/4 in 21 Days
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Ken Greenwood
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Extremely GOOD!

This book is truly a great thing. I am presently, 11/98, taking the abap/4 partner academy training from SAP America, and the author is my teacher. Reading this book is like taking classes from him. He obviously couldn't write everything that is covered in the class, but the material he did write down is like being in the class. He has quite a few screen cams that go through a variety of processes, such as foreign keys, creating domains and data elements, and creating functional modules.