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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional Crystal Reports for Visual Studio .NET (Programmer to Programmer)
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: David McAmis
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
I could learn more by banging on my head with a shoe

It isn't bad enough that neither Microsoft nor Crystal have a practical approach to help people utilize these two technologies effectively, there are actually people writing books that provide the same disservice to those of us developers that just want task specific answers. The last thing that this book does is demonstrate how to integrate Crystal Reports and .NET for any real world useage. After reading this book I don't know how to display and manipulate reports over the web by utilizing user interactivity through parameters passing, but I can make the background a pretty blue color!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning OpenGL Game Programming
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: Dave Astle, Kevin Hawkins
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Great Buy for Beginners

Beginning OpenGL Game Programming is a great introduction for those with little to no experience with OpenGL.

I have used it both as an introduction for a few projects I worked on as well as a refresher for a position I will soon begin.

Intended for a beginner (obviously), it does a very good job of getting someone up to speed swiftly. Unlike the many other books in the field, it manages to stay at only roughly 300 pages. That the authors managed to put so much information in such a (relatively) small number of pages is impressive.

The book doesn't waste time with stories and constant vernacular like "cool" and "dude" as so many other related titles do. However, while maintaining a professional feel, it is by no means a boring or a dry read.

Another aspect that is worth mentioning is the quality of the code and examples themselves. While most books will build a massive, hard to follow engine, Beginning OpenGL Game Programming manages to keep it under control. Much like the book itself, the source is without unnecessary bloat. I was able to look back on any chapter and read the source without having to jump to prior chapters for code clarification or explanation.

Lastly, I can say firsthand that the authors are easily reached and quite dedicated to the book.

For the incredibly low price, this is a terrific bargain.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Theory of Fun for Game Design
Publisher: Paraglyph
Authors: Raph Koster
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A milestone book

A thoughtful, entertaining book that distills years of experience and research from a great, practical game designer. Koster explores the fun of games from many angles such as personal experience, academic research, anecdotes, and cognitive neuroscience.

The core of the book establishes the role of games, why games are fun or boring, the elements of beauty and delight,
and the beginnings of a framework for the critical analysis of video games.

Along the way, Koster provides a justification for video games as practical teaching tools, a viable and important medium for art, and a legitimate part of our culture. This is both a presonal response and a quiet return salvo in the war against video games.

The writing style makes it approachable to casual readers or game designers. Read it light or heavy - every other page is a thoughtful cartoon, interwoven with the rich text. This makes it read like two books carefully spliced together. In a good way. As a software professional working in the industry, I especially appreciated the comprehensive end notes.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Mastering Windows 2000 Server
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Brian M. Smith, Doug Toombs, Mark Minasi
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Mastering Win2k Server 3rd

This book is great! There are plenty of other books that might have more technical information, or perhaps cover specific subjects in greater detail. However when it comes to overall, general books about the major topics one needs to master in order to administer a Windows 2000 Server, well this book is simply the best. It is written in an easy to read manner while not compromising the wealth of information presented.
If you're into reading nothing but technical details, or are interested in a few specific topics, then this book might not be for you. However if you're like the rest of us and need a book that is both fun to read and provides all the major necessary information you'll need to help you run your W2K server, then this is the one.