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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Csound Book: Perspectives in Software Synthesis, Sound Design, Signal Processing,and Programming
Publisher: The MIT Press
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best way to learn synthesis and Csound

I've found that the Csound book provides more than just a way to learn Csound but rather a way to expand your knowledge in computer music as a whole. The basics of Csound are covered in chapter 1 of the book, which is what anyone who is new to csound should spend all of their time on until they understand how the language works. What I felt that the majority of the book and CDROM focused on were principles of computer musis such as synthesis, composition and performance, using Csound as the medium. It is much more than a "how to turn the knob" tutorial. I found this book to be a wonderful asset in that while learning about a particular topic, I can also render the sounds and modify each instrument at a minute level to gain a real understanding of how the principles work. If you are looking for a quick way to make analogy or other wierd sounds for the computer, this may not be the best choice, as Csound takes some time to learn. It took me quite a few weeks to get a grasp on what Csound was doing and how it works. The book does provide the easiest way to learn Csound, though Csound is by no means simple. It took me quite a few weeks to get a grasp on what Csound was doing and how it works, But once one starts to get a grasp on the language, the other chapters provide a lifetime of synthesis to explore.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Video Poker: Optimum Play
Publisher: Conjelco
Authors: Dan Paymar
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A decent tutorial

As an avid and successful Video Poker player, and author of "Mastering Video Poker - a professional player's secrets revealed", I always like to take a look at the current state of video poker strategy guides. This book will teach you the basic whys and why nots of various plays. Lacking is any attention to the more advanced psychological aspects of training and playing, as well as how to truly take the casinos for all their worth in player perks, treatment, bonuses and general high-roller benefits.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java (tm) Certification
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid A. Mughal, Rolf W. Rasmussen
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This book is undoubtedly the best book i've seen so far on certification. I cleared the exam with merely 15 days of study. The key concepts have been clearly presented with lots of (working)examples. The material is well prepared and organized. The review questions at end of each chapter are also excellent. A must have if you're serious about the certification.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Building The Perfect PC
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Robert Bruce Thompson, Barbara Fritchman-Thompson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The answer to PC commoditization

I have a masters degree in electronics design but I am approaching this book from consumer point of view:

If you've been in BestBuy or CompUSA lately, you know that the desktop offered are with almost perfect configuration, almost perfect price, but never exactly perfect. Of course, it is impossible for the big PC makers, even for Dell, to create a PC which would fit your exact specifications. Cost consideration, economies of scale, and so on, drive business decisions at the big computer makers. Where does this leave you? Either wanting to put together a desktop on your own, or buying one of those middle-of-the-road machines.

I have done both -- I have a standard Compaq desktop at BestBuy, a superb Toshiba laptop at CompUSA, and have had my own dual-hard-drive desktop built for the purposes of home video making. Had I had this book at the time, I would not have ordered by video editing PC at the computer shop down the street -- I would have made it myself, using the best components I need, no doubt for much better price.

This book, "Building The Perfect PC", is just that -- a step by step guide on building the desktop configuration (even the authors do not recommend attempting to build your own laptop) which would exactly meet your requirements today (and not tomorrow) without breaking your budget.

The book starts with a thorough explanation of the Fundamentals of PC making and getting to know your motherboard. Then it follows with instructions on choosing and buying the PC components.

Once the basics of PC building are established, the book branches into chapters dedicated to different configurations:
- a mainstream PC
- a small office / home office server
- a local-area-network hub PC
- a home theatre PC
- a small form factor PC

For each configuration, the chapters start with definition of the functional requirements, discussion of the hardware design criteria, components considerations, and instructions on building the computer system.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has interest in building a computer on his/her own. The book gives you the knowledge to make the right decision in component selection, hardware design and putting the whole system together. Another winner for O'Reilly!