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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Photoshop Elements 3 Solutions
Publisher: Sybex, Inc.
Authors: Mikkel Aaland
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
An excellent PSE3 starter - but getting long in the tooth

Were I a first-time user of PSE3, this book richly would have deserved a 5-star rating for its in-depth presentation of basics, its introduction to more advanced techniques, the author's comfortable writing style and quality of production.

Having used Aaland's earlier PSE2 Solutions (a 5-star rave), however, I found this edition more of a repeat (word by word, and picture by picture, at times) than a total revision - with some new material added to cover new functions such as the healing brush, and a drawn-out section on Photo Browser. With few exceptions, the images on the accompanying CD are identical to those on the PSE2 edition; only the kids seem to have grown up. In short, this author hasn't given his all to updating one of the best PSE tutorials around; it's still darn good, but it could have been even better. One can only hope that the next (PSE4) edition will be totally revised, refreshed, and rejuvenated with a brand-new image gallery.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Official Final Fantasy VII Strategy Guide
Publisher: Bradygames
Authors: David Cassady
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great Guide but lacking useful information

Ok first off THIS BOOK RULES!! It helped me a lot when i got stuck and didnt know wha to do. Even though it did give away a little to muchof the story i didnt care.. i had already beat the game about a bah-zillion times

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Effective STL: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Use of the Standard Template Library
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Scott Meyers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must-have for C++ programmers

If you're a C++ programmer who has never used STL, or if you've ever programmed using STL and you've only read documentation on what STL containers and algorithms do (as opposed to how to use them), you must get this book and read it. Your natural inclination as a C++ programmer will prevent you from getting the most from STL. Every one of the 50 items in this book are helpful, and they are often written in a humorous manner, which makes it a very enjoyable (and informative) read.
Lots of STL books tell you what STL containers and algorithms do. Scott teaches you (at least) two things that are hard to get in other books: 1) How the STL containers work and 2) How to best use them for your purposes. If you've ever stared at a 2,000 character error message from STL and just shook your head, if you hand-write loops for simple container operations, if you ever wondered whether you need to write a custom allocator, you need this book. Just by reading and understanding about 1/2 of the items in this book, my knowledge of STL has increased tenfold, and the enjoyable style of the writing made it fun!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft ASP.NET Step by Step
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: G. Andrew Duthie
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
OK - bUt not what I expected

As a Java Developer coming from the world of J2EE, Struts, and JSPs I wanted a book that would provide a "good" introduction on ASP.NET. I picked this book because it was recommended on Microsoft's certification site. The book is not bad. There's a wealth of information provided. It does have its share of typos & errors but I did learn enough to start building some applications using ASP. My biggest complaint about the book was that all examples are in Visual Basic, which I have no interest in at all. I noticed now that the author has another book dealing with ASP.NET (published in April) that is focused on C#. That would have been the book that I would have liked to own but I'll save my money. If you're wanting an intro to ASP.NET with a Visual Basic focus this one is "OK". If you're more focused on C# wait for the April publication. Note - though - the examples are very simplified and in some cases only use code snippets to illustrate the author's point.