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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Panther Edition
Publisher: Pogue Press
Authors: David Pogue
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Missing Manual has Missing pages


If you have read any of the Missing Manual book series, particularly ones by David Pogue (on OSX 10.1&2, iMovie, iPhoto, Switching to the Mac), you might expect this OS X Panther Edition to cover all aspects of Apple's newest operating system in depth, to offer plenty of tips not only about what the system and its programs do but why you might want to use them, to provide tips about undocumented features, to suggest additional resources including books, web sites, and news groups, and to employ a writing style that is clear and humorous without being condescending or smug. That's a lot to ask of any book, let alone a computer manual. Pogue delivers all of it. Maybe that's why he's "the #1 bestselling Macintosh author" (back cover). In fact, if all you want to know is whether to buy this book--and you do need a manual if you expect to learn how best to use your Mac--, here's the answer: yes.
Here's a short list of reasons you'll want this book. Apple claims Panther has 150 new features, but Pogue says this is actually an undercount (2), and says about his book there's not "a single page that hasn't changed since the last edition" (7), which covered 10.1 and 10.2. While reading the book, I marked over 50 new features that are important to my workstyle, but in the interests of brevity, these are the ones most likely to appeal to all users. Panther has a new sidebar to complement the dock (18-20); Filevault can encrypt and decrypt your account transparently (363-66); window management is much easier with Exposť (124-28); servers and shared folders--even from PCs--appear automatically in the sidebar (18, 22, 397); Safari is improved and installed as the default browser (640-51); Text Edit can open and save Microsoft Word format, though not footnotes, unfortunately (311); Image Capture can work over a network, and can control scanners and web cams (275-76); Preview works much faster and can search and copy text from PDF files AND can open raw Postscript files, which means they can be saved as PDFs that can be printed at clear resolutions on cheapo inkjet printers (297, 435); print dialog boxes now offer saving as pure Postscript (427); color labels for files/folders are back from OS 9 (74); all menus, dialog boxes, and the dock now can be controlled from the keyboard (18, 138); Digital Color Meter can grab color values from images and web pages (316); Font Book allows you to form sets that you can turn on and off as needed (436-42); the calculator finally acquires scientific capabilities, a "paper" tape, and performs conversions (263, 331); Disk Utility now offers the option to clone a hard drive--good news for people in charge of Mac labs (317-18), and it can burn multiple sessions on a CD (340); faxing is now built in (431-35); GIMP-Print is included, a Unix collection of print drivers for scads of older printers (421); Virtual Private Networking to connect to corporate networks is much improved; Mail has at least nine major improvements, including seamless cooperation with Microsoft's Exchange Server; iChatAV is free along with a free iChatAV account at .Mac is (615-16).
Oh, and the default volume format for hard drives is journaled (692) for better troubleshooting, and for security Panther redoes group designations for user accounts (407, 511) and adds a master password that sits between administrator privileges and root (365, 376). If anything in that last sentence is foreign to you, that's another reason to buy this book. Also, Panther permits scheduling of print jobs (427)--a big boon on networks--and of unattended startup and shutdown (241). It even includes the ability to Zip and unZip files (94), and to clone your .Mac iDisk on your hard drive (564) for greater speed. Overall, it's also faster than previous versions.
The book now contains mini-manuals for iDVD, iMovie, iPhoto, and iTunes, even though the Missing Manual series has book treatments of each. Of course, the Panther book skips all the tips, tricks, and resources for these programs, but it has enough to get you going successfully. And the appendixes include installation (A), troubleshooting (B), and "secret keystroke list" (F).
Also, the book is fun to read. Pogue's style faintly resembles that of Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry. For example, in his discussion of AppleScript Studio (216), his aside is "ASS for short--how did that one get past Marketing?"
All is not perfect, however. Grammar snafus occur about one per 100 pages (!) and of five factual errors, only one (583) is really confusing because it refers to a picture that doesn't exist in the text (although what you're supposed to see has just been explained clearly). And two discussions confused me: about Firewire networks (390ff) and about command-line (Unix) file searching (518). But another benefit of the Missing Manual series is that once I've reported these miscues to Pogue, they'll be incorporated into subsequent printings of the book. Pogue pledges (9) to keep the book current with Apple's continuing updates of 10.3 (this printing [11] covers through 10.3.2), and to keep errata lists--along with much of the software mentioned in the book--on the website (www.missingmanuals.com). My previous experience with six other books in this series suggests that Pogue will indeed keep book and web site updated.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: DHTML and CSS Advanced : Visual QuickPro Guide (Visual Quickpro Guide)
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Jason Cranford Teague
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book! I still use the previous one for reference too


I thought i'd never need to refer to a DHTML/CSS book again (I thought the first DHTML and CSS Visual QuickStart book had covered it all) but a friend left this book on my desk and I couldn't bring myself to give it back.
Like the first book, this is not a 'repetitive review of the features' book, I'd call it a 'lets see what DHTML and CSS can do for us now' book. It both describes and illustrates the concepts and has nuggets of practical information that a hands-on person would immediately take to.

From overlooked but relevant optimal meta tag usage details like link relationships to accessing XML and using php with MySQL. You know the writer thought about what readers would need information
on. I highly recommend this book, with or without the first book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Visual C++ 6
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Ivor Horton
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Horrible


I just hated this book.The author has this one example that he uses for 10 chapters.So if you suddenly wanna learn how to write a Dll you have to go back atleast 5 chapters and read everything.Besides what kind of an example is the draw line,circle and curve.The author should have used a more mature and useful example.I do not recommend it to anyone.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Effective C++: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Design (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Scott Meyers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Outstanding odds-and-ends book. C++ programmers need it!


This book is an awesome book for beginning to intermediate programmers. Lots of handy nuts-and-bolts information. Meyers clearly is a programmer writing to other programmers. His style is one that nearly every programmer can understand; he identifies 'oh, by the way's and other gotcha's and suggests _practical_ and _workable_ solutions to problems encountered by every C++ programmer at one point or another.