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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Visual C# .NET Step by Step--Version 2003
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Jon Jagger, John Sharp
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Definitely Not For Beginners

It has been a number of years since I touched a programming language, and none of my experience was in Object Oriented stuff. This book has been patently unhelpful. I'm not sure who the audience is - It does not provide much in the way of explanation as to how the architecture works - it just lays it out. It is near useless for a beginner. On the other hand, an experienced programmer is likely to get bored with the "Open this code and change this line" approach. Too bad. This could have been a good book. Unfortunately, I don't know if there are any good alternatives if C# is your first language.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering UNIX Shell Scripting
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Randal K. Michael
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A must-have for all levels of *nix users.

The breadth of real-world examples make the difference between this book and most reference texts. It's true that it's written for korn, but I've had little trouble adapting for Bash; many of the scripts run almost unchanged and the ones that don't provide a useful opportunity for exercise in adaptation. The authors prose is clear. His attitude is a bit challenging; he says early on that that his intention is to teach you how to -solve problems- by shell scripting, NOT to present a ream of canned solutions. This is NOT a reference text for any particular shell, you'll still need plenty of O'Reilly books, a web browser & etc.

This book has enabled me to write a major project using scripting as the glue to hold together a hefty mass of file-moving daemons, fax/paging engines, python UI code, PostGreSQL database engine, networking/email, SSH, and Expect scripts on a Gnu Linux platform. I absolutely could not have done it without this book and I'm very grateful to Mr Michael for his work. If a later edition could more closely serve the needs of the masses by presenting more Bash examples and maybe throwing in a CD it would be a 5-star text.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ed Tittel, Stephen J. James
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Good info but anti-climatic

This book has helped tremendously, i didnt know a thing about html until i read this book! Actually i didnt read the whole book, but used it as a tool! if i wanted to know how to do something i flipped to the page and read it! very explanitory?! My wife also used it and became a web focal shortly afterwards for Boeing! i highly recommend this book to EVERYONE!!!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Digital Photography Expert Techniques (O'Reilly Digital Studio)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Ken Milburn
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Great advice from a seasoned professional

I'm impressed with Ken Milburn's insight into producing top-quality digital images. His tips are not always those found in other books on Photoshop or digital photography. For example, Ken recommends slightly underexposing all photos you shoot. Too much light, he explains, can wash out details. But if the subject is slightly underexposed, then lighting can be adjusted in Photoshop without loss of fine details. That's a very useful tip that I had not read anywhere else (in my PS books, at least). He also affords readers sufficient photographic evidence to convince them to use RAW format whenever possible. I shoot in RAW mode all the time now.
Not all of Ken's techniques will be new to digital photographers. The need for a fill flash, uncluttered backgrounds, and a good photo printer are ideas that seem a bit incongruous in a book offering much more advanced advice in later chapters. I think the author was just trying to target as broad of an audience as possible.
Upon reading this solid guide, you will probably notice Ken's preference for 3rd party plugins/filters. He's the first Photoshop author I've read who so strongly advocates the utilization of extra plugins instead of the direct use of Photoshop's built-in technologies. While Scott Kelby would tell you to add a duplicate layer, apply Gaussian blur, and then reduce opacity to accomplish a given task, Ken touts the power of $200 plugins that accomplish the same goal more quickly and sometimes more effectively. Fortunately, comparison photos are often provided to illustrate the differences between the results of Photoshop techniques vs. 3rd party plugins.
Overall, this book is worth owning if you would like some useful tips and tricks from a pro. Just keep in mind the author's bias toward 3rd party products, and expect a few sections on topics that are perhaps too elementary for the rest of the book (e.g., "Take Good Care of Your Printer").