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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning the Korn Shell (2nd Edition)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Bill Rosenblatt, Arnold Robbins
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Learning the Korn Shell

I found the book not usefull at all. Simple things on how to write a loop is so full of text without addressing the simple issue of how to write a simple while loop with a counter. I found the examples sparse and irrelevant to what i was doing.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Premiere Pro Classroom in a Book (Classroom in a Book)
Publisher: Adobe Press
Authors: Adobe Creative Team
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not quite the book I'd hoped

Although I like this series and I enjoyed the example movie that's the basis for all the exercises in this book, I'm afraid this edition is unnecessarily confusing, particularly for beginners. It has an unforgivable number of errors in the text and lessons. And it's a bit wordy in its directions without, in some cases, explaining well enough for me why you are following a particular sequence of steps. And some of the lessons seem to have one too many things jammed into them. It's just not particularly user-friendly.

Apparently, what the editors of this series did was to take an earlier version of the book--I'm familiar with the Premiere 6.0 version and I can see the similarities to that-and update it to the Premiere Pro version of the program and a new movie that the user gradually assembles. Working on one related movie, rather than a series of short, unrelated little projects, might be a good idea although personally I didn't mind the fact that there wasn't one big project in the earlier book. That's just a matter of preference, as is the content of the project (which high school age students find somewhat silly.) What's unfortunate is that there are so many "stoppers" in the lessons.

Honestly, the editing borders on the unprofessional. There are lesson where you're asked to import random sound from the old book (in French, no less) that's totally unrelated to the current clips just to get in some pointers about putting video effects on a clip. In the lesson on effects, you're asked to put a zig-zag effect on an image; well, that worked fine on a cup of hot chocolate in the earlier version, but, unfortunately it's one of the effects no longer in the current program. There's a lesson on sound where you're asked to open a partially completed project; many of the clips necessary for the lesson are not in the lesson folder. I found all but one of them is other folders, eventually, but the process was time-consuming and, of course, you think you've made the error not the editors of the book. In the same lesson the effects workspace is inaccurately described. And there are other errors, I think. The problem seems to be just haste and sloppy editing. You lose confidence that you're being guided through these concepts correctly. I'd wished I'd waited for a second (corrected) edition of the book.

When I emailed the publisher asking for errata data, I didn't get a response for over a week and then just to let me know that they'd "been inundated with user queries," had forwarded my query to the errata editor, and that "Adobe is not always responsive to us in matters of errata." Over a month later, I have not heard more.

It's a shame because this could be an excellent book with just a few changes. Or at least a "heads-up" warning about problems.

Besides the errors, I'd suggest slightly more focused lessons. A couple of chapters are just too long for one sitting. And there are lessons where, in the interest of teaching one more thing or an alternative way of doing things, you do a step only to undo it immediately. To me, that's not beginner-friendly. The chapter on opacity is a bit short on transparency key but includes a lot of information on the waveform monitor, color management, and vectorscopes that really doesn't amount to much a beginner would find practical. It probably belongs in another chapter or an appendix. The chapter on integrating with other Adobe products is sort of confusing; you basically add a lot of cross-dissolve transitions the hard way to, apparently, get a feel for Adobe After Effects. I'd prefer the lessons streamlined and the "extras" in an additional chapter, glossary or appendix. Perhaps in an effort to highlight what's new in this version of Premiere, the editors have lost sight of what should be their primary focus: to get beginners up and running with the program quickly and confidently.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCAD/MCSD Self-Paced Training Kit: Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and Microsoft Visual C# .NET
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Corporation
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A great book!

The subject matter is well explained and the book prepares you for the exam very well. The labs for the chapters and the chapter review are very good. To pass the exam, you may need some additional reading though, as the exam is tough. The practice exam that ships with the book has a different format then the real exam but it does help. After reading the book I feel like I really know XML Web Services & Server Components.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Alison Balter's Mastering Microsoft Access 2000 Development
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alison Balter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must have technical reference for Access Programmers

It's rare that I provide feedback on books, but in this instance I feel I must. Most of the books I've come across give me little or no help, i.e. they provide me with information I already know. It seems like most authors these days seem to spout out information without providing a clear understanding of how the application works. It's like they are resting on their laurels. Others claim to be "Bibles" that just inform me of the new features, but they are lacking in the content I need when I'm programming.
This is the technical reference book for Access I have been looking for. The content is well explained and explained so that I know the considerations of choosing one method over another. The text is concise and knowledge level covers the spectrum. Alison's Black-Belt Chapter on library databases, builders and wizards was the icing on the cake. The technical writing in this book is thorough and this book has become a valuable resource in my library.
Thanks Alison for this gem, you've exceeded my expectations and you have raised the bar for other Authors.