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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 Complete Course
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Jan Kabili
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book but I had to send it back.

I have a library of about 10 books on PSE and have referred to them all on occasion. However, this book I will read from front to back, all 430 plus pages. There are also another 50 plus pages on the CD which accompanies the book. The CD contains all of the graphics needed for the creation of the course projects. She even lists her E mail address on the CD. Jan teaches PSE by creating 10 or so sports related post card size graphics. The projects require you to use many of the specialized tools and filters. She has some very impressive credentials (technical, literary and academic). However, her ability to convey her knowledge is what impresses me most. A five star rating implies perfection. Therefore, I might downgrade the rating to 4.9 because of the first tutorial in the book, "Confidence Builder". I believe this tutorial is too much too soon for a bare bones PSE beginner (page 7). If this tutorial seems too advanced, you can skip it and return after session 2. Amazon offers the book for about $32 with free shipping, a substantial saving and a very good investment. I wish Jan had written the book when PSE 2 was first released over a year ago. However, she has apparently been busy writing other books. P.S. I have no connection with the author or vested interest in this book. I only wish to share my discovery of a great PSE resource.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Fantasy IX Official Strategy Guide
Publisher: Brady Games
Authors: Dan Birlew
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Bad even for a Bradygames guide

And those are usually known for making Gampro articles look good by comparison. This, however, hits new lows. If I'd wanted to pay 13 dollars for an advertisement for a slow (even on my cable modem) website that still doesn't cover all the information on the game, I would be happy with this. As it is, I'm checking faqs posted on Gamefaqs.com to find secrets on my second trip through the game. The art isn't even that good in most of the book, they use the same renders of the characters on literally almost every page. A few pages use some nice preliminary art, but nothing you can't find in the art book. Save your money and go to Gamefaqs, and buy the "Art of Final Fantasy IX" book if you want the art. Avoid this insulting pile of tripe like the plague.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Definitive XML Schema
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Priscilla Walmsley
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Clear description of XML Schema

This is a very readable description of the XML Schema with rudimentary, albeit useful, design hints. Although covers mostly the same information as the official 'XML Schema Part 0: Primer' (freely available from W3C) it is definitely worth reading and keeping as a reference.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming Perl (3rd Edition)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Larry Wall, Tom Christiansen, Jon Orwant
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not for the weak of mind!

I bought this book because it was recommended to me for learning Perl. I have never used Perl before, and started reading from the beginning. It is well written and quite readable, but I started to get lost after 60 or so pages. (Note that I do have plenty of experience in other languages, but that was not really helpful to me in deciphering the terminology in this book.) It was getting into complicated stuff without really showing how to write simple test programs, which is what I really needed. In fact, it gives rather few code examples, and those that are given are usually no more than 3 lines, so the reader doesn't get a good idea of how to put together a whole program.However, as I said, it is quite readable, and very informative. It may be better suited to someone who already knows how to program in Perl and wants to learn more. In summary, my recommendation:Buy this book if you:-are fanatical about Perl and need to know everything about it-are very smart/experienced in programming, particularly with prior experience in Perl-know how to code in Perl already but want a handy reference to the minute details in itDo not buy this book if you:-are not very good/experienced at programming-only need to know the basics-will only be using Perl for a short time