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PHP 5 Power Programming
PHP 5 Power Programming
by Andi Gutmans
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 32.12
30 used & new from CDN$ 1.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, July 27 2005
PHP 5 Power Programming is the ideal introduction to PHP 5 for those who are already familiar with the PHP language. This book, written by some of the best known in the world of PHP, brings together all of the new and powerful features that PHP 5 has to offer, from polymorphism and interfaces to SQLite and SOAP. Anyone who knows PHP 4 and are wanting to make the change to PHP 5 would benefit from the "Making the Move" chapter. Watch out beginners, while the book does offer a "Basic Language" chapter, it isn't designed to introduce new programmers to the language. Those who are familiar with similar programming languages may be able to learn PHP from this short chapter, however don't expect the rest of the book to stop and wait for you.
PHP 5 Power Programming succeeds in showing the new features of PHP. The principle addition to PHP is the improvement of OOP. This book dedicated two chapters to introduce PHP 5's Object Orientated language and makes a fine job of simplifying something which appears complicated even to an experienced programmer. If you ever wanted someone to make sense of what PHP 5's OOP can accomplish, this book delivers it without fail. One of my personal favourites about this book is Chapter 5. Unlike the myriads of other PHP books, Chapter 5 actually deals with real life situations, such as file uploads and basic (but important!) file architecture. This chapter deals with the problems faced with cookies and sessions, and provides an excellent way around them. By the time you reach Chapter 6, you could be wondering what's left to be learned. The answer? Lots. So sit back and enjoy the journey through PHP 5, your in the hands of very experienced authors.
Not only does this book provide you with the "definitive introduction to PHP 5's advanced features" it also includes an extended 90-day trial of Zend Studio - the ideal Development Environment for PHP. This may make it a tempting purchase for programmers who are new to PHP. Even if the back cover encourages new developers to buy this book, I would strongly recommend against doing so. Chapter 2 does help set down the basics, but be prepared to take the plunge as Chapter 3 goes straight into OOP. If you're new to PHP and sure about choosing this book, I would suggest skipping both Chapters 3 and 4, head into Chapter 5 and see how the language should be used to the best of its ability.
PHP 5 Power Programming by Andi Gutmans (co-creator, PHP 5), Stig Saether Bakken (PHP core team member, creator of PEAR) and Derick Rethans (PHP contributor and the PHP QA team leader) is the perfect purchase for PHP developers wishing to bring their skills and programs into a new level. This book wastes no time in getting stuck into the advanced new features of PHP 5 and soon you'll be putting a big of reflection into all of your code. While not ideal for beginners, anyone who has experience with languages such as C, Perl or Java will find themselves understanding PHP in no time.

Adobe Photoshop CS Down & Dirty Tricks
Adobe Photoshop CS Down & Dirty Tricks
by Scott Kelby
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 29.60
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The best ever, May 9 2005
This without a doubt has got to be one of the best, if not THE best PhotoShop CS "how to" book I have read to date. While I trust any book written by Scott Kelby to be top notch, this one surpassed expectations. Mr. Kelby's style makes it very easy for anyone at any level of PhotoShop experience to learn his new "dirty tricks". Not only are the effects he teaches in this book very timely for the graphics world, each lesson contains methods that can be applied in a wide variety of ways, not only in the manner he has applied them. The sidebar tips on every page are alone worth the price of this book. I have great respect for Mr. Kelby's work and like him, encourage PhotoShop users to take what they've learned and mess with it. The screenshots he uses in his book are very clear, the lessons are easy to follow and like many tutorial sites or other books, he doesn't write with the assumption that everyone is an experienced PhotoShop user-he takes the time to explain every step so even the absolute beginner can follow the tutorials in the book. The fact that the reader can also access the book's images online adds to its "user friendly" interface. The resources Mr. Kelby includes at the end of the book are a goldmine for further learning. I would definitely put this book on the list of "PhotoShop must-haves."

The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book: Creative Techniques in Digital Painting
The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book: Creative Techniques in Digital Painting
by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 39.49
21 used & new from CDN$ 13.95

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic How-To Book, April 7 2005
If I could get away with a one word review for this book, the word would be "awesome." Cher's use of colour and layout in this book are both practical and eye-catching. I found myself drawn first to the illustrations, then to the text to see how she accomplished the end result. The oversized pages make this book easy to lay out and follow along while trying Cher's suggested exercises without struggling to hold the book open.
As I own both PhotoShop and Painter, it was also a bonus only needing one book to learn new skills for both programmes. I also found alot of tips and tricks for both programmes I previously was unaware of. Cher has a talent for teaching effectively, and she has successfully transferred those skills into an extremely useful tutorial manual. She makes it all seem so simple, and at times it seems as though her words are encouraging you along even if you aren't achieving the same results as those portrayed in the book. Cher gives subtle creative hints throughout the book, further encouraging experimentation with the design tools-her encouragement is what helped me find a true desire to continue working with the tablet, even though I can't draw very well. By working with different areas of the book, I found some improvement in my drawing ability, which in and of itself was worth the time I had thus far spent working with Cher's lessons.
I feel that many people who are very talented with traditional art tools are perhaps held back by a fear of the new graphics technology. Cher has successfully made the transition, and with Cher's comfortable teaching style, I think many more will venture into the world of digital graphics once they read her book. Cher explains the tools of the trade so well, it's like she is planting the seed of "I can do that" thoughts in the reader's mind and thus making them keen to try something new. This keeness I think helps traditional artists, and new digital artists, overcome their fear of "doing something wrong" and unleashing previously hidden creative processes.
Cher's inclusion of vendors, references and suppliers in her book's appendices is to me a tacit way of telling the reader "you've made it this far, now go ahead and try this." In fact, just by revisiting various sections of Cher's book during the writing of this review, I want to get out the tablet, open PhotoShop and get creating. Very few tutorial books can instigate the same kind of motivation. Well done, Cher.

Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide
Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide
by J. Tarin Towers
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 20.79
46 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful Reference, April 7 2005
I had not been using Dreamweaver for very long before obtaining this manual-and as many of my associates can attest to, I was ready to hit "uninstall" several times per day. I found Dreamweaver to be very cluttered and difficult to navigate. I am happy to report that Ms. Towers' book prevented the uninstall process as far as Dreamweaver was concerned. By following this book from the first chapter and working through the tutorials, even a beginner can successfully configure Dreamweaver and begin designing fully functional and aesthetically pleasing web sites.
However, I did find a few areas too lightly covered, such as making and working with custom templates. Also, being aware that this book is focussed on a Macromedia product, I would have liked to have seen more information for working with or importing work from, other applications such as PhotoShop and Image Ready. Understandably Ms. Towers covered a bit more about integrating Dreamweaver with Macromedia's Fireworks, but even working in the design field, I personally know very few people who use Fireworks as opposed to PhotoShop.
There were a few other areas I would have liked to have seen handled differently or perhaps laid out in a different format. I found that when trying to learn how to use Dreamweaver's CSS tools, I had to do a fair amount of chapter jumping to get the information I needed. Personally I would prefer to have like functions grouped together for ease of advancement in that area.
The illustrative examples are numerous, well-labelled and relevant to each page's content. In many areas, I found the illustrations to offer a better explanation of how to accomplish something than the textual instructions. In my opinion, one of the best sections in this book was that on managing web sites. Gone are the days when the majority of websites consist of one page of information and perhaps a few graphics. Even a simple personal site can easily encompass several pages of content. The tips on managing everything from a small domain to a large network are very practical and invaluable.
I would have liked to have seen some quick reference tables and or appendices in this book; while there are many such resources online, I still find Dreamweaver to be somewhat cluttered and it's easier to be able to look up a reference table than it is to find what I need somewhere in the programme. Besides, some of us still like books. Overall I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this book to anyone who is just starting out with Dreamweaver, but I would hesitate in recommending it to someone new to both Dreamweaver and web designing, as many areas of this book seem to assume that the reader is more than a novice as far as web coding knowledge is concerned.

DHTML and CSS Advanced: Visual QuickPro Guide
DHTML and CSS Advanced: Visual QuickPro Guide
by Jason Cranford Teague
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 24.79
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.62

5.0 out of 5 stars the best tutorial yet, April 7 2005
Mr. Teague has written an instructional book which, in my opinion is the most useful and understandable coding book I have ever read. From the introductory pages right through to the appendices this book is presented in an easy, step by step format. Mr. Teague's tutorial style makes this book an incredibly useful reference source for even more advanced web coders. Unlike other web design books I own, DHTML & CSS Advanced is well organized, with clear illustrations and colour coded snippets. The inclusion of a section about working with databases enables the reader to add more function to his or her web designs and offer more the site's visitors.
With so many coding options and the need to have a site appear properly to the majority of current browsers, it can be difficult to keep web coding effective and clean. Mr. Teague shows his readers how to accomplish this. I think the one thing which impressed me the most about this book is the effort Mr. Teague put into making sure his explanations were clear and concise. His instructions can do nothing other than add to the functionality of the reader's web coding and design. By taking the reader through web designing from concept to publication, Mr. Teague accomplishes what the cover of his book promises: extending skills in a fast and efficient way.
Unlike many other design books on the market, Mr. Teague's manual does not include a cd-rom containing all of the code snippets used throughout the book. I for one am glad he (for whatever reason) didn't include one. This forces the student to type out the snippets in the book in order to learn what the author is teaching. In my opinion, this helps the person learn faster, and to pay attention to what he or she is doing. This helps to reinforce the basics of site coding in the designer's mind, and eventually clean effective sites on the web will be the result.
The quick reference tables and glossaries are infinitely useful and cover a wide range of design coding. DHTML and CSS Advanced will be one of the first books I recommend to new designers. Mr. Teague has a winning style of tutorial writing, and I look forward to reading further publications by him.

Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling
Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling
by Chris Crawford
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 32.75
16 used & new from CDN$ 5.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just a Must-Read, It's a Must-Study., April 7 2005
This book opened up a whole new pattern of thinking for me. The information Mr. Crawford conveys in this publication is invaluable to any writer seeking to break into new areas-particularly gaming and other applications utilizing interactive storytelling. Writing for this genre requires a whole different mindset from traditional genres and Mr. Crawford succeeds at moving the reader towards that mindset.
Time and again I see in game reviews how a particular game has "awesome graphics and great gameplay but the story and dialogue" were severely lacking. With Mr. Crawford's extensive experience in the gaming industry, he very capable gives aspiring writers every tool he or she will need to get a very good start in the industry. Throughtout the book, he stresses how important it is for the "artsie" thinkers (the writers & artists) to work together with the "techie" thinkers (the programmers) and I think this is a valuable lesson that many current game producers have yet to learn. Mr. Crawford reminds the entire programming industry that one sector of development cannot succeed without the other. He more than adequately investigates and chronicles how the different development teams can work together and bridge the "communication" gap between the "artsies" and the "techies."
This book, while not exactly a tutorial piece, offers many examples and exercises to move the writer along in thinking like an interactive storyteller. The only real drawback may be the detail Mr. Crawford goes into. While I personally don't have a problem with this, I work with several young people who, while they are very keen on gaming development, probably wouldn't spend an adequate amount of time studying the information contained in the book unless it were required reading in a course.
Personally I feel that any writer who wants to pursue and develop stories for interactive programming should study this book. It's not enough to read it through once, twice or even three times. This is a book which needs to be worked through section by section, until writing for this relatively new genre becomes second nature. This book will have a permanent home in my library; it is very rich in information-hats off to Mr. Crawford for producing a very timely manual.
-Adaera-

Learn Windows XP for 5 Bucks
Learn Windows XP for 5 Bucks
by Kleber Stephenson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 5.00
7 used & new from CDN$ 5.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Could Be Better, April 6 2005
To call this short manual a beginners book would be to use the term lightly... it is to tech manuals what "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" would be to "War And Peace". From the technical standpoint, I felt that I was going to suffer an aneurism just flipping through it. But, from the standpoint of a beginner to Windows XP (or any other Windows Operating System for that matter), it is definitely a good place to start.
At an extremely stretched-out 58 pages of screenshots and short descriptions, it is definitely in the category of getting what one pays for. The nice point to this book is the aforementioned screenshots accompanying every page. This book is for those who are technically inept and unfamiliar with the various terms that are involved in navigating around ones computer (such as desktop, toolbar, task manager, and "power button").
Diving strait into the technical mumbo-jumbo, it walks you through navigating your way around the desktop and it's linked Start Menu. After walking the user through the dumbed-down basics, it starts off on the more 'advanced' features introduced into Windows... the Firewall and System Restore. Now, explaining the Firewall is great from the standpoint of a user on a fresh install of XP, but since most of the settings have changed with the release of XP Service Pack #2, some of this has since become outdated. Now, the System Restore is something that all users should know exists, and know exactly how to use it. A lot of tech support calls and reformats could be prevented in advance with this sort of knowledge, and for that I commend the authors.
Some of the other advanced coverings in this book are the "Event Viewer", used for tracking any problems and system messages that have popped up on the system, the Disk Defragmenter, used for sorting and compacting system clusters, Windows Automatic Update (Thank whatever Deity you want for this... too many computer users out there are oblivious to the concept of security patches and updates), and brief suggestions of Anti-Virus through way of the Security Center.
What is missing, and I noticed this right away, is also one of the more ingenious additions to the Windows Operating System with XP... The Remote Assistance Console. What's that? Well, in simple terms, it's a way to send a "call for help" to an online friend and let them fix your computer from the comfort of their own PC. In some more advanced terminology, it's a Remote Desktop Session... but no matter what you want to call it, it's a blessing to both the inept user, and the technical troubleshooter (meaning, it's a lifesaver no matter what end of the keyboard you are on).
All in all, how would I grade this book? From the standpoint of a beginner, I would toss it a point for every dollar... on a scale of 10, it would make it to 5. From the standpoint of a tech though, the exchange rate would not be so kind and it would only work out to a 3.5 (I notice as I glance on the back cover that Americans pay $5 as well as Canadians... so someone's math seems to be a little off).
In closing, if you want a quickie manual on how to turn the PC on and work out how to find your folders, this is the book for you. But from experience, the only thing that can replace the manual, is an even bigger manual. Shortening down something as complex as computer management is like taking the steering wheel out of a car to save space... it just won't work the same.
"The book for people who hate to read the manual". In my opinion, stick to the manual.
-NightStorm-

Maya 6 Killer Tips
Maya 6 Killer Tips
by Eric Hanson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.52
28 used & new from CDN$ 1.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Learn with Confidence, April 6 2005
This review is from: Maya 6 Killer Tips (Paperback)
As a complete newbie to anything Maya, I was hoping that Maya 6: Killer Tips would be different from the other Maya how-to books I've ventured to look at in the local bookstore (and promptly placed back on the shelf once my eyes finished glazing over.)
I was not disappointed; in fact I was bordering on elation. Here finally is a well-laid out, very easy to understand Maya 6 manual. While the authors state in the introduction that this book is designed for the advancing intermediate Maya artist, I had no problems whatsoever understanding what they were trying to show. This book is well illustrated, with clear screenshots showing exactly what the tip is saying.
The tips themselves are not highly technical, long-drawn out explanations that only a Maya programmer would understand. They are concise and are sometimes interspersed with humour. Humour can go along way when one is ready to send Maya to the land of "click the red x" never to be seen again.
Reading through Maya 6: Killer Tips actually made me feel some enthusiasm for attempting once again to conquer the Maya beast. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who uses Maya 6, from the newbie like myself to the advanced artist who thinks there is nothing more to learn about using Maya. This book is definitely a five star edition.
-Adaera-

PHP and MySQL Web Development
PHP and MySQL Web Development
by Luke Welling
Edition: Paperback
25 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Resource, April 6 2005
This book starts off in a detailed description of PHP coding and sends the reader into a project instantly. The first project is simple and useful, utilizing the basic PHP commands for storing and retrieving data. The source code in the book is awesome, it shows many examples of coding, most of which is used on many websites.
The few problems I have with the book are in the later chapters. I felt that while this book does teach the basics, when it jumps into the "advanced" section the authors really didnt explain the steps in enough detail for beginners.
The things I like about the book is that it covers Php sessions, working with the file system directly, Ftp uploads, user authorization, and it even shows you how to make your own email page using PHP.
MySql is lightly covered in the book; it does not go into "high" detail with MySql but it does cover the basic commands such as create database, use database, create table, insert commands, and some basic authentication processes.
In the appendix it also has Apache, MySql, Php tutorials to help you set up your own little webserver. Overall I would hand this book to anyone who wants to learn PHP & MySql the proper way.
-us3rX-

C++ Primer Plus
C++ Primer Plus
by Stephen Prata
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 12.16

1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weirdos Works For Me, April 6 2005
This review is from: C++ Primer Plus (Paperback)
Finally a book for the weirdos out there who find it hard to fit into a regular working environment and for those of us who work with them. I fall into both categories, so there is alot of material in this book I could relate to. In fact, this book could apply to any staff member at KillaNet Technology, a company which thrives on individuality and creativity.
Throughout this well-researched work, Mr. Putzier lets us know that it's okay to be an individual in the 21st century. He successfully identifies many personality types and gives tips on how to work with those personalities and help them to achieve career satisfaction. While I was reading the book, it was very easy to identify our own staff members in the words on the pages.
This handbook is a must for anyone-especially managers-who works with highly creative, highly productive people. Mr. Putzier's ideas are very common-sense, even though at first glance the uninitiated would think he was off his rocker. In this day and age of new work models, it makes sense to strive towards a working environment which is flexible enough to help corporations meet their objectives while keeping their weirdo employees happy and productive.
This book also has ideas for helping those employees who fall into the non-weirdo category cope with the weirdos they share office space with-many of which seem like comman sense to me, because I'm one of the weirdos; however to those not used to working with creative people, the suggestions could be a sanity-saver. I would not hesitate in the least to make this required reading for anyone wanting to get into business and/or personnel management.
-Adaera

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