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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX ActionScripting: Advanced Training from the Source
Publisher: Macromedia Press
Authors: Derek Franklin, Jobe Makar
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Most Excellent Book Indeed...


Derek Franklin and Jobe Makar have supplied fantastic sripting solutions in an easy to read composium- it's like a thriller you won't be able to put down.
The best part of it is, if you get stuck, the authors are generous with their knowledge- Derek personally responded to my questions via email. I'm really impressed with that.
These guys are first class, and this book rocks.



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide, Second Edition (All-in-One)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Shon Harris, Shon Harris
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
More than a study guide


I thought I was just buying a CISSP study guide, but it has turned out to be much, much more. There is a huge section that has really helped me out at my job that just deals with HIPAA. The information, table, and compliancy chart is amazing! This piece was a real bonus to what the book already provided for the exam.
The material seems extremely well written and laid out in one of the most understandable and comprehensive ways I have ever seen. It does not seem to be the ordinary study guide or security book. I do think I will use this as a reference even after the test, which is quite unusual.
This is really a home run for McGraw-Hill and this author!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Regular Expressions, Second Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Will help you make sense of a daunting subject.


This is a book about Regular Expressions 'for Perl and Other Tools' but really it's a book about Perl. Other tools are covered, but coverage is a bit woolly, so if you are reading it to get the low-down on Python's RegEx capabilities etc. this book won't get you far. I can't help that feel that if the book had just concentrated on Perl, rather than giving sketchy coverage of `Other Tools', it could have been even better (and would have definitely got five starts). That said, the extra coverage (particularly the RegEx engine material) was very interesting and has turned out invaluable in practice.
If you are an absolute beginner to Perl or programming you will need another book(s) to get the most out of this one, but it is a gentle and thorough introduction that won't leave you scratching your head, which is a feat in itself considering the complexity of Regular Expressions.
This is an excellent book for getting the most out of Perl's RegEx capabilities, you will close the back cover feeling that you genuinely have Mastered the subject. It is without doubt the best book available on the subject, nicely written, with a friendly and un-patronising tone (grammatical errors aside), you can't really go wrong with this one.
There could have been some more useful real world examples/projects included, and the book could probably do with an overhaul (it was published in 97) to accommodate Perl 5.6 and other developments (O'Reilly are you listening?), but it is still the best out there.
If RegEx is a subject you need to get to grips with, this book is the solution.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Andre Lamothe
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Book, cant wait for #2


Andre Lamothe is one of the best game programming writers in terms of explaining complex matters clearly. So, this book looked like the Holy Grail of modern game programming. Well, not quite...
1) Until you get into the text itself, you don't find out that this is only volume one of a two-volume set. It is not mentioned anywhere on the book's cover, nor in any of the promotional material. If you're most interested in the 3D part (and who wouldn't be, since non-3D games are a dying breed, and good books on Direct3D Immediate Mode are practically nonexistent?), you'll have to wait until Lamothe finishes volume two. Since THIS volume shipped quite late, God only knows when you'll see THAT one. (There are some tutorials on 3D on the CD-ROM, but they're not written by Lamothe, which means that they don't have his trademark knack for explaining difficult concepts.)
2) Volume 1 is actually an extended re-write of his earlier "Windows Game Programming for Dummies." If you've read that book, you'll find that the vast majority of the topics (and the order they are presented in, such as: first general Windows programming, then GDI, then a game console framework, then COM, and finally DirectX itself) and even the "engine" source code comes directly from the "...Dummies" volume. Granted, "Tricks..." does go into a lot more detail and covers some newer features of DirectX (force-feedback, DirectMusic) that the earlier book didn't touch. Also, if you have any professional aspirations, it's a lot less embarrassing to say you picked up a technique from a book titled "Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus" instead of "Windows Game Programming for Dummies!" However, those who bought the latter volume should be aware that they're going to see a LOT of material, verbatim, for the second time.
3) Finally, there are a number of typos in the text and bugs in the sample source code. As an example of the former, look at the rotation matrix at the bottom of page 455. Owing to a bad choice of font, it has two elements missing! In terms of code bugs, look at Demo7_13 or Demo7_14. In Scan_Image_Bitmap(), the dest_ptr is being incremented by ddsd.dwWidth, when it should be by ddsd.lPitch. The fact that Lamothe has cautioned the user against making this VERY SAME MISTAKE earlier in the book adds insult to injury. (This is not unusual, by the way. I've read several of Lamothe's books, and have always found bugs in the sample source, which can be especially maddening for the student who may only know that something isn't working right, but might have no clue on how to even begin to fix it. Worse, these bugs should have been immediately apparent when the program was run, which leads me to suspect that Lamothe considers himself such a "guru" that he writes his code blind and doesn't always bother testing it before sending it out to the publisher.)
So, there you have it. Despite its faults, this book is one of the most comprehensive texts on the current iteration of DirectX (minus Direct3D), and contains other valuable information about AI, advanced algorithms and data structures, multithreading, game physics, etc. It is probably a "must buy" for anyone serious about game programming. However, until Lamothe gets around to finishing volume two, this is really nothing more than a "work in progress." Even as such, the reader had better be prepared to do some serious debugging on his or her own.