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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Approach
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies
Authors: Roger S. Pressman
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5

i'm using this book for a graduate software engineering course. i don't feel that i've gotten my money's worth. i expected a book that was clear and concise; i found it tobe neither. i've been very disappointed

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: STL Tutorial and Reference Guide: C++ Programming with the Standard Template Library (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: David R. Musser, Gillmer J. Derge, Atul Saini
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Not the best

This was one of the earlier STL books, and even with its Second Edition, it hasn't caught up much. On its own, it would deserve 3 or 4 stars, but it's expensive and there are better ones out there for your money. I think even the publisher must agree, as this book's #1 competator is also an Addison Wesley book, _The C++ Standard Library : A Tutorial and Reference_.
The real problem is that this book only does the STL, not the other parts of the standard library like strings and iostreams. The typical C++ programmer looking to become more modern is going to want to know all the new stuff, not just this little slice of it. If you're already familiar with the standard library and want a book on only STL, you can consider this a 4-star rating. The book is okay for what it does, but I don't see why anyone would want it, as you're going to have to buy a second book if you get this one.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Complete Digital Photography, Third Edition
Publisher: Charles River Books
Authors: Ben Long
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Complete Digital Photography - tells you what you must know

I've found Ben Long's Complete Digital Photography an excellent writing about today's superior digital imaging equipment! As an advanced nature film photographer, I've had my eye on the recent advances in digital photography for quite some time, and this book will help anyone, experienced or beginner grasp a good thorough understanding of what digital photography encompasses. This writing does not go into the specifics of all the digital cameras in today's market, there are plenty of excellent equipment review sites online to handle that task. Instead, the book provides excellent material regarding how digital cameras work; what components are common and present in the various models; how to match a camera to your particular shooting requirements; the "similarities" and the "differences" between digital photography and traditional film-based photography. It further gives a good basic understanding of photography fundamentals which apply to picture taking in any medium. The book includes a CDrom disk of actual sample photos, and is presented in a tutorial basis so that you can actually try out the explained techniques and examine for yourself on your own computer/monitor and or scanner equipment setup, the qualities and results from photo editing tutorials etc., that are presented in the book. There are some excellent Adobe Photoshop image editing lessons included as well as a demo version of this popular image program on the CD. I could ramble on about this book, but let me just summarize and say that if you are serious about digital photography and/or are interested in making the transition from film to digital photography or just want to get the very best results from your digital equipment, this book should greatly help you achieve your goals... highly recommended!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Jeffrey Richter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An indepth guide for those who want to *understand* .NET

There's a real danger with new technologies that books about them will be shallow, simply because nobody's had time to really use them much or find out things in depth. Richter gets around that by virtue of writing for Microsoft Press, and having inside access to the .NET development team. This means that he's able to explain not only how things are in great detail, but also why they're that way. Richter displays a fine command of relevant detail; any aspiring .NET programmer will be far more grounded in the fundamentals of the .NET Framework after reading this book.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this book (or one very much like it) is essential reading for any real .NET programmer. You can do cargo-cult programming without understanding things at a real level, but if you want to do real programming, you need to know what's really going on. If you read this book, you'll know. The quality of information presented is excellent here -- this book is good enough that it could be published by O'Reilly, which is the highest compliment I can pay a tech book.
So, what about objectivity? This was my biggest potential worry going into the book. After all, it is a Microsoft Press book, and the author does seem to know the .NET development team, so there's definitely a potential lack of objectivity there. More, it seems like most of the books out there that cover .NET technologies do so with a complete blindness to all non-Microsoft technologies, which is patently ridiculous -- .NET owes so much to Java that it's inconceivable it'd exist as it currently exists without Java's example to look to, but authors write about .NET as the natural evolution of COM without any reference to its non-Microsoft predecessors. The creeping suspicion one gets is that the author isn't actually familiar with any non-Microsoft technologies, which makes you wonder just how much they really know.
Richter doesn't make you wonder. Somewhat frustratingly, he doesn't talk much about Java, but he does reference other technologies, and (most importantly) isn't afraid to point out shortcomings of .NET, even going so far as to highlist some aspects as egregious bugs or just poor design. There's no suspicion that Richter is in Microsoft's pocket, or that this book has been sanitized for PR purposes.
In fact, the only real fault I can find in this book is that it does neglect Java. The most irritating effect of this neglect is that the book is clearly written for an audience of Windows C++/COM programmers coming to .NET, not for Java programmers looking to .NET. In large part, this isn't a big deal, but it does lead to unnecessarily long and introductory chapters on strings, exceptions, and garbage handling (I wondered at first why Richter spent so much time on these topics, which are very familiar to Java programmers, before remembering that C++ programmers wouldn't be nearly as familiar with them).
Still, that's not a big deal, and it probably had to be written that way, as there's a huge audience of C++ programmers out there, and they need to know this stuff. It leads to a few skimmable chapters for the Java programmer, but the rest of the book more than makes up for it; and even the Java-similar chapters contain enough .NET-specific stuff that Java programmers could stand to learn a bit from them.
If you're a real programmer (say, someone who knows what polymorphism is, which excludes most VB monkeys) and are, or expect to be, programming with the .NET Framework, buy this book and read it.