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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: LaTeX Companion, The (2nd Edition) (Addison-Wesley Series on Tools and Techniques for Computer T)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Frank Mittelbach, Michel Goossens, Johannes Braams, David Carlisle, Chris Rowley
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
For it's topic, extremely complete


This is a very complete concise reference to the PACKAGES of LaTeX. It won't teach you well how to use LaTeX, but more how to use all of the standard packages. It is far more of a reference book than a read-to-learn book. An excellent reference book at that.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Java(TM) Programming Language (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Arnold, James Gosling, David Holmes
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Concise but complete Java Language Model


I have worked with Java for two years, and have a six-year background in C++. I didn't seek an introduction to Java when I bought The Java Programming Language Third Edition, and I would use many of my own notes, and the book chapters in a different order, with beginning programmers (although it would make an excellent university programming text, supported with tutorials and workshops). Experienced programmers will love this book, but beginners (first-time programmers) should come back to it. But the book's strength is its concise, comprehensive unfolding of insight into the Java language model -- more than just the object model. Serious programmers will not regret reviewing everything they thought they knew about Java (especially those of us who regularly work in C++ and Object Pascal as well as in Java). I will read this book every six months, and dip into it daily, if necessary. It offers me a nice blend of terse explanation and illustrative examples of the language core. This is clearly one of the few "5 star" Java core language books available: good scope, well written, trustworthy -- expert knowledge at my fingertips. Use this book to polish your insight.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Creating Motion Graphics with After Effects, Vol. 1: The Essentials (3rd Edition, Version 6.5)
Publisher: CMP Books
Authors: Trish Meyer, Chris Meyer
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The authors experience comes through.


After Effects is a leading motion graphics and visual effects software system. A lot of the dynamic animation you see moving titles around on TV show ads are done using After Effects. And a lot of these come from CyberMotion, the authors company.

That I think is the key to this book. It isn't a manual on how to use the software. It is a book on this is what I needed to do and this is how I did it. The voice of experience comes through. It's clear that the authors know whereof they speak. I found the little points where they illustrate 'this is what happens if you do this wrong.' It's a lot easier to learn what not to do here in a book before doing it and then trying to find out what you did wrong later. Highly recommended.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Programmer & Developer for Java 2 Study Guide (Exam 310-035 & 310-027)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Some minor problems in an otherwise decent book


I was going to wait to write my review until after I took the exam, but the book has already lost its chance for 5 stars due to one stupid detail I discovered this morning - a Java book whose accompanying CD requires *Windows*! Would it have been that hard to provide a -Java- program for the self-tests so that those of us using other systems could still make the most of the product? As you can see, this has me somewhat annoyed (I'd understand if it was a Windows book or even a C book, but the whole point of Java....)
That said, it wouldn't be fair to rate the entire book against this shortsightedness. The fact is that the book is very good, although it can be tiring to encounter the bad jokes and parenthesized comments sprinkled throughout. I guess some people find them funny, but I found them somewhat distracting. But I *do* appreciate the conversational tone of the writing itself, which makes it easier to engage with a subject that is somewhat dry -- you WILL learn the details of the language that you may have missed in other books. I feel very confident having completed this book, as it cemented a lot of the cracks in my understanding. As it says in the beginning, this book won't teach you to program in Java, but it will answer any questions you had about the Java programming language.
Also note that there are some errors in the book, including one or two (can't remember) in the end-of-chapter tests.
In summary, I do highly recommend this book.