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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Scott Kelby
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This book has it all!

I received this book for my birthday this last October and its been a god send. It has all kinds of tips that one wouldn't think of using.
The main thing I like about this book is that it shows you ways to fix those photos that didn't turn out so good. For instance it shows you how to remove a shadow from someone's face that you've snapped. Someone has acne problems? That's simple.
Although it seems really simple now the best thing I learned was how to get quality prints from the digital photos I took (basically change the DPI!).
Learning these techniques are very easy as each one is done in a step by step fashion. Scott even gives some advanced tips that beginners can do as well (IMHO)
I'd recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in digital photography and wants to make their photos look as good as possible.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: David Flanagan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent reference for language

I purchased the Netscape One Developer's Guide thinking it would provide answers to my Javascript questions - it answered very few, unfortunately. The 'Guide' doesn't begin to approach the ease of use, thoroughness or amount of information contained in "Javascript: The Definitive Guide". Javascript is as completely covered as it can be (with the free-flowing nature of WWW specifications, its hard to keep track of all the changes). I found the descriptions and examples informative, clear and concise and kinda fun sometimes. The layed back nature of the writing won't scare off novice coders/web developers and yet doesn't turn off more advanced developers. The book is cut in half - the first provides an introduction into Javascript and discusses its more important subjects while the second is a complete reference section for Javascript 1.2. It specifically treats the differences between Netscape and Internet Explorer whereas the Netscape One guide left that up to the reader to figure out - an oversight which relegates the Netscape One Developer's Handbook to the dusty bookshelf (way in the back). If you're doing web development and need to use Javascript - this is probably the only book you'll need. If you're doing web development and you're not using Javascript - you NEED this book - it will show you what you can do with simple client-side scripts.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: ASP.NET Unleashed, Second Edition
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Stephen Walther
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Excellent organization

Good points:1.Excellent book organization, good and short subsections2.Excellent code examples - sweet and short and illustrates the concept well.3.Excellent explanations 4.Explains various methods to do a certain thing and tells of the pros and cons of each method.
Bad points:1. Some of the sections/code need not be repeated in the ADO section as it is obvious. This can help in reducing size of book.2. Visual basic code instead of C#3. No visual .net studio explanations

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Test Driven Development: By Example
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Kent Beck
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Allows you to judge TDD for yourself

Let me say first off that I agree with much that Kent Beck has to say: 1. Testing should be done along with the coding. 2. Use regression tests to be confident of making changes. 3. In many ways testing can be used as documentation since it is much more definitive than specification documents. 4. Testing should be used to have the client sign off on a product. In reading the book I learned the specifics of how tests are designed in TDD. It seems reasonable and I am going to make a conscious effort at designing my tests in the way suggested.
Where I disagree is in the use of the tests to drive software design. In the first part of the book, which I think is the most important part, a very good coding problem is analyzed - it is realistic, limited in scope and far from trivial. I followed along until I reached a point where things stopped making sense. I skipped ahead to see where things were headed and then things became clear.
What is being advocated is a type of bottom up design approach. This may work for some. It may even be that the book faithfully reproduced Beck's reasoning process. It does not work for me. I first have to see the larger picture, what he refers to as the "metaphor." The whole thing would have been much clearer to me if at the beginning I was told that one approach to summing money in different currencies would be to use an array to store the information but that instead the implementation would create a list similar to how things are done in LISP.
I urge the reader to judge for him/herself. Like I said this is a good example to go through. I even learned some things about more advanced uses of object oriented programming. As for software design I am going to stick with dataflow diagrams. They are still the best tool that I know of for putting together software, UML notwithstanding.