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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sams Teach Yourself Macromedia Flash MX 2004 in 24 Hours
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Phillip Kerman
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5

I have recently read 'Teach Yourself Macromedia Flash MX in 24 Hours'and found it an extremely well written book. As a novice with Flash, I found Phillip Kerman's explanations very easy to understand and his tasks easy to follow. As a beginner's text I found the book exceptional, although that is not to say that the book is only for beginners. Potentially complex tasks such as using ActionScript to develop Flash movies are explained well.
Phillip Kerman's writing style is open and informative. It is obvious that he has a broad understanding of how Flash MX works, both from a technical viewpoint as well as a user's viewpoint. He provides valuable insight into various aspects of Flash MX which are not available in other areas such as Help files etc. He provides alternatives to performing various tasks, as well as highlighting Flash MX's keyboard shortcuts to improve your efficiency.
I highly recommend this book as both a way to learn how to use Flash MX and also as a very useful reference text when developing in Flash MX.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Andrew Hunt, David Thomas
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A welcome kind of view

"Any clod can have the facts, but having opinions is an art." (Charles McCabe)
By McCabe's definition, this book is very artful. That's a good thing - the opinions are founded on long experience and on broad familiarity with software development. The authors, true to their "pragmatic" promise, often omit the theory and case history that justify the opinions. They offer reams of advice on nearly every part aspect of industrial programming, and I think that all of the advice is good.
I don't agree with all of it - good advice is good within its limits, and my work often lies outside of their limits. Take, for example, their editor fanaticism. I've been hearing for 25 years how much more efficient my work will be if I use editor <xyz>. First, I move between development environments so much that learning funny key-pokes for one environment just gives me the wrong reflexes for the next environment and the one after that. Mostly, though, text entry is about 5% of my problem. Suppose, after a "near-vertical learning curve", that the cult editor cuts 20% off my editing time - data entry would then be 4% of my problem. The cost/benefit ratio underwhelms me. If you really love your escape-meta-alt-control-shift (emacs) editor, though, don't let me get in your way.
I still think that almost all of the authors' views are good ones, with good reasons behind them. I rabidly agree with lots of them (especially DRY - Don't Repeat Yourself), and for lots more reasons than they give. The book is helpful even where I disagree. When I rethink my own circumstance, it's not that their reasoning is wrong, but that different reasoning is more right.
This is one to keep, not just for the programmers in the trenches but for their managers, as well. Best, it doesn't try to dress up the -ism of the day as holy law - as the title says, it's about pragmatics.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Distilled
Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional
Authors: Scott Schnoll
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent book on all the changes.

At first, I didn't think there could be a whole book on just the changes between 2000 and 2003. Boy was I wrong.

This is an excellent book for a seasoned Exchange 2000 administrator upgrading to 2003. It's ok for people trying to learn Exchange, but it assumes quite a bit of knowledge - I'd suggest getting on of the Microsoft Press Exchange 2000 books, learning that, and then getting this one.

Overall, excellent book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Starting an eBay Business for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Marsha Collier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best eBay Book - Very Comprehensive - Great Resource

Having been an eBay buyer for some time, I found myself wanting to learn how I can make money using eBay. I came across this book and literally engulfed myself into the details...page by page. Not long after, I was selling items on eBay and doing very well.
This is a very comprehensive book for folks who want to start a business using eBay. I would highly recommend this book.