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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Secrets and Lies : Digital Security in a Networked World
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Same old song and dance: gimme your $$$

I first tried reading the Authors other book, Applied Cryptography, but that was way too technical for my needs.Then along comes this book, at just the right level. I encourage everyone to read this to get a basic appreciation of the issues and underlying principles. The only disappointment was there is very little material on Chip/Smart Cards; this is a fast-evolving area of study, and I hope there is another edition soon with a chapter on this topic.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alan Cooper
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Book Reviewed on VBTechniques website

I am the silicon valley chapter president of the Association for Software Design and World Wide Institute of Software Architects, and I'm always on the look out for really good books on what design is. Most books miss the boat entirely.
I had the pleasure to read the galleys before the book went to the publisher. As always, Alan has a very engaging and provocative writing style.
A lot of people confuse Design with programming. This is like confusing Architecture with construction engineering. But really they are very different, even in a legal context, for the design and architecture about fitness to purpose, and programming and construction are about appropriate implementation a design. It's easy to construct a house without an architectural design, but it can be very frustrating to move around and use the space. You can also program software without design, and the result is "software that needs to be spanked", as Alan says.
What is really great about this book is that Alan shows what software design is, in contrast to programming, and shows that while it is not an engineering science, it isn't touchy feely mumbo jumbo either. In the later chapters he talks about an actual methodology he uses in his company to do design, and these techniques can and should be widely copied.
You'll learn a lot from this book: you'll know what software design really is, AND how to do it. And unless you are a programmer with a fragile ego, you'll split your sides with laughter as well.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good book for beginners--Intermediates will want more.

Overall a very good book for beginners (no HTML authoring experience at all). You can have a web page up and running in half an hour with this book. Plenty of advanced stuff for beginners, however anyone with a little HTML experience will want one of the "dictionaries" because this book was not designed to go into that depth.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Jesse James Garrett
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

Garret's book is an exceptionally clear and concise outline of the structure of a website or application, with clear hooks onto which a development workflow can map. This book is simple enough for an introductory course, or to give to a colleague, but rich enough to re-orient a seasoned designed. A very useful contribution to our field.