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Mr. Simon Parker "sime376" (uk)

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Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 for Photographers
Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 for Photographers
by Philip Andrews
Edition: Paperback
Price: 24.30

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful to look at, comprehensive and clearly written !, 11 Jun 2013
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I finally got around to reading this, having been trolling through the Adobe help file which I have downloaded as a PDF.

This book does cover things very well and has lovely full colour screen grabs and clear step by step instructions. In fact it's a shame to say that it's a little too well made.. very heavy quality and glossy pages make it awkward to physically read. Maybe I have just gotten used to reading on my iPad these days. The highly visual layout is a tad confusing too since it's not always immediately obvious to which section a screen shot is relevant. Some of the sections seem to be written as if they were separate entities which impacts the flow of the book some what.

I have come across numerous typographical errors, notably most of the chapter introduction pages have typing or grammatical errors. There is also an element of repetition, we are reminded that Elements for Mac now has the Organise feature about a dozen times for some reason. The errors extend to the point that one of the chapters mentions the Bridge feature which was removed in V9 ( since as we are reminded a dozen times we now have organiser !) The writing style is a little overly simplistic, but you get used to it.

Anyway these are really rather minor gripes since the coverage is really top notch. I have had many 'a-ha' moments. There is also interesting information on when features were added and how they relate to the features in the Pro Photoshop.

Even having read the Adobe help several times it can often leave you scratching your head. I think Adobe seem to enjoy writing confusing help files. This is a great book, don't be intimidated by the sheer amount of detail thrown at you, it's worth the effort !

There is an accompanying web page where you can pay for full access to tips and tutorials.

The Definitive Guide to HTML5
The Definitive Guide to HTML5
by Adam Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 23.75

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Educational, but very boring and full of mistakes, 30 May 2013
I've read just over half of this book, but I've come across a large amount of typos, spelling mistakes and code errors.

The reason this book has so many pages is because each example listing has the same nauseating HTML repeated over and over. The book repeats the phrase 'I Like apples and Oranges' 40 times all in all for example; this guy is nuts !

Having said that I'm certainly discovering a thing or two and despite the poor error checking and sadomasochistic examples, the book promises to be a thorough treatment of modern day web development.

There are some overview chapters on CSS, Javascript and HTML but the book is aimed at experienced developers who are looking to get up to speed with the latest advances. I think you will become quite confused if you try to start learning web development from scratch with this book.

The example code can be freely downloaded and although not presented with a nice index page as with other books, is fairly easy to use.

I fully intend to soldier on with this one and will update this review when I get to the end :-)

Update: 16/06/13

just finished this today and looking forward to going back to run the example code on my Dev, machine, ( 'doing is learning' as they say) .
I would recommend this book as a refresher and update for those wanting to learn HTML5 and who already know the basics.
It strikes quite a good balance in fact between being a 'book about HTML5' and 'a book about web Development'.
Topics are explained clearly and sections are laid out so that they progress logically, building on the same example code.
I think the reader will also benefit from the voice of experience here, albeit not the most imaginative mind when it comes to creating example HTML !

Programming PHP
Programming PHP
by Kevin Tatroe
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.05

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Covers a lots of PHP without too much detail., 25 Mar 2013
This review is from: Programming PHP (Paperback)
This is a well written broad overview, more depth can be had by reference to the PHP documentation. I have read Several PHP books now but thought repetition of learning the basics again wouldn't do me any harm. Specifically the chapters on PDF creation and creating graphics dynamically were of interest. The writing style is generally clear and concise and the book is well laid out, but otherwise nothing really improves over any of the many other PHP books out there

The chapter on regular expressions is very well written and quite comprehensive. The reference section is actually quite large, taking up a large part of the book. The reference lists functions as they relate to the various default PHP extensions, and also as complete alphabetical listing, including function prototype's, return values and comments etc. This reference is certainly useful since it allows quick access to an overview of the various functions ,without getting bogged down in all the technical details.

I have left off one star since I was not able to find the code examples to download and there are not in fact that many of them. I think the book probably neglects lesser used functions in the main text, but the reference section makes up for this.

So in summary if you want a good reference then this could be for you. If you want a no-nonsense tutorial then it certainly ticks that box too. This book is a no nonsense easy to access reference, and a good way of perusing the functions that comprise PHP, with a view to memorising the most important ones.

Other books probably contain better examples and go into more depth. As I said in another of my reviews, you can also download the entire PHP reference manual. When you install the CHTML searchable version on your iPad it kind of trumps the reference section you will find in any book !

Smashing CSS: Professional Techniques for Modern Layout (Smashing Magazine Book Series)
Smashing CSS: Professional Techniques for Modern Layout (Smashing Magazine Book Series)
by Eric Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A bit outdated and pointless, but has some good insight, 12 Mar 2013
It's like this book walks through an arbitrary list of CSS foibles rather than trying to teach from scratch.
I am not sure who ( or more likely, 'whose coffee table') this book is really aimed at. It's certainly not a beginners text, since it does not really go into the details. It seems to adopt a chatty approach, but the reader is almost assumed to have come across all the topics discussed already.. so what's the point ?

Additionally I really think some of the stuff he goes on about is frankly redundant or 'head in the sand' thinking. Surely there are better ways to create charts than hacking table layouts in CSS ? Surely no-one cares about trying to mimic transparency effects in 2013 ? In short there is a lot of clever stuff that is simply too esoteric to be worth knowing about before you need to google it, or worse, is simply outdated. I was not really impressed by the example code either.. not much of it and not very well organised.

So, to try to sum it up, there are certainly some interesting 'conversation points' if you are obsessed with CSS and the book 'looks nice' The book offers insight from a seasoned CSS professional into things that are worth knowing about( more so if you are intent on solving the worlds problems using CSS !)

If however the reader wants a practical, hands on CSS book that actually teaches relevant CSS he should look elsewhere. I would recommend "Pro HTML5 and CSS3 Design Patterns ", which contains example code that is well thought out and useful and will likely be a more rewarding reading experience.

Once you get the hang of using firebug, confusing descriptions ( such as are contained in both these books) become irrelevant and the mystery of CSS starts to vanish. I found I was able to see what all the values actually do by tweaking them in the browser.

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox Professional Guides)
Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox Professional Guides)
by Nicholas C. Zakas
Edition: Paperback
Price: 19.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Jam packed with information, very comprehensive., 24 Feb 2013
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This book contains more information than you could shake a stick at !

It is written based on actual experience working with Javascript in the real world . The information is presented in what I would call a 'Transfer of Information ' style, kind of like a brain dump rather than any thing else. The example code is kept short and what's more each and every snippet is explained thoroughly in detail.

I've read the 'Definitive Guide' which is touted as being the JavaScript Developers 'Bible' but I found 'Pro JavaScript' to be just as comprehensive and useful. It's actually better since it describes things more thoroughly and explains /why/ you need to know things. It goes far beyond the actual Syntax and describes how the language is used in real life, eg. Inheritance and OOP.

In essence this book provides much more of a tutorial than a reference , which is where its real value lies. It covers the topics in exquisite detail and the author has been meticulous even to the point of obsessive in his coverage. Whilst reading it, you will feel like you are in the presence of a JavaScript guru with a genuine intent to teach what he knows

There is also a lot of fascinating information about browsers 'quirks', how browsers and the WWW evolved, and things you need to be aware of in general.
I don't think I found one typo in the whole book.. that's quite unusual !

So in summary this is a very good value, well rounded JavaScript book that I would recomend to any one who is commited to getting up to speed Developing the Web.

Web Developer's Cookbook
Web Developer's Cookbook
by Robin Nixon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 27.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good way to learn as well as add functionality to you sites, 14 Feb 2013
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I've begun studying these 'recipes' and am finding the process to be a benefit in my efforts to learn web development.
There are plenty to be going on with and I'm also combining this book with other more advanced ones.

It's very useful to see what problems exist and the solutions that are commonly employed in Web sites.. It's then really rather simple once you know and have seen how it's done

The core concept though, is that you can simply follow basic instructions to configure and add the code, hence avoiding 're-inventing the wheel' or even having to learn any code in fact.

The book itself is an impressive weighty volume, and the freely available code is well organised and compact .
You can simply add the entire library to your page or even modify and add to what is provided, building on what you have learned.

Why not 5 starts ? Well I have found some of the descriptions to be a bit on the long side. Some of the examples have so many settings and things to learn that you wonder if perhaps you should have just coded it your self to do what you wanted in the first place. I guess that's a limitation of any design pattern, to some extent. The descriptions raise the focus above the nuts and bolts of the code, but learning about the code is exactly what I am interested in ! I would also question the value of learning all the core JavaScript functions presented in this book. You may as well spend time learning JQuery for example, which does most of what these functions do and probably a lot more. The core functions are well documented though and learning about them is quite an educational process in itself.

Having said that this book is in essence a real gem of information, a way forward and a great learning tool. I also highly recommend the tutorial book on web development this author has written.He has a clear writing style and communicates technical details in a easily accessible way.

Corsair CMSO16GX3M2A1333C9 Value Select 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1333 Mhz CL9 Mainstream Notebook Memory Kit
Corsair CMSO16GX3M2A1333C9 Value Select 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1333 Mhz CL9 Mainstream Notebook Memory Kit
Offered by Ballicom International
Price: 136.21

5.0 out of 5 stars No problems in 2011 Macbook Pro, 14 Feb 2013
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Installed 16GB in my Macbook and ( after a few attempts ) managed to get the Apple Hardware Test to run ( opt+d after power on)
I left it running and it passed several times, unlike previous Komubay memory that would not pass. Good price too ,
I bought this since I had severe and disappointing performance issues with my new 4GB Mac ( probably with disk thrashing ?)
I think I have become used to having too many windows open and too many Safari tabs !
glad to say the memory has sorted it !

Pro Html5 and Css3 Design Patterns (Expert's Voice in Web Development)
Pro Html5 and Css3 Design Patterns (Expert's Voice in Web Development)
by Michael Bowers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 24.06

4.0 out of 5 stars Clever idea, use with Firebug etc to learn, 3 Feb 2013
I have seen a few CSS learning resources and they all take the same approach. Let's list out all the details of what every thing means and how CSS works.. Normally with a few examples but not really approaching the true complexities of real web sites (layouts and positioning can be tricky in particular ).

This book comes with example code that you can load up into you browser and using an extension such as Firebug, actually tweak the various settings in place and see what the results are. By combining this with the descriptions in the book for each pattern I have found I can actually understand what's going on ! This is a neat way to learn and sure beats trying to 'reverse engineer' random pages you find.

I'm amazed that the first chapter of this book doesn't direct the user to install Firebug in bold caps, and show a large screen shot..

Firebug is the best way I have found to make sense of these patterns with out hurting my head too much. Once you load up the examples and start playing you will finally feel like you are really getting some where with CSS !

The book does cover HTML5 and CSS3 but I don't think introducing these newer technologies is necessarily its main focus. So be warned.

If I was being very critical I would say the quality of the screen shots could use improving a bit. I find some of the patterns are explained a little too 'succinctly' and can therefore take some time to understand. Having said that, I would again reiterate that you /NEED/ to load the examples up. To be fair I would probably give a 4.5 if possible.

Note that I have not read the entire book, I have benefited from the chapters on positioning though and will update my review.

Beginning PHP and MySQL: From Novice to Professional (Expert's Voice in Web Development)
Beginning PHP and MySQL: From Novice to Professional (Expert's Voice in Web Development)
by W. Jason Gilmore
Edition: Paperback
Price: 28.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and covers a lot of ground, 30 Jan 2013
I have read a few introductory books on PHP ( notably the Robin Nixon one and a Dummies book by A. Harris. ) but this book has taught me a lot.

I have read the whole book now apart from the last 2 chapters and would say that I certainly feel a lot more confident in my coding abilities. The author covers a lot of ground and writes confidently and concisely about the various subjects. I was actually quite surprised to learn so much about the eco system that is PHP having already read two books on the subject ! There is information and insight that presumably is the result of years of practical experience .

I found the chapter on Jquery to be a tad short, having read about Javascript quite extensively, but it was a good over view of the subject. It is important for server side programmers to know about client side coding too I guess.

I have the PHP manual ( a searchable CHM file ) along with the PDF version of this book on my Ipad. and together they form a formidable resource.

The book also opened my eyes with respect to MySQL features I had never come across before, again despite having read 2 books on the Subject ! Namely Triggers, Stored Programs, the mysql tables and INFORMATION_SCHEMA etc.

Quite how the author came up with a decision on what to include ( or more importantly what not to include ) in the book is a slight mystery, I can only assume it has covered enough of what I need to know. It could be that it's just because of the continually evolving and vast nature of the language that the author has had difficulty in creating a definitive reference, It would be good to have suggestions as to where to go next having read this book. I am thinking that I will probably start to learn about the various frameworks , e.g.. Zend which are covered briefly in this text.

So in summary I would definitely recommend this book as required reading before setting about a PHP & MySQL project. I really think that it's important to have a good overall knowledge as well as to be able to learn along the way.

HTML & CSS: Design and Build Web Sites
HTML & CSS: Design and Build Web Sites
by Jon Duckett
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.40

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good review of HTML and CSS that covers most of what you need to know, 29 Dec 2012
This book covers HTML and CSS in an informative and visually pleasing way. The book is well thought out and covers a lots of ground quite quickly, whilst avoiding being confusing. Most pages are laid out to present to the reader a self contained concept and great care has been taken to make the text as concise and relevant as possible. I highly recommend this book if you just want to understand the essentials of HTML and CSS.

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