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Ultan O'Brien (Dublin, Ireland)

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HTML & CSS: Design and Build Web Sites
HTML & CSS: Design and Build Web Sites
by Jon Duckett
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Presented - Easy to Understand, 17 Nov 2013
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There is a running theme in the reviews for this book that I would like to reenforce. This book is presented in such a way that it makes it very difficult NOT to learn or understand the content within.

Most technical books are just that - technical. As a result, after about ten pages, the reader's eyes glaze over and their brain shuts off and I'm stating this coming from an I.T. background.

Duckett manages to make learning HTML & CSS interesting. Each page shows only the information you need to know, along with the code and the end result where applicable. The paragraphs are bite-size blocks loaded with relevancy. He details good practice methodolgies as well as the tags to use.

This book is excellent for both beginner and accomplished web developers.

It its a joy to read and other writers and publishers of technical primers should take note of the style and presentation of this book.

I have his paperback JavaScript & JQuery: Interactive Front-end Web Development on my wishlist. I can't wait to read it.

Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360)
Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360)
Price: 23.99

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Awesome Game - A Pure Joy!!!, 17 Nov 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
NOTE TO PARENTS BUYING THIS FOR CHRISTMAS: This is a game that truly deserves its 18 rating. It contains abundant amounts of graphical violence, indecent acts, profane language, and nudity. I hate to ruin your child's Christmas, but if you're concerned about game content for your kids (especially if they're under 18), you might want to think carefully about this purchase.

Now, that I got that out of the way ... this game is amazing!!! Rockstar (the developers) have done it again! The game is hugely expansive and takes in Blaine County as well as the city of Los Santos. The variety of activites on offer is truly insane. After a long day of wreaking carnage on the populous, stealing vehicles, and evading the law you can play a round of tennis, darts, drive around listening to the raido, fly a plane, or indulge in more adult activities. The choice is yours, literally. You'll never feel tied down to the story line, which is engaging and well worth playing through anyway.

Did I mention there's a stock market you can invest in in-game, and property and luxury vehices to buy?

You get to play three unique characters, which you can switch between freely for most of the game (unless constrained by storyline). It feels polished, and more importantly finished. It has been relatively bug free and even the few remaining bugs have been entertaining.

This game alone is worth 5 stars, but when you throw in the GTA Online access, 5 stars is unfortunately not enough. You get to create your own character (in a really interesting hereditary manner) and go wreak havoc with or, more usually, against other players. Its multiplayer GTA on a grand scale.

I've been playing the game since just after release and I've barely scratched the surface.

I truly can't recommend this game enough, it's fun, engaging, expansive, varied, and just a pure joy to play.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2014 7:30 PM GMT

X Rebirth (PC DVD)
X Rebirth (PC DVD)
Price: 14.99

3 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Rough Diamond in Need of Polish - Wait a While Before Purchasing, 17 Nov 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: X Rebirth (PC DVD) (CD-ROM)
NOTE: Having read a lot of the other reviews I would take the time to point out to any potential purchaser that version 1.11 of the game was only released 2 days ago. While it would be nice to expect a bug free product, its a little naive to do so.

The X Series games by Egosoft are not typical. They're hugely expansive space operas, slow paced, and very detailed, both graphically and informationally. So they appeal to a certain kind of player. Its worth noting this if you're coming to the series as a new player. There's a lot of menus and submenus as well as adventure and fortune. Perhaps its better to try the fully polished and cheaper X3 Albion Prelude first to see if its for you.

This is a hit and miss product at the moment. Egosoft tried to add features to make the game more immersive. Some have worked to a degree and some have not. A lot of useful features have been removed (auotpilot has already been in another review).

Currently it is a lackluster addition to the series. That said, Egosoft games are hugely customisable through mods and have a large and active fan base. Egosoft also work hard to fix the problems in their games over time, so I have no doubt that in due course the game will get a lot of polish and receive deservedly higher ratings.

If you're looking for a fully finished, polished, space opera that offers infinite choices and avenues to glory right this minute, then invest in X3 Albion Prelude or EVE Online (requires monthly subscription). If you're willing to wait or watch a game develop over over time, then this might be the game for you.

Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life and Business
Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life and Business
by Sir Richard Branson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Insight into the mindset of a Succesful Entrepreneur, 14 Nov 2013
I came to this book thinking it was purely a business primer, which does the book an injustice. Partly a collection of maxims, part autobiography, with a helping of ecological manifesto thrown in for good measure, the book is surprisingly expansive in its overall view, in terms of subject matter, and timeframe.

Branson details the building of his Virgin empire from his first humble business ventures running a student magazine through to his position at the helm of a multibillion corporation and does so in an engaging and informal conversational style.

While I've read other reviews which have been slightly negative and some claiming that the book is nothing more than Branson lauding his achievements to the world, this is unfair. In the book he sets forth maxims which have proved themselves in his entrepreneurial career as well as life and gives anecdotes to show how each have been beneficial. The fact that a lot of the anecdotes are outside the realm of normality for most people merely attests to his adventurous spirit and the success he has accrued. Far from singing his own praises, he expresses his gratitude for his family, business partners, employees, and other influential people in his life.

He is also quite forthcoming in pointing out his own shortcomings and mistakes from the past. However, as he states in one of his maxims, he prefers not to dwell on past mistakes and the overall tone of the book is one of self-confidence, fun and enthusiasm for life in all of his various pursuits, and passion for both ecology and giving back to others.

While I felt the book to be an entertaining and enlightening read, if I were to have any disappointment in it I would have to say it would be with Branson's use of jaded business terms such as "thinking outside the box" and "walking the talk". That said, considering when it was first written, even this could be easily excused.

If you're looking for a book which will lay out a blueprint for building a business empire and becoming incredibly wealthy then this is probably not the book for you, I would instead recommend How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis, however if you were looking for a book which will give you a glimpse into the mindset of a successful entrepreneur who believes there's more to life than just business then I would completely recommend you read this book.

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