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Terrestrials
Terrestrials

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: Terrestrials (MP3 Download)
Expected something a little more ambitious from this paring. They have both played it safe and the result is a little dull IMO... v similar to both groups' previous efforts, mixing their styles together isn't a great revelation sadly.


Design Patterns For Dummies
Design Patterns For Dummies
by Steven Holzner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't like the idea of the 'For Dummies" books, but this one is great!, 3 April 2014
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OK, I am of the opinion that the "For Dummies" books are generally rushed, vague and not very useful. There are almost always better options. This one though, is a great introduction to design patterns and really improved my code design & structure. It's also just really well written and in parts quite humorous.
The other options for Design Pattern books are HeadFirst design patterns, which has good reviews, although I've not read it, and the original text on the subject "Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software" which is supposed to be very heavy going and a little out-dated in some areas. It is strongly referenced in this book, which covers all the major patterns covered in that book & is far easier to read!
The examples are very simplistic, but show you clearly the essence of how to use each pattern.

My only complaint is that very little time is spent on one of the most popular current patterns - MVC. There are however, many, many online tutorials for MVC so it's not a big problem.

If you're new to programming and want to know how to structure OO code properly to make it expandable and reusable (and not a horrible mess!), and when to use inheritance and when not to, then I would read this book or something similar.


Beginning Android Games
Beginning Android Games
by Mario Zechner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot fault this book, 25 Mar. 2014
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I've been programming Java & a bit of Android/iOS for a year now, but have never done anything to do with games or custom graphics. This book looked quite intimidating, flicking through it - a lot of 3D wireframe models with strange triangles. Also a lot of talk about OpenGL ES - something with a lot of scary sounding methods that use matrices and vertices etc - urgh sounds like maths to me.

However, after going through this book, it was not so bad! The book, to me, is really written well. Other reviews criticise the 'boring' theory chapters but to be fair there is just a LOT of stuff to learn before you can put a game together. They weren't too boring, you still got to produce little bits on the screen, and the progression from the start of a 'theory' chapter to the end is impressive. Also, if you just launched straight into a massive 3D game you'd be completely lost in a few pages (or I would anyway!).

You make 3 games, a simple Snake type game using Android's Canvas class, then start using OpenGL ES, which at first I found tough but you get used to it. Then you make a Doodle Jump rip-off. Next you go 3D and make a Space-Invaders game.

The only slight criticism I would have is that, when making the games, you go through a LOT of code before being able to run anything.I like to type the code in myself, as copy & pasting it does not help me learn, but with typing so much in before being able to run the app, finding mistakes is quite tricky! Fortunately, if you get completely stuck, there's always the back-up of using the downloadable code provided with the book.

overall though, a really great book to get you started in gaming!

edit a few weeks after completing this book:
The main difference between this book and others is that this book is teaching you how to create a game FROM SCRATCH - not using existing game frameworks like Cocos2D-x or the author's own libgdx framework. You spend a lot of time setting up a simple, but effective framework. A lot of people may find this approach slow and tedious - after all, realistically you're likely to use an existing framework when it comes to making your own games, as they make it so much easier. However, personally, I like to know what's going on behind the scenes when using a framework - and this book is a perfect introduction for someone that has not done any game programming before. If you don't care what is going on behind the scenes, you might want to get a book on Corona, Cocos2d-x or whatever framework of your choice. Since reading this book I have learnt Cocos2D for iPhone and will write games in objective-c & port the apps to Android via the Apportable SDK, but this book has given me a great grounding in game development and I would still recommend it to anyone.


Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides)
Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides)
by Aaron Hillegass
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.41

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but for absolute beginners, 13 Mar. 2014
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I bought this book before starting their iOS book. I already knew Java beforehand but had never used Objective-C (or C/C++). Perhaps because the syntax is so similar to Java, I found this book a bit simple. It assumes NO knowledge of programming or OO at all. It will take you through Strings, Arrays etc.

Having said that, if you want to start programming for phones & have no experience of programming at all, this book or a similar book for Java (if you want to make Android apps) would be an excellent starting point. It is clearly written, explains everything well and covers all the stuff you'll need to start making simple tools. Note that you do not make many (only 1) actual iPhone app (and a very simple one to boot!) - that is a topic for the next book in the series - 'iOS programming'.

So what do you do? make command line tools that print stuff to the console. WAKE UP! yes it sounds boring but it's where all programmers start and you can plough through this book in a week or two and get onto making real apps. Think of it as a painful ordeal all wannabe programmers have to complete! On the plus side, you won't ever have to go this basic again - even for new languages (unless you're me and buy this book by mistake!).

So ONLY buy this book if you're looking to get into programming from scratch. If you know some other OO language it is not necessary - just complete a basic online tutorial for objective-c and go straight to the excellent iOS Big Nerd Ranch book which assumes very very little knowledge of objective-c just a bit of syntax & what OO is.


iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides)
iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (Big Nerd Ranch Guides)
by Aaron Hillegass
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.76

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great intro to iOS 7, 13 Mar. 2014
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First off, if you don't know any OO programming languages, maybe start with their beginner's book Objective-C Programming. However, if you do know something like Java (as I did, to a basic level) then you will likely be able to launch straight into this as it starts pretty basic and guides you through all of the classes used throughout the book (with the exception of the blindingly obvious). Maybe find an online tutorial that teaches the basic syntax of C or something.

If you don't know what a String is, get their beginner's Objective-C book!

I've been through this and their Android equivalent book, and will compare it to that. Firstly, they are both (in general) really great books. Well written, fairly light hearted and not too technical. Out of the two, this one is the better written, especially for a novice, as it explains everything very clearly. At no point was I ever lost or confused about what I was doing. That did happen on occasion in the Android book.

As always in these coding books, there are a few errors here and there. As I bought this (4th) edition about 2 days after it came out the forums were not overly helpful (the errata section on the Android book's forum lists most of the errors, so if something isn't working as it should a quick check there normally comes to the rescue). However, I have to say that there were really no major errors, a couple of bits here and there but nothing that is going to throw you completely.

There are challenges at the end of most chapters which try to get you to do a bit of independent learning. The challenges in this book are not very good though. They are broken down into bronze, silver and gold challenges. Bronze are too easy, gold often can take hours of searching / guesswork, and as the book is so new there are no helpful solutions posted on the forums (not really a fault of the book, but there is no way of finding out the answer if you get stuck - tough luck!). I'm sure this will change in a few months time. Some of the challenges seem out of place (copy/paste from earlier editions?) and the required material has not been covered yet. Also, many of the challenges are just dull. In the Android book, where there is 1 challenge per chapter, the outcome was often quite cool/interesting and made you want to actually complete the challenge even if it did take some time.

So in summary, this book will give you a solid grounding in iOS, without doing anything too fancy. It has few errors (& no major ones), is very well written, in a light tone and there are many diagrams to illustrate key points. It is suitable for people that know some OO language already. If a complete beginner to Objective-C, a brief online tutorial will suffice beforehand. If you don't know any OO language, start with the more basic book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 6, 2014 5:16 PM BST


Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version)
Microsoft Windows 8.1 (Full Version)
Offered by Software-Store
Price: £82.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars getting better, 26 Feb. 2014
The latest version of windows is a bit of a step backwards in some areas and forwards in others. Visually it's much improved - windows 7 looks extremely dated in comparison. However the removal of the Start button leaves you looking for files the old fashioned way - navigating through MyComputer etc which is painful and a very questionable decision. BTW 8.1 does not restore the true Start button at all. Just provides a shortcut to the metro touch tiles that are fairly useless on a non-touch laptop. The Start button is supposed to make a full Return in the next major update. Otherwise (& that is a big otherwise as this is a big flaw in Windows 8.1) the OS is not too bad at all. Restarts/boots are very fast. Things run fairly quickly. Stuff is generally where you expect. Cannot complain. The app store I find useless but that's just me - there aren't any apps worth having! Finally I installed this on a Macbook Air using standard boot camp assistant (ie free). It worked perfectly in contrast to what some others have said. macbook Air is mid-3013 model.


Nioxin Diaboost 100 ml
Nioxin Diaboost 100 ml
Offered by Beauty Store Uk
Price: £18.10

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An improvement, if subtle one, 30 Sept. 2013
I like the product, it does seem to make your hair thicker, but the effect is quite subtle compared to blow drying alone. It is very easy to use, does not make your hair greasy and there is no product-feel or residue left in the hair. It smells really nice and feels like a really luxury product to use, especially the packaging. I think it is the price that is a little steep given the relatively subtle effects. I found it most effective on wet hair, and I have been using it for about 3 weeks continuously and am only about a quarter of the way through the bottle so it should last me a long time. It also gives a really nice glossy look and soft feel.


Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10
Another Self Portrait (1969-1971): The Bootleg Series Vol. 10
Price: £16.25

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How is this so good?, 29 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK. I thought about not buying this for a few days. I HATE Self Portrait. It is unlistenable in my opinion, at least for the main part. The songs, in general, are awful: they sound cheesy to the point of making me cringe at times. The fact that many of the songs off this set are alternate takes/stripped back versions of those songs made me hesitate - those songs are so bad that there is no improving them... right? Wrong! Why, oh why were these versions not released in the first place?? ALL of the songs are vastly improved over the versions on Self Portrait. I can't really articulate just how different these songs sound compared to the original album. Much more of a 'New Morning' vibe, but (after a couple of listens) more enjoyable. The most surprising thing for me is that a lot of these songs are the same takes as those on Self Portrait, just without the overdubs. To me, this transforms songs like 'Days of 49' from a tacky mess to sounding like an unreleased song from the 'John Wesley Harding' sessions. The 'new' songs are great, I especially like 'This Evening So Soon' and 'Railroad Bill'. 'Working On A Guru' sounds a lot like Dylan does The Beatles. The only songs I don't like are 'Wallflower' and 'All The Tired Horses'.
FYI I sacrificed getting the CD version of this in favor of getting the MP3 version of the collectors edition (with the extra live Isle of Wight disc) - which costs £10.99 from Amazon (rather than £72 for the CD version!!). You don't get this disc with the regular version, so it's probably worth it if you don't want the liner notes/don't play CDs.


OCA Java SE 7 Programmer I Certification Guide: Prepare for the 1ZO-803 exam
OCA Java SE 7 Programmer I Certification Guide: Prepare for the 1ZO-803 exam
by Mala Gupta
Edition: Paperback
Price: £27.39

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, nice explanations, 23 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've finished going through this book - not taken the exam just yet, but I think it will be OK after a bit of revision! The exam, although on the surface it appears to be only testing the very basics of java, is very thorough and tries to trick you at every opportunity. I've only been doing java for a few months, but thought I knew all about Strings and ArrayLists etc - well I didn't, there were plenty of things that this book taught me that I'd never use in real coding, but can be tested on the exam, and I simply wouldn't have known what the outcome of the code in some of the questions would have been.
It contains plenty of examples, a lot of diagrams (some more helpful than others, but they at least help to break up the text), and sample questions (including a full mock exam).
I'd recommend getting this even if you've been coding for ages as it will help inform you about what is on the exam, and make sure that you're 100% ready for it before paying the £200 to take it! Anyone can use a String - but do you know EXACTLY what the outcome will be when doing unusual things to them, and can you pick the right option from a list of 8 very similar outcomes??


A State Of Trance 600 (Mixed by Armin van Buuren, ATB, W&W, Rank 1 & Andrew Rayel)
A State Of Trance 600 (Mixed by Armin van Buuren, ATB, W&W, Rank 1 & Andrew Rayel)

5.0 out of 5 stars Great listen - loads of great music for your £££, 23 Aug. 2013
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To me, this is maybe not quite as good as 550, but it's still well worth the money - loads of great tracks, plenty of variety. Armin's set, for me, is a bit disappointing - probably my least favorite here - as it lacks a bit of energy. Otherwise these sets are just great, and clocking in at nearly 8 hours of music (for the unmixed versions) it's a bargain! tbh for the past 3 years I've just bought the ASOT box sets for all my trance needs - they contain most of the best trance from the past year. I'd recommend all 3.


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