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Effective Japanese Usage Guide: A Kodansha Dictionary
Effective Japanese Usage Guide: A Kodansha Dictionary
by Masayoshi Hirose
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but Amazon's Price seems to be wrong, 23 Sep 2006
At the time of writing this review, Amazon quotes the RRP as 43.00. It may be useful for potential purchasors to know that the RRP is printed on my copy as 3400 JPY including Japanese sales tax. That would be just over 15 at the time of writing. I doubt there is a 280% mark-up to an English RRP. The dust jacket also mentions $38, which today stands at 20.

At 15, it's a very useful book, nicely written, and it has been a frequently used reference source to me. You might imagine that it's pretty difficult to effectively index a book which is full of usage examples, and this book certainly demonstrates that problem:

- There are plenty of indexes, but none of them attempt to index the English language meaning. So if you're starting with a Japanese word and want to see how it's used, you may well find it easily. If you're starting with an English phrase (or even word), you've got little chance of finding it by any means at all.

- Only the authors' choice of heading words are indexed. For example, the entry for "suzushii" (cool) includes a mini-article on cold temperature "tenki ga samui"; but there's no index entry or keyword for "samui" (cold) or "tenki" (weather), so if you don't happen to think of looking under "suzushii", you'll never find it.

But this is a great book to browse through. For each entry you've got the keyword and its explanation in Japanese and English, and then there are various usage examples. As hinted above, sometimes you're also treated to a mini-article on the subject of a word.

All kanji have furigana, and all examples and heading words also have romaji; so on one hand it's really easy to read, but on the other hand the "double-belt and braces" take up a lot of the books space... there aren't as many words as you might expect in 750 pages.

This also points to another conundrum with the book. It seems to be written to be accessible by people who have no knowledge of Japanese at all; but the subject matter itself is surely only of any real interest to people who have already mastered the basics. For example, it shows how hiragana is romanised, and how verbs are conjugated.

So: good reference with indexing limitations; a very accessible read for lower intermediate and intermediate levels; could do with swapping its more basic accessibility points for more vocab.


Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children's Edition (Harry Potter 6)
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince: Children's Edition (Harry Potter 6)
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Continues the storyline..., 17 July 2005
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince is the 600-page, penultimate installment in the 7-book epic; and of course we learn valuable new insights into the fateful bonds which link Harry and Lord Voldemort.
The usual elements you've come to expect in a Harry Potter novel are all present: treachery, tragedy, conflict with the Ministry. But so much of the book is devoted to the love lives of our teenage heroes that much of it now reads like a girly magazine. Great fun for the girls, I guess; much less entertaining for most of us guys.
Anyway, the climax is no less a cliffhanger than any of the previous books. Worth reading! (Well, we have to, don't we.) (^_-)


Sams Teach Yourself XML in 21 Days (Sams Teach Yourself...in 21 Days)
Sams Teach Yourself XML in 21 Days (Sams Teach Yourself...in 21 Days)
by Steven Holzner
Edition: Paperback
Price: 26.95

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SAMS Teach Yourself XML in 21 Days, 2 Jan 2005
A reasonably well thought-out and structured introduction to XML, as far as it goes; marred by small errors punctuated throughout the book. Most of these can be picked up quite easily, but some cost a little time and break the concentration.
It makes good use of the quizzes (with answers) at the end of each chapter, sets exercises (no model answers) and has plenty of references to external information sources.
This book is of particular use to Microsoft specialists, and significant parts are directed very specifically to .NET application of and Internet Explorer's interpretation of XML (a bit disappointing if that happens not to be your area of use).
Still, not a bad grounding in XML structure, DTDs, schema and formatting techniques; a useful introduction to XHTML; a satisfactory overview of parsing XML with JavaScript and Java; a bit about SOAP; and a half-hearted look at database integration (of little use outside the Microsoft arena).


Cascading Style Sheets 2.0 Programmer's Reference
Cascading Style Sheets 2.0 Programmer's Reference
by Eric Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.49

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Most Authoritative CSS Guide, now needing an update, 6 July 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An excellent reference, helpfully laid out and clearly explained. Although it could usefully contain much more information on individual browser quirks (and workaround techniques), it is nearly always the first CSS reference I pull from the shelf when I have a query.
This book was published in 2001. It is update to browsers IE5.5, Netscape 6 and Opera 5; but was published too early to reflect CSS2.2 and the latest generation of browsers. Sadly, the news from Osborne/McGraw-Hill in July 2004 was that there are currenlty no plans for an update. Although we can hope they get started on a new edition quickly, this book is still an order of magnitude better than "Cascading Style Sheets - The Definitive Guide" published in 2004 by O'Reilly.


Google Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools
Google Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools
by Tara Calishain
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some really good tips - worth getting!, 7 Sep 2003
A really good, bite-sized format, ideal for this subject.
Some of these tips are just good, common sense; some frivolous; some thought provoking; some useful checklists; some providing useful base code (mostly Perl) with hints for use and adaptation.
Recommended!


Red Hat Linux 9 Unleashed
Red Hat Linux 9 Unleashed
by Bill Ball
Edition: Paperback

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An unevenly edited book, no where near a complete guide, 7 Sep 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you anticipate that this weighty volume of 1002 pages will be a fairly complete guide to Linux from the perspective of the Red Hat distribution, I think you're likely to be disappointed.

Basic commands such as "at" and "crontab" aren't even mentioned. Others, such as "fgrep" are used, but not defined... or like "grep" treat users to a nine word explanation.
So how are the 1000 pages being spent? Well, there's nearly 50 pages on Apache, including stats on its popularity and a detailed history. (You might expect to learn in any detail about Apache from a book on the subject.) And there's a 75 page index, although much of the content is un-usefully repeated in different places.
Keep this book on your bookshelf if you will, but if you rely on its back-cover description as providing "comprehensive coverage" and I guess you'll come unstuck.


JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides)
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (Definitive Guides)
by David Flanagan
Edition: Paperback

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Standard Reference, but 4th Edition Weak, 16 Aug 2003
This is the standard reference work for JavaScript... to the extent that there is even a version of JavaScript named after the Rhino on the front cover!
However, as for the fourth edition, there has been a full-scale reorganisation of the content. A single reference section in the third edition has been separated out into three sections (Core JavaScript Reference, Client Side JavaScript Reference and W3C DOM Reference) with an additional section index to tell you what's covered by each reference section. I've not found this to add a great deal of value, but finding the relevant reference information has become a real pain. Some of the more useful tables have also been removed (for example, charting differences in I.E. and Nutscrape browsers).
Common through all versions, the syntax ("synopsis", as they call it) could really benefit from expanding to show where as well as how each object/property/method/function/attribut/event is used.


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