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Head First Statistics
Head First Statistics
by Dawn Griffiths
Edition: Paperback
Price: $27.68
108 used & new from $2.49

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deviation from the Standard, October 12, 2008
This review is from: Head First Statistics (Paperback)
Ok, I'm almost 250 pages into this 650 page Head First Statistics and my head is not hurting at all. I think that is a function of the brainwork and sweat that went into putting this book together. More than that really -- with Head First books I am always also impressed with the quantity of organizational effort brought to bear to distill so much creativity in content.

Statistics. We quote them or make them up every day. Many of us also work with them in one form or another. I intend to use this book not just as an expansion of skills but also as a form of self-defense. Our employers use fine bunches of stats to confuse us on how much our overall compensation is. Wall Street and The City use them to show how needful they are for a bailout. Election candidates are surely naked without them.

This book covers the full range of topics dealt with in first-year statistics. If only it really *were* the textbook used, statistics would be more firmly set as a common skill -- and Wall Street would be much more circumspect in how it pleads poverty.

JavaScript: The Missing Manual
JavaScript: The Missing Manual
by David Sawyer McFarland
Edition: Paperback
72 used & new from $0.01

117 of 123 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars May Need a Warning Label, August 11, 2008

I thought the author's other "Missing Manual" on CSS was very good and said so. ( CSS: The Missing Manual ) I am not so sure about this one.

This book is meant to be a beginner book and it certainly does treat certain aspects of JavaScript well from that perspective. My problem is that the author has chosen to integrate a particular JavaScript framework, jQuery, into the examples, starting with the introductory chapter.

I have used jQuery and have a high opinion of it, esp. of its CSS-like selector syntax. However, I don't think I ever could have learned the basics of JavaScript using jQuery. jQuery has its own syntax and its own ways of doing things that are different from other JavaScript frameworks and certainly *much* different from generic JavaScript.

A true beginner is going to find it difficult separating what is applicable to the wide world of JavaScript from what will only be applicable in one particular circumstance.

Perhaps the book may be better labeled as a getting started with JavaScript and jQuery text.

Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 1, 2011 8:03 AM PDT

CSS: The Ultimate Reference
CSS: The Ultimate Reference
by Tommy Olsson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $37.44
48 used & new from $0.27

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No More Do It Yourself, August 7, 2008

In the ancient days of early 1999 I had to put together my own CSS reference. I had to figure out by trial and error what parts of CSS were implemented and which were most useful and least buggy. Back then it seemed most Web experts / lecturers were very wary of CSS because the leading browser company, Netscape, did not see the transformative potential of HTML stylesheets.

I uploaded my "Cascading Style Cheatsheet" ([...]) and over the years it has become a popular link. We really don't need attempts of that sort anymore when we have books like this one.

Like its companion volume (The Ultimate HTML Reference) this book is simply but elegantly laid out in a way that makes it easy to use. The language is clear and the examples are directed to the most useful aspects of serious Web page and Web application implementations.

Because I make my living designing Web applications based upon the Internet Explorer browser, I was pleased to see excellent coverage of the proprietary (but very useful) CSS properties and values. Many books do not mention these because they are not part of the W3C specification. For good measure, a sprinkling of the -moz extensions of Firefox are also covered.

This book, sitting alongside its HTML companion, should be a solid (hard-backed!) addition to your technical library.


The Ultimate HTML Reference
The Ultimate HTML Reference
by Ian Lloyd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $33.50
64 used & new from $0.76

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simplicity Emphasized -- With WOW Factor, July 15, 2008

I strongly agree with the first reviewer that the aesthetics of this book are outstanding. The typography and layout are superb. Astute attention to these simple elements remarkably enhances the usefulness and readability of this book. An important aspect of my own job is transferring the same approach to the visual interfaces of Web applications, so I appreciate the sweat that went into this simplicity.

Since I made my enthusiasm clear, I guess I can belabor my quibbles. I am not sure I would call this an "ultimate" reference because much has been left out. This is not particularly bad since the emphasis of the book is simplicity and usability. Most Web workers will surely want to use this book's approach, with all its fine organization and examples, rather than the W3C specs.

What might you want more of? Well, there is no index for attributes. Each tag, like BUTTON, has plenty of attributes. Knowing what attributes are appropriate and most effective is important. For instance, this book covers the most critical attributes for BUTTON -- but not all of them. It mentions that IE has an incorrect default value for the TYPE attribute. This is very good to know, but even more important to know is that client-side script does not work for Firefox if the TYPE attribute does not have an explicit value of BUTTON.

The world of HTML is fairly simple but can be treacherous. That is exactly why someone moving into this world will find this book a ready aid.


Google Apps: The Missing Manual
Google Apps: The Missing Manual
by Nancy Conner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.47
100 used & new from $0.22

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars User Manual and a Little Extra, June 8, 2008

This Google apps book has more of a user focus and a bit more hand-holding than other Google app books I have taken a look at lately. (Google Apps Hacks)

The 13 chapters are divided into 4 parts:
1) Setting up with Google and using the word processing, spreadsheet and presentation creation software.

2) Using Google e-mail, communication and calendar applications.

3) Customizing the Google home page and creating Web pages without HTML knowledge with the new Page Creator.

4) Using Google applications within organizations. This last section went into administering users and facilitating team collaboration. This was interesting and something I had not seen in other books.

This "Missing Manual" is pretty thorough and has a good index. If your goal is to *use* Google applications (rather than program them), this book is an excellent reference and guide.

Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 22, 2013 2:00 AM PDT

Google Apps Hacks
Google Apps Hacks
by Philipp Lenssen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $27.08
52 used & new from $0.01

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life in the Age of Google Web Apps, April 29, 2008
This review is from: Google Apps Hacks (Paperback)
Sometimes I wonder how Microsoft can presume to compete with Google in the Web world. So much depends on search nowadays -- the Internet is one big store of valuable information. Yet I have to use an unsupported freeware utility to search my little Windows XP hard drive because the search feature that comes with the operating system is so slow and inflexible.

**Google Apps Hacks** introduced me to a Google universe that was even bigger than I had expected. I expected --and got-- lots of material on plugging into Google maps (lots of people are taking advantage of the possibilities here) and lots of tips on using GMail, gadgets, calendars and news feeds.

The biggest surprises for me were contained in the chapters on Google Docs. Part of the material was basic "how-to" and "did you know that..." information to help get acquainted with the features of Google word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. In fact, it appears that this book itself was collaboratively composed by Philipp Lenssen along with O'Reilly staff with Google Docs.

I was most impressed by how easy and flexible the spreadsheet application is to use. The author provides a pile of tricks and tips useful for both the ordinary user and the programmer.

This book should attract programmers (and other Web citizens) who want to investigate and test drive the latest cool things that many people are having fun with -- and a bunch more are making money from.

Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management (Theory in Practice)
Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management (Theory in Practice)
by Scott Berkun
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.82
93 used & new from $8.91

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Add My Voice to the Chorus, April 23, 2008
Perhaps only a little off-key since I am not a project manager -- altho my professional life is made much easier by working with some dedicated ones.

I did not read the previous edition as the other reviewers did. In fact, I was not really intending to read this edition straight through. I was going to give it a good skim for those aspects of project management that intersect my own world as a Web application interface developer.

I have to say that Scott Berkun is a real teacher because I found the *whole* book to be relevant to my work -- and it was fun to read in the bargain.

This book is not in color and does not contain lots of fancy images. The illustrating and illuminating is done verbally. For once, this was enough for me because Berkun finds a way to make things both practical and vivid. From the text, it is reasonable to assume that his public talks are worthy events.

This is definitely a book to read for people who may not be project managers but who sincerely want to build their teams by understanding this important role better.


Essential Silverlight 2 Up-to-Date
Essential Silverlight 2 Up-to-Date
by Christian Wenz
Edition: Paperback
Price: $34.99
41 used & new from $0.41

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book's Format as Interesting as Its Content, April 9, 2008
As a person who works with multiple teams to design Web applications, keeping up with technology is essential. It becomes second nature to take an interest in any new thing that may affect your job in the future even though you (or the new technology) may not be ready for immediate implementation.

Microsoft's Silverlight is one of those new things I am talking about. Even if studying this book does not make me an expert, I know I will be ready when some boss, developer, or product manager asks me what I think Silverlight can or can not do.

If you are in the field, you know that Silverlight is a "rich Internet app" framework that some people call a "Flash killer." Whether it is a Flash killer or not, I will leave to the experts and time to tell. I do know that after going thru the initial examples, helped by Christian Wenz's downloadable code examples, I now have a more concrete idea about what Silverlight can do and how easy or hard it is to do certain tasks compared to other frameworks.

Speaking of keeping up with new things, the book's format itself is worth a note. As the editorial review above says, the pages are bound with pegs held in place by a stiff plastic cover. Since the content of the book is based on a pre-beta version of Silverlight 2, you can be sure that updates will be coming down the pike from Microsoft. The idea is that new information can be printed and easily added to the binder.

I have really gotten accustomed to the convenience of some of the O'Reilly books I have read lately where the book lies flat while I follow from the keyboard. That's why at first this binder format bothered me. It would not lie flat. But it finally came to me to snap open the plastic cover and take the pages off the pegs one by one as I progressed. This was much better.

Now I hope I am ready for those updates...

Ajax: The Definitive Guide
Ajax: The Definitive Guide
by Anthony T. Holdener
Edition: Paperback
Price: $36.56
89 used & new from $1.52

22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loads of Code; Good Value, February 27, 2008
There is a LOT of code in this 950 page book. I guess there is something here for everyone because there is code not directly related to Ajax but is directed to HTML structure or CSS presentational aspects or to frameworks that may include Ajax conveniences.

In fact, the amount of code may interfere with the author's object of appealing to two very different types of people with this book: Web developers and project managers looking for a high-level view. Except for some intro chapters and the odd breather between 10-15 page code listings, I don't think any project managers *I* have worked with would extract much from the book.

The book has 4 sections:
Part 1 - Ajax Fundamentals: the basic technologies that could form the core of a typical Ajax application.

Part 2 - Ajax Foundations: approaches to standards-compliant structure, separation of the presentational layer and client-side behaviors. Code code code!

Part 3 - Ajax in Applications: describes the specific implementations of these technologies into Web applications. More code!

Part 4 - Wrapping Up: tips on optimization.

In addition, there are some reference appendices on XML and XSLT; on JavaScript frameworks; on Ajax implementation risks; and most interestingly, a catalog of freely available Web service APIs.

One thing I did not like about the code listings was the use of Prototype style $() function syntax. This means when I see something like:
var titleText = $('title').firstChild;
I had to check whether .firstChild was a reference to a Prototype object or a reference to the standard DOM object. If the standard object, it would have been a whole lot clear just to have written document.getElementById().

The book index is actually pretty good. With 950 pages stuffed with content, you will probably be thankful for that!

The Art & Science of JavaScript
The Art & Science of JavaScript
by Ara Pehlivanian
Edition: Paperback
Price: $31.78
58 used & new from $0.01

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Learning Experience, February 2, 2008

I saw a bunch of things I *wanted* to criticize about this book but ended up being more positive as I began to see the educational value of the chapters. This book is not for absolute beginners by any means, however the material is presented in a smooth way as each script addition is explained separately.

Do NOT expect to come away from the book's chapters with code that can be immediately applied to a typical professional application or Web site. Things like a JavaScripted maze game can be great for learning some cool things but that is all.

Even the practical-sounding features like table column sorting and table column dragging could not be applied to a production situation without considerable modification. For instance, the column dragging scenario depends on all columns having similar width. If not, then the result is pretty messy. And we all know that data tables can be messy in the best of cases!

The index is miserable, but that is pretty much the rule for computer tech books.

The ensemble of authors is top-notch and some, like Christian Heilmann, (Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax: From Novice to Professional) have written excellent books you may want to check out. You really can't go wrong with this book for a solid advance in your script education.


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