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AquaMunkee "Aqua" RSS Feed (Madison, WI)

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CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions (Black & White)
CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions (Black & White)
by Andy Budd
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.48
78 used & new from $1.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic guide to CSS development, April 5, 2010
I'm totally new to CSS, having only recently learned the meaning of the acronym a month ago by reading Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML. Once I finished that great introductory guide I found myself wanting to learn more advanced techniques, and this book delivered.

At 350 ages this book was a relatively concise guide, and I found all 3 authors had a very readable style that included well thought-out examples to help with retention. I will admit that the editing got progressively more sloppy toward the end of the book, especially in the two case studies that were added with the new edition. However, the errors were obvious enough that it didn't impede my learning and I still greatly value this book as an exceptional guide which I know I will frequently rely upon as a reference.

What I appreciated most was the well-rounded approach to providing standards-based programming guidance while also warning the reader of browser-specific bugs you would likely encounter. Although you quickly realize Internet Explorer has done a lot of work to earn their horrific reputation among web developers, I never felt like any of the authors were anti-IE crusaders as they all tried to give credit to the IE team's efforts with each new release to improve compliance to the CSS standard... wow, I sound like I really know what I'm talking about! I suppose that in and of itself is a good recommendation for someone with less than a month of experience!

In all seriousness, this book was a great guide and reference, and it's already helped me to quickly work through a browser-specific bug that I encountered shortly after returning to my web site to use my newfound tricks. Having devoured both the Head First guide and this guide, I now feel my appetite for CSS knowledge has been satiated (and have since moved on to conquer PHP & MySQL). ;-)

5 stars, very highly recommended!!!!!

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML
Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML
by Eric Freeman
Edition: Paperback
228 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to XHTML & CSS, April 5, 2010
In my day job I'm an engineer but I have very little web development or programming experience. As a result of reading this book (and others, mentioned below) I'm now a do-it-yourself web developer for my home businesses, scuba instruction and home studio recording, and this book got me addicted to the Head First series of books. I've since purchased and read Head First PHP & MySQL.

This book quickly got me up and running with a modern look and feel for my website, which previously looked like something a college kid from 1997 created (because I last used HTML as a college kid in 1997). Although intimidating at 650 pages, I quickly devoured every word and exercise in this very well-written guide filled with great hands-on applications and a memorable approach.

As noted in the title of this review, it is a great INTRO getting your feet wet with a lot of useful skills, and as far as HTML goes it was all I really needed, but it gave me just enough exposure to CSS to make me hungry for more. After completing the Head First PHP & MySQL I learned a few useful tips with PHP for code reusability, but ultimately bought another guide on CSS - CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions, Second Edition by Andy Budd - EXCELLENT follow-up to this book IMHO!!

With the foundation I got from this book and CSS Mastery I feel very comfortable with my XHTML and CSS skills, in fact I've already encountered and resolved a browser-specific bug as a result of the skills I've learned. For building a strong foundation in XHTML and CSS I very highly recommend this book, and if you want to take it further then follow up with CSS Mastery for more advanced CSS skills.

If you intend to move on to PHP and MySQL, continuing on with the Head First series was a good move for me, but I already know I will want more knowledge on both PHP and MySQL. (By the way, I've provided a review for all three of these books on Amazon)

Head First PHP & MySQL
Head First PHP & MySQL
by Michael Morrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: $30.53
86 used & new from $9.57

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to PHP & MySQL, April 5, 2010
This review is from: Head First PHP & MySQL (Paperback)
I bought this book immediately after finishing the Headfirst HTML with CSS & XHTML. I'm an engineer but not much of a programmer, I had some experience with HTML back in the earlier days, 1994-1997, but since then hadn't done anything with the web before getting into the Head First series. I'm a do-it-yourself web developer for my home businesses, scuba instruction and home studio recording, and these two Head First books quickly got me up and running with a modern-looking web application that provided some interactivity to my website.

I found the Head First style to be a very engaging read, although I'll admit I skipped some of the MySQL exercises and, as a result, my retention wasn't as good as the HTML guide. However, I still feel I've been adequately introduced to the power of MySQL and PHP driven queries. I've used the skills learned from this book to start building a MySQL database for user data and intend to further develop the database into a social networking tool for my clients, but I'll admit as I applied the knowledge from this book I quickly realized I should probably do some more reading with more advanced guides.

Still, as noted in the title of this review, this was a good introduction allowing me to get started without exposing my site to any security risks, and it also confirmed my decision to use PHP and MySQL instead of other options out there. I also know I will use this book as a reference, and the hands-on exercises help to guide me to the right chapter to find what I'm looking for.

Viniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum & Hips with Gary Kraftsow
Viniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum & Hips with Gary Kraftsow
DVD ~ Gary Kraftsow
Price: $14.99
39 used & new from $13.38

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great back therapy, value for strengthening too, September 29, 2009
My wife bought me this DVD last Christmas but I was skeptical and my back was in too much spasm for me to consider it. I was also skeptical of chiropractic having been treated for over 4 years in the past with only short-term benefits. Since beginning NUCCA chiropractic therapy I have found a great deal of relief, enough to convince me to let go of my skepticism of yoga as well.

I am totally new to yoga, with 10 years of Army physical training beind me I typically seek out more aggressive approaches but I am finally recognizing that wasn't getting me the relief I really needed. In the past few days I finally started using this video, and this morning before writing this review was my first time through an exercise routine. It's a great video and good exercise program!

I started a few days ago with the Technique Workshop, where he talked through a demonstration of each technique in vivid detail. Yesterday I reviewed the workshop to be sure I was familiar with the movements, and this morning I moved right into the most strenuous of the 3 Therapeutic Practices - Strength and Stability.

This 32 minute routine takes you through a series of 17 relaxing but effective exercises and stretches. I'm in reasonably good fitness (I've been out of the Army 10 years now but still relatively active) but found it challenging at times to maintain the slow controlled breathing while doing these focused movements. By the end of the routine I really enjoyed the Savasana (deep relaxation) pose he leaves you with, spending about 5 minutes of deep breathing and relaxing before starting my day.

I definitely recommend this to anyone struggling with chronic back pain, and although I never tried it I believe his approach is gentle enough to try even while you are suffering from spasms. I like his staged approach and expect that, should I have another painful episode of back spasm, I should be able to use his other two Therapeutic Practice sessions - Low Back Therapy and Hip Therapy.

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