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Handbook of Technical Writing, Tenth Edition
Handbook of Technical Writing, Tenth Edition
by Gerald J. Alred
Edition: Hardcover
47 used & new from $19.97

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing writing resource, March 9, 2012
I've enjoyed having this book around since I first encountered it almost three decades ago now. It really is
the technical writer's "Swiss army knife" because of everything that the book talks about. Countless writing-related topics are discussed, some in great detail and as always in alphabetical order. Among the topics discussed are grammatical and punctuation issues, writing style tips, definitions of some terms, along with similar sounding words, as well as topics related to tech writing like grant writing, white papers, proposals and other types of formal reports. As with previous editions, there are sections on writing a cover letter, resume and how to handle yourself on a job interview and/or conducting a presentation or meeting.

I liked the book's "web links," which are URLs describing helpful web sites related to the just described topic that are in small boxes. Another feature I liked were the "Writer's Checklists" also listed after various topics. These checklists call attention to important points not covered previously. Some important topics contain their own small 'Table of Contents,' which let you refer to a specific mini-topic.

A short review like this does not do justice to this book. Suffice to say if you're a technical writer at any level you should have this book on your bookshelf.


Microsoft Manual of Style (4th Edition)
Microsoft Manual of Style (4th Edition)
by Microsoft Corporation
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.36
68 used & new from $14.42

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Update, February 15, 2012
What I noticed the first time I opened this book was (as others have mentioned) the amount of extra white space and font changes, which make this book much more pleasureable to read and to refer to. Clear and concise language, along with excellent figures, diagrams and readable tables throughout the book also help. Microsoft has done a great job in updating a classic book of theirs. Their Usage Dictionary reflects the changes seen in the computer industry over the last several years.

The book's first chapter describes in detail Microsoft's distinctive style and voice. Many subsequent chapters show examples of how something is done Microsoft style as opposed to non-Microsoft style. This really helps the reader to understand the "how's and why's" of Microsoft writing style.

The Content for the Web and Content for a World Wide Audience have been expanded to reflect the changes in those areas. Among other topics given their own chapters are User Interface, Procedures and tech content, style issues and of course grammar and punctuation. While the last two seem to be basics we should have learned in grade school, it's good to have a reminder of just how important those two areas are.

I know I'll be using this book whenever I have a question about a style issue.


Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 Step by Step
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 Step by Step
by Joan Lambert
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.51
76 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice resource to have, February 10, 2012
I like others had trouble downloading the source files. Hopefully this is an issue that Microsoft will resolve for the next edition of this book. Overall I found this book to be quite good in explaining how to use various Office programs. I also am not new to Office but felt I needed a refresher with certain things, like PowerPoint and OneNote and wanted to become more of a power user with Word.

The instructions and associated figures and diagrams I found to be helpful in explaining various concepts and teaching me how to use the various "ribbon" menus in all of the various Office programs. This book explains in detail changes and new features in Office 2010.

Aside from the issue mentioned above, I found this to be a book well worth having and one I can refer to when I have trouble figuring out how to do various things in Office.


San Francisco Giants (Images of Baseball)
San Francisco Giants (Images of Baseball)
by Tricia O'Brien
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.38
46 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great pictorial history of our SF Giants, February 2, 2012
The San Francisco Giants have a long history and have had a multitude of star players play for them. And that's just since they've been in San Francisco. This book chronicles in pictures the history of this storied franchise. Yes the book starts off with a few pictures of the New York Giants, but after that it's all San Francisco, starting with the parade welcoming them to the city by the bay (the World series victory parade took the same route btw), Seals Stadium, and then Candlestick, then AT&T all the way through the 2010 World Series and subsequent celebration. In between all of that are LOTS of pictures of former Giants players. This is an Arcadia Publishing book, so naturally this is a book filled with lots of pictures. There's even one of Juan Marichal warming up before a pre-season game in Sacramento which had never been published before. And of course Mays, McCovey, Will Clark (who writes the book's foreword), and so many others. I remember seeing or hearing about most of the players pictured here.

So Giants' fans, get on your orange and black (or don't) and buy this book. You'll enjoy it as much (if not more) as I have.


The Complete Idiot's Guide to HTML5 and CSS3
The Complete Idiot's Guide to HTML5 and CSS3
by Joe Kraynak
Edition: Paperback
50 used & new from $0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hey, this book is pretty good, February 2, 2012
After reading a couple reviews here, I was worried this wouldn't be a very well-written book about HTML 5 and CSS 3. However, I found it to be the opposite. While the author freely admits this book is for novices, I would agree that having a little knowledge of HTML before reading this book would be a good thing. However, anyone who is more than an advanced beginner or intermediate web designer might find this book boring. But that's because the author goes through all of the basics in creating a web site, items that advanced designers would already know.

I did find reading through the book that it provides a good review of many concepts I'd forgotten about, like basic HTML tags, the steps involved in getting a picture ready to post online, image maps, creating tables, and division and span tags before diving into CSS concepts in the third section of the book. In addition, it explains in detail things like finding a place to host your site, whether you want a free or pay site, and whether you want to create the site yourself or use a content management system (like WordPress) to do most of the HTML coding for you.

Speaking of CSS, it's first mentioned with a description of CSS basics before moving on to more advanced CSS topics, which take up a good portion of the rest of the book. I felt this chapter was a good review of them and would help a novice understand why they are important. Several chapters in this section are devoted to CSS properties and their descriptions. Everything from making your text look nice, to what colors do you want (adjusting the hue, saturation, and value), making your lists and margins look good, to how you want your page laid out. There's even a chapter devoted to more advanced CSS, once you're ready to take that step.

The author finishes off with some tips about how to ensure a high ranking on search engines, which clearly is important if you want to make sure your site is seen by lots of many people.

There's also reference material in the back of the book with lists of HTML 5 and CSS3 tags for those who want a quick guide to refer to. I found this to be an enjoyable and informative book.


Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s
Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s
by Dan Epstein
Edition: Hardcover
41 used & new from $4.42

4.0 out of 5 stars Irreverent look at baseball in the 70s, December 18, 2011
When people think of the 1970s, they think of disco, Tricky Dick, energy shortages and..some really entertaining baseball. This book covers pretty much all of it, from the acid-aided no-hitter Dock Ellis pitched in 1970 to the "We Are Family" Pirates of 1979. And a LOT in between. Reading this book brought back memories of those god-awful unis some teams played in back then. Those of us around back then remember the Padres' Mustard unis, or the Astros' Rainbow unis or even Cleveland's monstrosities.

Funny thing. The book mentions the 1970s as the decade that saw the most changes in baseball as any before or since. It's true when you consider the advent of multipurpose stadiums, the DH, night World Series games (all for better or worse) among the changes. The author takes us on a trip back and details for us what happened each year. I never thought of the 70s as a "golden age" for baseball (especially not in those horrible stadiums in Philly, Cincinnati & Pittsburgh), but in some ways I guess it was.

Hey any book with Oscar Gamble's Afro on the cover is a must for anyone interested in 1970s baseball. Quite the tour de force. Mr Epstein hit a home run when he wrote this. Thanks dude!


Ubuntu for Non-Geeks: A Pain-Free, Get-Things-Done Guide
Ubuntu for Non-Geeks: A Pain-Free, Get-Things-Done Guide
by Rickford Grant
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.25
120 used & new from $6.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough Without Being Too Technical, September 30, 2010
Ubuntu is fast becoming very popular with Linux users. This book helps cut through all the jargon
and painlessly (just like the title says) leads the reader through all of Ubuntu's various features from the GNOME desktop, the Nautilus File Manager, the Linux terminal and command line, and OpenOffice just to name a few.

But of course there's so much more to Ubuntu and this book describes all of its features in wonderful detail, while at the same time describing concepts in a way that's very comfortable and eases any concerns someone
exploring Ubuntu for the first time would have. I have some experience with the Linux command line, so I enjoyed the chapter that covered this and felt the commands listed were great choices to start with. The chapters describing the Ubuntu desktop and the one describing how to customize your system were also good, going to great lengths to describe how to move files around and how to change your system's look and feel.
Among other chapters that stood out were ones about connecting to the Internet (and of course the numerous online Ubuntu forums and downloading other Ubuntu programs), playing media files, using mobile devices, Linux games and of course getting Linux to play nice with Windows.

There's even a chapter on troubleshooting problems and a section about installing Ubuntu on a laptop without a DVD drive. Very helpful, especially for me sine my laptop only has a USB drive.

I found this book to be very well-written and I enjoyed learning new things about Ubuntu.


Gold on the Diamond: Sacramento's Great Baseball Players 1886 to 1976
Gold on the Diamond: Sacramento's Great Baseball Players 1886 to 1976
by Alan O'Connor
Edition: Perfect Paperback
49 used & new from $4.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Done, July 10, 2010
This book takes a detailed look back at the rich history of Sacramento baseball. Even if Sacramento teams were not among the elite, there still were a number of great ballplayers to come out of Sacramento and a lot played for the Sacramento PCL teams. O'Connor devotes a portion of his book to discuss the history of Sacramento teams, along with some great pictures of ballplayers, the fields where the teams played and of the ballplayers themselves. But it's the biographies of countless Sacramento ballplayers that is the meat of this book and where it shines. From the more famous players (like legendary PCL pitcher Tony Freitas and the very likeable Bud Watkins, major leaguers like Stan Hack and Nippy Jones) to the lesser known ones (such as Bill McNulty and John Mcnamara), O'Connor has quite detailed accounts of their lives in and out of baseball.

There continues to be quite an interest in the glory days of the old PCL and it's good to see a well-written book that documents the history of the Sacramento teams from the PCL.


WordPress MU 2.8: Beginner's Guide
WordPress MU 2.8: Beginner's Guide
by Lesley A. Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: $44.99
36 used & new from $3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Quite Informative, January 29, 2010
This book offers a good guide to creating an online WordPress community from scratch. Among the topics covered are descriptions of WordPress MU and BuddyPress, installing it, increasing traffic to it and what to do when things go wrong. I felt the step by step directions explained various topics well. Of course WordPress is very dynamic and changes versions often. Consequently, some screens shown in the book may appear differently when you first try to set up a multi-user blog.

While this book is a book for novice users, the author assumes you already know something about WordPress. BuddyPress contains plugins that help set up your multi user blog and customize it to suit your needs. One point the author makes here that's good to remember, which is to plan your site before building it. Building a MY site requires setting up a database and server which is explained in some detail. Another chapter touches on letting your users manage their own blogs, with suggestions on avoiding issues and setting up different levels of priveleges for your users. Spam is always an issue for any blogger and the author offers some tips to make it harder for spammers to "invade" your site (making it invite-only or moderating site registration).

There's also information about adding forums, social networking and optimizing your site. All in all, I felt this book contains some good information, some that may be similar to other blogs but important information nonetheless. It's well worth getting if you're thinking about building a multi-user blog.


Classic Shell Scripting
Classic Shell Scripting
by Arnold Robbins
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.86
87 used & new from $9.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nuts and Bolts of Shell Scripting, December 28, 2009
This book tackles the concept of writing UNIX scripts not by telling you how to
write 'canned scripts,' but rather explains the various commands you will use to
create shell scripts. The book does this by extensively explaining various commands (like echo, tr, ls, grep, sort, etc), providing manpage-like descriptions of the command and its options and even code snippets. I found this to be quite helpful in understanding them.

My favorite chapters were the ones devoted to Text Processing and Working with Files. I've worked with UNIX a lot over the past fifteen years or so and have lost count of the times I had to move or delete files or directories. I knew there had to be a way to automate some of this, but I never got around to learning about them until now.

This is a great book to have not just to learn more about shell scripting, but also to understand the numerous UNIX commands that go into creating scripts.


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