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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX 2004 : Training from the Source (Training from the Source)
Publisher: Macromedia Press
Authors: Jen deHaan
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Really good book, but not enough reference info as other

I'm not sure if I am reading the same book as these other guys here. I bought this book because I wanted to build an web application with Flash MX 2004 (not the only animate!), and learn the kinds of things it can do. You need this version of Flash to do that... and at least that's what this book does!
I really liked how it took some of the more complex things in Flash and made them really simple, which I don't think can too easy and why some of the steps are long. Maybe itis, I dont know. But I could follow along and I'm just starting out and I wasn't really bored by this book or thinking that it was confusing or anything. I'm glad I didn't read those because I wanted to build an application including all the different things and use the things in 2004 to do it and that's what this book does and you learn lots.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Windows, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Charles Petzold
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Works for me

This book works very well for me. It presents the topic clearly and readably. It tells me what I want to know, and I mostly understand it on the first reading. It has lots of tutorial examples, very good. I am skipping around, finding what I want when I want it, modifying many of the example programs to try things out, and having a very good time.
These reviews vary a lot, I think, because of the reviewers' varying expectations and experience levels, so it might be useful to characterize this reviewer:
I'm a total newbie to Windows programming. My 17 years of programming includes essentially no GUI PC software, mostly embedded microcontroller firmware and MS-DOS hardware drivers, and Apple_II way back when. I already knew how multitasking works, and I had a smattering of Macintosh Toolbox exposure eons ago. This book fills the gap perfectly for me.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Authors: Katie Hafner
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Internet is older than you thought

This is an excellent book for all those who would guess that Bolt, Beranek and Newman is a law firm. It may sound like one, but it isn't. BBN - now a subsidiary of GTE/Verizon - is a company which is most intimately tied to the birth of what is nowadays known as the internet. And if the BBN's marketing guys would have been half as good as their engineers, we would probably hear a lot more about BBN today and less about, say, Cisco.
In a clear and highly readable style, Hafner and Lyon have covered the history of the packet switching networks with encyclopedic breadth. You'll learn both about the early theoretical fathers of packet switching, like Paul Baran and Donald Davies; you have the people in the DoD's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) like Joseph Licklider, Bob Taylor or Larry Roberts, who not only had a grand view of computer networking or obtained the necessary governmental funding, but were also able to specify their wishes precisely enough that the engineers were able to build the network based on their plans. And finally, there is Frank Heart's team at BBN, guys who actually built the darn thing.
The subtitle - The origins of the internet - is well chosen. Most of the book focuses on the years 1968-1972, from Roberts' draft proposal, to the 1972 international conference on computer communication. Other development, either earlier or later, is covered only fragmentary. There are other interesting stories, like the origins of USENET, internet news exchange service, but they are not the scope of this book.
The book leaves a pleasant impression that the authors actually understand the necessary technical background of the topic they are writing about. Some diagrams might help further, but I am sure that numerous metaphors used in the book will also alone help the casual reader to understand the idea of packet switching. Chapter notes and bibliography section deserve special praise, and the subject index comes in handy, too. Overall, a very satisfying book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: 3D Game Engine Design : A Practical Approach to Real-Time Computer Graphics
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: David H. Eberly
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Important Reference

Anyone who has used the useful newsgroup comp.graphics.algorithms knows David Eberly without having to read this book. David is the one who answers all the hardest math and curved surface questions. Thus, this book is a great reference to have for questions on curves and surfaces and the unexciting but nonetheless critical proofs. I purchased this book in January and it's come in handy in that regard.I do think that many books use the Game Engine term incorrectly in their title and that some are disappointed who were expectingthis to completely guide them through the engine development process. Others seem disappointed with too much math but that seems silly and they are implying they intend to write a great game without having to understand any math they don't already understand. Math offers an infinite level of detail. If I remember correctly, In Principia Mathematica the author took over 100 pages to prove that 1+1=2 (and subsequently went insane).Howard Antons Linear Algebra is a good reference too but I don't understand every line.No book will ever release cutting edge game concepts that impress everyone writing cutting edge games since the publishing process takes years. A books usefulness lies in its ability to age well, and the only books that do so are math intensive, hence I think a title such as Math for Games would be more appropriate and I would have gone with 4 stars versus 3. I also think game engine design is beyond the scope of any one book.Those who think this is too hard a read obviously haven't tried to read the Gallier curves and surface book. Not many who understand math to the Ph. D. level communicate as well as the author.
Neil McLaughlin