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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: OpenGL(R) Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL, Version 1.2 (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Mason Woo, Jackie Neider, Tom Davis, Dave Shreiner, OpenGL Architecture Review Board
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
This is one amazing book.

This was my first pick and i would like to mention that i had no prior experience with Opengl. The book has been organized in a very understandable manner and the learning curve is not that bumpy.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia Flash MX Professional 2004 Application Development : Training from the Source (Training from the Source)
Publisher: Macromedia Press
Authors: Jeanette Stallons
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Flash MX Professional 2004 Application Development

I am writing this in mid-October 2004 after just having finished the book. I honestly wonder if the guy that posted a review in early Oct. actually tried to work through it.

Do NOT buy this book! Wait for the next edition. (Or buy a used copy keeping what I am about to tell you in mind.) It is outdated even though it just came out in April 2004. In July of 2004, Flash Professional MX 2004 was updated to version 7.2 which was actually a minor free (patch) upgrade. However, it had significant changes for those using Flash Professional for Rich Internet Applications (AKA Flash screen based development). Most other Flash books are not affected, as this is really the only book that is advanced enough to go into screens based development and Flash Remoting in Flash MX Professional 2004 in detail.

The book itself is actually very good as far as tech how-to books go. However, starting in Chapter 9 (the book has 16 chapters overall) it totally starts to fall apart. The way that you capture events thrown to the page in an external actionscript class file has changed. All of the code presented in the book on how to do this will no longer work. This obviously includes all of the included example files. It no longer works because the upgrade added a new class for dealing with this. It is not obvious. It took me quite awhile to track down the fix (which actually ends up just being a class import and then rewriting your event listeners so they use this imported class). You then have to recognize where this is done throughout the rest of the book and recode accordingly. The Macromedia forums were no help either as of this writing (saw lots of postings saying gee this doesn't work, but no solution). Finally figured out it had something to do with the upgrade, as someone said it stopped working after that. If you do buy this book, then go read what changes took place with the 7.2 upgrade in the Flash Dev Center on Macromedia's site. You will be able to figure out how to fix it.

Also, Chapter 14 is all about using Flash Remoting. When the book was written Flash Remoting was not yet updated to use AS 2.0, and as such you couldn't reference AS files externally by import statements (which is the main point of this book). Instead, you are given the directions for using include files on the main timeline. The author admits in the book that this will probably change soon to use AS 2.0. It did, and in a big way. The two main classes you are taught to use have also been 'depreciated' and replaced by something else. So, not only do you have to figure out how to convert it to work (which isn't a big deal) but also you have to rewrite it using new classes (which are detailed well in the updated Help files -thank you Macromedia).

Don't get me wrong, I learned a ton from this book. However, I am also already a certified .NET developer comfortable with coding and finding answers in Help files, online, etc. I just want anyone who buys this book to know what they are getting into. The 'errata' page for the book still states 'none found so far' which is ridiculous and there doesn't seem to be much forum help either. (Lots of activity for the other less advanced non-screens based, non-pro, Flash MX 2004 book though.)

My advice is to buy this used, keeping in mind what I said, or wait for the next edition. Or better yet, save the $ and learn from the tutorials online on Macromedia's site. That really isn't an option for a beginner, but if you have coding experience it might be less painful (and is more up to date) than this book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Little SAS Book: A Primer, Third Edition
Publisher: SAS Publishing
Authors: Lora D. Delwiche, Susan J. Slaughter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Still Useful Even w/ SAS Experience...

As the title indicates, this book is a "primer" and ought to be regarded as such, although the experienced user (of course, level of experience is relative) can still expect to derive some utility from Delwiche & Slaughter's concise and well-written book. The authors' emphasis on & discussion of SAS's "Built-in Loop" (Section 1.4) is worth it alone --- this simple point is often glossed over, although its importance can't be stressed enough. So toward that end: "DATA steps execute line by line and observation by observation."
In short, this book ought to belong on the shelf of every SAS user --- novice and expert alike.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: .NET and COM: The Complete Interoperability Guide
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Adam Nathan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A must-have for anyone serious about .NET

This is an amazing reference book for COM and P/Invoke interop (i.e. Win32 interop), an essential topic that most .NET books don't cover well enough. It's essential if you're migrating to .NET, or even if you're writing a non-trivial .NET application from scratch since the .NET Framework has many holes in functionality that must be filled by using interop.
I was skeptical because I've had bad luck with Sams books in the past, but this book is wonderful! It's incredibly thorough, complete, and has lots of useful examples and great sidebars. The author's expertise really shines through... It covers things I couldn't find anywhere else (and I've looked at other Interop books) such as an in-depth treatment of custom marshaling, and I really enjoyed the last chapter with Windows Media Player that demonstrated how to expose existing COM APIs as brand new .NET-looking APIs with very little code.
The chapters are self-contained, clearly organized, and jam-packed with information. I swear, each page I learned something new, and that's a lot of pages! It answered all of my questions and doubts about .NET interop. I can't imagine doing .NET programming without this book.