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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C, Second Edition
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Bruce Schneier
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The essential bible for communications security

Schneier's book is a surprisingly down-to-earth encyclopedia of the data scrambling technology which secures electronic communication worldwide, and which the US Government has tried for years to keep in the bag. Understanding cryptography is a must for anyone interested in the technology behind privacy on-line, and Schneier's book is the best source there is.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Photoshop Restoration & Retouching, Second Edition
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Katrin Eismann, Doug Nelson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This book is remarkable both for its scope and for the depth of knowledge, natural teaching ability, and trustworthiness of its author. The book starts with both general and specific corrections to tone, exposure, and color, and goes on through restoring faded and damaged photos, adding and removing elements, and all the way to professional portrait retouching including glamour and fashion retouching.
Katrin presents an inherently fascinating subject in clearly written and illustrated step-by-step explanations. She details her own work and the carefully chosen work of others with tremendous respect for differences in approach, while ensuring that every method she presents is of the highest caliber.
Her respect for the retouchers whose work she features extends also to the subjects of the photos. Her straightforward and thoughtful appraisal of what it is we are about when we restore or retouch photos is unmatched by anything I've seen in other books. Philosophically as well as technically, readers are in good hands with Katrin.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE Technology Study Guide
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Mark Cade, Simon Roberts
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Helped me get past the first test.

I'll try not to repeat what others have said because they have been pretty accurate. This is not a "Training Manual" for the test but is instead a "Study Guide". It helps you focus on what you need to bone up on before the test but you'll need to get detailed information elsewhere.
For example, the design patterns section gives a very brief description of each pattern. If you are new to the GoF patterns you need to study another book, but if you are familiar with them and need just a quick review you'll get it here.
I've only got 2-3 years of Java experience but have 12 years of industry experience. I found most of the test questions to be easy but still only got 87% overall.
I gave it four stars because it is the only book out there, it didn't waste my time by being filled with fluff, and it helped me identify my weak areas.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Design for Communication : Conceptual Graphic Design Basics
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: Elizabeth Resnick
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Unique Approach to Graphic Design Education

This new book, like Elizabeth Resnick's earlier one (Graphic Design: A Problem-Solving Approach to Visual Communication), that was published in the early '80s, has a generous amount of student work on its pages, providing the reader with some wonderful and useful examples of solutions to the problems presented. There's even a section with some of these shown in full color!
When Ms. Resnick wrote her first book, no graphic design was being done on a computer. This current text, published now that we're fully into the digital age, also very wisely steers clear of a "how to" approach. It's all too easy for students starting out in graphic design now to think that it's about "how to use QuarkXPress" or some other software package, but Resnick's book stresses concepts, communication, and the art of creating fresh and thoughtful solutions to design problems. It will help students to learn the importance of research, and how to develop the analytical and conceptual skills they will need as professional designers later on.
The idea of using quality student work as a teaching tool is a very good one. It results in a book that is much more appealing to the student. Each solution has a statement by its creator as well as the instructor's feedback. I think students will find the author's approach to the subject fresh, direct, and very accessible. The presentation of each problem consists of: the Assignment Brief, Objectives, Specifications, Process, and Critiques. This results in a very clear, useful, and well-structured text. I highly recommend this book!