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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Developing Series 60 Applications : A Guide for Symbian OS C++ Developers (Nokia Mobile Developer)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Leigh Edwards, Richard Barker, Staff of EMCC Software Ltd.
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Much needed reference material


This book is not a "Symbian By Example" book but is a much needed reference for Symbian and specifically Series 60 topics that are hard to find else where such as Direct Screen Access, S60 App Engines eg. Camera API & Photo Album Engine. Such documentation is not a part of any of the other books available or the SDK documentation - so its great that this book provides that information.
Other UI topics such as dialogs and menus etc and general discussions of Symbian OS constructs such as descriptors etc are also included, however these topics have been addressed in other Symbian OS books. All in all this is a must have for any one involved with S60 application development.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C++ Primer (4th Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Stanley B. Lippman, Josée Lajoie, Barbara E. Moo
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Head for higher water....


The content of the book is fair, however the organization is terrible. Some more complicated topics are introduced before simple concepts, or in some areas, complicated topics that were not discussed are used to explain simple ideas(it does get better after chapter 5 or so, but the first five chapters are the very basics that you should know before doing anything remotley complicated). For this reason, you should at least have your feet wet with C or C++ before reading this book.
Next, this is one of the few books I've read that has 'decent' quiz questions. But guess what ? There are no answers!
Some topics are not explained very well, again the author assumes you already know something about it.
The examples in the book are fair, but most of them are not 'real world'. In several places however, there are just fragments of code instead of a full example, which can sometimes confuse the reader.
This book should not be bought alone to learn ANSI C++ if you are just starting with the language, however it can be used in addition to another book.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Scott Kelby
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Five stars and beyond!


I read about this book on the sportshooters.com website, a sports photo arena for serious sports photographers. This book is a gem. I already have several photoshop books and have been to the Nikon digital and Epson seminars which were great, but this book puts tips and techniques at your fingertips in a heartbeat. Each chapter provides at least one "aha" moment that you can put into use immediately. How to make a poster size enlargement from a small digital file by the "110% technique" is the best explanation that I have ever seen, and I've researched that topic extensively. Buy this book!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Science, math, music, thought and some really bad jokes


I first tried to read GEB aged about 24. I did stunningly badly at maths and science in school (failed Maths, Physics *and* Applied Maths) and had never taken an interest in that kind of thing - but I did like Bach, and had just met my first computer geek friends. It has to be said that for the utter novice, Hofstadter is wonderful at making his subject matter seem not just interesting but vital, accessible and beautiful. He leads you into the knotty topic of logic via some brilliantly conceived exercises, and his explanations of how all this stuff knits together are dense but totally clear. If any book made me ashamed of not knowing more about maths, logic, computer science and AI, and yet also enabled me to find out, it's this one. And for somebody who had always been allergic to such topics, that has to be good. It's truly an incredible feat of thought and imagination.
So why didn't I give it five stars? Cause, in many ways, I'm a small, mean-minded individual. My quibble with Hofstadter - and I *know* this is pathetic, given the kind of creative leap necessary to conceive a volume like this one - is that his sense of humour, exemplified in the, erm, humorous dialogues that punctuate the discursive chapters, is, well, sort of, ponderous. I'm well aware that he wanted to make the book *show* what he meant as much as *say* it. But I find the dialogues clever, rather than genuinely funny or illuminating (Borges would have understood that it's better to *describe* this kind of textual game-playing than actually carry it out). I'm not entirely convinced by some of Hofstadter's theories about the nature of consciousness (particularly after having read Andrew Hodges' wonderful biography of Alan Turing) and hence I find some of his propositions about AI a bit dubious.
But what do I know? I'm a lit guy poking around the edge of a subject I know very little about. The only thing I feel qualified to speak out about loud and bold are the literary qualities of the book. There's an excess of cuteness. I could've used more salt. (I also don't really buy Hofstadter's reasons in the preface to the new edition about why he didn't bother to revise the text - surely a few hundred footnotes would have been a great boon, but then I speak as a lover of footnotes.)
Don't let that put you off. If you're a professional scientist, philosopher or musician you *might* be disappointed. If you're none of these things, then this is probably the ultimate popular science book of the past 30 years. It deserves a place on the coffee table of every thinking person.