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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: XML for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Left hanging

I normally don't like to purchase a book until I've thumbed through it at the bookstore first, but after reading the reviews given to this book, I figured this is one time I couldn't go wrong (this is one time I should have judged the book by its cover). I have minimal XML experience, with no real coding or design time with it under my belt.
My first impression on recieving the book was disappointment, as the cover read 'This Visual Quickstart Guide uses pictures rather than lengthy explanations'! Upon opening the book, I was rather disappointed to find this was true....fully 1/2 of the book (the innner half of the page, on almost every page) is filled with either white space, or code 'snippets'. No where in the book (though you can get it from the website, though that kind of defeats the purpose of my buying the book <g>) is there a full XML example, with DTD's, a Schema, or an XML Stylesheet. I was also disappointed by much of the text in the book. Too often text consists of '1. Type <?xml 2. Type a space 3. Type version="1.0" ?>', which, in my opinion (this is MY review isn't it?<g>) is a waste of ink. I should hope to think that most people are smart enough to follow a well commented example, and would prefer this than having to be hand-carried throughout.
I would have prefered to see more full blown examples, or even one FULL example in the book. Most of the topics covered don't go to far into depth, in examples (only snippets), or in coverage (about 1-2 pages per idea, such as 'Using Date and Time Types').
I recently purchased 'ASP in a Nutshell', from O'Reilly press, which accomplishes what it appears this book is trying to do with XML (and in my opinion, didn't pull off). I look forward to purchasing 'XML in a Nutshell' shortly.
This book would probably suit total beginners to XML, but I would recommend doing your initial research and learning on the web, and purchasing a more advanced book.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML 4 for Dummies, Fourth Edition
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Ed Tittel, Natanya Pitts, Ed Tittel
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Learning Tool

This book is great! If you know nothing about HTML, this is the book for you!

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: MCSA/MCSE: Windows Server 2003 Environment Management and Maintenance Study Guide (70-290)
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Lisa Donald, Suzan Sage London, James Chellis
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
When did Sybex start publishing Exam Crams?

Don't get me wrong--I like Exam Crams. They are perfect if you have a pretty good understanding of the topic already, and you really just need something to review/refresh the material that is going to be on the exam, and get a lot of review questions, etc. Unfortunately, that's not what I buy Sybex study guides for, but that's what I got! Yes, this book "covers" all of the exam objectives, but not in anywhere near enough depth. Most of the obejectives get barely a paragraph actually EXPLAINING things to you, and then a couple of numbered lists, exercises, definitions, etc. Again, this would be fine for $30 and if you were already an expert w/ Win2000 and just wanted to know what was knew (but, I'm pretty sure that's what the upgrade exams are for). If you are not an expert on Win2000, no way does this book give you enough. I was also disappointed to get the book and find out that it is just 600 pages long when Amazon says it's something like 850. Again, it's just not enough. It is accurate, easy to read, etc. So, if that's all you want, then maybe this book is for you. But, why not save $20 and buy one of the cheaper review-type books?

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Adobe Photoshop CS One-on-One
Publisher: Deke Press
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
An excellent guide for Photoshop CS

This is the best book for learning Photoshop CS I have seen. The book and accompaning CD show you how to use the powerful tools in photoshop in a clear and easy to understand way. It doesn't matter if your just wanting to touch up a picture or layer several pictures together, the techniques given in the book are easy to understand and fun to do.