Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Programming PHP
Authors: Rasmus Lerdorf, Kevin Tatroe
I liked this book. As an experienced programmer I like that it dove right in and gave me the basics of the language that I needed to get going. Since I am new to PHP I can't speak to what might be missing, as some of the other reviewers allude to, but it certainly seems to have all of the nuts and bolts necessary to get a quick grasp of the language and the "system".
So, why did I give it only 4 stars? Well, there are so many errors in the sample code and between the descriptions and the sample code that it significantly slowed me down, by confusing me. These errors aren't always horrible, but just to give an example the book says, on page 84, that you call the get_meta_tags() function by passing it "the HTML for a web page in a string". Well, the sample shows passing it a URL and if you do pass it a string, it turns out, PHP crashes (at least my installation of PHP does). There are many other examples.
My advice is to not buy this if you expect it to teach you how to program, but if you already have a couple of other languages under your belt, and how to build web pages, this book will get you into PHP quick.
Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: How to Be Invisible: The Essential Guide to Protecting Your Personal Privacy, Your Assets, and Your Life (Revised Edition)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Authors: J.J. Luna
Luna has written an excellent book and I highly recommend it. However, the information presented is quite limited on location. I live in California, and all of the stuff about using a private MBE address on my driver's license is useless. Also, there's this obsessive focus on limited liability companies (LLC's), when this route is rather expensive.
If you're running from the law, have a stalker to get away from, or want to finally get rid of your ex-husband or creditors, then this book is right for you. It will give you privacy that surpasses even the FBI's witness protection programs (which are actually by another name).
However, if you live in an area that's suffered from the heightended effects of post-9/11 security enhancements and government paranoia, you might find some of the details a bit difficult to implement or out-dated.
If anything, this is a reference book and not a how-to for "step-by-step". It gets you into the mindset of how to guard your privacy, why you should not give out your address, phone number, or even middle name lightly, and how choosing to be lax can often be deadly for even the least profile of people. Buy it for your family and always keep a copy by your bedside.
Some will say that this book is only for the paranoid, but I say better paranoid and safe than dead and sorry.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Final Cut Express 2 Editing Workshop (DV Expert Series)
Publisher: CMP Books
Authors: Tom Wolsky
At last, here is a book on FCE that gets you up and running with tutorial materials and an instructor who really knows his stuff. Tom Wolsky is a long time veteran in film and video production (nearly 40 years), brings years of experience working for ABC news into his current profession as a Final Cut teacher at Stanford University, and has established a solid curriculum with his titles on Final Cut Pro which in turn have been distilled into the first real title which sits one down and TEACHES Final Cut Express.
With the help of tutorial materials on the supplied disc (which you need a DVD rom to access, by the way), you are given sample clips to import, slice, dice, edit and organize into full blown projects as Mr. Wolsky leads you through 11 fast-paced yet comprehensive lessons in video production. I had previously purchased the Visual Quickstart and Dummies books for FCE, both of which explained in their way what the program could do, but don't really teach it. I felt like I understood more about it in the first three chapter/lessons in this title than in both of those other books combined. That's what I get for being impatient.
Also on the DVD is an in-depth look at working in Final Cut vs. iMovie, which made me glad I didn't get too used the lesser program; as Wolsky puts it, it's like the difference between an automatic and a stick shift car, with the added benefit of Final Cut's non-destructive process.
So if you're ready to get serious with your video, and want to start learning Final Cut Express with hands-on projects that will have you actually understanding the program as you go, you can't go wrong with this title, especially at such a low price compared to other such books. Highly recommended for the serious novice videophile!
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design
Authors: Alan Cooper, Robert M. Reimann
This book really made me think. The author has some really clever ideas which I never even considered, such as "Why do we need a Save button". As a professional software engineer I gained a lot of good ideas from this book.
The book is laid out in a very nice fashion. You can almost pick up it, turn to any random page, and start reading. The chapters are small and easy to read. I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone that is interested in software interface design.