Book Reviews

One of our members regularly writes reviews for IT related books. He's graciously offered to let us host them on our web site. These books and others all become part of the Library of LUV ( also known as "LoL"). If you're interested in borrowing one of these books, put your name on the wiki page and come to one of our regular Tuesday meetings. If you have books you no longer need that may be of interest to our members, you can add them to the LoL by putting them on the wiki page.

The Manga Guide to Calculus

Hiroyuki Kojima and Shin Togami: The Manga Guide to Calculus; ISBN 978-1-59327-194-7; Published by No Starch Press, 238 pp., RRP AU$ 37.95

Want to freshen up your calculus, or even get a handle on a subject you missed? Or perhaps there is someone seeking your help with calculus? Get a copy of The Manga Guide to Calculus, which is another title in the remarkable Manga series. Even if you don't need to learn—or refresh your knowledge of—calculus, the book demonstrates a remarkably innovative way of technical communication, which is not the same as 'technical writing'). The word, manga, entered the Japanese language in the 18th century and means illustrations in the style of what we know as comics.

The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology

Masaharu Takemura: The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology; ISBN 978-1-59327-202-9; Published by No Starch Press, 225 pp., RRP AU$ 37.95

Apart from being a marvellous introduction to molecular biology this Manga guide is a great example of how graphics can be used to explain complex scientific concepts. The technical illustrations are two-dimensional monochrome; no 3D, full colour, or animation—just simple drawings that can be created with simple tools (either pencil-and-paper or software). The illustrations may be simple—in that they do not involve complex elements— but are quite extraordinary in so far as the information they convey. Regardless of one's particular discipline this is well worth studying as a framework for what can be done with graphics that don't require a Ph.D in some highly expensive (by definition Windows-based) software.

The Art and Science of CSS

Cameron Adams et al.: The Art and Science of CSS; ISBN 987-0-9758419-7-6; Published by Site Point, 213 pp., RRP AU$ 75

Five authors, each of whom is a professional in the field, have contributed to The Art and Science of CSS. It is well presented on all fronts: content, writing, typographic design, illustrations, and the use of spot colour to separate code examples from the main text. It is neither a definitive reference to cascading style sheets (CSS), nor a primer for raw novices. The approach is practical, focusing on examples of real-world tasks and their respective solutions. The book achieves an excellent balance between technical depth, conciseness, and a relaxed style that quietly engages the reader. It sticks to CSS standards, which helps in coping with cross browser issues and simplifies the task of site maintenance.

The Principles of Successful Freelancing

Miles Burke: The Principles of Successful Freelancing; ISBN 978-0-9804552-4-3; Published by SitePoint , 185 pp., RRP AU$ 59.95

SitePoint is an Australian company, based in Melbourne, that describes itself thus: "SitePoint specialises in publishing fun, practical, and easy-to-understand content for web professionals". That is a fair statement; their titles are authoritative, well-designed in respect of both content and typography, very well written, and focus on real—rather than theoretical—issues. In The Principles of Successful Freelancing the discussion is not technical, but rather in the form of a conversation about freelancing. The term, conversation, is used to distinguish the style from that of would-be motivational messiahs. The Principles of Successful Freelancing works well and is commended to anyone contemplating a move to freelancing.

Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML & CSS 2nd, edition

Ian Lloyd: Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML & CSS 2nd, edition; ISBN 978-0-9804552-7-4; Published by SitePoint <>, 438 pp., RRP AU$ 49.95

SitePoint is an Australian company, based in Melbourne, that publishes practical and easy-to-understand books on web technologies. Their titles are authoritative, well-designed in respect of both content and typography, very well written, and focus on real—rather than theoretical—issues. Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way is a tutorial for web-page-creation novices who want to learn "the right way" of building a complete web site. The right way means observing standards. This is not a book that pretends to cover every facet and detail of building a web site; it focuses on the essential elements of building a web site and provides a firm platform for those who want to expand their knowledge. There is not a mention of open source (especially the Linux option), but even though Win/Mac-centric, the instructions can quite easily be applied to open source programs. It is the principles that are important.

The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers 2nd edition

Peter Krogh: The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers 2nd edition; ISBN 978-0-596-52357-2; Published by O'Reilly, 476 pp., RRP AU$ 105

The DAM Book has the sub-title, A Digital Photography Ecosystem: Process < Edit < Archive.It is not about digital photography per se, but deals with managing the data lifecycle of digital images: cataloguing, naming files, filing methodology, storage, backups, work-flow, and hardware considerations. Even though aimed at a professional audience The DAM Book is also a valuable resource for anyone who holds, is responsible for, or has an interest in, a large collection of images, whether as digital files or hard-copy (prints, negatives, and transparencies) that should be insured against loss by making a digital archive. The book does not discuss open source solutions, but the open source illuminati should not write it off on that account; developers interested in digital asset management will find the comprehensive and in-depth discussions an invaluable resource for laying down program specifications.

Learn to Program 2nd edition

: Learn to Program 2nd edition; ISBN ; Published by , pp., RRP AU$

 This book is about learning to program using Ruby; Pragmatic Bookshelf is an active publisher of texts on Ruby and Rails and has recently released a second edition of Learn to Program. Ruby is a modern scripting language that is gaining wide acceptance for web development, but has a much wider application. Ruby is less complex than most other languages, and therefore easier to learn; however, that is not to suggest it is a toy language. Learn to Program is aimed at those who want to teach themselves how to program, even though they may aspire to languages with more extensive sets of elements, such as Java and C. Once the novice programmer has mastered the basic operations of Ruby it should not be difficult to graduate to other languages.

Foundation Website Creation with CSS, XHTML, and JavaScript

Jonathan Lane, Meitar Moscovitz, and Joseph Lewis: Foundation Website Creation with CSS, XHTML, and JavaScript; ISBN 978-1-4302-0991-1; Published by Friends of ED (an Apress subsidiary), 335 pp., RRP AU$ 65

Foundation Website Creation with CSS, XHTML, and JavaScript “is intended for people who are new to developing for the Web and those who are interested in overhauling their current work to be standards-compliant … and … is relevant to individuals working within companies and institutions, as well as those who freelance”. It is not a compete reference, or one of those bible texts; it looks at the big picture, but in remarkably good detail. Readers are assumed to be familiar with web technologies, but not necessarily expert, and motivated to learn the art. The book's focus is on understanding website creation both at the technical level, and the conceptual and planning level. It is not a guide for those seeking easy step-by-step instructions for some one-off task.

The Manga Guide to Physics

Hideo Nitta: The Manga Guide to Physics; ISBN 978-1-59327-196-1; Published by No Starch Press, 232 pp., RRP AU$ 37.95

Your physics is rusty and you want to reacquaint yourself with the subject? The Manga Guide to Physics is a great way to brush up—or even learn for the first time—how to walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk. It follows the Manga Guide format of using a comic strip story line to explain and illustrate the concepts and terminology of an academic subject to beginners.

Game Physics Engine Development

Ian Millington: Game Physics Engine Development; ISBN 978-0-369471-3; Published by Morgan Kaufmann, 456 pp., RRP AU$ 100

"Today's cutting-edge games utilise sophisticated physics to make the objects in their virtual worlds behave realistically. The software programs that control those simulations—physics engines—can be complex and difficult to build. Game Physics Engine Development describes step-by-step how to create a robust, usable physics engine … [using] clear and simple introductions to the underlying mathematics. With its emphasis on building what is needed to meet a game's requirements, this book takes a practical approach that steps through a series of increasingly sophisticated physics engine uses. The result is an accessible text that will allow even novice programmers to create powerful physics engines for their games." That quote is from the back cover of Game Physics Engine Development; it is, in my opinion, a fair statement.

Syndicate content