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Resources - Book Bytes|
|by Stephen M.H. Braitman - NBMA Director of Communications|
Book Bytes announces new publications of interest to our members and community in multimedia, technology, business, and culture.
First appearance of each Book Bytes column is in the NBMA email events newsletter. To subscribe, send a blank email message to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a recommendation for review and, especially, if you have published a book send the information to .
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Against The Clock: MAC OS X
230 pages, $48.95
Prentice Hall www.prenhall.com
The Against The Clock series is a practical training guide for various software titles. These spiral-bound manuals use a CD-ROM in consort with cleanly illustrated subject chapters with dynamic, interactive teaching. The Mac OS X manual is a basic introduction to the system, learning to use all the available tools and accessories. If you haven't moved to OS X from OS 9x or any earlier version, you may feel less daunted by the transition with this extremely easy presentation. And it's not dumbed down at all. Others in this series include titles on Illustrator, FrontPage, Quark Xpress, Photoshop, Flash, Director, Preflight, and many others.
Windows XP Home Edition: The Missing Manual
573 pages, $24.95
iPHOTO: The Missing Manual
David Pogue, Joseph Schorr, Derrick Story
289 pages, $24.95
Pogue Press/OReilly www.missingmanuals.com
If youve ever purchased software and been angered by the lack of documentation or user information, David Pogue leads an army providing the essential missing manuals. His series has filled in the gaps that manufacturers damnably leave to consumer confusion. He leads the fight against the tech industrys invocation, Let the buyer beware. The Missing Manual for Windows XP is reasonably priced and quite hefty, a worthy soup-to-nuts reference resource that allows moderate and experienced users entry to valuable, non-condescending information. Youll be able to figure out that Microsofts latest operating system is less mysterious and clunky than first seems, and zoom quickly to major troubleshooting pixies. The sections on the email programs and Web browsing are excellently described. If you have to go with the other OS, this book will be an able companion. Similarly, the iPhoto manual (covering version 1.1.1) helps cover all the bases of this photo management software. Although shooting pictures may seem an instinctive act, getting them to look great is an art. iPhoto can help you tweak your pics to superstar quality, as well as provide slide shows, screen savers, Web page utilization, and other uses. Again, this book could very well live next to your computer; youll find yourself referring to it time and time again.
Real World Adobe GOLIVE 6
Jeff Carlson and Glenn Fleishman
878 pages, $44.99
Adobe/Peachpit Press www.peachpit.com
This is another huge Web book, for the latest GoLive software from Adobe. Im almost exhausted considering it beyond what readers probably already know from Jeff Carlson and Glenn Fleismans earlier editions: A reasonable start with the history and background of the Web and the software, then a slowly paced entry to working with the interface, and rapidly progressing to actual page construction using layout elements, text, images, color, frames, etc., etc. I wont go into the merits of GoLive over other Web building software, but if youve chosen this as your primary tool, the Real World manual is as good a method as any other for becoming expert in short order.
Inside Photoshop 7
Gary David and Barbara Mancuso Bouton
1000 pages, $49.99
Photoshop 7 Killer Tips
Scott Kelby and Felix Nelson
213 pages, $39.99
247 pages, $45.00
New Riders www.newriders.com
With the latest version of Photoshop making waves in the design community, it's obvious that the publishing world is capitalizing big time on explaining to us exactly what we're getting into with the software investment. New Riders has three new books that attempt to capture as much "mindshare" as possible regarding the product - a comprehensive "nuts to bolts" encyclopedic compendium; an insider's guide to tips and tricks; and a "wow" factor picture book that inspires creativity.
The team that put together INSIDE PHOTOSHOP 7 approaches the subject from several different perspectives; there are even some disagreements. That's good, since Photoshop allows quite a lot of individual choices. For beginners, it may be daunting to get a handle on all the myriad capabilities, but this book takes those newbies by the hand with a cool interactive learning tool in the CD-ROM that's included. (What, not a DVD?) Using the examples provided, the user actually goes through creative exercises from the very beginning. Sort of like learning to swim by being thrown into the water. Pros can get a lot out of the book, too, since the chapters rapidly progress from customizing your preferences to "Creating a Type Effect Using an Alpha Channel." It's a book that will be referred to by dedicated Photoshop users again and again.
Kelby and Nelson's KILLER TIPS is designed to quickly identify "cool tips and hidden secrets" of Photoshop 7 with colorful sub-sections that take up about half a page each within broad chapter topics (Production, Layers, Image-Correction, Web, etc.). You can pick up the ideas and suggestions they have at a glance. Sometimes their gonzo verbiage is a little too cute ("Understanding the giant mondo-big brushes palette"; "Type Mask Function: It's not just for breakfast anymore") but generally their breezy writing style perfectly suits the wacky inspirations from left field that designers love.
Not quite a coffee-table book, PHOTOSHOP STUDIO combines practical solutions ("Creating realistic wood textures"; getting deep into perspective imaging) with a clean, expansive design and clearly illustrated explanations. Bert Monroy takes a patient step-by-step approach to teaching techniques like creating a fog effect or making reflections with the Spherize filter. He has plenty of bravura examples to show in his gallery, such as "Hamburgers" and "Hotel Arcata." After reading this book you won't feel that they're such impossible achievements, after all.
Content Management For Dynamic Web Delivery
JoAnn T. Hackos
415 pages, $39.99
Content, broadly defined, is a media type (text, image, audio, video) used for any communicative purpose, whether it be print, Web, email, or film. As the volume of content explodes exponentially in this digital age, managing these resources becomes paramount. Increasingly important to the corporate bottom line is the use and reuse of their digital assets. Hackos gives a fine overview of content strategy and its tactical importance for companies who traffic at any level of intellectual property. More importantly, she lays out her own evangelistic proposal for designing an Information Model. This is the starting point for understanding what content you have, and how it needs to be organized, stored, databased, packaged, and made accessible for use, reuse, and all the inevitable incremental revenue it can produce. She spends a lot of time on this subject, as the successful completion of an Info Model will also define the strategies and practical production goals of implementing a content management system. For any Web person who helps design business strategies for their company or clients, this is a necessary area you'll need to understand. Also valuable are her chapters on staffing needs for content management and a categorized vendor list. Beware, however; content management as a market category is exploding, and the products and companies are constantly changing.
SAMS Teach Yourself Flash MX In 24 Hours
600 pages, $29.99
Macromedia Flash For Windows & Macintosh
613 pages, $24.99
Macromedia Flash Advanced For Windows & Macintosh
611 pages, $29.99
Peachpit Press www.peachpit.com
The latest Flash software is the easiest way to make movies and other animated interactive experiences on the Web. The books here are comprehensive in their different approaches, and all three take the immersion principle to heart. Get right in doing it! That's the best way to learn.
Kerman in the SAMS book follows that publisher's 24-hour lesson plan schema with a graduated series of instructions that are each followed with good summarizing Q&A section and quizzes. I appreciated his suggestion that you approach the book by forgetting everything you've learned or know about Flash "sometimes the less experience you have, the better." If you want a kindly and structured learning environment that empowers you with quick skill acquisition, go with the SAMS book.
Peachpit's classic educational approach works a bit differently in their two Flash books. Both Ulrich and Chun write excellent instructions, not forgetting that instructions also need explanations and rationales for specific actions. However, the method is comprised of discrete steps clearly outlined for each task. For example, to add shared run-time symbols to your movie, you follow the numbers: 1) Open both the source file and the destination file; 2) Open the Library window for each file; 3) Drag the Rectangle symbol from the source's Library windowetc., etc. It's not prosaic; rather it's schematic, and this may be an advantageous learning environment for people who like that method. This also makes it easier to find specific tasks and techniques, as the arrangement of materials is grouped better by type than lesson plan. Chun's much more detailed, expert-level book includes a CD-ROM (what, not a DVD?) that includes all the Flash source files used.
PC Hardware In A Nutshell, 2nd Edition
Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson
782 pages, $39.95
You may know everything about that Photoshop or Dreamweaver program, but dare you open up the case behind your computer to replace a sound card or add a new serial port? The latest edition of PC HARDWARE IN A NUTSHELL improves upon the original with more details, some modernized graphics, and discussion of almost all the additional components to hardware that the industry has added in the interim. You can use this as an informative encyclopedia (basic definitions of everything from device drivers to chipset buffers) as well as a practical users guide ("Upgrading the System BIOS"; "Installing a Floppy Disk Drive"). It's all here. And best of all, it's interactive. That is, there's a couple of useful Web sites associated with the book, to reach the authors with questions (and challenges), and a community message board.