[BACK TO RESOURCES]|
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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The Art Of Photoshop
303 pages, $49.99
This may be the coffee table book of the season for designers, Web or otherwise. Daniel Giordan specializes in gorgeous natural scenery through Photoshop, with dynamic flower arrangements, moody forest scenes, and humans in repose. THE ART OF PHOTOSHOP is a luxurious survey of both art and technique, with large-format images and detailed explanations of how the results were obtained. This book will give current Photoshop users some splendid ideas, and may perhaps be equally effective as a gift to reluctant managers who fail to recognize the value of creative technology.
The Alignment Effect: How To Get Real Business Value Out of Technology
244 pages, $26.95
Financial Times /Prentice Hall www.ft-ph.com
The 21st Century business paradigm is all about value for investment. After years of IT spending -- and its perceived failure to change the world at once (radically, immediately, profitably) -- corporate executives are now turning to a new acronym, BTM. Business Technology Management is essentially a methodology for communication of business goals and technology resources to accomplish them. No more Tower of Babel in those endless meetings between suits and nerds. Faisal Hoque uses evangelical fervor in proclaiming the end of the business and IT "disconnect." He maps the models and schemas that hold in place disparate teams who need to be united in understanding the overriding business objectives of any initiative. If you do project management, for example, THE ALIGNMENT EFFECT could give you a scythe-like edge in optimizing the entire process of completing critical deliverables.
Macromedia Flash MX: Creative Web Animation And Interactivity
920 pages, $44.99
Macromedia Press/Peachpit Press www.peachpit.com
Flash is here to stay, and the savvy Web designer / developer needs to understand the comprehensive capabilities of what is becoming the principle Web animation tool. It's not just about cute moving pictures anymore. Derek Franklin has been very close to Flash since its introduction and he's written instruction materials for Macromedia. This mammoth tome is probably all you'll ever need to master everything there is about Flash - at least until the next version. (Is that a joke? I think that's a joke. I think.) It includes a valuable CD-ROM (Mac, Windows, and cross-platform compatible) with tutorial movies, exercise files, and a trial version of Flash MX.
Technology Lost: Hype And Reality In The Digital Age
186 pages, $24.99
Prentice Hall /www.phptr.com
If you're suffering from the Trough of Disappointment now because you've gone through the Peak of Inflated Expectations, take heart, because the Slope of Enlightenment is right around the corner, followed quickly by the Plateau of Creativity. That Gartner Group scenario of the technology "hype cycle" is the starting point for Ron Schneiderman's look at what promises technology has broken and what it has kept. The name of the game is keeping our expectations in check based on history, politics, the stock market, human nature, and the physical limits of technology. This is a good cautionary gloss at categories such as m-commerce, cellular phones, bandwidth and universal access, and voice recognition. The reality assessment for all the various "golden fleeces" we spend so much time and money on can revelatory. This is a good book for checking your credulity before you indulge your budget.
Web Services: A Technical Introduction
Deitel Developer Series
Prentice Hall www.phptr.com
A more detailed, programmer-related view of Web services from the high-profile Deitel team. There is a lot of discussion of core standards that support the Web service frameworks, including SML, SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI. If you know what those are, and yet you have doubts about your skill of how to implement a .NET or Java architecture (for example), then WEB SERVICES is the handbook to get you going. Typically expert treatment of the subject with a running start.
Search Engine Optimization With WebPosition Gold 2
Brad S. Konica
338 pages, $49.95
RoboHelp For The Web
John Hedtke and Brenda Huettner
422 pages, $49.95
Wordware Publishing www.wordware.com
If you develop Web sites, then you've probably looked at Search and Help functions as unique beasts with voracious appetites for IT dollars and engineering sweat. WebPosition Gold and RoboHelp are two automating software programs increasingly popular as easily customizable tools for developing robust functionalities out of the Search and Help areas of a site. The WordWare books supply all you need to understand of the software strengths and limitations, with plentiful illustrations and calm, concise explanations and tutorials. Both come with CD-ROM trial versions of the software and plenty of interactive practicalities.
Essential System Administration, 3rd Edition
1149 pages, $54.95
The nice thing about this classic guide to system administration is that you can go to a section like the one on LDAP and not feel like an idiot to read, "The best analogy for a directory service is the phone company's directory assistance. Directory assistance is a mechanism for customers to find information they need quickly." Frisch keeps coming up with analogies like this all the time for dense, technical programming issues. That might not be a big deal for someone who's been trained as a programmer, but many system administrators have moved into the position by default, from Web or desktop support roles, as their networks and systems grew. This is truly "essential" for anyone at any level of Linux or Unix administration who needs a deeper understanding, or a quick response to a question, or an informed view that allows them to make a tactical decision.
Pause And Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative
Mark Stephen Meadows
257 pages, $45
New Riders www.newriders.com
A weighty tome of philosophy and technology infused with wisdom of experience and creativity, Mark Meadows draws a beautifully organized and designed schema in PAUSE AND EFFECT for understanding the emotional and physiological impact of narrative. Using touchstones as varied as Renaissance visual design to modern computer games, he presents essentially a whole history of how humans learn, relate, and feel about ideas that are presented to them. If you work with the Web, or with the pen, this book will provoke you to alternate presentations of the words, images, and concepts you deal with. Valuable amplfication provided by numerous interviews and case studies from leading, cutting-edge, or merely interesting designers from many fields as diverse as comic books, film, video, graphic design, and Web art.
Integrated Web Design: Building The New Breed of Designer and Developer
Molly E. Holzschlag
203 pages, $39.99
New Riders www.newriders.com
The latest rumination on the state of Web design by superstar Molly Holzschlag deals with the totality of mind-body expressions that come into play by anyone who has to juggle the often conflicting gods of creativity and functionality. She calls for a "new breed" of designer and developer, those who can adapt to the rapidly changing technological environment of the 21st Century. Part of what will define success in new Web ventures will be the developer-designer partnership. To that end, INTEGRATED WEB DESIGN speaks to both sides of the brain, both sides of the Web equation. Sort of like Labor and Capital, yes? Beautifully illustrated volume, with aesthetics and practicalities in equal measure.
Blogging: Genius Strategies For Instant Web Content
309 pages, $29.99
New Riders www.newriders.com
Well, it's the first book on blogging I've seen, but that may just be me. When my mother told me she had started blogging, I knew that something was afoot. Looking through Stone's book I can see that this is yet another aspect of the Web's democratizing nature. Just as Napster and its ilk communalized the sharing of music, blogging allows the sharing of ideas. OK, maybe just rants and raves and incoherent scribbles a lot of the time. But as a quick publishing medium that allows the global transmittal of an individual's words, blogging is the pop phenomenon of the moment. There's a chapter here on Corporate Blogging, so you know eventually there will be a way (don't know how, just yet) for Big Brother to co-opt the benign anarchism of the blogging movement. But until now, you can use the other chapters in this book for all the how-tos you need to set up a blogging infrastructure for a Web site. Good tips on technique, style, design, and content, also. With this much freedom in the hands of so many people, there will no doubt be a point of overkill when no one will want to read these things anymore. But effective niches will survive and thrive.
Reality ColdFusion MX: Flash MX Integration
Ben Forta & others
410 pages, $39.99
Macromedia/Peachpit Press www.peachpit.com
The premise of this book is simple. Specific "real work" situations integrating ColdFusion and Flash are used as case studies for developers to gain insight and creative power over these two increasingly popular and business-critical tools. Forta and his team present four broad-based sample developments - a Flash-based jukebox, a business expense tracking application, an embeddable email client, and a real-time chat app - with a schematic but highly readable approach to working out each set of solutions. Included are the essential steps of product definition and requirements, solution brainstorming, the development process, and a presentation of the final solution with post-deliverable analysis. Equal parts business and technical strategy and code; thus, this is not the book to begin your journey with ColdFusion. But if you're already on the road, your knowledge will be extended beyond the horizon.
Unique Now...or Never: The Brand is the Company Driver in the New Value Economy
349 pages, $27
Prentice Hall/Financial Times www.phptr.com/
This is one of those tony business books whose title explains pretty much everything you need to know from it. Danish marketing consultant Kunde made a splash with his previous book, "Corporate Religion," and he amplifies the main themes of that book in his latest with a colorfully designed, provocatively written, but obviously stated emphasis on the importance of managing a company's brand identity and "metaphysics." There's almost a pop approach to his hammering home points about the new value (as opposed to product) economy, the brand = corporate personality equation, and how VW, Bang & Olufsen, Unilever, Heinz, Levi's, and others redefined themselves or otherwise dodged the bullet of irrelevance. It's a fast, pleasant read, but mostly of value to those who skirt the perimeter of brand marketing to gain insight as to what those incredibly well-paid executives are doing in their offices.
Web Service Explained: Solutions And Applications For The Real World
208 pages, $29.99
Prentice Hall PTR www.phptr.com
Web Services has been a buzzword for awhile now, and it doesn't look like it's going away. Books like this can help clear the air and give a more solid, practical demonstration of the transformative power that Web services will make to the structure of the overall business environment. Clabby is talking to non-technical business people here, showing how the new distributed computing architectures can be leveraged by companies to improve communication at all levels. With the Web as the structural backbone, and using schemas mapped out by XML and standards like SOAP and UDDI, Web services bring a much higher level of intelligible connectivity to applications. They also allow developers to worry less about systems infrastructure and concentrate more on building cooperative programs. This freedom filters up to affect strategic business development by allowing concentration on new market targets, overcoming competition, and increasing incremental revenue from reusable intellectual property. Eventually, everyone will be able to talk (and work and learn and build and serve) to everybody and everything, in a vision of a wired world not even conceived of when that phrase was new.