Book Bytes – MyMac Magazine #61 – Bonus

Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Web Design
with ImageReady2 and GoLive 4
by Michael Baumgardt
Adobe / Peachpit Press
ISBN 0-201-70012-3, 315 pages
$40.00 US, $59.95 CN

This book is stunning! Pages explode with color and design. High quality paper stock is used for sharp text and powerful imagery. Inside columns contain primary content, with outside columns offering helpful tips, screen shots, and examples. Real world websites are analyzed for their pros and cons, often accompanied by interviews with their designers. Sequential lessons are printed using bold type for individual steps.

Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Web Design is the most visually exciting and well-presented graphics book to cross our Book Bytes threshold in months, with magnificent integration of technical content and illustrative imagery. If you are using Adobe’s applications for pro-level web work you MUST see this exceptional book for yourself. I wish I knew more about the subject matter, but I intend to study every word and pore over every graphic. Rave rave rave! HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.

MacMice Rating: 5

Inside Adobe Photoshop 5.5
by Gary David Bouton and Barbara Bouton
with Gary Kubicek
New Riders Press
ISBN 0-7357-1000-7, 888 pages plus CD
$44.99 US, $67.95 CN, £34.99 UK

I have two monster books in front of me weighing down my large butcher block tabletop desk: the current title and its more expensive hardcover 1054-page, 2-CD “limited edition” Book Bytes Award winning predecessor on Photoshop 5.0 (which has five chapters in addition to the original 20 in the Inside Photoshop 5 non-limited-edition book, plus a second CD containing extra fun projects).

Which one should you own? As author Gary Bouton explains, the books are essentially similar, and if you don’t already own either earlier book you should consider this Photoshop 5.5 version plus his “all new book for all skill levels” entitled Adobe Photoshop 5.5 Fundamentals with ImageReady 2, which we intend to review here in Book Bytes.

Now that you are completely confused, all you need to understand is that Inside Adobe Photoshop 5.5 a workhorse volume, loaded with step-by-step tutorials utilizing text, printed examples, and CD image files. Once you master these lessons and projects you will be a mighty multitalented Photoshop guru. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Gary Bouton explains what’s what in his current book lineup:

There are four books out now for the recent releases of Photoshop; two address version 5.5, while the other two are great companions for version 5 of Photoshop.

Why would you purchase this book, Inside Adobe Photoshop 5.5? You’d buy it because you want the top book on Photoshop for 1998, plus 4 new chapters on ImageReady and what’s new in version 5.5.

MacMice Rating: 4

Travel Planning Online for Dummies, 2nd Edition
by Noah Vadnai with Julian Smith
Dummies Press
ISBN 0-7645-0672-2, 349 pages plus CD
$24.99 US, $37.99 CN, £23.99 UK

Planning for personal and business travel using the Internet has permanently changed the way people research and book their trips. Book Bytes liked the first edition of this book, and this second edition is better. Every aspect of the online travel planning experience is covered with wisdom and wit, in a friendly, first-person format (including the lead author’s email address for personal contact). The yellow pages directory of recommend URLs is a winner. I admit it: I turned to the original Travel Planning Online for Dummies before scouting out trips, and I intend to do the same with this revision. Personally RECOMMENDED.

MacMice Rating: 4

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Yahoo!
by Michael Miller
Alpha / Que / Macmillan
ISBN 0-7897-2277-1, 339 pages
$19.99 US, $29.95 CN, £18.50 UK

Oops. This title found its way to Book Bytes with a personal “Hope you like this one, John” inscription from the author, plus a pre-publication endorsement from me on its cover. The book should be good then, right? Yahoo remains a BIG DEAL on the Internet, and both frequent and occasional users should equip themselves with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Yahoo! to make the most of the experience.

I know I recommend way too many books for the average Macperson. The choice is yours: spend valuable time hunting and pecking your way through the Yahoo directory and search categories, or have author Michael Miller at your side to explore Yahoo efficiently. Auctions, radio, message boards, classifieds, and tons more are all here. Nice book, Mike. I’ll use it on a regular basis.

MacMice Rating: 3

Researching Online for Dummies, 2nd Edition
by Reva Basch and Mary Ellen Bates
Dummies Press
ISBN 0-7645-0546-7, 352 pages plus CD
$24.99 US, $37.99 CN, £23.99 UK

I loaned my copy of the first edition of this helpful book to a friend who is a professional researcher. She refuses to return it, so I’m glad this newer version has arrived. I’m keeping this one at close range to assist me with my personal and professional research. As the Dummies series matures, the more practical titles become even better for beginners and intermediates. A yellow pages section features the very best sites covered from among hundreds mentioned in the text. Your money spent on this RECOMMENDED book will repay itself with improved, efficient research methods within the first week of usage.

MacMice Rating: 4

Sams Teach Yourself Today e-Banking
by Brian Nixon and Mary Dixon
Sams Publishing
ISBN 0-672-31882-2, 244 pages
$17.99 US, $26.95 CN, £12.99 UK

I am lukewarm on electronic banking, although I occasionally log into my Wells Fargo online monthly statement. Several friends use online banking for all their transactions and rave about it. Let’s see how this book handles the subject.

With lots of boxed sidebars, screen shots of Internet banking sites, and informative outside-column info, this book is easy to read and study. Extensive coverage is given to selecting the best online bank for each person, and establishing your account. Next come paying bills and borrowing money via an online financial institution, followed by in-depth coverage of security and privacy concerns, and what the future may bring as this new form of commerce expands.

Book Bytes is pleased to RECOMMEND Sams Teach Yourself Today e-Banking for people who want to get off to a good start, plus educators and families who want to enter the online banking experience with a solid foundation.

MacMice Rating: 3

FileMaker Pro 5 for Windows & Macintosh
Visual QuickStart Guide
by Nolan Hester
Peachpit Press
ISBN 0-201-70417-X, 334 pages
$17.99 US, $26.95 CN

Book Bytes approves of the Visual QuickStart series for learning how to use task-based applications, such as FileMaker Pro. Our previous review has praised author Nolan Hester’s book covering version 4 of FMP database software. Last month both Manavesh (our FMP guru) and I discussed a heavy-duty bible on FileMaker. We’re back!

This slim, affordable Visual QuickStart book jumps right in with descriptions of what is new in version 5 of the software, followed by cross-platform explanations of basic info all users need to know. From there Hester plows through every essential aspect of using FMP: records and files, database fields and layouts, and a brief section of “Creating Relational Databases.”

FMP5 is different enough from version 4 to make the final chapters in FileMaker Pro 5 for Windows & Macintosh Visual QuickStart Guide, including “Networking” and “Publishing on the Web,” required reading, especially for experienced users. The appendices may be worth the entire price of this book, because they address installation and configuration, FileMaker’s multitude of functions and script commands, and (my favorite) its keyboard shortcuts.

If you are already a whiz with FMP4 or FMP5 you probably won’t need to buy this book. But if you are taking the plunge into serious database work and need a step-by-step guide to get you rolling, this low-priced book contains tremendous value for beginning and intermediate users.

Now what do you say, Manavesh?

There are two main facts about FileMaker Pro 5 for Windows & Macintosh Visual QuickStart Guide. It’s clear and concise. And it’s short. Though it seems that most everything you need is in here, I find that it is a little too short for comfortable learning from scratch.

On the other hand, this small book is an excellent reference tool. I often find that the other really big (and really heavy) books are difficult to use when I’m at the computer; they often end up on the floor.This one is light enough that you can rest it on the keyboard without worrying when its warranty is up.

It has a few very well organized appendices at the end, with Functions, Script Steps, and Keyboard Shortcuts. The latter is especially well done, as it is laid out twice, once by Menu, then again by Function. There is even a small section at the end for Dialog box shortcuts. Believe me, in FileMaker these are useful (especially the Escape key). It is very quick to find specifics. I found it easier here than in the Filemaker bible, where the charts go on for pages with contrasting lines of large text.

One other curious fact: both these books are “cross-platform,” but all of the graphics are of Windows screen shots. Now, I understand they are the majority users, but Windows screens are just not “book worthy,” in my opinion. There is too much dark gray, the text is small, and the underlines don’t help.

Perhaps if they were run through a good graphics program first, lighten the gray, enlarge the text a little, soften those thick black outlines. It would be tedious, but AppleScript would help. 🙂

Fenton Jones
FileMaker 101 Tutorial Series

MacMice Rating: 3

ICQ for Dummies
by Peter Weverka and Michael Taylor
Dummies Press
ISBN 0-7645-0586-6, 358 pages
$19.99 US, $29.99 CN, £18.99 UK

I have no personal experience with ICQ, the “I seek you” Internet application for chatting and quite a bit more. If I had an extra 20 hours each day, I would spend a few of them chatting with people over the Net. As it is, I realize it’s a chatty world out there, but without my participation.

This book covers every feature and facet of ICQ thoroughly and thoughtfully. There are so many things you can do in this Internet “community” you could spend every waking hour using ICQ and never exhaust the service. From my perspective as a non-user, I suggest you consider owning and devouring ICQ for Dummies if you are planning to use ICQ, or if are already using it, but don’t think you are maximizing the experience.

MacMice Rating: 3

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