Active Directory 4th Edition
Photoshop Elements 6: The Missing Manual
By Barbara Brundage
First Edition March 2008
ISBN 10: 0-596-51444-1 | ISBN 13: 9780596514440
Reviewed by Abbott Schindler
I’ve been reading Missing Manual books for several years now and have enjoyed each of them. Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac: The Missing Manual is one of the best Ive seen in the line. True to other Missing Manuals, this volume is very clearly written and extraordinarily comprehensive. The author, Barbara Brundage, assumes only the most basic knowledge on the part of readers. Every aspect of Photoshop Elements 6 (PSE6) that I was interested in was explained thoroughly.
There are a number of chapters that go into quite a bit of depth about all aspects of the program. For example, in past versions, selecting parts of the image for editing was cumbersome. PSE6 introduces some key capabilities that vastly simplify the process and produce great results, and Brundage spends a lot of space describing and illustrating these tools and methods very well. In fact, illustrations are a strength of this book: theyâ€™re wonderful. Everything that should be illustrated is, and there are few illustrations I would remove from the bookâ€”a very welcome use of space. But I digress.
Layers is a key aspect of Photoshop-style image editing, and the book describes layers and their use very clearly. Iâ€™ve been a Photoshop user for several years and with what Iâ€™ve learned from this book, itâ€™s clear that I havenâ€™t been using them to nearly their potential. Itâ€™s always good to learn oneâ€™s tools better, and this Missing Manual has certainly helped me to do that.
Image retouching is covered very well. Iâ€™d pair this book with Scott Kelbyâ€™s excellent â€œThe Photoshop Elements 6 Book for Digital Photographersâ€ (ISBN10 0-321-52464-0). The Missing Manual tells what all the tools are and goes into the basics of how/what the tools are; software usage sorts of things. I view Kelbyâ€™s book as more of a problem-solving volume. While The Missing Manual tells about the toolbox and how to use it, Kelbyâ€™s volume does a stronger job of addressing specific retouching situations and how to use PSE6 to remedy themâ€”more like a very good cookbook.
The Missing Manual does so many things so well that itâ€™s really hard to enunciate in a brief review. For example, throughout the book are comparisons with the full version of Photoshop CS3. This is helpful in deciding whether you need the full version, and what youâ€™d get by switching. It also articulates differences between PSE6 and earlier versions, and between the Mac and PC versions. And the book is indexed very well (this is important to me).
This truly is the book that should have shipped with every copy of PSE6. I highly recommend it.
Gary A. Donahue
Reviewer: Lewis Howell
Review: Network warrior is a refreshing look into the world of Cisco routers, switches and firewalls. While the book is certainly Cisco centric most if not all of the topics apply to other vendors. Donahue does a great job, starting at Layer 1 and working his way up the stack. Early in the book Donahue speaks to Auto-Negotiation (finally) leaving us with one simple rule ” Make sure that both sides of the link are configured the same way.” What a simple rule but I can not tell you how many times mis-matched duplexing has been the cause of many headaches. While this is only one simple tip it sums up the voice of the book, pin-pointing the caveats that take some people years to learn. Digging deeper into the book you will find great and applicable discussions on STP, OSPF (including areas and re-distribution), QOS, and firewall theory; among many others. My hat goes off to Donahue as he accomplishes what many have tried in the past. If you manage a network infrastructure this book will remain on your desk, not your shelf.
Gary A. Donahue
Reviewer: Mark Turner
Reprint from: http://counix.com/?p=26
Review: I just finished up a pretty thorough read of Network Warrior, published by Oâ€™Reilly Media, Inc. I have to say that it was one of the best network engineering books that I have read in quite some time. The book is packed full of nuggets of knowledge that I have not seen together in one book. Gary A. Donahue, the author, has done a great job of going over material in that CCNA’s need to know, but where it really shines is the discussion of things that the current CCNA folks are not forced to learnâ€¦ one big example is CatOS. CatOS is still in use in a multitude of devices out there and its nice to find a book that still acknowledges that.
The book is very Cisco centric (But what network guy isnt), still the topics usually apply to other vendors quite well. I especially loved part 8 of the book, titled â€œDesigning Networksâ€. He does a GREAT job of walking through the network design process: including selling it to management. I also felt that part 6, Server Load Balancing is a must read for anyone with services that need to scale, once again the discussion is Cisco focused.. but there are some gems in there that work no matter what techniques you choose are.
This book is one of the few that should always be near so its there to grab when you need it. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone that manages a network.
The Myths of Innovation
Reviewer: Lewis Howell
Review: The Myths of Innovation is a short and fun look into the world of innovation. Burken starts by exploring the foundations of innovation, those individuals that spent their lives innovating and the common threads that continue to weave their way through the innovative process. While Burken touches on Newton, Edison, Bell and Google his goal is not to turn us into innovators but rather participants in a lifelong process of innovating. We learn how many innovators stumbled into the innovations that changed the world, for better or worse, by staying the course and asking the right questions. It also becomes apparent that timing is of extreme importance; is the world ready for this innovation? As a reader we are left with many techniques used by Google and other leading creative agencies that foster innovative environments. We learn how to un-focus and relax our mind, create innovative environments and distance ourselves from the forces that tend to quench creative focus.
Andy Oram, Greg Wilson
Review: I enjoyed Beautiful Code for a number of reasons. As a programmer with relatively little formal training in â€œproperâ€ coding, I was expecting to find a number of coding paradigms laid out in detail. I was not disappointed. Beautiful Code offers a number of valuable and divergent approaches and methods to the art. In addition, I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to many details of a number of fascinating commercial and open source projects. I would highly recommend this book, both for its presentation of a number elegant coding techniques; and for the many projects it presents.
Backup & Recovery
W. Curtis Presston
Reviewer: Lewis Howell
Review: If you are tasked with designing, deploying and managing a backup infrastructure, W. Curtis Presstons’ Backup & Revocery “Inexpensive Backup Solutions for Open Systems” will prove indespensible. Presston does a great job of introducing the reader to backup basics and more complicated infrastructure designs and considerations. This book addresses techniques designed to backup and recover *nix (Solaris, AIX, HP-UX) and Windows environments alike. I personally found Part II to be very interesting (Open Source Backup Utilities) giving me an opportunity to explore utilities that could better protect my environment.
DNS & Bind
Paul Albitz & Cricket Liu
Reviewer: Lewis Howell
Review: If you have anything to do with DNS – buy this book. You may not read this book cover to cover but you WILL reference it on a regular basis. Know how you will respond to a DNS outage?
Time Management for System Administrators
Thomas A. Limoncelli
Reviewer: Lewis Howell
Review: Ever wonder why you are so busy and things just keep piling up and you never have time to keep up? You can’t even make it to that cool new “Sponsored” User Group meeting with free beer (as in free beer…see http://coisug.info).”Yeh, I can’t make it, I am slammed”, ” Another outage”, “I never have time to get things done because I am always interrupted.” Sound familiar? If so, and it probably does, pick up Limoncellis’ short book on Time Management. Limoncelli, System Administrator for Google, knows the routine and offers up creative ways to solve your time management issues. He offers solutions and ideas that are realistic. Always getting interrupted? Have someone run interference, a co-worker or even your manager. Having trouble getting those daily task completed? Do them first thing in the morning. Need more time to work on a project? Work it out so that you get into work an hour earlier. Be ontime! Fix things ONCE and automate. Follow Limoncellis’ advice for 1 month and I bet that you will immediately see a difference in your performance. Since reading Time Management for System Administrators I have been using an analog planner for almost 2 years, I make all of my appointments, deliver projects ontime and more importantly have more time for my family.
LINUX: Pocket Guide
Daniel J. Barrett
Reviewer: Lewis Howell
Review: Barretts’ Linux pocket guide is a good addition to your IT tool bag. While not designed to explain every command available in the *nix language it is a good quick resource that highlights the most important options. Think of it as a “man pages” in your pocket. A good resource for beginner *nix admins as well.
vi Editor: Pocket reference
Reviewer: Lewis Howell
Review: vi Editor Pocket reference by Robbins unlocks many of the mysteries surrounding the command line editor (cli) vi. If you spend much time in the cli, as some of us do, many of the options and routines are second nature, however, many useful tools remain unused and overlooked. This small book helps dentify some of the hidden options that could turn two hours of tedious work into 10 minutes.
Google Apps: The Missing Manual
Reviewer: Abbott Schindler
Review: Having heard a lot about Google Apps and Google Docs lately, I decided to learn more about them and how they might fit into the individual and collaborative endeavors of my life. Google Apps: The Missing Manual looked like a good place to start my research.
This book will do an excellent job of quickly bringing you up to a reasonable knowledge level on Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail and other Google Apps. I’m a big fan of “The Missing Manual” series, and this volume is every bit as informative and readable as the other dozen or so missing manuals I’ve read.
I was primarily interested in Google Docs, and this book had copious information that was more than adequate to get me up and running. There are a lot of subtleties hidden in Google Apps and how you can collaborate with them. Ms. Conner describes quite a few of these in her numerous “tips” inserts. In fact, I found the tips to be some of the most valuable parts of the book.
As a long-time desktop apps user who’s worked collaboratively for huge corporations, the idea of using cloud-based apps is new and interesting to me. This book did a great job of describing where Google Apps would be appropriate and how they fit with desktop apps. For example, Ms. Conner made it clear to me that while Google Apps might be adequate for many routine uses, it may often be desirable to “polish” Google Docs with more capable desktop applications. Her clear descriptions and neutral presentation of capabilities, strengths, and limitations were very helpful here.
This book is extremely complete and should be useful to beginning and intermediate users. In addition, it includes several chapters that should help administrators set Google Apps up in a shared corporate environment.
I was a little confused by the Google Sites chapter, but I’m not really interested in web design. Overall the book is extremely informative and readable, and the information is presented concisely. I highly recommend it.
Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers
Reviewer Abbott Schindler
Review: I got this book to complement Deke McClelland’s excellent One-On-One volume (ISBN 978-0596521899) and am glad I did. The books are definitely complementary and I highly recommend both of them to digital photographers seeking a reasonable level of Photoshop knowledge quickly.
The Companion for Photographers is well thought-out. Derrick Story presents a totally Adobe-based workflow that starts with importing images using Photo Downloader in Adobe Bridge, adds metadata, then does quite a bit of editing using Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), and finally uses Photoshop CS4 for final adjustments when needed.
The book doesn’t attempt to make you a Photoshop CS4 expert. I found it to be an excellent introductory guide for digital photographers who want to know enough about Photoshop CS4 to use the program well without getting inundated in too many details. It succeeds well at that level.
No sample/demo disc is included. Instead, Story invites the reader to follow along and try the techniques on their own images. This works fine for me, although some may prefer to use something provided with the book.
The workflow is logical and presented with sufficient detail and delightful prose. However, my workflow is based on Apple’s Aperture, and I didn’t know quite what to do with the Bridge description. What did interest me, and will likely cause me to try importing with Bridge in the future, was the automatic metadata addition/embedding during import, which I didn’t know about until reading this book.
I found the Adobe Camera RAW presentation excellent. ACR received a lot of enhancements in CS4 and Story covered them very well, succinctly and interestingly. He really shows how much you can do in ACR—much of which required Photoshop in earlier versions. His descriptions are simple, direct and understandable.
Layers—whose capabilities and accessibility were greatly improved in CS4—are covered very well in the book. You won’t become an expert in using layers after a casual reading, but you should definitely feel like exploring them if you haven’t already. And if you’ve been using Photoshop for a while, the discussion on new layer capabilities will serve as a good introduction to their capabilities.
There’s a very valuable “Recipes” chapter that covers many of the most common adjustments/edits photographers are likely to need for their images. Story presents them with impressive clarity.
Big plusses for me in this book: very approachable introduction to CS4; delightful prose (almost conversational, as opposed to academic); copious use of photos and screen captures; useful recipes for the most common photographic corrections; and the physical size of the book (makes it very easy to carry with you if desired). I’m highly recommending this volume to my digital photographer friends.
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