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  #21 (permalink)  
Old July 24th, 2003, 04:01 PM
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quote:Originally posted by Sojan
 Mr. Wikert,
     ...Sometimes, I think it is a good idea to run some stuff by a nivuce as well as a pro because if you confuse the nvice, chances are that you might confuse the pro as well. ...
That's actually a very good idea and we'll look into it as we look into this whole larger issue. I've done similar "novice reviews" in the past and if we can find a way to do this, we might try it on a experimental basis again.

Jim Minatel
Senior Acquisitions Editor
Wiley Technology Publishing
WROX Press
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old August 2nd, 2003, 02:05 PM
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I am not a proffessional and as a novice I probably pail in conparison to most novice programmers simply because I am self taught and at my own convience of time. I have purchased several books by various companyies on programming including topics of Beginning Java, Javascript, Web programming, Basic programming and Visual Basics 6. Of these I only have one book that is from Wrox. It is beginning Java 2 SDK 1.4 Edition by Ivor Horton.

Being someone who simply does not have the funds to attend college again and wishing to change my carreer to proramming I'm always looking for a really well written book on programming wether ist's a how to step by step or referance.

There was one thing that I've noticed in many of these books that really gives someone with little know how tons of frustration. Authors tend to forget that when they are writing a book for a novice that something they think is obvious is not always known by a novice. For example: when I wanted to begin to learn java programming I certainly couldn't afford a Graphical interface program to learn to use it or to try out the examples. Which is way I chose the book I did. But I had no clue how to get my programms to compile or execute because it was overlooked that in the command or bat files there had to be a path created so the system knew where to find the compiler and such. The book I started out with was by Sun and because I could not find the information in it I eventually purchased the one by Ivor Horton. Horton's book did help resolve some things that were not clear to me in the book published by Sun "Core Web Programming" however I had to search the web to find out how to create the required path and changes to my system to get anywhere.

between this and some minor code errors it makes it very frustrating. Even though I am aware not all of your books are targeted toward beginners or novice perhapse it would be useful to get reviews from students that have more knowledge than I, and dedication to the subject of each book for reviews to help authors clearify points that should be included in the book but are overlooked due to assumed knowledge.

Unfortuantly I would feel underqualified to do such reviews since my study of computer topics are varied and mostly sparatic at this time.
However, I am sure that college students studying the topic would make an exellent student review target group, should the particular book being reviewed be aimed at their level of knowledge.

As far as purchasing other books by same authors and/or publishers I tend to decide to buy or not buy based on others reviews and my own experiance with books by the same author or publisher. Thus far I find Beginning Java 2 to be useful to me at my level of knowledge with a bit of frustration with somethings that have been overlooked. I also have Sam books and will admit as someone who is trying to teach herself I like their lesson like organization but since the ones I purchased of theirs is aimed at teaching yourself and Wrox books do not seem to be aimed in that direction I don't know if this is of any use to authors or publishers at Wrox or not.

Well, this is rather long winded so I will stop here.


P.S. people who buy books only to return them that make a habit of it only to gain something for nothing should be ashamed of themselves. If you are not sure you want a book and your local library or campus library has it then go borrow it. It's a crying shame that you can't learn to offer helpful comments to help get a better product instead of insulting the author, editors, or publishers. Don't you think they want to make a better product? After all it's their livelyhood we are talking about.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old August 8th, 2003, 04:21 PM
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I will probably never buy a WROX book again New. I get them now from eBay because at least I buy a bad book there it's no big deal. I have been totally disgusted with the books I bought new. Like XML for Professionals; like ASP XML. Jeeze if anyone could have written more worthless and faulty code please tell them to stay away from me. The junk in those books was atrocious.
I hope that WROX does something about the faulty example code they put in their books because I'll be honest I don't care how smart the author(s) sound if they can't code they do me no good.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 01:39 AM
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quote:Originally posted by lean4huskytop
 I buy books from bordersa and barns and nobles and I ALWAYS return them 30 days before the return policy expires.

That would be the day you bought it. Or a week before you received an online order.

Seems a little fishy to me.

BTW considering your spelling, I doubt you have read anything other than picture books.
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Old October 21st, 2004, 12:08 PM
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 The title "Beginning Access 2000 VBA" would be more accurately called "Began Access 2000 VBA" or perhaps the more succinct and accurate "Doorstop". When producing a book that one intends to sell honestly with the word "Beginner's" in the title, one should then proceed to write a book aimed at beginners.

This is not a book that is really of any use to the beginner although I've no doubt that the authors did their sincere best to write one. This is a book written by people who know their topic well, but do not know who their audience is and what they will be thinking like or reading for. That's what editors are for. Wrox should hire some, because the people who passed themselves off as editors, whatever their other qualities, also didn't know how to write a beginner's guide.

Let's look at the book itself...

First off, the cliché title of Chapter one "A Long Journey" tells us that we should not expect much of these authors regarding creativity or cleverness. On the other hand, that’s okay, we don't need them to be, we just need them to be clear... Hmmm

Page 1 of Chapter 1 the authors state:

"We also want to reinforce the point that the book is designed to help you learn how to use VBA, and for that reason we're not interested in anything that would complicate matters."

Then as if they had just told you that the gun is only a toy, they shoot you in the kneecap. Four sentences later the author writes:

"We found the decision of which data access method to use caused the big problem, because Access 2000 comes with a new method (ADO), although the old method (DAO) is still available for use. Should we switch to this new method, or stick with the old one." [Beginning Access 2000 VBA, pg. 7, (First Page of Chapter 1)

Thank you gentlemen for not complicating matters. Never mind that the average "beginner" reader hasn't a clue as to what you're going on about.

Here's another gem of clarity for the novice:

"When using DAO, there is an Errors collection, which contains Error objects. Each Error object contains a single piece of information about an error."


Wrox, please stop playing at publishing things that have the word "Beginner's" on the cover. Indeed, given the number of coding errors you seem to have complaints about, consider getting out of the book business altogether. Numbers and accuracy of data are matters of some import in technical manuals, which is what you seem to be attempting to produce, If you were cranking out flawed technical manuals for, say, farm equipment or toasters, the class action lawsuits for death and dismemberment would have closed your company and jailed your owners.

I don't remember ever returning a book. I keep almost every book I buy because I generally think that even the worst of them has some merit. As I have all the doorstops I need, I'll take this one back to Border's today.

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  #26 (permalink)  
Old October 21st, 2004, 12:51 PM
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Wow, that's quite a review. Sorry you didn't like the book, but mostly I'm sorry you didn't stick with it a little longer than the first page of chapter 1. Page 8 (the 2nd page of chapter 1) discusses their decision to use DAO for the examples and that they will not explain the data access technologies here in chapter 1, but those will be covered in chapter 7. Chapter 7 does an excellent job of introducing DAO and its use.

The intent in chapter 1, like in many introductory chapters in most books, was to give the reader a heads up on what was coming, not to confuse them.

Not that it matters, but the book was published by Wrox prior to our acquisition, and admittedly the book dives in pretty quickly. We continue to look for ways to improve the quality of Wrox products, and appreciate your feedback.

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Old October 31st, 2004, 07:44 PM
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I also thought this was a bit hard on the Beginning VBA for Access book. While I agree that sometimes the "geo-political-economics" type explanations of why we are on MDAC2.6 or 2.7 or why ADO/OLEDB came along to replace ODBC etc are a bit daunting at first, I often skim them initially and come back later, and read them more thoroughly.

In fact once I have learned the actual "how to" of coding I often want to understand the bigger picture, especially when trying to figure out why something is not working as expected - and this might be a year after reading the "how-to" bits. A lot of getting s/w to work is about understanding which bits can connect to other bits (ASP to Access, VBA to Oracles etc) which is where all this stuff is important.

I find in learning s/w you have to kind of read around the subject from all kinds of sources to build up a picture of what is going on. I do not like the nuts and bolts only type books (e.g. learn it in 24 hours) as they tend not to help you get your bearings in s/w development time and space.

Beginning ASP3.0 and Beginning VBA for Access are 2 of my favourite technical books...
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