This week's book giveaway is in the OCPJP forum. We're giving away four copies of OCA/OCP Java SE 7 Programmer I & II Study Guide and have Kathy Sierra & Bert Bates on-line! See this thread for details.
Author/s : Phil Dutson
Publisher : Pearson/Addison-Wesley Professional
Review by : Jeanne Boyarsky
Rating : 7 horseshoes
LiveLessons are a video training series. You can buy individual lessons for $15-$20 each or the whole series for $120. Each lesson is 20-40 minutes long.
Downloading the videos After you buy a single lesson or series, it appears to you on the "digital purchases" page. You have to download each lesson individually. This was good in that each file was smaller so I got some of them faster. The con is that it is tedious to download nine files individually. I'd have liked a "download all" link. Another problem was the title for download was "lesson 1." Unlike the purchase page which had the lesson #, title, summary, file size and length of video. I'd have liked all this info on the download screen. The platform is still relatively new so I expect some of these will get straightened out over time.
The other problem was that it was slow for me to download. Verizon claims they don't throttle DSL but I've noticed my speed go down after downloading large files. I downloaded a 300MB file earlier in the week. By the time I got to this, I was at 112KB/second. The point being make sure yu have the ability to download large files before buying this!
The videos You can fast forward at 2X (fast speaking) or faster (in which case sound goes off) and it just fast forwards. I am able to listen to a video at 1.5 speed but not 2x so I'd have liked a little more control. The visuals matched the speaker which is good. I like that you can easily drag thru points in the video and see the screen at that point. The lessons are broken up into 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, etc. I didn't see any easy way to get to 2.2 smoothly. I imagine it was there and I missed it.
The first video showed the difference between video and a pile of screenshots in a book. Watching someone install software is much deeper than reading about it. The videos switched between installing, code and running. I really liked seeing the dev tools in the browser. A great way to teach debugging. The advantage is that you can see what happens without a pile of screenshots. The disadvantage is that it is harder to skim or search later.
I get the feeling some topics are more conduisive to this format than others. jQuery is definitely one of them. It was good seeing it in action, code, documentation, etc. And given I complained about absolutely zero screenshots in the last jQuery book I read, this was a welcome relief.
Overall, it comes down to whether you like learning from a book or video better. I know a few people who learn well from lynda and think everyone should learn that way. Live Lessons suits that audience. While I had some minor hiccups along the way, the LiveLessons series is very well put together, has great content and is a welcome addition to the tech world for auditory learners.
Disclosure 1: I only watched the first two lessons in the sequence to write this review. (this would be two out of nine)
Disclosure 2: I received a copy of this video from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.