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Hello Kathy and Bert . . . Want some suggestions?  RSS feed

 
John Daniel
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Hello Kathy and Bert,

I'm currently in chapter 12 of HFJ 2ed, and I'd just like to say that reading your book turns something as boring as studying Java into a truly fun filled learning experience. Congratulations on achieving the impossible! Making Java fun!!

Okay, have I sucked up enough yet? Can I ask my questions now?

1) Do you plan on posting HFJ 2ed typo corrections on your web site any time soon? For example, pp370-371 both have page references to other pages in the book, but both references seem to be wrong. No big deal, I'd just like to know what the correct page numbers are. I've noticed other typos, but they've all been minor.

2) Your book contains many kinds of exercises and puzzles, but very few actual coding exercises, such as "Code a Java program with two methods to do . . ." I can't speak for others, but for me, actually writing code is how I learn programming best. Perhaps you could add some coding exercises, with their suggested solutions, to your web site? Please?

3) I'm sure the answer to this question is publishing cost, but I'm going to ask it anyway. Why didn't you add some color to HFJ? HFJ is full of pictures, charts, diagrams, and numerous other helpful leaning icons, but no color. Somebody on this web site asked how does your book compare to Deitel & Deitel. Well, from an ease-of-use and ability-to-learn point of view, D&D wins out over HFJ on only one point - color. On everything else, HFJ is the clear winner. Personally, I'd pay an extra 5 bucks or so, to have some color added to the text.

Thank you for letting me rant a little bit. You know how us readers are, no matter how good the book is, we're always asking for something else. I would like to say one last thing in closing, and that's thank's for pointing me to this web site in your book. I had a technical question on one of the examples from the book (see the post titled "Can't stop the music"), and I got three responses in one day. All three were informative and polite, even though I clearly didn't know what I was talking about. JRD
 
Bert Bates
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Hi JR -

Yes, even though we tried to clean up errata with this edition, we're sure there will be some more. So we will have errata pages up on our site and on oreilly.com... probably in a month or so.

More coding exercies... that's a good idea, we're just starting to work with a few people to create additional training materials for the book, we'll add coding exercises to the book. I will have to say though that we hope most of the projects in the book can be used as "jumping off" points for you to go and enhance and improve.

Using color in the book... it does add some expense, and we try to provide a lot of value / dollar. We are kicking around the idea however, but we really are concerned that not everyone can kick in an extra $5. In fact we were surprised that the new edition turned out to be more expensive, but the extra 80 pages crossed some printing cost threshold.

hth,

Bert
 
Anselm Paulinus
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JR Daniel:

A rational buyer asks for higher quality, lower price. K&B and Oreilly should work out a way to add colors to the pic, since that is what you want and still reduce the price of the book by $5.00 in the process. that is precisely how to remain competitive in this market place. Infact I am a big fan of open source HF series and I will continue to push for it untill all HF series are open sourced.
 
Bert Bates
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Hi Anselm,

I'd be interested in hearing more about your idea of "open source hf" and how it would work?

- Bert
 
Anselm Paulinus
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Simple;
We start by having all the HF series in PDF format on the web for easy access, that is the first thing to be done and should be done as soon as possible; then others could contribute where necessary with additional chapters. Before you know it, this site is going to be the last stop for anyone in java world; guess what it is free.

We really got to do this, Linux started just like that and today Linux is the fastest growing Operating System.
 
Nicholas Cheung
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all the HF series in PDF format on the web for easy access, that is the first thing to be done and should be done as soon as possible. then others could contribute where necessary with additional chapters

It works only for non-commercial products. If HF series are open-sourced, no publisher will be willing to continue to publish the books. Also, how can you ensure the quality of the books? How to perform the peer-to-peer evaluation? How to judge whether a chapter should be added or not?

Of course, in terms of open source, anything can be added, but then, it is no longer easy to maintain the "uniqueness" of the books.

Nick
 
kiennjal shah
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Hello,

I partially Agree with Anselm regarding putting a pdf version on the web for free of cost. However in order to keep the publishers happy and also maintain its uniqueness, the authors could prolly have some scheme like keep it available for readers on the web for a month or so and then if they like it, they can purchase it or maybe it should be made available for free to all JavaRanch members only... Also readers can donate if they wish to...

How does that sound?

As far adding color to the book...while I would like that (who wouldnt!!!) I dont think I would pay tht extra $5 ....I just make it colorful once I get the book home, with all my different marking pens...
Moreso, coz the content of the books by K&B normally is pretty interesting and well written that colors or no colors , I keep on reading!!!
[ March 31, 2005: Message edited by: kiennjal shah ]
 
Svend Rost
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It would also be nice, if we didn't have to pay for our <insert something>
 
Dan Walin
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It wouldn't seem fair to take a product someone produces for profit and call it "open source" and make it free to everyone. That sounds like some communist revolution or something
 
John Daniel
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Thank you Bert for replying to my little post, and thank you to everyone else for expressing an opinion. In seems, however, that the $5 I pulled out of the air has been taken a little more literally than I had intended. All I know is that it costs more to publish books with color than without, and I prefer "learning" books with color.

On the subject of a free online copy of HF books, I have no problem with Kathy and Bert receiving nice royalty checks for their work by requiring their readers to actually buy the books. Just like I don't know how much extra it costs to print a book with color than without, I also don't know how much royalties K&B receive. But I do know that this is Java, not Harry Potter, and nobody at the bank is going to confuse K&B with RJ, so let K&B make their profit so that they'll continue to write more books (hopefully ones with color!)
 
Bert Bates
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Thanks guys...

So far, the quickest HF book took about 1500 hours to write, so until we win the lottery we really do need those royalty checks As far as making PDFs available, we are working on some ideas to limit piracy, and we're open to hearing your ideas too.

So Anselm, I think you answered only half the question, how would we make a living with the open source model? It's really a sincere question, because if we could make a living with an open source model we'd certainly look into it

Bert
 
Rob Freiberger
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Originally posted by Bert Bates:
Thanks guys...

So far, the quickest HF book took about 1500 hours to write, so until we win the lottery we really do need those royalty checks As far as making PDFs available, we are working on some ideas to limit piracy, and we're open to hearing your ideas too.

...

Bert


I recently purchased a Windows 2003 server book by Mark Minsai. The cd included with the book has the entire text in a searchable format (forgot if it's PDF or something else). The nice thing about the cd is the file is only available while the cd is in the drive, similar to how pc games need the cd to play the game. While it's not 100% crack proof it was an improvement from just having the files on the cd.

Rob
 
Jeroen Wenting
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The best way to deter piracy of PDFs is to generate them on the fly containing some characteristic of the purchaser.
Name is a must, maybe add the order number (to ease tracking down the source of the pirated copies that may show up). Adding the buyer's creditcard number in readable type prominently in several places throughout the book would be nasty but workable. After all, noone wants that to fall into the wrong hands

There may be ways to decompile and modify the PDF, so some way to guard against that is also needed.
I think the current versions of Acrobat allow for checksums and encryption to be embedded in the PDF file, making modifying it harder.
 
Anselm Paulinus
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Originally posted by Bert Bates:
Thanks guys...

So Anselm, I think you answered only half the question, how would we make a living with the open source model? It's really a sincere question, because if we could make a living with an open source model we'd certainly look into it

Bert


Making a living...? Bert you still going to have the binded copies on book shelves in all brick and morter book stores for those who do not know of the existence of the open sourced copies as well as those who will always prefer to have a binded copy no matter what(example myself). Also someone already mentioned of those who would from the bottom of their heart make contributions which is how it should actually work. The open source version will actually promote the books... just as the saying goes "The satisfied customer is the geatest advert" people now have an opportunity of seeing first hand how good the book is thereby stimulating them to buy. The popularity of HF series is going to grow by word of mouth and those who would not have had the opportunity to read the book would; you going to be blessed further and sometimes the blessings might be richer than making a living. How would you feel going to the most remote part of the world and have people talk about HF series? I sure bet that would be more satisfying to you than any amount of riches. Believe it, open source HF is not going to take anything away from you financially, rather its going to increase the sales of the books. Those of us clamouring for open source do not want you to go out of business, We want you to be in business so you can write more open source HF series. I am only thinking of ways to ensure that HF series becomes the market leader in the IT world, You guys along with Oreilly have to think of this recommendations seriously. Personally, I invest money on books and will continue to do that; this here is for some who are not so fortunate but want to increase their knowledge pool, increasing their knowledge pool increases their purse which in turn increases their purchase power leading to more purchases of binded HF from the bookstore; give it a try... Bert.
 
kiennjal shah
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Jeroen,

K&B already provide CD with their Java Certification book. However, I am not sure if it functions the way game CDs function (play only while in the CD Rom types..).

Unfortunately, there is no fool proof way to prevent piracy, it can only be restricted/limited... and sometimes as Anselm popularity and sales increase by such kinda approach

What do you think?

-Kiennjal
 
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