Regarding the video, author/instructor Paul Deitel has become much more polished and comfortable with his on-camera introductions and continues to deliver excellent, engaging instruction during the screencast portions. His previous video work, including the C# 2008 and Java Fundamentals LiveLessons video training products, were also very well done sans Paul's wandering eye while trying to read his notes and simultaneously look at the camera. As anyone who has done video work knows, this is nearly impossible to do well without a teleprompter, and even with one, inexperienced users are all too obvious reading off a display. The screencasts are presented in high resolution 1024x768 viewing, delivered in a FLV-compressed format that leaves almost no artifacts on screen. And thankfully, the LiveLessons folks have addressed one of my biggest pet peeves with the product line by finally removing the lengthy advertisement at the end of each video segment (thank you!!!). I am also thankful that the LiveLessons series continues to release their video in a DRM-free format allowing rightful owners to transcode the video to different target playback devices or unsupported operating systems. Since Linux is my main OS of choice these days, I initially began to transcode the screencasts to a format compatible for Totem and VLC playback. However, after an enlightening conversation with LiveLesson's Eric Strom, I learned that the playback problems in those programs are due to a buggy implementation of the codec and not LiveLesson's video production configuration. Indeed, when I played back the screencasts in Mplayer and Flash Player 10, they rendered as expected. Eric mentioned they are continuing to investigate ways to resolve this out of scope support issue in the future, but for now, Linux users looking to play back the screencasts without resorting to transcoding should use Mplayer or SMplayer for now.
Overall, this new LiveLessons DVD and book hybrid approach provides an excellent combination of online and offline knowledge transfer. The book provides a primer and reinforcement of the video material, and the video shows the printed material in action. Ideally, this is how many beginner tutorial tech titles should be packaged in the future for those who prefer a much richer, long term memory educational experience.
Author: Pauel Deitel
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Price: $99.99 US