ailon's DevBlog: Development related stuff in my life

Book Preview: Essential Silverlight 2 (Up-to-Date)

5/28/2008 12:30:24 PM

Essential Silverlight 2 Got a copy of Christian Wenz's "Essential Silverlight 2" (Up-to-Date) I ordered from Amazon. It arrived in 20 days which is quite fast provided that Amazon predicted it would take 4-6 weeks. Obviously I haven't read it yet but I just wanted to blog about the "Up-to-Date" concept from O'Reilly.

With Up-to-Date books you get a book looking like binder and once book's subject is updated the book is updated and you can download new/changed pages, print them (or order pre-printed updated pages from O'Reilly) and add/replace pages in the binder. Looks good on paper.

As I wrote the book is essentially a binder. There are about 200 printed pages (100 sheets) and about 100 sheets of plain pre-punched paper to print updates on. I went right to O'Reilly site and registered my book. There was an update already with 80 pages of new and updated content based on Silverlight 2 Beta 1. You can download 4 versions of PDF pages: 2 to print on provided sheets (either single-side or double-side) and 2 for standard Letter/A4 with cut-out and punch markers.

My first question was can I use prepunched paper with our HP LaserJet 1300? After some RTFM'ing I found a statement in HP's user guide saying

Do not use paper with cutouts or perforations other than standard 3-hole punched paper.

whatever "standard" means in this context. And what would happen if I had a 2 or 4-hole punched paper? Anyway I decided that it would be ok.

IMAG0017 The next challenge was to fit the content perfectly to the page. The title of the PDF for precut pages says "Pre-cut 7x9 Single-sided". But in reality the paper is 7.17"x10.12" (182mm x 257mm) which is actually B5. It took me some time to figure this out. But even when I knew the right size I couldn't make it fit perfectly. All the new pages have printed tabs saying "Update 1 (Beta 1)" and I couldn't make these fit.

Maybe that was my fault, maybe O'Reilly's, maybe Adobe's, maybe HP's. Who knows? It is not a very crucial information but I decided to not take a risk losing useful info on some pages and just shrink the pages a little to make them fit. The font on "my" pages is a little smaller now than on original pages but it's ok.

All-in-all I've spent about 2 hours updating the book. Since my printer can't print on both sides automatically I had to use single-side approach and spent like 80% of bundled paper. So I don't think I'll have enough paper for another update.


Btw, the holes on the blank paper are not exactly at the same distance from the edge as on original pages so it was a little difficult to assemble the binder back and it doesn't look very pretty.


And why use B5 for these series? I know it looks like a real book this way but I doubt I can get punched or even not punched B5 paper here in reasonable quantities and for reasonable price. And when using Letter/A4 you have to cut from all 4 sides which is a total overkill. And shipping of pre-printed updates to Lithuania is $19+. Add $4 for the updates themselves and you get the price of the whole book.

Why not just use Letter/A4? I know the book would be a little clunky this way but it would make life of the customers who bought this book to be able to update it themselves (which is the idea, isn't it?) much much easier.


The concept is interesting and it's really nice to have an actual book on the product that is still in beta and know that you can update the book to the latest version. But the "maintenance" of the book is too painful to my taste.

kick it on

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