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Product: Book - Textbook Binding
Title: Cisco LAN Switching (CCIE Professional Development series) (The Cisco Press Ccie Professional Development Series)
Publisher: Cisco Press
Authors: Kennedy Clark, Kevin Hamilton
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good Content--Some mistakes


In following the tradition of Cisco Press, "Cisco LAN Switching" has excellent technical content. I did, however, find a few technical and several spelling/grammar errors. The writers' style is more difficult to read than is Jeff Doyle's, though the content difficulty is comparable. Perhaps the second edition will fix the errors...



Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Pattern Classification (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Wiley-Interscience
Authors: Richard O. Duda, Peter E. Hart, David G. Stork
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
not exactly a revision


The 1973 book by Duda and Hart was a classic. It surveyed the literature on pattern classification and scene analysis and provided the practitioner with wonderful insight and exposition of the subject. In the intervening 28 years the field has exploded and there has been an enormous increase in technical approaches and applications.
With this in mind the authors and their new coauthor David Stork go about the task of providing a revision. True to the goals of the original the authors undertake to describe pattern recognition under a variety of topics and with several available methods to cover each topic. Important new areas are covered and old but now deemed less significant are dropped. Advances in statistical computing and computing in general also dictate the topics. So although the authors are the same and the title is almost the same (note that scene analysis is dropped from the title) it is more like an entirely new book on the subject rthan a revision of the old. For a revision, I would expect to see mostly the same chapters with the same titles and only a few new chapters along with expansion of old chapters.
Although I view this as a new book, that is not necessarily bad. In fact it may be viewed as a strength of the book. It maintains the style and clarity of the original that we all loved but represents the state-of-the-art in pattern recognition at the beginning of the 21st Century.
The original had some very nice pictures. I liked some of them so much that I used them with permission in the section on classification error rate estimation in my bootstrap book. This edition goes much further with beautiful graphics including many nice three-dimensional color pictures like the one on the cover page.
The standard classical material is covered in the first five chapters with new material included (e.g. the EM algorithm and hidden markov models in Chapter 3). Chapter 6 covers multilayer neural networks (a totally new area). Nonmetric methods including decision trees and the CART methodology are covered in Chapter 8. Each chapter has a large number of relevant references and many homework exercises and computer exercises.
Chapter 9 is "Algorithm-Independent Machine Learning" and it includes the wonderful "No Free Lunch" theorem (Theorem 9.1), a discussion of the minimum desciption length principle, overfitting issues and Occam's razor, bias - variance tradeoffs,resampling method for estimation and classifier evaluation, and ideas about combining classifiers.
Chapter 10 is on unsurpervised learning and clustering. In addition to the traditional techniques covered in the first edition the authors include the many advances in mixture models.
I was particularly interested in that part of Chapter 9. There is good coverage of the topics and they provide a number of good references. However, I was a bit disappointed with the cursory treatment of bootstrap estimation of classification accuracy (section 9.6.3 on pages 485 - 486). I particularly disagree with the simplistic statement "In practice, the high computational complexity of bootstrap estimation of classifier accuracy is rarely worth possible improvements in that estimate (Section 9.5.1)". On the other hand, the book is one of the first to cover the newer and also promising resampling approaches called "Bagging" and "Boosting" that these authors seem to favor.
Davison and Hinkley's bootstrap text is mentioned for its practical applications and guidance for bootstrapping. The authors overlook Shao and Tu which offers more in the way of guidance. Also my book provides some guidance for error rate estimation but is overlooked.
My book also illustrate the limitations of the bootstrap. Phil Good's book provides guidance and is mentioned by the authors. But his book is very superficial and overgeneralized with respect to guiding practitioners. For these reasons I held back my enthusiasm and only gave this text four stars.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Tricks of the Windows Game Programming Gurus
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Andre Lamothe
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great read for starters and fanatics!


After Black Art of 3D Game programming and Windows Game Programming for Dummies, he updated his work in an amazing new book. If you need more about 3D Fundamentals, buy Black Art 3D too, and remember to read the ALL the book and the docs.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Steve Krug
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Delightful clarity and distilled wisdom.


Clearly the authors have taken their own advice to heart when writing this book.
I almost hate to say this, they pointed out several mistakes that I'm currently doing on my own website. I've no doubt that their guidelines will make my customer's life easier.