Sponsored links

Valid XHTML 1.0!
Valid CSS!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
creative as a robot

In honor of the 20th anniversary, I put up a review I wrote 11 years
ago, for a school assignment:
When I am feeling that life is pointless
or unwondrous, I read Douglas Hofstadter's =Godel, Escher, Bach=; time
and time again, this book leaves me in awe over the interconnectedness
of several "unrelated" subjects, over order arising from
apparent chaos. This book made me regain my faith in and admiration of
the beauty of math, art, music, and the universe -- the beauty that is
almost never shown in a class or revealed in a "scholarly"
work; after reading it, the isolation of those subjects from the rest
of the conceptual world seems simply ludicrous. Each time in reading I
am challenged to discover more connections, more self-references, more
meaning in the several subjects presented. In short, reading this book
is like a religious experience for me -- I love it.
From GEB:
"The Buddhist allegory of 'Indra's Net' tells of an endless net
of threads throughout the universe...At every crossing of threads is
an individual and every individual is a crystal bead. The great light
of 'Absolute Being' illuminates and penetrates every crystal bead;
moreover, every crystal bead reflects not only the light from every
other crystal in the net -- but also every reflection of every
reflection throughout the universe."
Hofstadter's book is the
perfect example of one of those crystal beads; Hofstadter portrays (or
"reflects") several subjects in his work, e.g., formal
systems, Zen, moplecular biology, the art of fugues and canons, model
of the brain, various geometries, number theory, Holism
vs. Reductionism, and much more, and then shows the
"reflections" of the subjects in one another -- truly a
large task. For the most part, he comes across quite well; his
dialogues which encapsulate and discuss ideas to be presented, his
"dogmaps" which outline parallel ideas and "map"
them onto one another, and his relatively simple language enable him
to communicate his ideas quite easily. However, this book is quite
weighty -- almost 800 pages long, full of digressions and
perspective-blowing ideas; many ideas and underlying themes must be
sought out within the dialogues, many open-ended questions are left
for the reader to ponder. If you aren't used to flexible or abstract
thinking, and you don't want to work very hard in reading, this book
isn't for you.
GEB is an unique "nonfiction" book -- it does
not address one subject, or even several "closely related"
subjects. Even though published in 1979, many parts deal with research
still going on today [this is still true in 2001, as it was in
1990]. For example, Hofstadter presents a possible model for a brain
to be used in artificial intelligence in computers -- one of many
models being studied today in that field. In one short section, he
presents recursive graphs that were generated in theoretical
experiments -- graphs that bear some similarity to the modern study of
fractals. Especially in the area of computer science, Hofstadter
leaves several goals for people to attain -- goals that may never be
realized, but perhaps goals that will enlighten us as we seek to
attain them.
The ideas in this book shall live long past its authorr;
I can say no more but that the people who awarded the Pulitzer Prize
to this book made no mistake.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Programming Windows With MFC
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Jeff Prosise
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
The premier resource for object-oriented programming.. NOT!

If I were this guy I'd take my picture off the front of the book. The examples aren't too helpful, and look the book is 1000+ pages. Keep it concise and give simple examples that illustrate what you're talking about buddy. Keep it short and sweet, it'll take us the rest of our lives to finish reading this book, well unless you have no life then thats a different story. All I have to say is don't get this book if you want to learn MFC.. It's useless. I don't know how this guy got his text published.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, 4th Edition
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Michael Meyers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Technical Book that is Easy to Read

If you have been tinkering with computers for a few years and want to gain an A+ Certification, this is the book for you. The author begins with an introduction and pre-test that helps you see clearly what areas you need to focus on so that you can create your own unique study plan.
Most chapters begin with a section called "Historical/Conceptual". This section contains interesting information that is not specifically part of the exam. I urge all readers to read this section because it makes subsequent sections easier to understand. Each chapter ends with review questions so you can check your progress frequently. The book is organized into twenty well-defined pages. Even though this book is over 1100 pages long, it is easy to find any topic you need to review.
The book includes a CD with several practice exams. Each question includes an explanation for the correct answer. When I took the real exam, I was surprised at how many questions seemed exactly like the practice questions.
The book has many practical tips and tools that will help PC technicians with their day-to-day work. One example is the list of files to put on a Windows boot disk. This book will stay in my office as I expect to refer to it often.
In summary, this book is very readable and is designed for a wide range of experience levels.

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
No nonsense, right down practical advice

This is by far the best book I have read on on how to design a site -- not from the images point of view, but from the usability point of view. After designing sites since 1994 a lot of things come second nature to me in terms of navigation and information design. I was looking for a book the designers that work with me could read and benefit from, one that would explain in clear terms the reasons why I do what I do, and this was the perfect one. I must have read at least a dozen of them before it, and none made the grade. This one does. Highly recommended!