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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Causality : Models, Reasoning, and Inference
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Authors: Judea Pearl
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Understanding causality poses no danger!

I take issue with the previous reviewer. Pearl does not assume that the modeller is able, a priori, to determine what the correct model is. Instead, Pearl asks what conclusions can be drawn if the modeller is able to substantiate only parts of the model. By systematically changing those parts, he then obtains a full picture of what modeling assumptions "must" be substantiated before causal inferences can be derived from nonexperimental data. An anslysis of assumptions is not a license to abuse them.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Publisher: Anchor
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Smoothly flowing, lots of anecdotes and personalities

As he did in Fermat's Enigma, Singh succeeds in communicating recondite mathematical concepts to the non-mathematician in The Code Book. But the plot thickens in Singh's second; what if being the first to find, "The Proof," meant having the upper hand in matters of terrorism, or the key to victory in World War? Singh shows that cipher-math has played an important role in historical events, and will continue to play a role in the security of individuals, corporations, and countries.
While I won't be losing sleep trying to win the book's $15,000 Cipher Challenge, (I've got a Pentium II) I will now think hard about how cipher technology is used and regulated. Should the government be allowed to prohibit absolute cipher-security to protect citizens from harm, or does the right to privacy outweigh the risk of computer-aided crime and terror? I'm not the one with the recipe for Coke under his pillow, but if I were, thoughts of cipher legislation would keep me from resting easily.
I really enjoyed The Code Book, but it should have been thicker with the stories for which Singh suggested there wasn't enough room. I hoped for more stories about the race between cryptographers and cryptanalysts, desperate to gain any intelligence advantage, holding the future of the free world in their hands; as a diversion from the objectives of the book, Singh chose only to relate the cracking of Linear-B. (Not quite "The Day of the Jakcal.") Otherwise, however, The Code Book is, "Uif Tiju!"

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Software Architecture Design Patterns in Java
Publisher: Auerbach Publications
Authors: Partha Kuchana
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
My new favorite

Design patterns used to be the hottest topic around a couple of years ago. One of the side-effects was the "Applied Java Patterns" book which I very much liked and used to recommend to anyone looking for a "GoF" replacement using Java for code examples. Not anymore. From now on, I'm recommending Kuchana's "Software Architecture Design Patterns in Java".

Why am I so pleased with this book? What makes it any different than other design pattern books? Well, first of all the volume is huge. Kuchana's book covers all the original Gang of Four patterns plus another 20 or so patterns, including a couple of multithreading related patterns. Second, the text itself is very readable and doesn't cling too much on fancy words. The explanations are concise and to the point. Further kudos goes to dealing with such frequently asked questions like the difference between Factory Method and Abstract Factory.

To list some things I didn't like about this book, I have to say that having exercises without sample answers in the back was a tiny disappointment and I would've preferred a bit more condensed font for the code listings. That's about it.

All in all, a very good choice for filling the gaping design patterns encyclopedia slot in your bookshelf. Highly recommended.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: IT Project+ Study Guide, 2nd Edition (PKO-002)
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: William Heldman, Lona Cram, Lona Cram PMP, Sybex
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Not pleased!


I was not pleased with this book.

The cdrom contained some kind of bug which prevented me from reading
the enclosed pdf file.

Sybex support rudely suggested the problem was with my PC.

I pointed out that my PC has no problems reading the pdf files
on their site.

avoid avoid avoid