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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
Important but difficult

The scientific research community has adopted rigorous methods to eliminate the need for subjective judgments about many things, but when it comes to testing whether X causes Y, they revert to intuition and hand-waving. This book makes a strong argument that we shouldn't accept that. It demonstrates that it is possible to turn intuitions about causation into hypotheses that are unambiguous and testable.
But the style is sufficiently dense and dry we will need some additional books with more practical styles before these ideas become widely understood. The style is fairly good by the standards of books whose main goal is rigorous proof, but it's still hard work to learn a large number of new concepts that are mostly referred to by terse symbols whose meaning can't be found via a glossary or index. Pearl occasionally introduces a memorable word, such as do(x), the way a software engineer who wants readable code would, but mostly sticks to single-character symbols that seem unreasonably hard (at least for us programmers who are used to descriptive names) to remember.
If you're uncertain whether reading this book is worth the effort, I strongly recommend reading the afterword first. It ought to have been used as the introduction, and without it many readers will be left wondering why they should believe they will be rewarded for slogging through so much dry material.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Art of Photoshop
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Daniel Giordan
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
The Most Beautiful Book Ever

I was looking for a book to complement a university level digital media class I was taking, and this was it!!! Not only did the beautiful imagery and artful presentation inspire me, but the description and image gallery showed me EXACTLY how to construct these works of art. This is by far my favorite book, and I treasure it as a piece of art!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTI+ Home Technology Integration All-in-One Exam Guide (All-in-One)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Ron Gilster, Helen Heneveld, Ron Price
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Sometimes being first is a good thing.

When I first heard of the HTI+ exam I thought it was home networking only and I was wrong. This book covers both HTI+ exams and the CEDIA installer exam and is written by Ron Glister, whose books I have used for other certification studies.

There is an enormous amount you have to know in order to pass these exams and this book seems to have everything right at your finger tips. Judging from the practice questions I have found form pother resources this book is well written for the exams.

Laid out to cover all topics form cabling to phones to home security to building codes, this manual takes you from the beginning to the end. After reading this text I found that you not only need to understand and comprehend computers and networking but also home design and construction.

This exam tests out 2 very different skill sets and once you complete the training you are very well rounded in the IT industry. The book doe shave good examples to look at and work with as well as an excellent set of websites to check out for even more information.

As the book covers 3 exams there is also 3 practice exams included and this is the first book on this certification I have seen. Overall very good reading.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Sams
Authors: Alan Cooper
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
The point was lost somewhere

I like Alan Cooper. He is entertaining, thoughtful and has numerous amusing anecdotes and analogies. He is a "voice sounding in the wilderness" in the software community about usability. Unfortunately, I think his point is lost somewhat in the marketing message and sensationalism of this book. Who is the book written for - the software developer or the frustrated user? The first chapter sounds like a Luddite rebellion against computers. It is hard to imagine the person writing that chapter as a computer professional. Using the analogy of a secretary who doesn't know how to save files to a folder as an example of poor design is blaming the programmer for poor training. True, software is often developed by programmers who barely get real requirements, develop in a vacuum and then force feed the end result to the user. And ironically, Alan Cooper invented Visual Basic, which ushered in Rapid Application Development (RAD) programming (good!) but adds the tendency for quick prototype demos to get shipped as "Version 1.0" because the CEO or CIO says,"hey it works now" (bad!). These shortcomings are not solved by adding a layer of another design person partially disconnected from the user, or making the screen prettier. It is by adapting the Extreme Programming/Agile programming methods of including the user in everything from design to testing, so the software reflects how the user does business. I still liked the book, just not clear on the message.