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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Advanced Perl Programming
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Sriram Srinivasan
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
nice breadth of topics

The book does a nice job of explaining some of the obscure areas of Perl. Each chapter is summarized by showcasing the strengths and weaknesses of Perl with Java,Python,C++,TCL. This is a good refresher book for intermediate level Perl programmers. It was definitely a fun read. I think O'Reilly is readying a second edition.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional UML with Visual Studio .NET
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Andrew Filev, Tony Loton, Kevin McNeish, Ben Schoellmann, John Slater, Chaur G. Wu
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Nice book to integrate UML/Visio/dot net skills

There are better books to train developers in individual skills - UML, Visio, dot net. But this book does a nice job tying them altogether - it won't teach you how to model, etc. but does a very good job in applying and integrating all the skills. There are some annoying typos, but no showstoppers.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Learning Perl, Third Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Randal L. Schwartz, Tom Phoenix
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Just Great, Perl in 250 pages or less!

This book is not for a beginner to programming, you may want a c/C++ background, it covers Perl, ON A UNIX SYSTEM, gives good introductions, and takes a while to read, you should spend at least 1-2 hours on each chapter. lots of working examples.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: On Intelligence
Publisher: Times Books
Authors: Jeff Hawkins, Sandra Blakeslee
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Fantasy book fit for high school students

Scientists who study AI, vision, language, memory, and the brain (I include myself in this category) will find the fantastic claims in this book hard to swallow. It could be old age or an unwillingness to believe that a neophyte could come in and revolutionize the industry, but stranger things have happened, and we shouldn't exclude him. To say that the brain is a prediction device is one thing. To actually determine how representations needed to predict accurately actually exist the brain is another. You can't just point to anatomy and figure it out -- you need a very different information-processing view of the brain, something that cannot be revealed by the anatomy. The frustration is that there is a massive disconnect between what the cognitive scientist does and what the neuroscientist does, and while the effort, the optimism, the funding is admirable, the actual science of trying to decipher how to solve the bridge problem between cogsci and neuroscience cannot, should not, be trivialized the way this book does. So while I applaud the big dream, Hawkins' cannot solve the bridge problem by ignoring it. I took some time to read some of the early people hired at the Redwood institute and while they are proposing novel computational visual neuroscience theories, the problem cannot be addressed through neuroscience alone. I would recommend this book for high school students with a fascination with AI and the brain, but would recommend many other eye-opening classics (Godel Escher Bach, Society of Mind) that do not regard the existence of brain anatomy as some kind of fantasic cure-all. I suggest Hawkins spend some time doing some single-cell recording in the macaque monkey, some machine vision, some linguistics.