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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: The Elements of Statistical Learning
Publisher: Springer
Authors: T. Hastie, R. Tibshirani, J. H. Friedman
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
The Elements of Statistical Learning

The book is written by some of the biggest names currently in the field, and thus is written at a certain level, this isn't a fault of the book or the authers, but rather it was written for a specific audience. However I did find it odd when they would occassionally explain basic readily known notation, but later on assume the reader is familiar with what I would regard as advanced notation, or leave out quite a few steps in their mathematics assuming the reader understands what they did. This book covers a wide range of techniques ranging from the more traditional to the current, and for each topic presents an overview of the technique and provides adequate references for further exploration.

The reader should have a good underlying understanding of linear algebra, statistics and probability theory and also be familiar with the techniques presented here. This book was used in a graduate engineering data mining class, and most of us struggled greatly with the book. This book probably would have been more appropriate if this was a book to augment another text, or if this had not been the first time we had seen topics such as those presented, this being the book to explain neural networks, support vector machines and whatnot when you've never seen them before makes for a very bewildering experience, but once you find a few journal articles the techniques actually are fairly easy to understand.

The book does not explain how to implement using software any of the techniques, this is a topic left up to other books, such as Modern Applied Statistics with S by Ripley and Venerables, and only in their discussion about apriori for association rules did I see that they state a software package. It would have been nice if they would have given some insight into how they created some of the great graphics that punctuate the book, perhaps as additional material on the website.

A book that is more down to earth for engineers, albeit different in scope, would be Duda and Hart's Pattern Classification, which I believe are electrical engineers and written more from an engineering standpoint. In addition the Duda and Hard book gives a lot of applications-based problems and has an associated MATLAB handbook to walk readers through building many types of learners, while this book the end-of-chapter excercises are almost exclusively proofs and theoretical excercises. Not a fault of the book, but rather just a difference and depends on what the reader wants to get out of it.

Ultimately, even though it did prove to be a rather confusing book, I have learned a lot from it and will continue to go through it to learn even more from it as it does tend to become more lucid the more I go through it.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: A Programmer's Guide to Java (tm) Certification
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Khalid A. Mughal, Rolf W. Rasmussen
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Not exactly the best

The content is accurate, but so much of this book seems to be taken, with superficial changes, from the Roberts/Heller/Ernest book. A lot of the chapter titles are identical, and the organization by objective is nearly the same. The content is often very close, just presented in a different order. Some diagrams are almost straight-ahead copies. If I pay good money for a book, I want original work, not a copy of something someone else wrote.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beginning Visual C++ 6
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Ivor Horton
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Some advice for newbie programmers

This is my second review as after reading other reviews I felt I needed to state my opinions of a complete newbie learning the language. This was my second book on learning c++, the first was oleg's beginning c++ which was not as good as this book. I had never programmed anything before this and learned it completely on my own without any help. If your not sure whether your smart enough dont worry, smarts or experience with computers are helpful but strong motivation is much more important I believe to learn a subject such as this. I myself had to re-read the chapters several times to truly understand how the programs worked and spent about 3 or 4 hours a night studying and tinkering with the programs. It took me 5 weeks to get the pure c++ and compiler stuff down concrete and another month spending an hour or two with the windows section to get a decent understanding. Sure I got discouraged a few times and wasn't sure if I was going to make it but the next night I gave it another shot and sure enough I made it through the tough parts and now I look back and it all seems so easy to understand. Keep hacking away at it and you will learn the language. Good luck.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows XP Professional Administrator's Pocket Consultant, Second Edition (Pro-Administrator's Pocket Consultant)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: William R. Stanek
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Handy to have on hand

Another excellent book from William Stanek. This a wonderful resource; especially for people like me, who are always on the go. From page one to the last, book offers tips and trick at every page. This book has been close on hand since I bought it and will remain for the forseeable future. Mr. Stanek has once again written a valuable book that is easy to use and understand.