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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Introduction to Algorithms, Second Edition
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, Clifford Stein
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great Book

I would just like to add a couple points to the review of this book here. First, it is a great introduction to the theoretical foundation of algorithms and computation, and it is not your average algorithm cook book. For that, you can find numerous books on various topics, such as "Algorithms in C" or "Numerical Recipes." Second, the assertion that it is processing power, not code optimization that reigns these days is simply missing the point. It is first of all not true, (just ask any programmers working on games, or serious business processing, or databases, or networks -- you name it -- code optimization is as important as ever; maybe your run of the mill GUI front end needs no optimization, but you wouldn't care about algorithms there anyway). And if you read the book, you will know that a lot of important problems only have exponetial solutions, and exponetial growth in hardware power (aka Moore's law) has a physical limitation. Therefore don't expect improvment in Intel chips to compensate for all of your bad programming. Third, this book pretty much only deals with asymptotic behaviors of algorithms. If you want to learn code optimization, it's by far not enough. You have to optimize the code behavior in each iterative cycle as well, such as reducing the number of comparisons, reducing memory references, reducing floating point multiplications and division etc. However, there seems to be no book on how to reduce such "constants" in algorithms. "Real-world" optimized code often involve techniques that's system dependent, or that uses information/boundary conditions that are not part of the general problem etc. There is no better teacher other than reading some good code or having a discussion with the field warriors - good programmers around you.
In summary, for its purpose - a relatively theoretical treatment of basic algorithms, this book is the best I have seen.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Visual Basic .NET Database Programming
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Evangelos Petroutsos, Asli Bilgin
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
No way 5 stars

I am new to the .NET world. This book gave great guidance on knowing when, why, and how to make the switch over from OLE DB and COM. Well worth buying if you want to know how to build systems using the new .NET architecture. This book is great because it doesn't just dwell on syntactical differences, like most .NET books do. Instead, it gives you both conceptual on how to architect a system and practical information on how to implement the system. You understand where you should put your .NET code - I was especially excited to see a chapter on deployment, which often gets overlooked. A lot of books tell you how to build a system, but leave out the part on what you do once it's built. This book covers all the bases. My copy is completely filled with post-it notes.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Grady Booch
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A classic well worth the read

This is a very good book on the subjects of OOA/OOD. It emphasizes concepts and has a strong academic flavor, which I appreciate "accidentally." Although the particular C++ programming language is not the focus, you need to know a least some C++ to understand the example code snippets, which helps you grasp the concepts.
The Booch notations used were for historical reason; the book was published before the standardization of UML. In most cases, the reader can mentally translate (pretty easy) the diagrams in the book to UML while reading it. Now that Rational had been bought by IBM, hopefully the author will have time to update (or perhaps even rewrite a whole new edition of) this classic.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Essential Guide to Telecommunications (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Annabel Z. Dodd
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A good basic introduction to telecom tech

I read this book while I was a legal intern at the FCC to try to learn the tech side of the telecom world. I knew policy, but I had no idea how the telephone network actually worked. This book gives a great basic grounding in the technology of telecommunications-switches, routers, time division multiplexing, and everything else. Luckily, basic is exactly what I needed. The "tell it to me like I'm a two-year-old" approach might be frustrating for some advanced readers. I found myself skipping some of the sections on the Internet because it was too elementary for me. Also, if you're going to read it, make sure you get the latest edition of this book. Technologies change fast, and some of the sections are bound to become out-of-date very quickly. Once you have the tech side down, you can pick up the regulatory policy side by reading The Telecommunications Regulation Handbook available for free from the World Bank. It's just as basic as Dodd's book, but is better read if you know how the technology works. Get these two under your belt, and you'll be ready to work at your local friendly telecom regulatory agency.