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Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Discrete-Time Signal Processing (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Authors: Alan V. Oppenheim, Ronald W. Schafer, John R. Buck
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Very good reference

This book has its share of shortcomings, but overall, it is probably the best and most complete reference on DSP. Unfortunately, it does skip a few important topics. For example, the second edition threw out the section on designing IIR bandpass and highpass filters from lowpass prototypes. This section used to be in the first edition and is VERY important, so I don't see how Oppenheim & Schafer could have justified throwing it out. They also conspicuously left out filter design based on the frequency sampling method. But in spite of these omissions, it's hard to recommend another book over this one. The one that comes closest is Mitra's.
In the end, if you want to learn DSP and work in the field, you have to have this book, as well as the ones by Mitra, Proakis & Manolakis, Jackson, and, of course, Rabiner & Gold. If you get all those, you'll have the complete reference of CORE DSP texts.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: PowerPoint 2000 for Windows for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Doug Lowe
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Experienced Users Need Another Book

This book was well written and provided a large amount of information - but did not cover any advanced techniques. If you have even a little experience with Power Point (or graphic design in general), pick another, more advanced book. You'll be much more rewarded.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Writing Secure Code, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Michael Howard, David C. LeBlanc
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Not perfect, but perhaps the best you will get!

This is a wonderful book that covers things that are often glossed over in other security books. For instance, the coverage of access control lists, and the difficulties of controlling them, are well covered. I wish it had more information on the .NET Framework (there are I believe 2 chapters covering .NET security issues) but the editing is clean (something I am a bit of a finatic about) and the writing style is good enough to make this relatively dry topic an enjoyable read.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Neither Profound nor Impressive

As a computer professional, I have heard the buzz about GEB for years. Many people consider GEB the "AI bible". I thought about buying it a few times, but each time I browsed it in bookstores, it just couldn't hold my interest. I finally borrowed it from the library and read it. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't buy it. What Hofstadter does is take some math theory, mixed with a huge helping of pseudoscience, cultural tripe, and (alas) drop-dead boring conversations between fairy tale characters. As the result, GEB is perhaps 5X longer than it really needed to be. The overarching "theme" of the book is that intelligence is the result of "strange loops": a recursive hierarchy in which high-level brain functions (which we call thought) are meta-level rules built on lower (less meta) level rules which are built on other rules, .... (& so on). IMHO, there is nothing really profound about this concept. Beyond this idea, Hofstadter offers few, if any, new insights into how thinking machines could be implemented. In many ways GEB is a beautifully written book, but the emphasis appears to be on showcasing Hofstadter's cultural IQ rather than providing insight into how the mind might work. Perhaps GEB is so revered because there are few really good philosophical books on AI for out there, and some are much worse (like Kuzwell's "The Age of Spiritual Machines").