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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Brilliant and *still* misunderstood!


I've been reading reviews of GEB for years, and the most fascinating thing about them, aprt from the near-uniform enthusiasm of the readers, is that almost none of the enthusiatic readers have any idea of what the book is actually about! The typical reader seesm to think of GEB as a jouyous romp through any number of fascinating bits of logic, math and science without any idea as to what Hofstader's actually doing.
Yes, it's about Goedel, and recursion, and "strange loops", and linguistics Bach and ants and all that- but only trivially. The bulk of the book is taken up with what amounts to a very entertaining tutorial that sets the reader up for the real thesis of the book. What Hofstadter has attempted in GEB is nothing less than a concise, bottom-up theory of mind. You can read it as a theory of AI, or a theory of human intelligence, but either way he's telling you how to construct an intelligent entity.
True, he doesn't really have a theory of *how* a self-aware being should arise from his metaphorical anthill, but then, neither does anyone else. But he does have a very good story as to how intelligence does arise in such conditions.
If you've read this book before without understanding what his aim was, read it again, with that notion in mind. And if you haven't read it, and you're the sort of person who enjoys mathematic and scientific amusements of any sort, well, read it and discover how much fun a speculative theory can be.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential ActionScript 2.0
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Colin Moock
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Good coverage of AS2.0 but leaves out data connectivity


Colin Moock is extremely talented in all areas of Flash, and object oriented programming.

In general, this is book has very good ceverage of actionscript best practices, when implementing an application that uses the AS2.0 class framework. That is what gets the 3 stars. Now the missing part. I include myself in the 99.9% of all Flash MX 2004 developers that are building Rich Internet Applications. Rich Internet Applications need to connect to and update data, whether using Flash Remoting, Web Services, or both. This book gives no coverage to data connectivity using the runtime Actionscript 2.0 classes. Although you can accomplish this in the authoring environment, this has a negative effect on runtime performance, as well as not adhearing to the MVC design approach that object oriented programming promotes. There are currently no books that cover the data connectivity classes in AS2.0, a fact I find to be truely unbelievable.



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Professional JavaScript for Web Developers
Publisher: Wrox
Authors: Nicholas C. Zakas
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent JavaScript Book


I had the pleasure of reading this book earlier in the year. Simply stated: It is the best JavaScript book I have read. Zakas knows his stuff and has no problem clearly explaining the subject matter. "Professional JavaScript for Web Developers" quickly replaced "The JavaScript Bible" as my go-to book when I need my memory refreshed. Awesome book!



Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Google Hacks, 2nd Edition (Hacks)
Publisher: O'Reilly
Authors: Tara Calishain, Rael Dornfest
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
Not a book for webmasters!


If you are attempting to purchase this book in efforts to better understand Google its worth a glance. If you are interested in API applications it is worth the purchase. If you are attempting to improve site rankings, do not waste your time, this book will not help.