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    by Michael Spivak
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 September, 1994)
    list price: $70.00 -- our price: $70.00
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    Reviews (58)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Spivak is sometimes misplaced...
    There is a great deal of criticism about Spivak's Calculus here.I believe that the book must be misapplied by institutions using it.Spivak is an excellent introduction to Calculus for an intending mathematician.It introduces a rigourous discourse on Calculus and introductory analysis.It does not fall prey to the exercise/drill ad infinitum of the Stewart/Thomas/Larson variety.The problems in Spivak are hard, even famously hard.They can take hours of deep thought to solve.The people complaining about the problems are missing the point.This book teaches you how to *think* like a mathematician while introducing you to Calculus in a very clear way.

    Spivak is *not* hard to understand but it can take some effort.In short, if you're struggling with this book it might be because your mathematical background isn't quite there yet and you may need to brush up on some precalculus concepts.If you'd like to become a mathematician, get this book then work through Apostol.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The calculus of choice only for future hotshot PhDs
    This is actually hardly what one would call a calculus book. Spivak doesn't care much for actual calculations or the classical physics that was synonymous with calculus for hundreds of years. Instead he takes a polished, modern approach with emphasis on rigour. While it is not impossible to learn the basics of calculus from this book, it could also very well be the course book for what we today would call a first course in analysis. So as a "calculus" book it is only for modern-style pure mathematicians who have little respect for calculations and physics, and instead want to spend their time doing exercises on things like Lipschitz conditions or the Riemann-Lebesgue lemma. I believe it is more valuable as an "analysis" book for those who know their basic calculus already, i.e. compared to Rudin or whatnot; as such it has the advantages of being comparatively chatty and very well illustrated.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
    In my opinion this is one of the best single variable calculus textbooks out there. It is pretty big in size and contains proper and precise explanations for all the topics in calculus and beyond. The excercises in this text will really make you think when you do them. Another great thing is that this text contains topics that you would not normally see in the first year calculus book, such as complex power series, fields, construction of real numbers. I understand that in a first year of university one might not be serious about studying (heck, that's how I was!), but if you are, you will find this book rewarding. So if you are serious about learning and UNDERSTANDING intro to analysis, buy it. This is one of the few books to keep. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0914098896
    Sales Rank: 134064
    Subjects:  1. Calculus    2. Mathematics   


    Calculus on Manifolds: A Modern Approach to Classical Theorems of Advanced Calculus
    by Michael Spivak
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 June, 1965)
    list price: $44.00 -- our price: $44.00
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    Reviews (19)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not really helpful
    I tried to use this book as a supplement text for my multivariable calculus class. I found it to be very useless even as a supplement, let alone a main source to rely on. The main problem with this book is the fact that it is very short (Can I say way overpriced? Good thing I got it for free) and it doesn't explain the concepts properly. It is theoretical, but also in my opinion too far out there. I have nothing against theory, in fact I think its great to have theory in a math book. But in this case the material presented very tersely and unclearly. In my opinion books should explain concepts nicely and clearly with a proper use of examples. I do not wish to spend hours trying to understand what an author tried to say, especially when a concept is a really easy one. Another annoying thing about this book is the notation. Author uses "modern" notation for partial derivatives, but for some reason not many other people use it. It is found mostly in the 1950s era math books. This archaic approach to math is devastating to a student. Avoid at all costs.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Must be written by Spivak's evil twin
    Spivak's other books are quite good, but don't let that fool you into getting this one. This is a horribly dry and terse text of the type which is convenient for authors and lecturers but hopeless to learn from. The object of Bourbakian worship is of course "the modern Stokes' Theorem", but, Spivak says in his preface, "Yet the proof of this theorem is, in the mathematician's sense, an utter triviality - a straight-forward computation. On the other hand, even the statement of this triviality cannot be understood without a horde of difficult definitions from Chapter 4. There are good reasons why the theorems should all be easy and the definitions hard." Perhaps these "good reasons" are that lazy authors can throw together unhelpful books where everything is "left to the reader".

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not fit for an introduction
    This book is not fit for an introduction to tensors, manifolds, or integration on chains. Spivak is scarce with textual explanations, and his proofs are built for brevity, not pedagogical insight.

    I first used this text as an undergraduate introductory course to Stoke's Theorem on manifolds, and I found the book to be frustrating at best. Minimal preparation for approaching Spivak would be at least a year of Graduate real analysis (lebesgue integration and differential forms). Also, a mastery of undergraduate linear algebra is crucial; and some topology is beneficial.

    The one thing I CAN praise Spivak for is the problems. 75% of the material to be learned in Spivak is contained in the problems that conclude each section. The problems contain numerous definitions and theorems which are essential in the reading of the book. There are none/few concrete examples anywhere (problems or text) -- Munkres's Analysis on Manifolds is superb in this area, however.

    Spivak is raved as a classic text in this field. Just don't make it the first one you read. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0805390219
    Sales Rank: 150944
    Subjects:  1. Calculus    2. Differential topology    3. Mathematics    4. Science/Mathematics   


    Signals and Systems (2nd Edition)
    by Alan V. Oppenheim, Alan S. Willsky, with S. Hamid, S. Hamid Nawab
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (06 August, 1996)
    list price: $119.00 -- our price: $119.00
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    Editorial Review

    The second edition of this well-known and highly regarded text can be used as the basis for a one- or two-semester undergraduate course in signals and linear systems theory and applications. Topics include basic signals and systems concepts, linear time-invariant (LTI) systems, Fourier representations of continuous-time and discrete-time signals, the CT and DT Fourier transforms, and time- and frequency-domain analysis methods. The author emphasizes applications of the theory through numerous examples in filtering, sampling, communications, and feedback. The parallel development of continuous-time and discrete-time frequency domain methods allows the reader to apply insights and intuition across the two domains. It also facilitates a deeper understanding of the material by bringing into focus the similarities and differences between the two domains. The text also includes introductory chapters on communication systems and control theory. This book assumes that you have a background in calculus as well as exposure to complex numbers and elementary differential equations. Because of its thoroughness and unhurried pace, this text is highly recommended for students and those interested in self-study. ... Read more

    Reviews (40)

    4-0 out of 5 stars It is hard to say but...
    Imagine an undergraduate student with a caffeine saturated blood one day before the exam trying to learn the subject in few hours, my god this horrible story might be good enough to make it mission impossible IIII!, it is hard to say this is the wrong book. If this is your case I would recommend something like schaum's!

    Otherwise, if you are trying to learn the concept so that you will not just pass this course but also you can pass more advanced courses e.g. digital communication or digital signal processing, I guess, this is the book to learn it bottom to up approach.

    However, it is more focused on the concept and the mathematical foundations. In my view, this is how you learn the right way.

    Ironically speaking, trading the insight and the mathematical convenience for saving time using some solved examples (robotic supervised learning approach) within the semester at constant grade (in this course w.r.t. someone who knows the concept) would not guarantee you that same constant grade in the next more advanced course and as for the higher order terms(k(this year)+n;n=0..m in the set[0,1,2,3]) it will decay your grades exponentially!

    Finally, I would like to emphasize that the book is not concerned with DSP or digital communication as it is obvious in its title. The book doesn't cover things like Hilbert transform neither. It is made for a sophomore or a Junior ECS course to learn the foundation of the material.

    In summary, the book is made for undergrads those want to get superior GPAs.

    It takes time to build up your mind with signals concepts in the beginning but then your d(learning)/dt will increase as the new mathematical concepts decrease i.e.d(new math. concepts)/dt=-ve.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The right book
    This book give you much than you need to understand the concepts as well as objective problems and advanced problems in the end of every chapter.
    My advise: if you do care about your GPA more than you to understand concepts you may see other texts more helpful in this area and you can even get just the sheets of this book,otherwise this book will make you (as an undergraduate student) understand all the concept to start in DSP and comm.theories.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to the topic
    Having had this book for 2 semesters in a Signals and Systems course, I can say that it has done its job in presenting an in-depth and clear introduction to the topic. It is well-written, structured, comprehensive and has lots of challenging (and not so) exercises and examples.

    A few comments on the latter: it seemed to me that the first 20 basic exercises at the end of each chapter were very basic, of the type "plug-in the formula from the table on the previous page", while the subsequent problems, especially the advanced ones, are way above the level of the former. Working out through those was meticulous, hard and very lengthy as compared to the basic stuff (the solutions provided by our instructor were of the order 1-2 typed pages per problem). Providing answers or at least general strategies would have been tremendously helpful. I am aware that there is a solutions manual, however the textbook itself is expensive enough.

    The information was presented clearly, but I liked our professor's introduction to convolution more that the book's coverage. The sampling chapter was, at least to me and some of my fellows, a bit confusing and we had to, again, rely more on class notes.

    Overall this is a good book, albeit very-very expensive (I was lucky enough to get a cheap Indian reprint). ... Read more

    Isbn: 0138147574
    Subjects:  1. Computers    2. Engineering - Electrical & Electronic    3. Programming - Systems Analysis & Design    4. Science/Mathematics    5. Signal Processing    6. Signal theory (Telecommunicati    7. Signal theory (Telecommunication)    8. System analysis    9. Systems Analysis (Computer Science)    10. Technology & Industrial Arts    11. Telecommunications    12. Technology / Engineering / Electrical   


    Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
    by Harold Abelson, Gerald Jay Sussman
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (25 July, 1996)
    list price: $80.00 -- our price: $68.78
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    Editorial Review

    Abelson and Sussman's classic Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs teaches readers how to program by employing the tools of abstraction and modularity. The authors' central philosophy is that programming is the task of breaking large problems into small ones. The book spends a great deal of time considering both this decomposition and the process of knitting the smaller pieces back together.

    The authors employ this philosophy in their writing technique. The text asks the broad question "What is programming?" Having come to the conclusion that programming consists of procedures and data, the authors set off to explore the related questions of "What is data?" and "What is a procedure?"

    The authors build up the simple notion of a procedure to dizzying complexity. The discussion culminates in the description of the code behind the programming language Scheme. The authors finish with examples of how to implement some of the book's concepts on a register machine. Through this journey, the reader not only learns how to program, but also how to think about programming. ... Read more

    Reviews (140)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Classics Indeed
    SICP takes you to the heart of Computer Science.It teaches you to be a computer scientist, not a programmer.

    Being a Berkeley graduate having taken the 61A course with A+ (couldn't believe!), I can only say that this is a book that you read in your spare time, not when your have a project due in two weeks (or a final tomorrow).It is more philosophical than practical, and is for the aspiring computer scientists rather than those who need to get out there to make some money and buy stocks.

    And it is quite advanced in theory for an introductory text.Beginners are better off with books that approach these ideas from a practical programming perspective.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book.
    This is a fantastic book. I agree with the reviewers that say this book as little to do with contemporary software design and practice, and that's a shame, because if this book HAD more influence on contemporary software design, programs would work much, much better.

    This is a book about writing software, controlling complexity, identifying abstractions. It is filled with intelligence and wisdom. It is also a lot of fun.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Pons Asinorum of programming
    Barry Mazur (talking about mathematics, not programming) once characterised the encounter with a genuinely new concept in terms of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's experience on reading the first lines of Metamorphosis, when he literally fell off the sofa in shock, thinking 'I didn't know you were allowed to do that'.
    I still remember the same shock, even if I didn't literally fall of my chair, when, as an undergraduate, I encountered the first edition of this on the new acquisitions rack in my departmental library: I must have been the first person in the University, in Northern Ireland even, to read it, which I did, from cover to cover, over several days sitting in the library, even before it was released into the stacks.

    The reason why Structure and Interpretation is the best there is, is that it manages, not just once, but several times, to deliver that fall-off-a-chair intellectual jolt. People who complain that you can only do such things in Scheme, and therefore that the ideas are pointless, are missing the point. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0262011530
    Subjects:  1. Computer Bks - Languages / Programming    2. Computer Books: Languages    3. Computer Science    4. Computer programming    5. Computers    6. LISP (Computer program languag    7. LISP (Computer program language)    8. Lisp (Programming Language)    9. Programming - Software Development    10. Programming Languages - General    11. Programming Languages - LISP    12. Computers / Computer Science   


    ANSI Common LISP
    by Paul Graham
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (02 November, 1995)
    list price: $62.00 -- our price: $62.00
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    Editorial Review

    This book provides an excellent introduction to Common Lisp. In addition to chapters coveringthe basic language concepts, there are sections discussing the Common Lisp object system (CLOS) andspeed considerations in Lisp. Three fair-sized examples of nontrivial Lisp projects are also included. Thebook's clear and engaging format explains complicated constructs simply. This format makes ANSICommon Lisp accessible to a general audience--even those who have never programmed before. Thebook also provides an excellent perspective on the value of using Lisp. ... Read more

    Reviews (20)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good prelude to On Lisp for beginners
    What we have here is good introduction to Common Lisp. There is quite nice reference section at the end of the book. It is just perfect for language learning. Graham's writing syle is not completely neutral. He has many opinions what is good and bad in Lisp. Those opinions make the book more enjoyable for experienced lispers too (even if you don't agree fully).If after reading this book reader can proceed to On Lisp from same author.

    As other reviewer has noted the book has bad binding.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Organization could be tweaked
    Don't get me wrong, I still think the book deserves 5 stars for doing a grade-A presentation of material --- topics are presented clearly and without fuss, and even examples are logically (but thoroughly) discussed, without the bludgeoning that typically accompanies code examples in introductory language texts.

    One minor failing is that occasionally (I came across 3-4 instances) the author makes use of constructs in examples where they have not yet been presented --- it might have been intentional, as it forces the reader to get acquainted with the reference section, but it's a little disconcerting.

    The macro section left me hungry for more (but that's what "On Lisp" --- available online for free from Paul Graham's website --- is for), and the package discussion was a little sparse (keywords were sort of confusing --- Practical Common Lisp, at http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/, does a better job), but overall, a great read.

    I have to agree with the other reviewer that I wish more substantial programming exercises were given.This won't be a problem for students who are using the book as a text in a Lisp-based course, obviously, but for self-study practitioners it would be icing on the cake.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book.Pricey.Bad binding.
    This book is a very good introduction to Lisp, as others haveadequately explained.However, since it was first published the quantity of good free Lisp reading material on the web has increased.See Practical Common Lisp (http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/) as an example.The $47 expenditure might not be necessary if you just want to learn lisp.

    My main complaint is the binding on the book. I have not put this book under any unusual stress and the spine is already starting to fall apart after a few weeks of use.This unacceptable for reference book that I would like to use well into the future. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0133708756
    Subjects:  1. COMMON LISP (Computer program    2. COMMON LISP (Computer program language)    3. Computer Bks - Languages / Programming    4. Computer Books: Languages    5. Computers    6. Lisp (Programming Language)    7. Programming Languages - LISP    8. Computers / Programming Languages / LISP   


    Bebop Bytes Back: An Unconventional Guide to Computers
    by Clive Maxfield, Alvin Brown
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 August, 1997)
    list price: $49.95 -- our price: $49.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (10)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great book, but the software doesn't work with new computers
    I loved the book, and was looking forward to trying the exercises using the software, only to find out that my PC with Windows 98 wouldn't run the stuff!How very disappointing.I tried to go to the website listed in the book, and it didn't appear to be up!Did it move or something?If the software was functional and worked as advertised, (and I have no reason to doubt that it would,)I would have rated this at least a 4, and possibly even a 5!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Unbeatable introduction to computers.
    Bebop Bytes Back is one of the funniest books I've read. It's also one of the best technical books I know of. This book shows how a computer--the Beboputer--works. The CD-ROM included provides you with interactive labsand a simulator for the Beboputer, which you can program in machine code orassembly language. You will learn some pretty difficult things as you goalong; the book doesn't skirt around the more technical parts. You'll alsolearn history, and oh so many other things!

    As the authors say, this is amega-cool book; it's lots of fun, and is technical enough to satisfy themost serious budding programmers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An honest 4 star intro to computers ... there are no 5 stars
    A very nice and hilarious introduction to computers. With the included virtual computer, you can learn quite a bit! (No pun intended). This book also includes interesting historical anecdotes. Find out what computersreally do! (Not much, just move bytes about...). Enjoy! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0965193403
    Sales Rank: 708599
    Subjects:  1. Computer Bks - General Information    2. Computer Books: General    3. Computer Science    4. Computers    5. Hardware - Personal Computers - General    6. Microcomputers    7. Reference - Beginner Guides   


    Indiscrete Thoughts
    by Gian-Carlo Rota, Fabrizio Palombi
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (18 December, 1996)
    list price: $59.95 -- our price: $22.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars ^v^
    It is an amusing series of articles that range from descriptions of (famous) mathematicians and their human side, to (profitable) excursions in philosophy. Specifically, phenomenology.

    He has rather interesting things to say about the prejudices of mathematicians and of mathematics itself. One thing is clear, that is that this book is a book for mathematicians and those who wish to be mathematicians, with an abstract slant. One can see that in chapters, he engages in "specialised gossip". I personally, do not have the background to gossip (and bitch) about the same subject matter (at least a lot of it).

    Of interest to myself, personally, are his comments on the primacy of the axiomatic method in mathematics. One can see that he believes more in a "pre-axiomatic grasp" of mathematics than in the formal presentation of its subject matter. It is rather visible that he disdains the disdain for examples in mathematics. On the side of philosophy, he writes on "The Pernicious Influence of Mathematics Upon Philosophy", where he decries the mathematization of philosophy.

    I personally like this book. It is a good read, and a must read if one is, or is planning to become, a mathematician (in the more abstract, less applied sense).

    [The contents of this book have offended quite a number of people, incidentally. Perhaps this makes it all the more an interesting read?]

    5-0 out of 5 stars personal insight, and amusing observations
    `Funny stories about mathematicians!' An oxymoron, you might counter. Need I say that the title of the book is a pun. If you aren't from math, you might say that it is an inside joke. Pick up the book! If you are anything like me, you will not be able to put it down!

    And I think you will not be disappointed; even if you might initially have misgivings.

    The book is funny. If you don't believe me, give it a try, and judge for yourself. I had one of the best laughs of the year. The book is also unique in several ways; autobiographical in many ways, and written by an outstanding scientist; one with a rare talent for writing, for making observations about human nature, and for interpersonal skills. Had Rota not turned to math, he might well have become a novelist.

    A number of the protagonists in the book are the famous math professors Rota encountered when he was an undergraduate in Princeton in the early fifties; that was also the period of another illustrious mathematician, John Nash [later to become a Nobel Laureate, and the subject of a bestseller, and a movie; `A Beautiful Mind'].

    The stories I enjoyed the most in Rota's little book was those about Alonzo Church, a pioneer in logic; William Feller, one of the founders of modern probability theory; Solomon Lefschetz (of topology), to mention only some. But you will likely select your own favorites from Rota's illustrious gallery. Rota paints his subjects with a mix of colors: humor, respect, love, insight in the human soul, wisdom, and personal reflection. What is charming and amusing is to observe thru the eyes of the then young and impressionable undergraduate student Gian-Carlo Rota, that the famous scientists shared personal weaknesses, and failed human relationships, with the rest of us.

    Reviewed by Palle Jorgensen, November, 2004.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mathematicians exposed
    This book is a pleasure to read, whether or not you're interested in math or philosophy. It stands on the premise that when speaking or writing of science and scientists, we should acknowledge their fallibility and avoid myths. Rota believes the mythification of science and scientists is responsible for many of the flaws in education and science in general.

    Accordingly, Rota attempts in this book to show us mathematicians behind the scenes. He exposes the prejudices, mannerisms and also the nice traits of giants such as John von Neumann, Stanislaw Ulam, Willi Feller, Norbert Wiener. His portraits are not based on dull facts, but on lively anecdotes, and you really get a sense of the people he describes. I wish professional biographers took note. Rota also speaks of mathematics and philosophy, again debunking myths and exposing clearly the underlying trends.

    As a writer, Rota is fantastic. Through his brief sketches of people, places and events, a connected whole emerges. The clarity of his writing and thought, and his obvious pleasure with words, remind me of Norman Maclean's "A River Runs Through it". A bit like poetry in prose. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0817638660
    Sales Rank: 295663
    Subjects:  1. General    2. History    3. Mathematics    4. Mathematics (General)    5. Philosophy    6. Science    7. Science (General)    8. Science/Mathematics    9. Mathematics / General    10. Thoughts   


    Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
    by Steven Levy
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (02 January, 2001)
    list price: $15.00 -- our price: $10.20
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    Editorial Review

    Steven Levy's classic book explains why the misuse of the word "hackers" to describe computer criminals does a terrible disservice to many important shapers of the digital revolution. Levy follows members of an MIT model railroad club--a group of brilliant budding electrical engineers and computer innovators--from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s. These eccentric characters used the term "hack" to describe a clever way of improving the electronic system that ran their massive railroad. And as they started designing clever ways to improve computer systems, "hack" moved over with them. These maverick characters were often fanatics who did not always restrict themselves to the letter of the law and who devoted themselves to what became known as "The Hacker Ethic." The book traces the history of hackers, from finagling access to clunky computer-card-punching machines to uncovering the inner secrets of what would become the Internet. This story of brilliant, eccentric, flawed, and often funny people devoted to their dream of a better world will appeal to a wide audience. ... Read more

    Reviews (65)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A hacker classic
    Hackers is considered a classic of computer history (short as it is) and culture. Painstakingly compiled by Levy from both written accounts and hundreds of interviews with some of the most important figures in computing, ranging from Greenblatt and Gosper to Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, and Steve Jobs. It's an outstanding work and is required reading for anyone interested in the origins of the computer industry.

    The story progresses in a mostly linear historical manner, as much as is possible. Early on its much easier since almost all the computing going on was taking place in a few concentrated locations. Later in the 70s and early 80s there is some parallel storytelling after the explosive growth in the personal computer market and there is just too much going on.

    Up first is the story of the original "true hackers" of the legendary MIT Tech Model Railroad and the 9th floor Tech Central and AI lab. Rejecting the batch processed mentality of IBM and the big iron mainframes, these elite hackers originated the image of the geeky programmer and the `hacker ethic' still followed to this day. This is probably the most important section of the book culturally speaking, as we get an intimate look at their utopian little society and all the unique patterns of behavior that followed: the lock picking, hardware hacking, soda guzzling, Chinese food eating, 30 hour programming sprees, prank pulling, and the utter disdain for all bureaucracy and administration.

    Next up, this time on the other side of the country in California a very different but equally important revolution is underway. The true birthplace of the personal computer was not the elite halls of MIT, but the grungy garages of the original hardware hackers, centering primarily around the legendary Homebrew Computer Club. While the MIT hackers pounded out nifty but largely uninteresting programs on multimillion dollar timesharing microcomputers - the hardware hackers believed in bringing the power of computers to every home - and made it happen. These were men (yes they were all men) who thought nothing of buying an early Altair computer kit that consisted of nothing more than a box full of circuit boards - soldering them together with little or no instruction into something that barely resembled what anyone today would consider a computer - only to have no monitor or keyboard or sound. The entire operating system would have to be entered by hand in arcane assembly language each time the machine was turned.

    The hardware hackers knew computers could eventually find a home with regular people at a reasonable price, and quickly delivered. However, once this was accomplished (via the Apple and Atari home computers) it still would take some time to answer the eternal question - what the heck do you do with these computers? The formation of three grassroots companies solved this question - and the game hackers were born. In those days an individual gifted programmer could author an entire game, and reap an incredible 30% royalty rate from its sales. In computer circles they literally became like rock stars, including the rampant drug abuse.

    Levy ends with a newly added epilogue entitled The Last of the True Hackers. Here he takes a look at what became of many of the young and idealistic hackers 10 years after the original publishing of the book. In particular he focuses on the lamentation of the self described Last True Hacker - Richard Stallman, aka RMS. RMS is an ultra socialistic hacker and founded the Free Software Foundation in accordance with his overzealous belief that all software should be free.

    Overall Levy's book is a fairly objective account of this unusual history. However there are a number of important themes which are developed and explored along the way. Chief among them is defining the principle tenets of The Hacker Ethic and understanding its origins. It is a difficult concept, and simultaneously the reason for the success of the early hackers, and the making of their ultimate downfall. Their inability to understand anything but the computers they worked on, they failed in commercial success and in truly advancing the worldwide adoption of computer technology. Their elitist attitude persists to this day. It was only the hackers who understood not only the technology, but the business side and the practical application of technology that really succeeded.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for a Computer History buff
    If you saw Robert X Cringeley's "Triumph Of The Nerds" on PBS, this book pre-dates it by *years* Many of the people RXC mentions are here in the book. This book's a wild and wooly romp through the little-known side of the True History of computers and the unsung heroes who, only for the glory of solving a problem or impressing their friends brought us to the revolution/evolution of the Personal Computer. I got this when it was first published in hardcover and have long since lost the dust jacket and have read it countless times.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Required reading for computer programmers
    Hackers, by Steven Levy, should be required reading for anyone who programs computers for a living. Starting from the late 1950s, when the first hackers wrote code for the TX-0 and every instruction counted, to the early 1980s, when computers fully entered the consumer mainstream, and it was marketing rather than hacking which mattered. Levy divides this time into three eras: that of the 'True Hackers,' who lived in the AI lab at MIT and spent most of their time on the PDP series, the 'Hardware Hackers,' mostly situated in Silicon Valley and responsible for enhancing the Altair and creating the Apple, and the 'Game Hackers,' who were also centered in California; expert at getting the most out of computer hardware, they were also the first to make gobs and gobs of money hacking.

    The reason everyone who codes should read this book is to gain a sense of history. Because the field changes so quickly, it's easy to forget that there is a history, and, as Santayana said, "Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it." It's also very humbling, at least for me, to see what kind of shenanigans were undertaken to get the last bit of performance from a piece of hardware that was amazing for its time, but now would be junked without a thought. And a third takeaway was the transformation that the game industry went through in the early 80s: first you needed technical brilliance, because the hardware was slow and new techniques needed to be discovered. However, at some point, the hard work was all done, and the business types took over. To me, this corresponds to the 1997-2001 time period, with the web rather than games being the focus.

    That's one of my beefs--the version I read was written in 1983, and republished, with a new afterword in 1993. So, there's no mention of the new '4th generation' of hackers, who didn't have the close knit communities of the Homebrew Computer Club or the AI lab, but did have a far flung, global fellowship via email and newsgroups. It would be a fascinating read.

    Beyond the dated nature of the book, Levy omits several developments that I think were fundamental to the development of the hacker mindset. There's only one mention of Unix in the entire book, and no mention of C. In fact, the only languages he mentions are lisp, basic and assembly. No smalltalk, and no C. I also feel that he overemphasizes 'hacking' as a way that folks viewed and interacted with the world, without defining it. For instance, he talks about Ken Williams, founder of Sierra Online, 'hacking' the company, when it looked to me like it was simple mismanagement.

    For all that, it was a fantastic read. The more you identify with the geeky, single males who were in tune with the computer, the easier and more fun a read it will be, but I still think that everyone who uses a computer could benefit from reading Hackers, because of the increased understanding of the folks that we all depend on to create great software. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0141000511
    Subjects:  1. Computer Bks - General Information    2. Computer Industry    3. Computer hackers    4. Computer programming    5. General    6. History    7. Science/Mathematics    8. Technology    9. Computer fraud & hacking    10. Data security & data encryption    11. True crime   


    The Protocols (TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1)
    by W. Richard Stevens
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (31 December, 1993)
    list price: $74.99 -- our price: $58.84
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols is an excellent text that provides encyclopedic coverage of the TCP/IP protocol suite. What sets this book apart from others on this subject is the fact that the author supplements all of the discussion with data collected via diagnostic programs; thus, it is possible to "watch" the protocols in action in a real situation. Also, the diagnostic tools involved are publicly available; the reader has the opportunity to play along at home. This offers the reader an unparalleled opportunity to really get a feel for the behavior of the protocols in day-to-day operation. TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1: The Protocols features clear discussions and well-designed figures.

    Volume two of this series, TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 2: The Implementation, covers the implementation of TCP/IP. Volume three explores TCP for Transactions, HTTP, NNTP, and the Unix Domain Protocols. ... Read more

    Reviews (67)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic work - but in series need of updates as time goes on
    I cannot fathom a guess as to how many times the books in this series have saved my in project work over the years.The only drawback with this series is that some publisher should endeavor to keep them up to date.Serious Unix system programmers must have copies of the complete series.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great book despite the old age
    This is one of those books that despite the old age (this has been written 10 years ago) can still be considered up-to-date.

    For those who want to learn how tcp/ip based networks work or to get more involved with the details this book is a must have in your shelf.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Do you want to know how computers communicate?
    There are 64 reviews before this one. Average user review is 5 stars. So, whatever I write here is going to have a small influence on your judgment. Still I will show my presents in this world. I say this book is excellent. Don't waste time trying to find any better book about TCT/IP. Read this book. You'll be happy you did it. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0201633469
    Subjects:  1. Computer Bks - Communications / Networking    2. Computer Books: General    3. Data Transmission Standards And Protocols    4. Data Transmission Systems - General    5. Internet - General    6. Networking - Network Protocols    7. TCP/IP (Computer network proto    8. TCP/IP (Computer network protocol)    9. Computers / Networking / Network Protocols   


    Electromagnetics for Engineers
    by Steven E. Schwarz
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 January, 1990)
    list price: $69.95
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars a very good book for elec engineers
    overall it is a the complete solution to those who seek to know in deep the concept of electromagnetics. by the way, is there a soultion manual for this bok that covers all the assigned problems. i think the problems arehard enough. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0030065178
    Sales Rank: 874866
    Subjects:  1. Electromagnetism    2. Engineering - Electrical & Electronic    3. Engineering Physics    4. Science/Mathematics    5. Technology & Industrial Arts   

    Introduction to Algorithms
    by Thomas H. Cormen, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, Ronald Rivest
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 March, 1990)
    list price: $71.88
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France

    Editorial Review

    Aimed at any serious programmer or computer science student,the new second edition of Introduction to Algorithms builds onthe tradition of the original with a truly magisterial guide to theworld of algorithms. Clearly presented, mathematically rigorous, andyet approachable even for the math-averse, this title sets a highstandard for a textbook and reference to the best algorithms forsolving a wide range of computing problems.

    With sample problems andmathematical proofs demonstrating the correctness of each algorithm,this book is ideal as a textbook for classroom study, but its reachdoesn't end there. The authors do a fine job of explaining eachalgorithm. (Reference sections on basic mathematical notation will helpreaders bridge the gap, but it will help to have some math backgroundto appreciate the full achievement of this handsome hardcover volume.)Every algorithm is presented in pseudo-code, which can be implementedin any computer language, including C/C++ and Java. This ecumenicalapproach is one of the book's strengths. When it comes to sorting andcommon data structures, from basic linked lists to trees (includingbinary trees, red-black, and B-trees), this title really shines, withclear diagrams that show algorithms in operation. Even if you justglance over the mathematical notation here, you can definitely benefitfrom this text in other ways.

    The book moves forward with moreadvanced algorithms that implement strategies for solving morecomplicated problems (including dynamic programming techniques, greedyalgorithms, and amortized analysis). Algorithms for graphing problems(used in such real-world business problems as optimizing flightschedules or flow through pipelines) come next. In each case, theauthors provide the best from current research in each topic, alongwith sample solutions.

    This text closes with a grab bag of usefulalgorithms including matrix operations and linear programming,evaluating polynomials, and the well-known Fast Fourier Transformation(FFT) (useful in signal processing and engineering). Final sections on"NP-complete" problems, like the well-known traveling salesman problem,show off that while not all problems have a demonstrably final and bestanswer, algorithms that generate acceptable approximate solutions canstill be used to generate useful, real-world answers.

    Throughout thistext, the authors anchor their discussion of algorithms with currentexamples drawn from molecular biology (like the Human Genome Project),business, and engineering. Each section ends with short discussions ofrelated historical material, often discussing original research in eacharea of algorithms. On the whole, they argue successfully thatalgorithms are a "technology" just like hardware and software that canbe used to write better software that does more, with betterperformance. Along with classic books on algorithms (like DonaldKnuth's three-volume set, The Art of ComputerProgramming), this title sets a new standard for compiling thebest research in algorithms. For any experienced developer, regardlessof their chosen language, this text deserves a close look for extendingthe range and performance of real-world software. --RichardDragan

    Topics covered: Overview of algorithms (including algorithms asa technology); designing and analyzing algorithms; asymptotic notation;recurrences and recursion; probabilistic analysis and randomizedalgorithms; heapsort algorithms; priority queues; quicksort algorithms;linear time sorting (including radix and bucket sort); medians andorder statistics (including minimum and maximum); introduction to datastructures (stacks, queues, linked lists, and rooted trees); hashtables (including hash functions); binary search trees; red-blacktrees; augmenting data structures for custom applications; dynamicprogramming explained (including assembly-line scheduling, matrix-chainmultiplication, and optimal binary search trees); greedy algorithms(including Huffman codes and task-scheduling problems); amortizedanalysis (the accounting and potential methods); advanced datastructures (including B-trees, binomial and Fibonacci heaps,representing disjoint sets in data structures); graph algorithms(representing graphs, minimum spanning trees, single-source shortestpaths, all-pairs shortest paths, and maximum flow algorithms); sortingnetworks; matrix operations; linear programming (standard and slackforms); polynomials and the Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT); numbertheoretic algorithms (including greatest common divisor, modulararithmetic, the Chinese remainder theorem, RSA public-key encryption,primality testing, integer factorization); string matching;computational geometry (including finding the convex hull);NP-completeness (including sample real-world NP-complete problems andtheir insolvability); approximation algorithms for NP-complete problems(including the traveling salesman problem); reference sections forsummations and other mathematical notation, sets, relations, functions,graphs and trees, as well as counting and probability backgrounder(plus geometric and binomial distributions). ... Read more

    Reviews (122)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Too much coverage and few examples
    I am a MS student, we used this book as Text Guide. Thank God I pass although I just got a B in part due to the poor coverage of exercises of this book. Despite of my willingness to try the examples and exercises it was really frustating not be able to check any of my answers.
    First of all the book tries to cover all the possible topics related to Algorithms from sortingto NP-completeness problems. My recommendation, focus on what you know well and cover it thouroughly or at least split this book in 2 volumes.
    Second, the anoying way to explain things by leaving them as exercises.
    Third, the exercises were not in any way helpful to reinforce the material covered in the chapter, on the contrary are just the introduction of new concepts; and on top of that no answers available. In some cases the answers are not even related to the chapter you are reviewing, just an example, the solution for some of the problems in NP chapter are the application of Dynamic Programming which is a different chapter in the book.

    If you have the unfortune of using this book, search on the net for answers that may guide you on your homework assignments.

    Best of the luck.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and (almost) complete.
    I am an EE PhD student in Princeton, with basic CS background. I bought this book about a week ago, and I just finished reading more than half of it. I am impressed by the organisation and dedication of the authors to write something understandable to a wide audience, without sacrificing in depth analysis. If you need a good and complete introductory book,that summarizes also the latest research in the field, I would recommend this one.

    Drawbacks...Minor (+ I am a weird guy) and hardly mentionable, but I have the feeling that some proofs may have been presented more rigorously. I would also like to see more examples or SOLUTIONS to some of the problems.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Lots of stuff, but a little verbose
    A good introductory text but that's about it. Any CS major worth his salt should chew his way through this level material pretty quickly, and there's the only rub... at points this could be a little bit more concise because it actually can aid understanding in an exact field. Sometimes less is more. The spared pages could be used to cover more material or to raise the bar a little. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0070131430
    Subjects:  1. Computer Books: General    2. Computer algorithms    3. Computer programming    4. Computers    5. General    6. Mathematics    7. Programming - Algorithms    8. Programming - General   

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