Interesting Books – 2012-03-06

More interesting books, to find interesting problems.

The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers
ISBN: 9780137081073
vii[He and I shared a passion for programming and for clean code.]
xiv[It was the sort of environment in which some people complain, and others point out that “pressure makes diamonds.”]
xiv[We got things done.]
xvii[Somehow, the legal team had demonstrated professionalism in a way the technical team had not.]
xxii[hiding within the pragmatic advice in this book you will find an attitude struggling to break through. It is an attitude of honesty, of honor, of self-respect, and of pride. It is a willingness to accept the dire responsibility of being a craftsman and an engineer. That responsibility includes working well and working clean. It includes communicating well and estimating faithfully. It includes managing your time and facing difficult risk-reward decisions.]
xxii[With that knowledge comes the responsibility to _act_.]

Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent
ISBN: 9781590598382
xi[if you can eliminate _one_ obstacle — just one! — you can _double_ the number of people you hire.]
xii[Sorry, I know it’s not your _fault_, but it _is_ your problem.]
xiii[that old article I wrote in my youth is just ridiculous, so, while it’s still on the Web, you’ll have to find it for yourself, which I don’t recommend.]
xiv[From the very beginning, we were always _totally_ convinced that our _number one_ priority was hiring great people, even before we know what kind of software we would make.]
2[our _real_ goal in starting Fog Creek was to create a software company where _we would want to work_.]
3[In some other industries, cheap _is_ more important than good.]
4[duplication of software is free. … Essentially _design adds value faster than it adds cost_.]
6[The most obvious thing you notice here is the huge variations. The fastest students were finishing three or four times faster than the average students and as much as ten times faster than the slowest students. The standard deviation is outrageous.]
9[_The quality of the work and the amount of time spent are simply uncorrelated._]

Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services
ISBN: 9780470229101
v[This book is for Bene, my strength and inspiration, my parents, who taught me I could do anything, and everyone who believes that design should make the world a better place (today and tomorrow).]
xxiii[Designing the human-facing behavior of software-powered systems is a relatively new discipline.]
xxiii[It certainly surprised me to see just how deep the craft really went as we explored it.]
xxiii[interaction design is a wholly new discipline]
xxiii[practitioners need to know _how_ to make it easy to use, and _how_ to be creative.]
xxiii[Here at Cooper we follow a Socratic method, where although clever answers are valued, discriminating questions are valued more.]
xxiii[our attention is always on finding the underlying principles.]
xxiii[All great craft disciplnes share this trait; while their essence can be expressed in a few simple aphorisms, the mastery required to put those aphorisms into practice can take years to learn and decades to master.]
xxiv[The great value of a rigorous methodology is that it gives you a strategy for breaking down the really complex, tough problems into smaller, more familiar, and more manageable tasks that can be readily addressed.]
xxv[This book is comprehensive in its scope, exhaustive in its depth, authoritative in its practice, and priceless in its wisdom.]

Neuroengineering the Future: Virtual Minds and the Creation of Immortality
ISBN: 9781934015186
ix[The Self as Genuine Illusion]
ix[Semi-invasive methods]
x[The Amplification of Intelligence]
x[Look, Ma. No Body!]
xiiv[it is only via the brain’s conscious emanations, thoughts, that anything whatsoever can be experienced.]
xiv[The uploading of the soul to a machine is not just a matter of creating the proper technology; it is first and foremost figuring out what it means to have a soul.]
xiv[there seems to be no limit to the size that memory could grow if the brain was augmented by external storage devices.]
xiv[these, in the end, are technical problems, not problems in principle. They will be overcome, haltingly at first, and then more consistently]
xiv[The mind of a murderer is uploaded into a machine, but in such a way as to lose the memory of his crime. Is he still responsible?]
xv[The fact of the matter is that the body is made for one thing and one thing only. It is a conduit for genetic material.]
xv[We must take nature by the throat rather than vice versa.]
xv[The trajectory on which we will be thrust by becoming self-modifying agents is radically different than the gentle course evolution has placed before us.]
xv[in the long run, it can only be to our advantage to have a choice about the only thing that is truly our own, the contents of our consciousnesses.]
xvi[Yes, the body is a thing of grace and beauty, except. Except when it is cold, when it is tired, when it is hungry, when it is bloated]
xvi[Neural-based technology, then, is not about having more … It is about fully drinking in what is already here.]
xvi[To the transhumanist, death is not so much a tragedy as an absurdity.]
xvi[The endgame of neuroengineering is not necessarily the cessation of death, though, but the ability to choose the timing and nature of termination.]
xvi[The literature on identity is by no means sparse]
xvii[I wish to offer heartfelt thanks to all humans, transhumans and other sentient beings who have made this work possible by their prior efforts. Thinking about thought is not easy and I would still be at metaphysical square one if not for their sacrifices.]
1[Foundational Material]

The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist
ISBN: 9780201362985
v[Construction professionals]
ix[I write to prod designers and design project managers into thinking hard about the _process_ of designing things, especially complex systems.]
ix[Who Should Read This Book?]
ix[intuitive design without system yields flawed fancies. How to weld intuition and systematic approach?]
x[Making things is a joy — immensely satisfying.]
x[Designing per se is fun.]
x[Much of design cost, often as much as a third, is rework, the correction of mistakes.]
xi[much mystery remains]
xii[_the boldest design decisions, whoever made them, have accounted for a high fraction of the goodness of the outcome_.]

Machine Learning: An Algorithmic Perspective
ISBN: 9781420067187
v[For my Monkle]
vii[If Data Had Mass, the Earth Would Be a Black Hole]
xv[the areas where machine learning methods can be applied vary even more widely, from finance to biology to medicine to physics and chemistry and beyond.]
xv[The emphasis is on the algorithms that make up the machine learning methods, and on understanding how and why these algorithms work.]
xv[It is intended to be a practical book]
xvi[Machine learning is a rich area.]
xvi[there are many resources for machine learning available via the Internet, with more being created all the time.]
1[The problem you have is one of prediction: given the data you have, predict what the next person will buy, and the reason that you think that is might work is that people who seem to be similar often act similarly.]
1[So how can you actually go about solving the problem?]
2[Around the world, computers capture and store terabytes of data every day.]
2[The challenge is to do something useful with this data]
2[Science has also taken advantage of the ability of computers to store massive amounts of data.]
2[Astronomy now uses digital telescopes, so that each night the world’s observatories are storing incredibly high-resolution images of the night sky; around a terabyte per night.]
2[The explosion in stored data is well known; the challenge is to do something useful with that data.]
2[The size and complexity of these datasets means that humans are unable to extract useful information from them.]
2[our three-dimensional world doesn’t let us do much with data in higher dimensions]
3[the problems of our human limitations go away if we can make computers do the dirty work for us.]
4[two-dimensional projections of three-dimensional objects hides information]
4[Learning is what gives us flexibility in our life; the fact that we can adjust and adapt to new circumstances and learn new tricks]
4[The important parts of animal learning for this book are _remembering_, _adapting_, and _generalising_]
5[machine learning methods are sometimes called _subsymbolic_ because no symbols or symbolic manipulation are involved.]
5[There is a fantastic existence proof that learning is possible, which is the bag of water and electricity (together with a few trace chemicals) sitting between your ears.]

AI Application Programming
ISBN: 9781584504214
v[Their patience, support, and encouragement made this book possible.]
xvii[much of AI research and practice today concentrates on goals that are more practical]
xvii[My goal in writing this book was to demystify some of the more interesting AI algorithms so that a wider audience can use them.]
1[much simpler behaviors such as the ability to survive in dynamic environments.]
2[To some, the result of this process is to gain a better understanding of ourselves. To others, it will be the base from which we engineer systems that act intelligently.]
2[Today, the claims of AI are much more practical. AI has been divided into branches, each with different goals and applications.]
2[One an AI technology becomes utilized, it’s no longer AI. For this reason, the AI acronym has also been coined “Almost Implemented,” because once it’s done it’s no longer magic; it’s just common practice.]
2[_Strong AI_ refers to the field of research that is interested in making computers think at a level equal to humans.]
2[_Weak AI_ represents the wider domain of AI technologies. Weak AI features can be added to systems to give them intelligent qualities.]
2[although people want products that work, they don’t really care _how_ they work.]
3[Neural networks with feedback loops were constructed by Walter Pitts and Warren McCullock in 1945, to show how these loops could be used to compute.]
3[intelligence is the process of receiving and processing information to achieve goals]
4[Although problems existed with the method, almost all unsupervised learning procedures are Hebbian in nature.]
4[LISP was developed at the MIT AI lab by John McCarthy, who was one of the early pioneers of AI.]
4[every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can be in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it]
5[Perhaps the greatest indicator that AI had reached a level of acceptability was the emergence of critics.]
66[It was discovered that products that integrates AI sell not because of their AI characteristics but because they solve a problem more efficiently than do products that use traditional methods. AI found integration within a greater number of applications, but without fanfare.]

Biostatistics, Second Edition: A Guide to Design, Analysis and Discovery
ISBN: 9780123694928
ix[Putting Chance to Work]
xv[That book broke new ground by expanding the range of methods covered beyond what typically was included in competing texts. It also emphasized the importance of understanding the context of a problem — the why and what — instead of considering only the how of analysis.]
xv[Now that the stars are in alignment (or whatever), we finally decided to create a second edition.]
xv[most textbooks do not emphasize the relevance of biostatistics to people’s lives and well-being.]
xvi[When presenting a formula, we first explain the concept that underlies the formula. We then show how the formula is a translation of the concept into something that can be measured. The emphasis is on when and how to apply the formula, not on its derivation.]
1[Biostatistics is the application of statistical methods to the biological and life sciences.]
1[These methods are particularly useful in studies involving humans because the processes under investigation are often very complex.]
1[this complexity and abundance of data often mask the underlying processes. It is in these situations that the systematic methods found in statistics help create order out of the seeming chaos.]
2[Whenever we draw an inference, there is a chance of being wrong. Fortunately, statistical methods incorporate probability ideas that allow us to determine the chance of making a wrong inference.]
2[More important than the methods used in the analysis are the use of the appropriate study design and the proper definition and measurement of the study variables. _You cannot have a good study without good data!_]
2[reliance on the study subject’s memory or knowledge could be a mistake]
4[we can see that data rarely speak clearly and usually require an interpreter]
4[The interpreter … is familiar with the subject matter, understands what the data are supposed to represent, and knows how the data were collected.]

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