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Reviews: Top Page

This is where I will be posting some reviews, mostly book reviews. If you enjoyed the review, or even simply because you know and love me, and you want to buy the book/album/whatever please consider clicking on the links to Amazon, as then they will give me a percentage (only links for Amazon Japan and Amazon UK currently). The same goes for any advertising you see on this site. It shouldn't cost you anything, and my modest aim is to meet my web site hosting fees, with perhaps enough on top to buy more books to review here!

Dec 29th 2006 UPDATE: For the moment I am posting my reviews on a blog site here: Don't forget to click the ads you see there as well! Thanks for your support!

July 25th 2007 UPDATE:

Someone asked for a good modern text book on Bayesian methods on the computer-go mailing list. "Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning" (shown left and right, on top) got the comment "It's totally awesome!", with coverage of both Bayesian and non-Bayesian methods, clear explanations and figures and having an algorithmic perspective (presumably in contrast to a mathematical perspective) were given as the strong points. There is a free chapter.

Information Theory, Inference & Learning Algorithms (the bottom book on left and right) also got a couple of positive mentions. The whole book is also available for free online.

This is an area I have also been wanting to fill in some blanks on (actually I think I have more blanks than knowledge...). I am going to go for the first of the above books (despite the rather high price); the second one looked harder (more mathematical).

June 2nd 2007 UPDATE:

I like nothing more than going to bed with a young school boy. Well, actually he has grown up, and I'm now looking forward to going to bed with a lanky sixth former this summer. That's right. I'm a big Harry Potter fan, and can barely wait for the 7th and final episode. The links (Amazon UK on the left, Amazon JP links on the right) are to pre-order it, to arrive on July 21st.
The Amazon UK link is for the UK adult version (only difference from the childrens version is the cover). Amazon JP link is for the American version (which is about 1000 yen cheaper than the UK version).

July 25th 2007 Update: If you were wondering what the differences between UK and US versions is, the answer is "quite a lot". Differences in the UK and US Versions of Four Harry Potter Books shows the changes are much more than just "rubbish bin" into "trash can". Personally I got the first few books in the series from a 2nd hand bookshop in Tokyo and ended up with the U.S. versions. I have continued buying the U.S. versions so that the cover artwork matches. Now I feel like I might have missed out on something and wonder about getting the U.K. versions for when I read all 7 books again! Maybe I'll wait for Harry Potter 7 to come out in paperback; I expect they'll release a seven book special edition at the same time.

Mar 29th 2007 UPDATE:

Here are a couple of books that have been recommended to me recently, one for Chinese grammar, the other for Arabic grammar. The recommendation was in the context of logical presentation such as a programmer would appreciate; not sure how useful they are for the general learner.
(As usual, Amazon UK on the left, Amazon JP links on the right.)

Jan 29th 2007 UPDATE: I'm trying to learn Chinese this year (mainly to help develop a Chinese version of MLSN ( and for machine translation experiments; also as it is a useful commercial language) and am considering the following books:

  • Rapid Chinese: 200+ Essential Words and Phrases Anchored into Your Long Term Memory with Great Music. This audio book's long title says it all really. Only one review, but 5-star and sounds genuine. Amazon JP * Amazon UK
  • The Rough Guide to Mandarin Chinese (A Dictionary Phrasebook). Four good reviews, sounds useful for a tourist. No CD however. Amazon JP * Amazon UK
  • Chinese in 10 Minutes a Day. Again, four good reviews, but no CD. Amazon JP * Amazon UK
  • Mandarin Chinese: Level 1 (Learn in Your Car). Another audio book. 3 CDs, an hour each. Unfortunately no customer reviews, so I don't how it compares to the Rapid Chinese audio book above. Amazon JP * Amazon UK
  • Mandarin Chinese Complete: Levels 1-3 (Learn in Your Car). Following on from the previous item, the full set means nine one-hour CDs, plus an hour long DVD. But again no reviews. Amazon JP * Amazon UK

And I've been wanting to buy a USB memory stick for ages, mainly to backup critical data to, and this one seems to be the best choice for 2GB (prices vary incredibly, but this is not just the cheapest but also I have made Buffalo purchases before with no complaints) (It has been working well under linux, Fedora Core 5):

That is Amazon JP. If in the UK, this is the one I chose for my brother as a Christmas present:

This is a general link to amazon UK and then Amazon Japan. Start here if you want to buy something from them that is not one of my review items.

This should be showing Amazon UK's and Amazon Japan's suggestions based on the content of this web site. The suggestions are not mine, but if they look good, go ahead and click!

A link to buy an amazon gift certificate. Useful even for people who think books are just things you burn in winter to keep warm, as Amazon also sell electric heaters.

Featured Mini-Review: Effective C++

The Effective C++ series is excellent for two reasons: Scott Meyers is a highly skilled, entertaining writer, and the content is just so useful. I strongly encourage everyone who writes C++ seriously to read all three books cover to cover, and then keep them on the closest bookshelf to their work desk.


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Last updated: 29th Mar 2007, © Copyright Darren Cook, 2006,2007

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