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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Working Effectively with Legacy Code
Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR
Authors: Michael Feathers
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
a wealth of practical information and solutions

Martin Fowler's book on Refactoring showed us how to improve the design of our code. We learned to make changes safely, by taking small, rote steps, and by ensuring that we ran our tests after each small change. But what if we're working on the typical ugly system with no tests? In Working Effectively With Legacy Code, Michael Feathers tackles the problem that most of us end up dealing with.

Feathers does an excellent job of articulating the problems and scenarios, using clear examples from C, C++, Java, and C#. Many of the code examples look a lot like real examples I come across all the time--they don't appear to be fabricated.

Working Effectively With Legacy Code contains a catalog that provides a wealth of solutions. The catalog shows how to resolve concerns like, "I'm changing the same code all over the place" and "how do I safely change procedural code?"

The book is highly entertaining and comes across as a conversation with a really sharp, really patient guru developer. Often, it's a chore to slog through code-heavy books. But Feathers manages to keep my attention with interesting stories, loads of examples, and well-written text.

I think that Working Effectively With Legacy Code is an important book. The vast majority of existing code presents the classic catch-22: you can't change it safely because it doesn't have tests, and you can't write tests without changing it to easily support testing. It's not an easy problem, and most people will give you high-level ideas for solving it. Feathers is the first person to dig deep and present a wealth of knowledge and insight on the problem, all in one place. I'll be pulling this book from my shelf for years to come.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft Windows Command-Line Administrator's Pocket Consultant (Pro - Administrator's PC)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: William R. Stanek
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Immediately useful

I went through several books before I finally found this one. None of them ever got me to write a review before. This book has everything you need to go in and get 99% of what you need done. This is not only a fantastic reference but teaches you as well. A great one time cover to cover read. An excellent life time reference. Any one on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 needs this book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Financial Modeling - 2nd Edition
Publisher: The MIT Press
Authors: Simon Benninga
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Is this a joke?

Benninga successfully bridges academic formulas and real-life scenarios in this admittedly fairly expensive book. However, given the wealth of information and immediate applicability I definitely think it's worth the money. Most importantly, by compiling all the major (and some lesser known) formulas as well as their associated VBA code into one book, this is certainly going to be part of my office library.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems : Networks of Plausible Inference
Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann
Authors: Judea Pearl
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5

This book is an absolutely essential book for AI programming. I've found no better book for explaining the recent advances in probability theory and its relevance to real-life, practical artificial intelligence development. It's written in a very down-to-earth and highly entertaining style with plenty of examples.
I've been looking for a good introduction to Bayes nets for a long time, and this one is by far the best and most comprehensive.
Probability is increasingly becoming one of the major foundations of effective artificial intelligence, and I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in AI or probability theory.