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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Aaron Hillegass
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Great book

ransom22's review pretty much says it all. I've since supplemented this book with some of the O'Reilly books, and I'm awaiting delivery of Scott Anguish's "Cocoa Programming", but this is an excellent book with which to start the journey into Cocoa.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: EverQuest II : Prima Official Game Guide
Publisher: Prima Games
Authors: Prima Temp Authors
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
One of the best guides

"EverQuest II: Prima Official Game Guide" is one of the best commercial guides I have ever seen.

I find most guidebooks, and especially those from Prima, very poor. They are inaccurate and seem to condescend to the reader. Online guides, fan sites and forums always seem to have better content and be more up-to-date. I received this - a gift from my wife who knew how excited I was to start playing Everquest II - with about the same enthusiasm as receiving a bar of soap. (She thought it was a comic book set in an everquest genre.)

I was pleasantly surprised how good the guide has been. The book has been very helpful in getting up and running in the game. Everquest II is very complicated and a bit daunting to start playing especially as I only play a few hours a week. The maps are especially helpful in getting oriented.

Yes, all guidebooks are spoilers, but while there are a lot of quest walk-throughs there are plenty more to discover. Also, the guide doesn't have much content for characters over the mid 20's - leaving a lot of game for you to discover.

I think the guide really helped get my head "into" the game.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Inside C#, Second Edition
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
There all Beta 1's

In attempting to explain why I disliked this book, I found that there are too many reasons to list. The first being that it doesn't really teach the C# language (instead starting with several chapters that explain why object-oriented programming is important). Second, it doesn't teach Object-oriented programming, since those first few chapter are only about why you'll want to use that programming method. Third, it's not a beginner, intermediate or advanced guide, so who is it really for? Finally, and this is the saddest point, it's the best of the six beta books that I've read so far. So, if only to save others from wasting as much time and money as I have - I'd suggest waiting until a few new books hit the market.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Authors: Roger Penrose
Rating: 3/5
Customer opinion - 3 stars out of 5
A most magnificent edifice built on sand.

This book is an evil-twin, good-twin combo. The first half is a rather difficult, rambling, and biased presentation of the thesis. The second half includes an excellent discussion of some aspects of quantum mechanics, although concluding with an interesting speculation proposing microtubules as the solution to his conundrum. Unfortunately Penrose shares the prevalent human hubris, rendering his objectivity dubious at best.
We now know that it is not possible to determine whether a program halts at infinity or continues after it gets there. Adding more axioms will not ultimately clarify the distinction. Penrose correctly states that non-deterministic programs do not enlarge the domain of computability. From those facts, Penrose concludes that mathematicians must use non-computable methods to reach verifiably true statements.
However, either random programs or exhaustive search can construct any finite sentence, conclusion, chain of thought, or sequence of bits. Recourse to non-computability therefore does not enable us to generate more true statements, and Penrose does not show that it would help us "know that they are true." If quantum mechanics can provide access to infinity, then we MAY need to revise the notion of computability. Don't hold your breath; qubits and quantum computers don't extend the theoretical limits of computability.
Penrose makes it clear in the first chapter that he is motivated by an irrational fear that machines will take over the world and enslave humans. Why should they do that? Well, that is what humans do. They why would machines be worse? No answer. Wouldn't it be better to encourage non-military reasearch in machine intelligence and robotics, teach them genuine secular ethics, etc.? Why should they share our goal of breeding to the Malthusian limit? Won't they occupy a separate and beneficial niche, like our relation with honeybees? Won't machines prefer planets and places with less water? Aren't intelligent machines the only way the legacy of our species can outlive our star (or even, with high probability, the next century)? If irrational fear is non-computable, it is also unsound.
Penrose may indeed be