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Jurgen Van Gael (Cambridge, UK)

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Bullguard Internet Security Version 8: 1 Pack (Jewel Case) (PC)
Bullguard Internet Security Version 8: 1 Pack (Jewel Case) (PC)
Offered by Retro Rebel Gaming
Price: £25.12

3.0 out of 5 stars High Quality but Too Heavy, 9 Oct. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Bullguard Internet Security is an application which will protect different aspects of your machine: the firewall, antivirus and spamfilter are the most important ones.

I am using this software on a windows vista machine and have to say the installation procedure is clean and simple. The user interface of the program is reasonable intuitive to navigate and in no time I had all schedules up and running the way I wanted. I've been very satisfied with the quality of the antivirus and spamfilters and have had no problems with this feature whatsoever.

The firewall sometimes work a little too good. The first annoyance was that the program asked me for every single program I ran whether I should give it access to the internet or not. Luckily you can only have bullguard ask that question once so no worries any more. A second annoyance was that I wanted to configure some exceptions for the firewall so I could use a custom P2P program we use at work. This was a nightmare: finding where and what to change was too complicated than necessary and I hope future versions will address this issue.

Finally, I found that Bullguard slowed down my computer tremendously! I don't know why software companies don't spend a bit more time trying to strip their applications down to the bare minimum. A big thumbs down in this respect.

All in all I think it is a reasonable piece of software but only because I consider an anti-virus program absolutely critical do I allow it to slow my machine down. If this weren't the case, I would have looked for another application.

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great topic in a not so great book, 29 July 2008
Black swans are highly improbable events, with a large impact that seem explainable after they have happened. In this 300 page book Nassim Nicholas Taleb tries to convince us that black swans are all around us, they have always been and they always will. And as far as I am concerned he has certainly convinced me.

I didn't have very much trouble reading through NNT's arrogance, but some other things annoyed me more. The book is sometimes overly simplistic and very hostile towards people who's daily life revolves around dealing with uncertainty: statisticians, doctors, people in finance ... The study of improbably events is a hard but important aspect of statistics and there is a lot of useful -and practical- things to say about it. NNT doesn't seem to share this oppinion: quote: "forget everything you learned in college statistics". Cognitive science also teaches us a lot about why people underestimate certain probabilities so NNT's explanations are not very new; again, I think very little credit to academics is given here.

Although I got a little bored at times, I think all in all The Black Swan is a decent book which won't change your life.

Quantum Computing (Natural Computing Series)
Quantum Computing (Natural Computing Series)
by Mika Hirvensalo
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction, 2 Feb. 2004
I found the book of reasonable quality. Giving an accurate but rather short introduction to the 2 main quantum algorithms: quantum fourier transform, grover's search. I would recommend the book to advanced undergraduate readers or beginning graduates with any scientific background. The only required background would be some decent linear algebra and an average standard-university math knowledge.

There is one thing which I think every reader should know before buying the book though. The actual part on quantum algorithms is about 60 pages. The first 40 pages are on computation (interesting for non-CS people) and the last 80 pages are an overview of quantum mechanics and mathematics. (interesting for non-physics people)

Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms
Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms
by David J. C. MacKay
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £40.49

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on inference and learning ..., 21 Nov. 2003
I have been able to use this book as extra background material for several courses of my final undergraduate year.
First I have been able to find a lot of usefull information on coding theory. Although this book isn't meanth to be a treatise on several coding, decoding techniques it gives the reader a lot of insight in the connection between coding and information theory. You won't find how matrix decoding algorithms, cyclic codes etc work but you will find out how the limits of information theory restrict coding theory.
I cannot compare the information theoretic approach to any other book as this was my first introduction but I can say the information theoretic treatise was a good read and I make myself strong I now have a solid information theory background.
Another course for which I have been able to use this book was a course on uncertainty reasoning. Mckay's book covers inference in great depth and introduces the reader to several different area's such as belief networks, decision theory, bayesian networks and several other inference methods. As before I cannot compare the ising, monte carlo like methods but it did give me a good introduction. Concerning the bayesian probability/inference, decision theory I can only say this is THE best introduction I have read!
I have read several introductions on Neural Networks (Kevin Geurny). This book keeps up with the standard set by several other good introductions.
Inference/Learning is a vast research area and this books gives a good introduction in all areas. Even as the part on neural networks may be as good as some other books on the topic I would definitely advise this book as for the same price you get so much more introductions to other learning techniques. The last thing which I like very much is the fact that several excercies are solved or come with hints which makes it for a student a very good book accompanying other courses. The author has a very clear writing style and knows when to add a good joke to make the reading more enjoyable.
My conclusion: if you are an undergraduate student interested in learning and inference -> "Go get this book asap!!!"

A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to the Quantum Computer
A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to the Quantum Computer
by George Johnson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beginners Book, 4 Nov. 2003
I am a computer science student and bought byself (next to some technical references - Nielsen & Chuang) this book and "The quest for the quantum computer". I started reading the later which I found an excellent book giving a thourough historical, conceptual overview of the field. After that I read Johnson's book which I found very very meager compared to the first I read.
Johnson's book is for the abolute beginner and gives only very limited insight in the current state of the field. I would recommend this book to someone without an education in physics/mcomputer science/mathematics. For people who know a little (from popular science books) quantum mechanics and computer science, this book will give you no more information than you will get on online encyclopedia.
If you are interested in Quantum Computing and you are not an absolute beginner, start with Brown's "The quest for the quantum computer".

Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence
by Patrick Henry Winston
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good overview but nothing more ..., 20 May 2003
I bought this book to prepare myself for an introductory AI class. The book gave me a good overview on the different aspects of Artificial Intelligence, but it didn't go into any depth at all.
First of all I think this book lacked a good historical and philosophical introduction.
Then, if you are not a computer science student, you might enjoy reading the chapters about search etc, but for a CS major this is stuff you alrady know better than what is written in this book!
The book also misses a good overview on logic and how logic is used for automated reasoning in AI. There are a few applications for which they use logic but I found them (because of lack of a good AR) rather confusing at first.
The rest of the book gives a good high level overview on different aspects of learning, vision, natural language processing, ... but don't expect anything thourough.
I woul recommend this book to a interested reader in need for a good overview and willing to learn some applications and algorithms. For a CS major I would recommend: "Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach" which is much more technical and covers a lot more.

Linear Operators for Quantum Mechanics
Linear Operators for Quantum Mechanics
by Thomas F. Jordan
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!, 21 April 2003
I am a computer science student trying to get a grip on the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics. Starting with a moderate understanding of linear algebra I was able to understand the book easily.
The book gives a very good introduction to Hilbert spaces leaving the difficult but less relevant proofs out. All topics ranging from properties of Hermitian, Unitary operators, diagonalisation, spectral decomposition are all explained very well.
The final part of the book applies all conepts to quantum mechanics and mechanics to show off the usability of all explained concepts.
The one small thing I missed in this book though was the lack of excercises. There are 9 excersices at the back of the book which is a little too few ...
All in all the author did a very good job though!

Alan Turing: The Enigma
Alan Turing: The Enigma
by Andrew Hodges
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very detailed and enjoyable read ..., 23 Mar. 2003
This book on Alan Turing is a very detailed biography. I especially liked the fact that the author seems to understand how to explain some technical stuff in a very easy to understand way. It is by no means an introduction to the theory which Turing invented but still gives the reader a good idea on why and how he did it. The work of Mr. Turing on cryptography and the cryptanalysis of the enigma code after his university years are an exciting read on the second world war which not many of us have heard about yet!

HP iPAQ H1910 Pocket PC
HP iPAQ H1910 Pocket PC

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvelous pocket pc from HP!!!, 23 Mar. 2003
I thought a lot about which iPaq to buy but when I saw the 1910 I was enthousiastic at once. It may not be the iPaw with the best technical specs but who needs more than 200 mHz for managing his contacts and calendar.
Two things made me buy the 1910. First of all it's size. This iPaq isn't as bulky as the other iPaq series but still offers a large enough screen. The second feature is it's memory expansion slot. I didn't mind my iPaq having a less powerfull processor but I do like to have enough memory for music, books, portable storage. The memory slot on top of the iPaq suits all my needs.
What suprised me after I bought the iPaq was the ease of installation and synchronisation.
The only minor setback was that a cradle must be bought separately but I can imagine not everyone needs one.
After having used a PalmPilot I must admit this is a much more pleasant pocket pc experience.

The New Turing Omnibus: 66 Excursions in Computer Science (New Turning Omnibus : 66 Excursions in Computer Science)
The New Turing Omnibus: 66 Excursions in Computer Science (New Turning Omnibus : 66 Excursions in Computer Science)
by A. K. Dewdney
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very nice introduction to computer science ..., 17 Mar. 2003
This book is a very good introduction to the various disciplines of computer science. The articles are well written and I can certainly recommend this title to any undergrad student to gain basic knowledge of advanced computer science topics.
I would rate it 5 stars if it were a little more up-to-date though. Certain articles and results have really become outdated with current research.

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