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The Hacker Shelf
March 15, 2012 9:56 AM   Subscribe

The Hacker Shelf is nice crowd-sourced guide to (legally) free books on various computational and mathematical subjects. The topics page gives you an idea of the breadth of material available.
posted by philipy (24 comments total) 104 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, I have 4 extra tabs open already on books I want to read. Must. Stop. Scrolling.
posted by DU at 10:02 AM on March 15, 2012


Wow, there's an incredible number of Lisp/Scheme books in here. I wonder why Lisp in particular seems to be generating Free books. Must be the love.
posted by DU at 10:07 AM on March 15, 2012


I wonder why Lisp in particular seems to be generating Free books. Must be the love.

Cults proselytize.

I kid! I kid because I love! Loving Lisp was the first one that got my attention...
posted by Zed at 10:12 AM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Holy crap, Greg Kroah-Hartman's Kernel in a Nutshell book is on his website for free? I've been eyeing that for a while at the store; but I guess I won't have to buy it.

This is awesome, philipy. Thanks.
posted by koeselitz at 10:19 AM on March 15, 2012


sorry, linkfor fr
posted by koeselitz at 10:19 AM on March 15, 2012


I wonder why Lisp in particular seems to be generating Free books. Must be the love.

Or... maybe no-one would actually pay to buy a Lisp book?

Don't throw things, I'm just kidding.
posted by philipy at 10:27 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The C# link seems to be broken.

This is great - thanks.
posted by kitcat at 10:56 AM on March 15, 2012


Here, shield yourself with these ()
posted by symbioid at 10:58 AM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


The C# link seems to be broken.

Probably there are problems with non-alphanumeric chars, esp ones that cause havoc in URLs.
posted by philipy at 11:07 AM on March 15, 2012


Here, shield yourself with these ()

Surely you mean...

(here (shield (yourself) (with (these ()))))
posted by philipy at 11:10 AM on March 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you like this, you'll probably also like the free CS books subreddit.
posted by Zed at 11:18 AM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nice! Thanks for these.

I'll have to take a look at Street Fighting Mathematics, that sounds like my day today. I solved a tricky imaging problem a while back, and wrote a production-worthy functional prototype. Now I need to describe how it works, and find that I almost don't know.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:27 AM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, that's more than 50 MB of free reading for the Kindle. Thanks!
posted by ob1quixote at 12:03 PM on March 15, 2012


Street Fighting Mathematics is one of my favorite math books ever.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:10 PM on March 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is awesome. Thank you for posting this.
posted by clearly at 12:28 PM on March 15, 2012


The math is waaaaaaaaaaay above my head, but I nabbed Street Fighting Mathematics based on the title alone.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:15 PM on March 15, 2012


The "Expert C Programming" book link is giving me a 403: forbidden.

And, heh,
Have you ever noticed that there are plenty of C books with suggestive names like C Traps and Pitfalls, or The C Puzzle Book, or Obfuscated C and Other Mysteries, but other programming languages don't have books like that? There's a very good reason for this!
Hmm, might be my own bias, but no, hadn't noticed that about C. I have noticed that about C++.
posted by smcameron at 1:53 PM on March 15, 2012


I wonder why Lisp in particular seems to be generating Free books.

It's Lisp; the books are probably writing themselves.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:37 PM on March 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Street Fighting got a one star review on amazon and stirred quite the ire:

The title implies that this book might contain remedial activities for street kids. It contains nothing of the sort.

posted by sammyo at 3:38 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I got a free dead tree copy of version control by example and it is absolutely brilliant. This is an awesome resource, I'll have to pass it round the office tomorrow.
posted by adventureloop at 4:24 PM on March 15, 2012


I didn't see PLAI in there, but maybe it was there?

I think the abundance of LISP/Scheme stuff is due in part to the MIT/Brown complex, which led to SICP, Logo and HtDP...
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:22 PM on March 15, 2012


Loved the title, Street Fighting Math but then right on page 3 there's a howler:

A dimensionally valid comparison would compare like with like: ...
Nigeria’s GDP with Exxon’s revenues


ARRRGH. You can't compare national GDP with a company's revenues, they are two different dimensional quantities. GDP is the total value added by economic activity in a given country. It would be more accurate to compare GDP to a business' net income plus wages paid by that business. When you do that, Nigeria is >>> Exxon.
posted by storybored at 8:43 PM on March 17, 2012


You can't compare national GDP with a company's revenues, they are two different dimensional quantities

It's not a good comparison, but not because "they are two different dimensional quantities" as they both have the dimensions $/yr. It's dubious because GDP is the sum of value-added, and a company's value-added is not it's revenue but something like (revenue - costs).

But the reason why you can even calculate GDP by doing sums of (revenue - costs) over the economy is that GDP, revenues, and costs do all have the same dimensions.

He does say:

That compared quantities must have identical dimensions is a necessary
condition for making valid comparisons, but it is not sufficient.


It's unfortunate that he doesn't know enough economics to realize the comparison is still not valid here, but the overall idea of "look out for dimensional errors when comparing things" is a very good one.

Btw if it wasn't just a hasty oversight that had you say "they are two different dimensional quantities", then it's probably a good idea to read the book to learn what you can from it rather than ignore it because you found a found a hole or two in it.

If I were to write a Street-Fighting Logic book, one of the tips would be : "Just because there's a flaw in an argument doesn't mean there's nothing of value in that argument."
posted by philipy at 8:00 AM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoops, yes, you're right philipy! It isn't a different-dimensional quantity problem. Thanks for the correction.
posted by storybored at 8:25 PM on March 18, 2012


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