Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Is mathematical morphology worth nothing?

When our European Editor asked me if I could recommend a good book he could read to bone up on all things related to computer vision, one specific tome came to mind -- a particularly weighty volume entitled "Image Processing and Mathematical Morphology: Fundamentals and Applications."

Written by Professor Frank Shih, the Director of the Computer Vision Laboratory at New Jersey Institute of Technology, this book lifts the lid off the subjects of processing and morphology -- two fields which have become increasingly important to the world of automated vision detection and inspection and object recognition.

I recommended Professor Frank Shih's book because it provides a comprehensive overview of morphological image processing and analysis. It presents the necessary fundamentals, advanced techniques, and practical applications for researchers, scientists, engineers -- and yes, even humble Editors -- who work in image processing, machine vision, and pattern recognition disciplines.

Our European Editor was quick to take me up on the idea. After a brief search on the Internet, he discovered that there were several copies of the book available on the Amazon UK web site at around $130. Not a bad price for a book that is so comprehensive, I thought.

But these are tough economic times for us all. So rather than purchase the book outright, our parsimonious penny-pinching European editor decided to see if he could find another site where he might be able to obtain the book whilst parting with substantially less of his hard earned currency.

After spending another hour or so of his time on the computer, the diligent Editor did indeed discover a copy of the publication that was considerably cheaper. More precisely, it cost absolutely nothing at all. That's right. He discovered that he could obtain the book without even parting with one silver sixpence from his old moth-infested piggy bank.

All because of the fact that a chap who goes by the name of Pablo Caicedo has uploaded the 442-page work onto a web site called Indeed, just by clicking here, anyone can read and potentially download Professor Frank Shih's entire book for free.

Somewhat taken back by this turn of events, our honest European Editor wondered if reading, or downloading, the book in question was strictly legal, or whether the chap that had uploaded it had done so without the permission of the author.

Without wanting to become involved in any business that might compromise his moral integrity, our European Editor dropped Professor Shih an email to inform him that his book was available for free on the site, and asked him whether or not it was within his rights to download it.

So far, Professor Shih hasn't replied to his email.

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