Friday, May 31, 2013

My Review of Arduino Workshop by John Boxall

Okay, as soon as I saw this book available for review, I had to pick up the book. I actually had a chance to go through it before and was pleased to be able to get a copy of my own.
I have long been a fan of John Boxall and his Arduino tutorials on Tronixstuff and learned a lot from his tutorials. They were always very well written and had great pictures to show how things worked. This book is no different and basically is a print version of what he has online in a more formal setting. This is a must own book for anyone that wants to learn Arduino.
Each chapter in this book touches on the basics to begin with and then progresses through more difficult and complex projects using various sets of hardware. If you really want to be able to go through the entire book, you're going to have to pony up some good money to purchase the hardware. It won't be cheap but it's worth having all those tools at your fingertips for rapid prototyping purposes.
In addition to Arduino information, it also give a very brief overview of basic electronics, which I already know, but would be helpful for anyone that is learning.
Once again, this is a highly recommended book and something I would definitely suggest to anyone that wants to learn Arduino.

Disclaimer: This book was received as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program. All comments represent my thoughts and opinions.

My Review of Understanding and Using C Pointers

I've read a few online manuals on pointers and even took a beginner C class that touched on pointers. They were all pretty good in getting the basics across but none of those did a great job of explaining pointers like this book did. I have to say it's a wonderful book that goes through every aspect of pointers and really helps you understand all you need to know.
I learn by watching and doing, basically, monkey see, monkey do. Reading about pointers is nice and all but seeing how it works and then being able to put in even a little code really helps solidify concepts for me. The code snippets were nice as they were things I'm accustomed to seeing in the systems I work on some and the diagrams explaining how memory addresses are referenced and change with specific commands really helped out a lot.
I would highly recommend this to anyone learning C and needs more information on pointers or a more seasoned individual that would like to expand their knowledge about pointers.

Disclaimer: This book was received as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program. All comments represent my thoughts and opinions.

Monday, May 6, 2013

My Review of Blender Master Class

I picked up this book because I still need to learn some CAD modeling for the 3D printer I just purchased. My free options were OpenSCAD, Blender, or Google/Trimble SketchUp. I know Blender is the most powerful of the bunch so I decided on giving it a try.
The book does a really good job in explaining some basics of how everything is set up on the GUI. It's similar to Photoshop in some ways, which can be useful if you use Photoshop. I haven't so it was nice to have all the explanations in the book.
It also goes through a quick run through of GIMP as that will be useful for fully utilizing Blender.
The rest of the book was pretty good but I ended up quitting half way through as it's better suited for modeling life like models instead of doing models you would normally 3D print. You can definitely print things you come up with in Blender but for my purposes 99% of the time, I wouldn't need something as powerful as Blender. If you want to do animation or life like modeling, Blender is perfect. If you want to do architecture, SketchUp is great. If you want to do basic parametric modeling, OpenSCAD works well.
This book, as far as I made it, did a great job taking you step-by-step through how to make a few different models. The images used were very helpful to know how the modeling works.
Overall, I would recommend this book for those doing life like models or animation. If you're looking for something more like engineering models, you'll be better served using something else.

Disclaimer: This book was received as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program. All comments represent my thoughts and opinions.