53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is a very nice introduction to the Raspberry Pi. The book is easy to read and the book is fairly short (180 pages). I was able to go through a chapter or 2 a night and finish off the book in less than a week.
Each chapter gives enough information to give the reader a basic understanding of the topic. The chapters are not complete references of the subject matter. At the end of each chapter are references that can be used to get more information. In the Kindle version of the book these are hyperlinks. Many of the references were free.
This book gives all the information needed to execute the example code. The examples were short and interesting.
I'm waiting to get a compatible webcam before completing chapter 9 and I didn't do all the examples in the chapter on Scratch but other than that I read the entire book and executed all the examples. I very much recommend this book and give it a rating of 5 stars.
I had a few problems but still stick with my 5 star rating.
Problem 1: Running Headless
Page 31 had a link to Raspberry Pi Hub. I couldn't get this to work. I found another example on the internet I had to modify and follow, [...]
Problem 2: NameError: name 'i' is not define
I was getting a compilation error with the sample code on page 42. I finally had to add an "i=0" before the while statement and an "i=i+1" inside the while statement.
Problem 3:Playing Video-pygame.mixer.quit location not clear
The text following the example on page 57 says that pygame.mixer.quit needs to be included "before you play". I thought this meant before the movie.play() command. However, I needed to include it before the movie = pygame.movie.Movie("foo.mpg") command or I would get video and no audio.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This succinct 161 page handbook gives a clear introduction and all features needed to setup and have fun with the vastly popular Raspberry Pi educational PC (over 500,000 have been sold by Farnell one of the two largest international distributors of the $35 Pi). Clear and complete descriptions are given of the setup and "gozinta's" of the Pi and SD-card, use of the Linux Operating System and programming in the Python and Scratch languages, as well as interfacing this hardware and use of web-based applications. While this excellent and compact treatment is among the best I have found for general use and hacking of the Pi--where this handbook clearly out-shined all other books for me was in the interfacing of the Pi's hardware with other devices, switches displays and chips. In particular, one problem I've had with the Pi and other Linux development boards up until now has been in obtaining the same sort of analog to digital interface and reading of analog input sources (such as sensors and biological signals) that is possible with the inexpensive but limited (no operating system) Arduino board. Appendix C of this excellent (and complete in a compact) handbook fully describes how to interface an analog to digital converter to the Raspberry Pi including use of the I2C serial interfacing protocol and programming of this interface in Python. This is the only manual I have seen to date that fully describes hardware interfacing and electronics hacking with the Pi (and similar Linux-based development boards like the Beaglebone). My complements to Matt Richardson and Shawn Wallace and O'Reilly publishers.
--Ira Laefsky MS Engineering/MBA Information Technology Consultant and Participant in the Philadelphia-based Hackerspace Hive 76
formerly on the Senior Consulting Staff of Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This O'Reilly book comes from the same folks who produce Make magazine, which has lots of fun and informative projects for folks who want to dabble with devices of all sorts.
From the first chapter (only 17 pages), it provides warnings to save your from frying your Pi, breaking the board, and offers suggestions to build a durable assembly. I love the drawing, they're detailed and well labelled. If you have the parts needed to get the Raspberry Pi going (including USB power supply, HDMI cable, powered USB hub, and an SD card with an image of the operating system) then you should have a running system by the end of that chapter.
To use the Raspberry you'll need to know about Linux, the operating system, and Python, a programming language to create Pi software. The next two chapters give you enough to get going with lots of pointers to Further Reading and websites.
I really like the books readability, and it's 150 page size means that it won't overwhelm someone who has never dabbled with circuit boards. If you gave one of your kids this book and a Raspberry Pi, you could have a future computer genius on your hands.
The editing of the book is a little rough, with some repeated paragraphs and missing illustration labeling. These won't get in your way.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The Raspberry Pi is a hot new computer system, approximately the size of a credit card and costing $25-$35 (plus a $5 markup depending on where you buy one - my preferred source is Sparkfun Electronics in Boulder). The Pi is a system on a chip that includes a 700Mhz processor and separate GPU, plus up to half a gig of RAM; the model B comes with several USB ports, an ethernet port, and HDMI output. They can be used from everything to learning to program under Linux to streaming HD video to your television.
With so many possibilities, though, it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you're not accustomed to using Linux - which is why I picked up a copy of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi. This is a fairly short book that doesn't go into any topic in depth, but it gives you a good starting point and links to more information. It's a quick way of getting going and figuring out what you want to do with your Raspberry Pi.
Chapter one covers obtaining a Pi and getting it set up. The technical information is more detailed than the actual setup instructions, but extra setup help is available in the first appendix. What I like about this chapter is that it has nice diagrams showing were everything is on the Pi.
Chapter two is an introduction to Linux, the free operating system you'll use on the Pi. While there are several distributions that will work, the officially recommended official distribution is a variant of Debian called Raspbian. This chapter will get you going with using the command line and maneuvering through the Linux filesystem.
In chapter three, we start our first programming language: Python! Raspbian has both Python 2.7 and Python 3 included, so you're ready to go with whichever version you prefer. Python is a high-level language with the design philosophy that there should be one obvious way to do things (as opposed to Perl's "more than one way to do it" approach). This chapter has you writing a simple program and ends with a list of resources for learning the language, such as the online Learn Python the Hard Way book. Once you've learned the basics, chapter four moves into doing animation and multimedia using the Pygame framework.
One of the reasons for creating the Raspberry Pi was for kids to be able to learn to program, without the worry of damage to the household computer. Accordingly, the Pi comes with MIT's Scratch, which is a graphical programming language that can be used to learn the basics of programming without actually having to code; you can easily drag commands around to make simple animations and games. Chapter five covers Scratch.
Prior to the release of the Pi, the Arduino was the go-to component for embedded systems hobbyists. Many of the components used with the Arduino, as well as the Arduino itself, can be used with the Raspberry Pi. Chapters six through eight have you doing physical things with your Pi, like turning LEDs (or lamps) on and off and reading in input from buttons. (The Pi can handle a number of digital inputs, appendix C covers converting analog inputs) Chapter nine takes that a step farther, using a webcam with the Pi (which, after all, uses a chip meant for cell phones, which generally have cameras). The Pi can even handle simple face detection.
Finally, chapter ten discusses creating internet-connected projects, such as using the Pi as a web server.
I found this book to be a nice, quick read; typos were minimal and it gives a good overview of the different things you can do with the Pi. So far it's inspired me to start learning Python, which seems like a nice little scripting language, and I'm considering eventually turning my Pi into a DVR. What will you do with yours?
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this ebook for Vulcan Ears Book Reviews (vulcanears.com), where this review originally appeared.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2013
Great, great book! I had gotten a Raspberry Pi, and I just kept it on a shelf doing nothing because I wasn't exactly sure how to get started with it. This book took me through the setup process, step by step, and showed how to use the GPIO pins and how to connect a USB device. Thanks in part to this book, I've now got a Raspberry Pi that emails a picture from a webcam every time I send it a tweet telling to do so!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this to go with my son's new RasPi that I bought him for Christmas. I found myself really enjoying the depth of information and number of projects in this book. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I gave as a gift to my grandson who loves to configure the Raspberry for many different applications. He is into coding and is writing code for various applications. I feel it is a great gift for the "geek" in the family and I also feel it is preparing him for problem solving and the pleasure of having the device perform as expected. We now browse yard sales for patch cords etc.