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This review is from: Raspberry Pi: A practical guide to the revolutionary small computer (Owners' Workshop Manual) (Hardcover)
Although it seems like there is a new Pi book every week, many are rushed to press and cover either too much breadth with little detail or drill really deep on one aspect (eg: Python), and force us to buy 5 others to get the complete picture.
Girling's book is the first of over 40 I've read and reviewed that really does do a great job of depth and breadth AND has a wonderful self-study pedagogic style with plentiful screen shots, illustrations, highlighted code and numerous color pictures. The book is about 180 pages, 4 color, a large 8.5 x 11" trim and PACKED with information from out of the box to advanced programming and projects.
The Pi is the new Arduino, except that it is far more robust and complete than just circuits. Starting at the very bottom, it's got all the circuit hacking fun of Arduino, but then progresses upwards to assembly language, two direct access o/s's of its own (both downloadable from the web onto an SD card)-- one for A/V and one for system operations, PLUS high level Unix/Python capabilities coupled with accessible pins and ports. So, you can see why it's tough to pack it all into one book.
Since Pi is British, the authors give a distinctively UK spin to the book, without making it any less useful. After a little bit of mandatory background, Gray launches right into:
-- The basic technology and "project" -- ie, freeware/ open source philosophy and edu objectives
-- Out of the box assembly, configuration, tests, connections-- all the basic AND advanced connections and features
-- "Cooking" -- by which Girling means hacking, assembly, names, variables, O/S, Python and Linux
-- "Recipes" -- the software side with programs, web pages, sockets, Python, Bash, UART, SSH, Servers, VNC, and full coverage of both Unix and Windows Shares
-- Hardware hacks -- Sticks/drives/ WiFi/ Bluetooth/ LEDs/ GPIO/ special function pins/ C programming/ I2C connectivity/ battery issues
-- "Meal Plans" -- These are projects! They include an MP3 web server (plenty of prep on using the Pi as a server before this chapter btw), a game (snake-- Python), a twitter alert, and of course a media Center (or if you're in the UK, Centre). Important, as Pi's media capabilities are excellent and unexpected in this small a device.
-- Finally "annexes" -- basically appendices on all kinds of cool technical goodies from overclocking to ARM, codecs, libraries, root access and several basic but nice C demo programs.
Works as an intro, a reference, a project guide, but most importantly as nice integrative depth between hardware, your PC, software and other connections. If I were to nickname this book, I'd call it "connections" because it does a better job than even most other "hack" books of identifying interfaces, without leaving the reader in the lurch on the software side for the sake of hardware, or vice versa. Speaking of being rushed to press-- the pages WERE stuck together after a very recent hot trim, but not enough to do any damage. Highly recommended for both beginners and advanced hackers and programmers. FUN too!
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