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Maximum Lego NXT: Building Robots with Java Brains
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Top Customer Reviews
This book has many good ideas and interesting topics BUT...
NOT FOR THE NEW JAVA PROGRAMMER
Even intermediate would be pushing it.
Right from the beginning nothing works as the book describes:
- LEJOS installation instructions are wildly incorrect
- Developer environment installation and setup instructions are missing critical steps
- Critical explanations and critical steps are missing throughout
- Explanations will suddenly jump from explaining the basics to saying things like "Now download your favorite free chess program and hack it to control your chess playing robotic arm." -- Uh....okay..
- Bluetooth set-up and operation does not work as described and steps are again - missing.
- If you can't get bluetooth working, you can't do some of the projects and here again the technical level jumps from very basic to expert.
- Programs can only be run ONCE then must be downloaded again to run them again.
I'm sorely disappointed.
The LEJOS project has a LOT of great potential and I will return to it at a future date but as it currently stands this book has left a very sour taste in my mouth.
Publishing this book should have waited at least until book and product match up.
It needed a lot more proof reading.
Releasing the book in its current state only damages any LEJOS following that it could have inspired and damages the readers trust in the reputation of an author that is intelligent and very knowledgeable.
Pros: Reasonable instructions for building a bunch of different robots, a long with some 'patterns' that can be used for your own creations; Full software listings of Java programs to control robots; seems well written with an easy to read style.
Cons: Construction plans not colour, making it difficult to follow at times; discussion of Java programs not necessarily as thorough as could be; Java discussion in general seems a bit thin; Java set up instructions seem a little glossed over.
Conclusion: It seems that this book is pitched at someone who knows at least a little bit of Java, or at the very least wants to learn about Java, and also wants to get into mindstorms. Since that pretty much sums me up, I think it is worth it's weight in gold. For those who are not familiar with Java, I think this book will still be a useful addition to the mindstorms library, however there may be better alternatives. As a Lego Mindstorms Java book for Java developers, it gets *6* stars, but as a pure Mindstorms book for those with little Java skills, I can see it could easily get knocked down to 3 or 4 stars.
Finally, not to put too fine a point on it, this book is about a hojillion times better than "LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Hacker's Guide", as this book actually gives some practical building instructions along with code to do some fairly cool stuff.
From programming point of view, some very useful topics are Bluetooth setup (both Window and Linux), Serial Communication setup, Vision detection, and Voice Control. You will be amazed of how you can realize those technologies into controlling an NXT.
There are still many other interesting subjects from machanical/control point of view. This includes using GPS receiver(where you can learn NMEA Data format). It also shows you a NXT versioned Rocker-Bogie for rough terrain (I was really amaized how it works once I built a prototype). There is one special section to show you how to build a differencial gear using standard NXT parts. This really comes handy for a new Lego user who do not have an old differencial gear.
This book also includes quite some attractive design like R2me2 (resemble R2D2), Moon Buggy, Beckhambot, Mapping Robot, and number 0.5 (resembles number 5). I do like their 'abstract' concept of the design.
However, there are also negative part about this book.
1. Some photo pictures is not very clear to follow. Either too small or too dark to see the details.
2. Some mechanical design does not make it turn well (like Mapping Robot). But I guess this is due to lack of proper parts (such as differencial gear which was not included in the NXT package).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book specifically to get some information on the NXT and some building ideas. The book has easily met my expectations in these areas. Read morePublished on October 13, 2008 by P. Ryder
Although the book sounds otherwise, it is in fact a good start for advanced programmers. A lot of the code does not work right out of the box, but provides a good starting point... Read morePublished on August 23, 2008 by Daniel Foster
This NXT Java book was useless starting from page 3 on. SEVERAL issues with inaccurate LEJOS directions (installations and even programs). Read morePublished on February 25, 2008 by Jason A. Butka
Got this book for our 12-year-old. Too difficult. Good for those who have studied computer programming.Published on December 29, 2007 by Sarah Hamilton
Has several very good programming ideas and robot concepts suitable for teaching programming to high school / college robot teams. Read morePublished on November 27, 2007 by Andrew P. Schuetze
Like others I spent a couple of long days finding the errors that are contained in the early chapters of this book. Read morePublished on September 3, 2007 by Dan
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my 14 year old son, expecting it to be shipped in early January. Read morePublished on August 26, 2007 by G. McBlane
I'm a Computer Engineer with interests in many fields of Computer Science. I really enjoyed this book: It gives you a really quick start in building your NXT Robots with algorithms... Read morePublished on July 29, 2007 by Mazzaro S.
This book does not match its software it is supposedly based on. Buying the book was a HUGE MISTAKE!!!Published on July 20, 2007 by Momof2