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Practical Arduino: Cool Projects for Open Source Hardware (Technology in Action) 1st ed. Edition
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About the Author
Jonathan Oxer, who has been labeled "Australia's Geekiest Man," has been hacking on both hardware and software since he was a little tacker. He is a former president of Linux Australia, and founder and technical director of Internet Vision Technologies. He is author of a number of books, including How to Build a Website and Stay Sane, Ubuntu Hacks, and Quickstart Guide to Google AdWords. He has been surgically implanted with an RFID chip and is set to host an upcoming TV show called SuperHouse (www.superhouse.tv) featuring high-tech home renovation, open source automation systems, and domestic hardware hacking. Jonathan has appeared on top-rated TV shows and been interviewed on dozens of radio stations about his home automation system. He was technical supervisor for the first season of the reality TV show The Phone, has connected his car to the Internet (www.geekmyride.org), and is also a member of the core team of Lunar Numbat (www.lunarnumbat.org), an Australian group working with the European team White Label Space (www.whitelabelspace.com) on an unmanned moon mission for the Google Lunar X-Prize (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Oxer).
Top customer reviews
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My background is that of a mechanical engineer, so I'm more technically inclined than most. I have not programmed, or coded, anything in the last 10 or so years, and I have not programmed in C.
This book should really be entitled ADVANCED Arduino. It is lacking some basic overview chapters or appendices to get a beginner up and running. Another very useful reference would be a Programming Language appendix that really covers the programming structures available and suggestions on how to get the most out of the language. For that, I found a useful PDF reference by Brian Evans on the web.
I was hoping this book would have covered some interfacing with motors. An overview on interfacing with different types of motors, including DC Brush, Brushless, hobby servos, and servo motors with encoders or larger motor types would be very helpful. One of my first projects that I am tackling is using an Accelerometer, but I need the resolution via a digital interface. A project including an SPI data interface would have also been appreciated.
I'm sure I will be referencing this book in the future. Some of the projects are quite amazing. I've never thought about interfacing the Arduino to an automobile for real time telemetry!
You can still adapt all of the code to the new Arduino libraries; figuring out the differences is trivial. The point of this review is simply to state the above caution. It's still a good book, and if you can find it discounted or free I advise picking it up.
It doesn't seem like there will be a 2nd edition revision, as it's been years since the libraries changed, and the practicaladruino.com web domain has expired (and currently occupied by malware downloads).
After reading reviews about the printed book, I was a little bit concerned what the kindle edition might look like. I agree with the complaints about the average photo quality, and the poor presentation of code blocks. The kindle is black and white anyway, and it turns out that the images are usable, if not lovely. Unfortunately the code is handled as raster images in the kindle, and they are fit to screen width, so the code font size changes drastically between blocks and the font is somewhat blurry. The occasional large code block appears on the kindle with very tiny font. Despite that, it's still completely readable, and I'm happy to overlook these presentation problems because the content is exactly what I needed, and I really like the writing style.
From the sections I have read, I don't agree with some other reviews here that this book is only for advanced users. It may be a bit tricky for absolute beginners, but I have read through the thermometer project start to finish and it is perfectly clear how to assemble and program it, I can't wait to get my parts and see if I can assemble the project as-is and then modify it to do logging.
I find the writing is really excellent, and I appreciate these practical projects. I have very little background in electronics, and I have mediocre experience in a scripting language that is similar to C++, and my IT skills are barely enough set up a router. While I am not an absolute beginner, I would not know the first thing about setting up the circuit or program for an Arduino thermometer without some kind of detailed guide, so book is exactly the kind of content I was looking for. Let's hope they publish a second edition with a better publishing partner.
My book did not appear to be offset printed, but rather appears to be a 3rd to 5th generation xerographic copy, which would account for what happened to the photographs. Before purchasing, I looked at the book via the preview function on Amazon and was well satisfied with what I saw. The photo on page 4 was very clear, as it should be. The sad reality for the book sent to me is that I was sent a very cheap copy of the book shown in the preview. It's going back to Amazon for a refund.