Holiday Reading 2020
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 24 December 2020
Article Index
Holiday Reading 2020
Robots, Hardware, IoT - Titles To Tempt You


The Hardware Hacker

Author: Andrew Huang
Publisher: No Starch Press
Pages: 416
ISBN: 978-1593277581
This is a book like few others, and is ideal festive reading for a very specific subset of developers. You will either love it or wonder what it is all about, but Harry Fairhead is adamant that this is a great book as a present.

Harry says it's easier to say what the book isn'about. It certainly isn't a book about hacking hardware, despite its sub-title - Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware, and it won't teach you anything much about electronics, software or anything technical. This is a book you read for pure pleasure and it will only be pleasurable if you have the necessary background.



This book is the story of an engineer tasked with the realization of low cost, but sophisticated, hardware at reasonable scale. More precisely, it is about how the workshops of China are something quite new and how they are changing the way we work and the products we buy. 

Harry says this is a great read, but only if you are "one of us" - a hardware hacker or a wannabe hardware hacker. He's not even sure that every hardware enthusiast will be able to read it to the end because you also have to be interested in the mass-manufacturing side of it and perhaps just a little, the business side.

It also breaks new ground in the sense that Harry couldn't t think of a book like it. Most non-technical accounts of technology tend to focus on the people and the drama. This book really is about the technology and the way a technical culture has adapted to it. It is as if the small iron-working shops have evolved into chip foundries and approach it all with the same basic craft skills.

Arduino Project Handbook, Vol 2

Author: Mark Geddes
Publisher: No Starch Press
Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-1593278182

The Arduino is a good, cheap and simple way to get into physical computing or the Internet of Things (IoT), and it can be a lot of fun, but only if you have some ideas what to do with it - this book provides 25 including an ultrasonic soaker, fingerprint scanner, ultrasonic robot and  GPS speedometer.  There are other volumes in the range if you find it interesting.



This is a good book, but lacks schematic diagrams. Similarly the "how it works" explanations are very brief and you are probably going to have to do some research to fill in the gaps, but overall it is a book about building projects and as such it succeeds in being inspiring and should catch the imagination.

Raspberry Pi IoT In Python Using GPIO Zero  

Author: Harry Fairhead and Mike James
Publisher: I/O Press
Date: November 2020
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-1871962666

The Raspberry Pi makes an ideal match for the Internet of Things, and in this book Harry Fairhead and Mike James show how to put it to good use in IoT. To achieve this needs two areas of expertise, electronics and programming  and because of the way hardware and software engineering tend to occupy separate niches, this book shows how to combine the two. 



The GPIO Zero library is the official way to use Python with the GPIO and other devices and this book looks at how to use it to interface to fundamental IoT devices – from LEDs and buzzers to servos and stepper motors and several off-the-shelf Raspberry Pi  add-ons.

If C is your language of choice for IoT, Harry Fairhead has updated his original Raspberry Pi book to cover the Raspberry Pi 4 in an expanded edition, see Raspberry Pi IoT in C, Second Edition.

High-Tech LEGO Projects: 16 Rule-Breaking Inventions

Author: Grady Koch
Publisher: No Starch Press
Pages: 208
ISBN: 978-1718500259

This is a collection of 16 scientific and technical projects to build with parts from the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robotics set and other components.

Among the book's projects are a motion-activated animal cam, a Morse code transmitter, a laser security fence, a motion-sensing radar detector, an automated insect trapper, and a heat-seeking infrared cannon. Every project brings together science, mechanics, electronics, optics, and software to create complex instruments for studying and measuring the world around you.

 Scratch Programming In Easy Steps (2e)


Author: Sean McManus
Publisher: In Easy Steps
Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-1840788594

This is a good book if you've got younger people around who want to get started with coding. Scratch, in which you fit color coded commands together like jigsaw pieces, is easier to use than other programming languages. 


This new edition covers Scratch 3 which is an online implementation. There's a step-by-step to  starting with Scratch on the Raspberry Pi using the Raspbian operating system which includes Scratch as standard. The Easy Steps full color, lots of tips and side panels, works well for Scratch and the result will appeal to adults as well as to children. This new edition also makes good use of the new Scratch 3 features such as sound and video. Scratch is a good language for kids wanting to get into coding and this book is highly recommended to enable them to get the most out of it.




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and many more



GraphQL in Action (Manning)

Author: Samer Buna
Publisher: Manning
Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-1617295683
Print: 161729568X
Audience: Developers interested in GraphQL
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank

GraphQL has achieved impressive popularity as an open-source language for APIs that can be used for querying and manipulating data.&nbs [ ... ]

Software Requirements Essentials

Authors: Karl Wiegers and Candase Hokanson
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9780138190286
Print: 0138190283
Kindle: B0BTLC53FF
Audience: General
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank

This slim book looks at how to work out the requirements for a software project through twenty 'practices' that you c [ ... ]

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 December 2020 )