Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review #1

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi

Matt Richardson & Shawn Wallace

Raspberry Pi is an extremely popular cheap computer for hobbyist. Although the original purpose is to learn computer programming, it has excelled far beyond the original intent. This book is a great introduction for getting, building, and running Raspberry Pi. Like all "Getting Started" book series, though, it fell rather short on details.

This book is excellent in getting your feet wet and running in no time. Then again, using Raspberry Pi isn't that difficult. Like all newbies, however, I appreciate the nudge it does toward new, unexplored projects. There's section on Arduino, GPIO, and Camera. The actual Python code is given to get you up and running quickly. In some cases, there's not even Python involved. I especially like the section on accessing the GPIO via command shells!

There are some anecdotes and stories scattered throughout the book, just to get you excited. In that respect, the book does marvelously well. In other respects, though, the book fell short. Once you have duplicated the efforts in the book, where to go? I don't know. The book didn't say. It would have been perfect if the book would go beyond a referencing the site in "Going Further" section. Perhaps a survey of activities or projects around the world.

I'm not going to complain too much, since the book does successfully encapsulates the main points of the issues and the "Going Further" section does give you all the necessary information, should you choose to keep going. I do question the omission of certain topics:

1. Setting up Pi as Home Office Computer.
2. Blogging/Twitter and other social network apps.
3. Setting up Printer.
4. Game console
5. Touch screen interface

I think these projects are worthwhile. And I don't know. Perhaps the authors did consider these and only omitted at the last minute due to space consideration. Then again, some of the pages have some blank spaces in them, so they can at least put in a few more resources, pointing me the way to do these.

Overall, the book did get me excited about the projects, and for that I think the book is successful in its aim. I can recommend this to anybody who is interested in learning what Raspberry Pi can do. For those who already know they want to get Raspberry Pi, however, this can be safely skipped.

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