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Make: Getting Started with BeagleBone: Linux-Powered Electronic Projects With Python and JavaScript [Kindle Edition]

Matt Richardson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

Many people think of Linux as a computer operating system, running on users' desktops and powering servers. But Linux can also be found inside many consumer electronics devices. Whether they're the brains of a cell phone, cable box, or exercise bike, embedded Linux systems blur the distinction between computer and device.

Many makers love microcontroller platforms such as Arduino, but as the complexity increases in their projects, they need more power for applications, such as computer vision. The BeagleBone is an embedded Linux board for makers. It's got built-in networking, many inputs and outputs, and a fast processor to handle demanding tasks. This book introduces you to both the original BeagleBone and the new BeagleBone Black and gets you started with projects that take advantage of the board's processing power and its ability to interface with the outside world.


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About the Author

Matt Richardson is a Brooklyn-based creative technologist and video producer. He's a contributor to MAKE magazine and Makezine.com. Matt is also the owner of Awesome Button Studios, a technology consultancy. Highlights from his work include the Descriptive Camera, a camera which outputs a text description of a scene instead of a photo. He also created The Enough Already, a DIY celebrity-silencing device. Matt's work has garnered attention from The New York Times, Wired, New York Magazine and has also been featured at The Nevada Museum of Art and at the Santorini Bienniele. He is currently a Master's candidate at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 21 Jan. 2014
By K.Klab
Format:Paperback
First of all I bought this book on a well known auction site for £7.20, much cheaper than Amazon's price.

This is an excellent book and it does exactly what the title suggests, gets you started with Beaglebone. The author, Matt Richardson managed to write a technical book that is easy and enjoyable to read. I read the whole book first and then read it again following clear and very well structured examples.

The book is aimed at people having absolutely no knowledge of Linux. You will learn about setting up of the board, basic commands in terminal prompt, file system structure, writing and running python and bone scripts and of course controlling I/O pins. Every new chapter builds upon what you already know and examples used are both useful and inspiring.

Having previous experience with Arduino only Beaglebone seemed like completely different ball game, I didn't know where to start. This book gave me all the answers I needed. By all means the book is not a comprehensive guide to linux or a project book but also it doesn't pretend to be that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get straight into doing things 5 Mar. 2014
By smssms
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book for a quick intro; not so good if you want lots of theory and details.

Does not bother going into too much background, just gets you doing things straight away - I like this.

Some of the code examples did not work for me as printed and needed adjusting to work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 4 Mar. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good primer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  52 reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There is only one thing that really bothers me 6 Dec. 2013
By A2life - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an introduction to both programming and electric toying of this powerful development board.
Linux platform is well equipped to the point even bash shell scripting can be used to do a decent hardware hacking control. I believe targeted audience is a weekend hacker and not serious C/C++ programmer. If that is a case, this books serves its target audience well.

There is only one thing that really bothers me.

Following a tradition of Raspberry Pi and Arduino , the first physical demonstration of the board is made on how to turn LED on.
Matt tells us to use 100 ohm resistor in series of LED. the GPIO pin is set up to source the current. With 3.3V output and 100 ohm resistor with LED Vf of about 1.8V, the resulting current will be around 15mA. This is OK for LED that is usually rated for 20 mA but appears to be way over the spec'ed source current of 4mA for this TI SOC. The setup does work (I did try it) and did not destroy my beaglebone but this is probably because the TI chip's design margin and not the GPIOs intended usage. Therefore I would not follow this if I were to use more than a single LED in the same fashion. Adafruit.com's tutorial (written by Simon Monk) recommends the use of 470 ohm resistor instead and warns against the use of lesser value resistor because "it could burn your beaglebone". Derek Molloy's youtube video even shows the set up where GPIO output is buffered by a small signal transistor to turn LED on. Needless to say, I am most comfortable with Derek's solution.

Other than this concern, the book succeeds in showing around the Beaglebone's vast playing ground. I liked the book for covering the broad spectrum of methods to enjoy this board in a relatively small number of pages.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Linux Physical Computing With Built-In Input Output/Excellent Handbook 17 Oct. 2013
By Ira Laefsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Matt Richardson a prominent Maker who also wrote the excellent Getting Started manual on Raspberry Pi and is a Masters student at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program has prepared an excellent handbook on the powerful Beaglebone (and Beaglebone Black). The Beaglebone most recently released for $45 in the Beaglebone Black model has several advantages over both existing Arduino models and the Raspberry Pi. Like the Pi the Beaglebone runs the powerful Linux operating system on a faster and more powerful processor. Like the Arduino the I/O capabilities of this compact processor card include Analog I/O with a built in Analog to Digital Converter and several PWM outputs (this is unlike the Raspberry Pi which has no built-in ADC and only a single PWM output). In addition, the Beaglebone has a Javascript-based I/O control in the Bonescript Language and a Web-Hosted IDE for developing Bonescript Code known as Cloud9.

Mr. Richardson certainly includes a full description of all one needs to get started with the Beaglebone include hardware gozinta's, software setup and use of the IDE as well as Python interfaces; but he also goes well beyond other getting started books in this compact 127 page edition. Projects include a networked outlet timer, use of Python and Bonescript and the Linux Shell to control the board and interfaces, and use of the Xively Internet of Things service (formerly known as COSM or Pachube).

I highly recommend this Getting Started++ guide to the powerful and extensible Beaglebone architecture to both those new to Linux embedded systems and hardware enthusiasts.

--Ira Laefsky MS Engineering/MBA IT & HCI Consultant & Researcher
formerly on the Senior Consulting Staff of Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good place to start 14 Nov. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was my first shot at the BeagleBone Black. After a bunch is dismal how to do it books over the Raspberry Matt Richardsons book was real breath of fresh air. Everything he suggested worked the first time. His descriptions and explanations were exact and understandable. In a few hours I was reading my Emails and downloaded some business data. After many hours of frustration with the Raspberry books I managed to get an LED to blink.

If you want to get off to good start with open source devices buy the BeagleBone Black and get a copy of this book.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise getting started guide to BeagleBone Boards 21 Oct. 2013
By Ross G Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This Make: Getting Started Guide is everything I expected it to be. It has a very thorough instructions on how to get up and running. It covers various ways to "program" GPIO pins such as shell scripting, using the Adafruit GPIO python library, and using bonescript which is based on node.js . I was particularly interested in learning about the BeagleBone because I am curious about the upcoming Arduino Tre and I wanted to know the rationale for combine a BeagleBone and Arduino board into one big board. Although the BeagleBone appears to excel in the Linux side of functionality, programming the GPIO pins appears to be very cumbersome and somewhat Byzantine depending on the chosen method. Furthermore the GPIO's on this system seem quite fragile compared to an Arduino, especially when you need to use the ADC. From reading this book I can clearly see the motivation for the upcoming Arduino Tre.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and quick to get you up and running 18 Dec. 2013
By Luca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Surprised how quick you can get your project going with this book.
I am not so novice (engineer that worked with Unix and Linux for years), but I still learned things I did not know.
But what's really great, is that it's fast... in very little time you can get started with linux, ssh, turn on LED's, Python scripts etc...
Withing 4 hours you learned all you need to get your internet controlled project started. I highly recommended it for the beginner, but also for the intermediate user.
Not to be fooled: this book is not a complete user manual, it just scratches the surface of all the potential of this Beablebone, but it's super fast to do, and touches many aspects of it (GPIO, PWM, Analog I/O, ethernet, python, JS, HDMI, cron, Cloud IDE).
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