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JLangbridge "JLangbridge" (Nantes, France)

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Real World Instrumentation with Python: Automated Data Acquisition and Control Systems
Real World Instrumentation with Python: Automated Data Acquisition and Control Systems
by John M. Hughes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £36.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Develop your own applications to control your own instrumentation hardware, 29 Jun. 2011
Python's rapid development is already well known, and is versatile enough to be used in just about any situation, from mathematics to fully fledged graphical interfaces, but how do you control external hardware? How can you use Python to access a serial interface, talk to hardware on the desk, or even better, create your own interface? O'Reilly's Real World Instrumentation with Python explains all of that, and even more.

The first chapters deal with electronics, Python and C, Python extensions and industry-standard interfaces; refreshing your knowledge or offering a primer to these fields. Clear examples and step by step instructions make it easy for anyone. These chapters are heavily furnished, taking up about a quarter of the total book.

Interestingly, Python isn't the only programming language that this book gets into, there is also a chapter on C. C compliments Python very well, as Python is often compiled in CPython. Adding some C to your instrumentation programs can save the time that your Python programs need to be compiled while running. As some of the measurements can be taken in nanoseconds, that makes a big difference.

Things really start afterwards with the aptly-named chapter 8, "Getting Started". The author goes into detail on instrumentation data I/O, reading and writing the data to text and binary files. The final chapters talk about graphical interfaces, turning the command-line text output into rich graphical interfaces.

The book is full of clear illustrations, and step-by-step instructions that anyone can follow, from beginner to expert. The layout is very well thought out, and the author is clearly an expert in his domain.

The one downside of this book is the fact that only three devices are listed, but of course you can't list them all. Even if you don't have one of these devices, the examples are clear enough to understand how it works.

This book is an excellent self-contained foundation for any Python developer who wants to take one step further, and make the leap from software into hardware.


Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food
Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food
by Jeff Potter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.29

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dont just make food, create food, 16 Nov. 2010
When you think about geeks, you rarely think about them cooking; most people instantly imagine them with pizzas or crisps, not in front of ovens. Jeff Potter, the author, explains why most geeks are shy of kitchens. Being a geek himself, he explains cooking in software development terms; compiling food, defining vegetable variables, overclocking the oven, and looking at recipes as source code. He explains everything with a sense of humour that is a joy to read. This book had me hooked right from the beginning, so when he started to talk about cooking with stuff that can kill you; liquid nitrogen ice cream or electrocuted hot dogs, I couldn't put this book down.

Jeff starts off the book with easy recipes, with the explanation that if you want to learn a programming language, you don't start off by writing an operating system. The same thing goes for cooking; start off small, learn to read a recipe and learn to change elements to suit your style. Source code isn't static; you can always change it to suit your style. Jeff takes you through it step by step, but he goes one step further. Geeks aren't just interested in following steps, they want to know, and need to know why. Why do you need to cook at a certain temperature? Why do you need to add an ingredient before another one? Cooking isn't just about blindly following recipes, its science!

Cooking for Geeks isn't a reference book. Whilst it does contain recipes throughout the book, it isn't a book that you will idly pick up to make a meal for friends. You will learn what sort of a cook you are, and help you focus on what you are good at. It will help you select kitchen hardware depending on who you are and on what you want to do. It will help you prepare and calibrate your tools, especially your oven. Once you are comfortable with the basics, you learn more advanced techniques, finishing with some extreme science. Scattered throughout the book are short recipes to keep you curious, clear illustrations and interviews and contributions from famous geeks or scientists (notably Adam Savage from Mythbusters and Tim O'Reilly, the CEO of the publisher).

One of the many things I loved about this book is the fact that all weights, temperatures and measurements are in both imperial and metric, meaning that everyone can dive in straight away.

I knew how to do basic stuff in the kitchen before reading this book, but never really enjoyed cooking. For me, it was just to prepare a basic meal, something I had done over and over. After reading this book, I have a whole new view on my kitchen. I now know exactly why I need to use a particular tool, and find myself really enjoying preparing food. I now understand why I need to cook at a certain temperature, but more importantly, this book has also awoken my curiosity. Yes, you can be a geek and a cook at the same time. However, this book isn't just for people who don't know cooking, far from it. I showed a chapter to a close friend who is very good in the kitchen, and who can easily make her guests jealous of her cooking skills. She admitted that while she could bake just about anything, the oven was black magic for her. She isn't a geek, but she loved what she read, and she now understands what happens, and more importantly, why.

Don't just make food; understand the science behind cooking, and create food.


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