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Nico "Nico" (Spain)

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Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math
Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math
by Majed Marji
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scratch 2.0 a new version a new book - Excellent, 22 Sept. 2014
I bought the eBook version of this directly from the Publisher (which includes pdf and Kindle versions). It is so good that I am ordering 12 print versions for my programming club at school (year 9 which means they are about 13 years old).

My students are complete beginners and have done no programming at all. So Scratch could be an obvious choice. I wanted to go a little bit deeper and prepare the students for, say, Python programming next year and Scratch did seem a bit limited and perhaps aimed at younger students. But there is a new version of Scratch (2.0). It is still free, can be run entirely online, via the MIT website, or you can download a free offline version - both work fine (Windows or Mac). The new version, which this book definitely supports, includes basic procedures and a cool feature called cloning.

The book is a great resource - It is not just how to make a few games in Scratch (though it does do that and is good fun) but it also genuinely teaches some good programming. There are, for example, chapters on Procedures, Variables, If statements, Loops, String processing and even a section on simple lists. Every chapter has lots of hands on stuff to try and ends with some problems for kids to solve and extend their knowledge. Some of the latter project ideas are really quite stimulating for young minds including some nice science examples like free fall and Ohm's law.

The book is well supported with lots of downloadable code for all chapters and problems etc. etc. … the ones I have tried so far all work fine. This book is very highly recommended.


Hacking Secret Ciphers with Python: A beginner's guide to cryptography and computer programming with Python
Hacking Secret Ciphers with Python: A beginner's guide to cryptography and computer programming with Python
by Al Sweigart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.52

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ciphers Codes and Python, 29 July 2013
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This is another excellent book from Al. His other book - Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python - is an excellent way to learn Python. Both books are available as PDF files. So the first question may be "why buy the books?". Well I, for one, enjoy working from an old fashioned book. Another reason is given inside the front cover: "100% of the profits from this book are donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Creative Commons, and the Tor Project." You may also want to check out the author's website - inventwithpython.com. Al Sweigart is clearly a "good guy"!

I have not had time enough yet to work through the whole book but from an initial scan it is marvellous. The whole concept of writing "secret codes" should be very motivating to students of all ages. On the way you will learn how to use Python. No knowledge of Python is required - The book includes details of how to download and install the software. Every step, every programming construct and every line of code, is very clearly explained and there are practice exercises at the end of every chapter.

Perhaps I should give the book 5 stars! Perhaps in autumn, when I have had time, to work through the exercises, I will.


How Earth Made Us (DVD)
How Earth Made Us (DVD)
Dvd ~ Iain Stewart
Price: £9.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Geography and History, 6 April 2013
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This review is from: How Earth Made Us (DVD) (DVD)
If this were a book, it would be a "coffee table book" & a very good one too. The filming in exotic locations is beautiful, the narration is good and, thinking as a teacher, it would certainly motivate young peolpe to learn more. Unfortunately it doesn't go too deep.
I was left wanting to know more history and, if you want more "earth science", "The power of the planet", by the same team, is much better.
Perhaps I am being a little hard though and it is ceraintly a fair mix of education and entertainment. 3 or 4 stars then?


The One From The Other: A Bernie Gunther Novel: A Bernie Gunther Mystery (Bernie Gunther Mystery 4)
The One From The Other: A Bernie Gunther Novel: A Bernie Gunther Mystery (Bernie Gunther Mystery 4)
by Philip Kerr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Numer 4 in the series, 6 April 2013
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Another excellent novel with the Chandler like detective Bernie Gunther.
Some of the writing is absoluetely wonderful .... A mixture of black humour and suspense.
Read the trilogy "Berlin Noir" first. I know the history of the Nazis' rise in Germany pretty well and it is clear that the author has done his research very well. I don't know so much about post war Germany but the atmosphere is well created here.
So this book is very good, though I thought the ending was stretching credibility a little ...4 not 5 stars then?
Still I am probably going to look for number 5 ...... How many are there now? Perhaps three was enough?


Casio AW-49H-1BVEF Men's Analogue Digital Watch  with Resin Combi Strap
Casio AW-49H-1BVEF Men's Analogue Digital Watch with Resin Combi Strap
Price: £17.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and functional, 10 Feb. 2013
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I needed a watch that I could quickly see the time without my reading glasses; with an alarm; at a reasonable price ; that looked nice. Well this watch meet all those requirements. Shame it is not luminous.


Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
by Nick Lane
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution up dated, 20 Aug. 2012
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I have been teaching biology for many years to teenagers. I do my best to keep up to date by reading scientific articles on the internet but I wanted a "good read" for the summer and, thanks to other reviewers, I chose this book. I chose well, very well. This is a marvellous book. The detail, for non-scientists, may seem daunting but Lane writes so well and clearly that it is worth persevering. The early chapters on the origin of life, DNA and cells are wonderful. A latter chapter on consciousness was very thought provoking and stimulating.

An excellent book!


The Quick Python Book
The Quick Python Book
by Naomi R. Ceder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference to newcomers to Python, 20 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Quick Python Book (Paperback)
I was new to programming in Python and was working through the excellent, "Python Programming for Absolute Beginners." I will soon be teaching the new OCR GCSE Computing course and decided to use Python as the main programming language. I needed a back up reference to check and extend my understanding. The online support for Python is very good but nonetheless I am old fashioned enough to like to browse through a real book. I did try Lutz's "Python Pocket Reference". It is indeed pocket sized and a quick reference but it lacked in the detail that I needed and had no examples. Meanwhile I did not want a massive tome.

The Quick Python Book is just right! I can quickly look up any Python construct and try out some examples. As one reviewer writes on the back of the book: "Like Python itself, its emphasis is on readability and rapid development."

Excellent!


The Second World War
The Second World War
by Antony Beevor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview, 20 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Second World War (Hardcover)
A wonderful overview of the second world war. It is well written, well illustrated and the maps are good. The book follows the war in a chronological, global way. While reading about a campaign in Europe you are made aware of what was happening around the world in the Pacific. The book "reads" so well - I did not want to stop reading. Nonetheless I paced myself by reading and enjoying one chapter every night. The hardback edition was a good deal and now take pride of place on my shelf of history books. Excellent!


Python Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly))
Python Pocket Reference (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly))
by Mark Lutz
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners!, 11 Jun. 2012
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Perhaps I am mean giving this only 3 stars, after all the other reviewers are very positive.
I suppose it isn't what I needed.
Here's my scenario - I am using the excellent book -Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner - to teach myself Python. I have some programming experience in other languages but will be teaching Python at this level to a class of 15 year-olds next term. Now the book is great but it is tutorial in style, so it not quick and easy to look up things ... say all the methods associated with lists, or whatever ....
I can and do, of course, use the Python web site which is fine when I am on line.

What I wanted was a little book where I could quickly look up some basic Python stuff, with a couple of examples. Anyone got any ideas?

Now the pocket reference book is obviously for more advanced Python programmers who already know a lot but want a quick reference - hence the, no doubt, well deserved 4 or 5 stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2014 5:11 PM GMT


Introduction to Programming with Greenfoot: Object-Oriented Programming in Java with Games and Simulations
Introduction to Programming with Greenfoot: Object-Oriented Programming in Java with Games and Simulations
by Michael Kölling
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great way to learn Java!, 28 May 2012
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This is a wonderful and fun way to build graphical computer games and even some quite complex simulations. On the way you learn Java. The style of the book, the writing, the layout, the practical exercises are all marvellous.

Green foot is great for "children of all ages.". On the other hand if you want to go deeper, quicker try the author's book on BlueJ which is also well worth 5 stars.Objects First with Java: A Practical Introduction Using BlueJ


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