Practical Raspberry Pi (Technology in Action) Paperback – 27 Mar 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
While Fedora may not be everyone's cup of tea (although I personally have no problems with it), chapter 2 ("Installing Fedora") is despite its title full of useful advices (firmware updates, minimisation of the number of SD-card read/write cycles, I/O tuning etc.) that can easily be implemented on any Linux distribution. Chapter 6 ("Cross Compile Environment") on a similar note covers another useful topic: installing tools that don't come out of the box with one's chosen Linux distribution.
Where this book really excels is in its hardware projects (a simple temperature sensor, LCD display, real time clock, serial server, etc.). Most projects described in it are presented in such way that I almost always at the end of reading a chapter ended up saying to myself "yes, I could really try this one". One thing all these projects share in common is they're very simple: they can be done literally with a handful of additional components on a breadboard.
Unlike some similar books, the author has paid a lot of attention to not only the hardware side of these projects but also to their utilisation in software. For instance, while the "Simple Temperature Sensor" introduces the concept of a 1-wire communication, the "Driving a Simple Character LCD" goes a little bit deeper with the introduction of I2C communication, logic shifters and implementation in software. The "Adding an RTC" chapter again adds a little bit more to what has already been covered (using Linux modules to communicate with the attached device).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
There is a full chapter on installing Fedora on the Pi, whereas most of the resources on the internet are with Raspbian OS. The author says he prefers Fedora because at work he uses RHEL: In other words because he likes it better, it's better for you.
Code samples in the book are in shell scripts, or sometimes in Ruby.
Also I'm not impressed by the projects being presented. I'm happy I borrowed this book from the library and didn't buy it.
Instead, Practical Raspberry Pi contains only the simplest of projects, each of which uses just 1 or 2 sensors or devices.
None of these projects are interesting or innovative from a hardware standpoint, covering the same ground as numerous web sites. Beginners might find them useful, but unfortunately beginners will likely be confused by the software side of these projects, since most use shell scripts rather than something more easily understood, like Python code.
I also found the author's writing style to be irritating: a folksy, conversational approach that seems like an enthusiastic youngster rather than a professional writer.
In addition to the chapters on hardware, there is also plenty of discussions about what kind of software you can install on the Pi and how you can cross-compile software to run on it. If you are not familiar with Linux-based systems, this may be a bit overwhelming, but the author tries to break it down step-by-step and gives lots of examples.
Overall, if you are interested in getting started with embedded programming and hardware projects (like me), and you think Arduino (and other microcontrollers) may be too much of a leap to start with (like me), the Pi should prove to be a good middle-ground and this book should get you started. Coming from a software background, I found it very easy to follow this book even on the hardware parts.
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