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Wacom Cintiq 13HD Interactive Pen Display - English language version
Wacom Cintiq 13HD Interactive Pen Display - English language version
Price: £578.49

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent product, 30 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm very happy with this, it does exactly what you'd hope and is basically like drawing onto paper but with all the advantages of digital drawing. The cable isn't as bulky as it looks and the power lead is sufficiently long. I'm using a mac and it took me a few minutes to work out which monitor settings I needed (I found mirroring worked better than using it as a second display), but apart from that the set-up was a doddle. The driver comes with software for the settings, you calibrate the monitor and pen very simply and then you are ready to go with your favourite software. I've used various mobile tablets to create artwork, and they are ok, but have nowhere near the accuracy of the Cintiq or the capability of proper professional software. And I've also spent a lot of time using mouse or trackpad to create artwork on the computer, but it's so time-consuming and fiddly. The Cintiq is really going to make a big difference to what I can do and how quickly I can do it. Can't wait!


Theory of Fun for Game Design
Theory of Fun for Game Design
by Raph Koster
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An opinion piece on why games are the way they are now and how they should develop in the future, 22 Nov. 2013
This book promises to help you understand the major cultural force that are games and to inspire you to do better than current game designers. The books highlights `fun' and how this concept relates to games both digital and traditional games. Unfortunately I have to admit to not finding the book much fun to read. It's problem is not that it is a stale treatise on game design, rather the opposite that it is a rambling essay on the author's thoughts about game design and the human condition. I initially found the book interesting, but soon got frustrated with the lack of discussion about the implications of the theories being discussed for game design and the lack of examples to back up the opinions. The book has it's thought provoking moments, but this are often reactionary to the strong personal opinions being put forward or through reading a lot between the lines. There are points made about what the future of game design ought to being doing, how current games designers are doing it wrong, but there is a lack of discussion of examples good and bad, or how these different future games might look or work.

If you are looking for ideas about why games look and behave the way they do now, why many are repetitive, derivative and fairly stagnant at this point in time, and want an opinion about they could evolve in the future then this book will be of interest to you. If you're interested in games design and why people want to play games, then you will probably find this interesting and easier to read than a formal book on game design theory. If you want a book that will give you ideas for the an entirely revolutionary game, it might give you that so long as you can read between the lines and make the leap on your own.

The book was apparently written based on slides from a games conference presentation, and that is the feel that comes across in the book. It is divided loosely into chapters, but it doesn't feel like it coherently brings everything together. The many `factual' statements are referenced throughout each chapter, although very little of the referenced literature is discussed in any detail, and many of the implications of the statements are left undiscussed and rather interpreted from the author's world view. Rather ironic given that some of it is about the theory of `chunking' and how our previous knowledge affects the way we interact with the world! Also, I don't whether this is a problem in the e-edition only, but the references are all asterisks, so it isn't easy to look up what was mentioned in the text, although the final section does contain the references with a short description of each.

What I did like about the book was the little cartoons, without which the book would have been very dry. What I didn't like was the 42 quotes about `how great this book is' and the `this author is really talented and famous' sections at the beginning of the book. I get suspicious when I need that much reassurance that the book I'm about to believe is brilliant and going to change my life. It isn't, it didn't. Sorry.


Mining the Social Web: Data Mining Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, GitHub, and More
Mining the Social Web: Data Mining Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, GitHub, and More
by Matthew A. Russell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £31.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive guide to data mining a variety of sources using Python, 20 Nov. 2013
Social media is an amazing source of data just waiting to be analysed. This book provides helpful examples of how to mine a variety of data sources using Python, a powerful programming language that simplifies access to the social networking APIs.

Each chapter has an example IPython Notebook, an interactive Python interpreter with a notebook like experience to make it even easier to follow along with the examples in the book and customise the code for your own purposes. Because the Python development environment can be a bit complicated to set up, the author has provided a virtual machine configured with the IPython Notebook and all the libraries used in the book already. A short video and instructions explain how to set it up, and relatively quickly you have some example code ready to execute and customise without too much bother.

The book is extensive with coverage of the social platforms, their APIs, how to extract data from them, example analyses of the data, formatting, creating graphs from the data, clustering, text mining, natural language processing, and more. Each chapter is used to introduce the social platform including the purpose and types of data, the technicalities of both the APIs to access the data, and the technical details of the data mining techniques.Platforms covered include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, web pages, mail boxes, GitHub, and the Semantic web.

You don't have to be a Python programmer to get value out of this book, anyone with programming experience should be able to understand the syntax together with the details provided in the book. The IPython notebook makes it easy to experiment with the existing code to try out your own data extractions and analyses. This comprehensive book will be of value to anyone interested in data mining, `big data', and analysing data from social media in particular.


Beautiful LEGO (Beautiful LEGO Series)
Beautiful LEGO (Beautiful LEGO Series)
Price: £9.02

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book with amazing Lego models!, 6 Oct. 2013
This a beautiful book full of high resolution colour photos of amazing Lego models constructed by numerous Lego artists. A whole variety of objects are modelled from the fantastical to the surprisingly realistic, everyday objects and animals to fictional characters, and both big and small.

This book is not a guide on how to build Lego, but instead showcases the incredible potential of the combination of Lego and a bit of creativity and imagination! The book is broken into sections by artists or theme. The artist sections include interviews about their interest in Lego and their works, but the vast majority of the book is taken up with the pictures of the Lego models. Themes include food, everyday objects, CubeDudes, birds and other animals, characters, buildings, transport, mosaics, spacecraft, and various robots.

This book is packed with creative, artistic, and inspirational models. If you are a Lego enthusiast (like me) you'll definitely want it!


The Art of iPhone Photography: Creating Great Photos and Art on Your iPhone
The Art of iPhone Photography: Creating Great Photos and Art on Your iPhone
by Bob Weil
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.94

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book demonstrating techniques for creating awesome art on your iPhone, 30 Sept. 2013
The emphasis on art in the title of this book is not misplaced. Rather than being a standard `how to' of how to use your iPhone to take photographs and how to use one of the myriad of photographic apps to tidy your photographs up, this book is about how to use your iPhone to create not just photography but art. The book demonstrates techniques and possibilities through the eyes and experience of 45 artists or `iPhoneographers'.

The introduction to the book provides a brief history of photography leading to the current domination of the iPhone as an accessible platform for photography and the vibrant iPhone photography community. The artists tutorials is the main meat of the book, and is divided into two sections, with the first section focusing on creation of photography, whilst the much longer second second focusing on illustration and fine art. For each artist there is an example of their work created using the iPhone together with information about what you will learn from that image including artist and image styles and techniques, what apps you will need to reproduce such an image, some background to the artist, the step by step process of creation of the image using the iPhone from selecting, setting up, and framing of the shot, through all the post-processing steps to create the final image together with screen captures illustrating the procedure and settings. For many artists there is also a discussion about their personal favourite app providing an excellent way to get a review about an app and it's use from someone who knows what they are talking about! The two appendices are useful brief reference guides to the 100 or so apps mentioned in the book and the various techniques, filters, and effects discussed in the tutorials.

This is a fascinating and inspiring book which will open your eyes to the amazing possibilities for creating not just great photographs but imaginative and creative art using just your iPhone. You also get a fantastic insight into the minds of the artists including their backgrounds, motivations, and thoughts whilst constructing their images, which for me makes this book even more interesting. Although it is targeted at the iPhone community, the techniques and insights are equally applicable to other phone and digital platforms. If you have an iPhone, like photography and have an interest in creating more arty images, this book is definitely worth a look!


Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering
Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering
by Ben Simonds
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough guide for new users, 8 Sept. 2013
Blender is a free 3d modelling tool. For a new user, however, the interface is extremely daunting, and a good guide to get the best out of this powerful tool is essential. Ben's book provides an in-deth introduction to using Blender using three real-world projects from designing the concepts for the projects, all the way through creating models, sculpting, and rendering. The book also discusses the use of the free-paining tool GIMP for producing textures and background images. The hardcopy of the book comes with a DVD with all the supporting and example files that you need. These are also available for download for the ebook version. The book is well illustrated with many pictures and screenshots to explain the material in discussed in the text.

The first two chapters provide an overview to the two tools used in the book, Blender and GIMP, including an introduction to working with objects in the user interface. The third chapter provides guidance on how to go about getting inspiration and reference material for a project, how to create effective compositions and test them in blender, and using GIMP to create reference sheets so that your reference materials can be incorporated into Blender to help you while you work.

Chapters 4 and 5 focus on the techniques for creating models starting with adding placeholders for the modelling objects and moving on to refining the details by working with topologies, meshes, and modifiers. Various techniques used for each of the different types of objects in scenes are discussed, giving examples of how to create different kinds of effects that you might use in your own projects. Chapters 6 and 7 focus on using the Sculpt mode in Blender to create detailed forms and textures. This includes detailed information on how to configure Blender to make working in this mode more effective and using the Multi-resolution modifier to create a high level of detail, and using retopology as an alternative method to create topologies.

Chapters 8 to 12 provide in-depth guidance on working with materials and textures. This includes the use of particle systems to add and customise fur or hair to models and to create landscape elements such as grass to a scene; UV unwrapping for creating coordinates to enable textures to be added to models; using images as textures; creating textures by hand using techniques in Blender and Gimp; a detailed overview of material rendering; and creating materials using GIMP. The final chapters provide details of creating the final rendering of the models including different lighting scenarios and settings, rendering and colour correction, compositing, creating backgrounds, touching up, and embellishments.

The book is very thorough in terms of its explanations and providing guidance for best practices in creating models and working in Blender. This book does not provide a step-by-step walkthrough of how to create the projects used, but uses them as illustrations for the particular techniques under discussion with instructions for the difficult or most important tasks. For this reason, the book is probably best suited to readers who already have some experience working with 3d tools and who are willing to experiment. The book and the accompanying files provide ample material for learning and experimentation.


WordPress: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)
WordPress: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals)
by Matthew MacDonald
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to understand and thorough guide to WordPress, 6 July 2013
WordPress is a hugely popular web publishing tool responsible for nearly 20% of the world's websites and with well over 50% of the market share for content management systems. Although primarily a blog-based content management system, it can also be configured to be used to create more traditional looking websites with the the right knowhow.

This book provides a very thorough and in depth guide to WordPress written is a very clear and understandable style. The book starts with an excellent introduction that covers what WordPress is, how it works, what you can do with it, when you should use it, and when another content management system might be a better choice. The difference between using hosting from wordpress.com and self hosting is clearly explained together with the advantages of each approach. The following chapters in the book introduce the whole process of setting up and using WordPress for the first time whether you are using wordpress.com or self hosting. These chapters include creating an account, installing and maintenance for self-hosting, creating and organising posts, using the Dashboard, using widgets, and selecting a WordPress theme. More advanced techniques for creating compelling content are described including creating galleries and slide-shows, adding video and sound, customising posts and URLs, and extending self-hosted WordPress instances using plug-ins. The book also covers how to customise your WordPress site beyond basic blog functionality through the creation of pages, custom menus, and creating a custom homepage, and provides useful advice on how to attract an audience to your site, search engine optimisation, working with comments, multiple authors, private communities, and publicising your site. The final section of the book details the creation of an advanced WordPress site for really making your website look the way you want it by planning the site, customising the theme, creating page templates, organising the pages, and adding paypal and a shopping cart to your site.

Through the book clear instructions are provided, and examples of real web sites to show the possibilities. This book should be of benefit to both current WordPress users who want to do more with their WordPress sites, and also to anyone thinking of setting up a web page and wanting to use a content management system to make their lives easier. A found this to be a very well written, interesting, and comprehensive book.


Disruptive Possibilities: How Big Data Changes Everything
Disruptive Possibilities: How Big Data Changes Everything
Price: £0.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight into what Big Data means for commercial organisations, 11 Jun. 2013
"Big Data" in the current big thing, with the world of sensors and user interactions providing a wealth of information that companies not only need to worry about storing but also utilising to make smart decisions to get ahead of their competitors and win over their customers. This book provides the background to where Big Data computer comes from and what it means for enterprise and commercial organisations. The concepts of Big Data are not new and have derived from disruptive computing elements from the past, the history of which is clearly and interestingly explained. The differences between Big Data and scientific supercomputing, grid, and cloud are also covered.

To keep up with the Big Data game IT departments in organisations are likely to need to make many changes, not only to their hardware and software platforms, but also to the way their departments operate and their applications are written. These disruptions are discussed along with the nature of Big Data platforms, in particular Hadoop. There is also a chapter on the future of Big Data. Nothing in computing ever stands still, so it is useful to have a view of where the next big thing might be heading or coming from.

To begin with I found the book a little difficult to read, in particular the first chapter appeared to be a game of buzz-word bingo on steroids! The cause and problems created by silos being the main point of the early part of the book. It felt a bit like arm-waving marketing preachiness to start with, however, the further into the book I got, the more understandable, relevant, and informative it became.
I think this book will be of particular interest to IT folk and managers in enterprise organisations, or those that develop software for those users, that are new to Big Data and want to understand what it will mean for their business and what changes will be required. It's easy to read from beginning to end, although you might just want to go back and read the first chapter again at the end of the book!


Physics for Game Developers: Science, math, and code for realistic effects
Physics for Game Developers: Science, math, and code for realistic effects
by David M Bourg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £33.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and practical guide to physics for games, 9 Jun. 2013
Convincing physics is an essential ingredient to game design and development and this book provides a vast amount of information to help you understand what you need to think about for different kinds of interactions in your games. The book provides in depth explanations of various physics concepts and the maths around them. The book provides example code and numerous diagrams to explain the various concepts described in the book. There are also three appendices that provide code examples to help you develop your own physics classes.

The first six chapters provide a refresher on basics physics concepts including mass, inertia, and vectors; velocity, acceleration, and momentum; forces and pressure; kinetics and kinematics; collisions and projectiles. The second part of the book covers real-time simulations, including particles, rigid-body simulation, connections, collision handling, and physics engines. Part three of the book covers physics behaviours in a variety of common objects in games including vehicles such as cars. ships, and aircraft; guns, explosions, and projectiles; and ball sports such as golf and tennis. Part four of the book provides up-to-date content useful for developing games for mobile devices such as touch screens, accelerometers, using GPS data for interactions and developing games for consoles such as pressure sensors such as the Wii balance board, 3D displays, and optical tracking. The final chapter covers the rarely discussed topic of physics and sound.

The book is an extremely thorough and detailed, particularly on the mathematical side of the topic. The maths is pretty heavy going if you don't have a maths/physics background, and although the first part of the books provides a refresher, it might be worth picking up a more general maths book before attempting to tackle this one, if like me you haven't done maths as an advanced level or for quite some time. This isn't really a book for dipping in and out of, but is very helpful for getting an understanding of what needs to be modelled for realistic physics and then the maths of how to do it. For those who are interested in more advanced topics, there is also an extensive bibliography for further reading.

This is the second edition of the book. I've used the first book previously, and found the second edition to be an improvement on the original, especially with the addition of the chapters that are relevant to developing games on mobile devices.


Interactive Data Visualization for the Web
Interactive Data Visualization for the Web
by Scott Murray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.50

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to data visualisation for the web using D3, 10 May 2013
Data in its native form is quite dull, typically hundreds or thousands of pieces of text or numbers. When presented in this raw form, or in tabulated form it is difficult to interpret for anyone accept experts. Data visualisation provides a way to present information in an interesting and informative manner. You can you professional tools such as SPSS or Excel to create data visualisations, but, along with the price, these tools have limitations on the options they have for producing visualisations and export of static images. An alternative approach is create data visualisations on the web using a javascript library such as D3. Using D3 you can create highly customised, dynamic, and interactive data visualisations to reach a wide audience with only a little experience of web development or data visualisation. This book provides a gentle introduction to web development technologies that provide a grounding for using the D3 javascript library. These web technologies include HTML, DOM, CSS, SVG, and Javascript. The book continues with step by step instructions on how to download the D3 library, and how to set up a basic template project and folder. From here information is provided on how to format and import data into an html file using D3 so that you can start developing your own visualisations.

Each chapter builds upon the knowledge learnt in the previous chapters to demonstrate how to create simple to more complex and more interactive data visualisations. There are many ways to create visualisations using D3, but the book explores simple but powerful methods to create visualisations and to add interactivity. The earlier chapters create simple elements, and then go on to create bar charts with all the elements you would expect including bars, labels, scales, axes, and colours. Other visualisations include scatter plots, pie charts, stacks, force layouts, and geomapping. Interactivity in the form of changing colours, changing, adding, removing, and updating the data, movement and animation, transitions, tooltips, and randomising data. The final chapter discusses various options for exporting the visualisations for use in other documents.

This book is very easy to read and to follow, and clearly explains everything from the basics to more advanced techniques. All the code examples are available as downloads, which is handy for seeing the effects described, and provide a starting point for your own visualisations. There are limited published resources for using D3, so the appendix provides a reading list for further study including websites and relevant twitter users to help you find example projects and future developments. I would recommend this book for anyone who is thinking of sharing data visualisations on the web, or who want to create their own custom visualisations for their own work, particularly students and researchers who want to add something more interesting to their research than the same old charts out of Excel. I intend to give D3 a go for visualising my own research data in the future!

I have an e-version of the book (but not Kindle) and I don't have the problem that others have reported with missing letters.


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