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+ - Arduino: A Quick-Start Guide 1

Submitted by Muad
Muad (11989) writes "BOX DATA Title: Arduino: A Quick_Start Guide Author: Maik Schmidt Pages: 263 Rating: 8/10 Reviewer: Federico Lucifredi ISBN: 9781934356661 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Arduino-Quick-Start-Pragmatic-Programmers/dp/1934356662/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1297643169&sr=8-1 END BOX DATA

Maik Schmidt, Arduino: A Quick-Start Guide — The Pragmatic Bookshelf, $35

Maik Schmidt is our guide in the Pragmatic Bookshelf's venture into the world of electronics. This is a compact work, like all others in the series, it goes straight to applicable examples and makes you get your hands dirty with real work. The Arduino platform has been described in many ways, but the best I have heard so far insightfully labels it "The 555 of the future," referring to the ubiquitous timer chip so many simple electronic projects make use of. If you haven't been hiding under a rock for the past few years, you have doubtlessly seen the plethora of material on the subject that's out there: even O'Reilly, which usually does not ship multiple titles on a single subject, has a variety of them. Most of these works are rather similar, the ones I prefer are Massimo Banzi's Getting Started with Arduino (O'Reilly, 2008), by one of the original developers of the platform, and the strongly related Getting started with Processing by Casey Reas and Ben Fry. These are brief books in the 100-page range, not exhaustive works, but covering the core philosophy and basic operation of the tools is sometimes the best way to jump into a new subject.

There is a lot of material on the subject, even the current issue of Make magazine has a very good roundup (and not for the first time, if I may add). So, how does Maik's work stand out in the fray? Right after a brief introduction to ease you into the Arduino environment, the book turns to interesting projects, more sophisticated than the usual fare (read: not the usual LED-blinking using pulse-width modulation that every tutorial out there walks you through). Examples of this include connecting with a Wii Nunchuk, motion sensing, networking, infrared remote control interfaces, and more. These projects are the high-note of the book, and span almost two-thirds of its length — and are significantly better than most other project material currently in print.

This is a hands-on book, theory is kept to a minimum, as you don't really need previous experience to tackle an Arduino: the platform was specifically designed to cater to artists and designers, it is meant to be approachable by users who are not EE wizards. That said, if what you are after is learning the underpinnings of low-level electronics or hardcore embedded systems programming, this book is not for you: pick up a copy of Horowitz and Hill's The Art of Electronics (possibly including the student manual), and check back with us in a year or so for the digital followup recommendation. But if you have less time on your hands, and you just want to network-enable a coffeepot or build some interactive art display, the introduction to Arduino Maik delivers is quite sufficient for your aims, and it spans material other authors have been remiss to include, like developing libraries and (Appendix C) use of serial line protocols.

Zooming in on the details, perhaps the comment can be made that it would be good if there was a single kit available including all components used in the text: perhaps Makershed or Adafruit Industries will supplement their existing kits with one comprising the full range of the author's selection. On the plus side, I must highlight the extensive illustrations, which visually represent the breadboard linkage between the Arduino and the sensor or actuator being used with extreme clarity, and are much more effective in teaching neophytes than more traditional circuit designs. Where these are not actual pictures, they were generated using the alpha release of Fritzing, a very interesting piece of software (see fritzing.org) aiming at facilitating circuit design for those of us without a background in electronics.

The landscape of Arduino publications is shifting faster than many other subjects in print, and doubtlessly Maik's status as "king of the Hill" is but temporary — however, among those books on the subject I have personally surveyed, I am pleased to say that he currently holds the championship cup.

Federico Lucifredi is the maintainer of man (1) and a Product Manager for the SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE distributions."
Encryption

Why Sony Cannot Stop PS3 Pirates 378

Posted by Soulskill
from the of-pots-and-kettles dept.
Sam writes "A former Ubisoft exec believes that Sony will not be able to combat piracy on the PlayStation 3, which was recently hacked. Martin Walfisz, former CEO of Ubisoft subsidiary Ubisoft Massive, was a key player in developing Ubisoft's new DRM technologies. Since playing pirated games doesn't require a modchip, his argument is that Sony won't be able to easily detect hacked consoles. Sony's only possible solution is to revise the PS3 hardware itself, which would be a very costly process. Changing the hardware could possibly work for new console sales, though there would be the problem of backwards compatibility with the already-released games. Furthermore, current users would still be able to run pirated copies on current hardware." An anonymous reader adds commentary from PS3 hacker Mathieu Hervais about Sony's legal posturing.
Oracle

RIP, SunSolve 100

Posted by timothy
from the to-the-moon-instead dept.
Kymermosst writes "Today marks the last day that SunSolve will be available. Oracle sent the final pre-deployment details today for the retirement of SunSolve and the transition to its replacement, My Oracle Support Release 5.2, which begins tomorrow. People who work with Sun's hardware and software have long used SunSolve as a central location for specifications, patches, and documentation."
PlayStation (Games)

Gran Turismo 5 To Be Released November 24th 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-real-this-time dept.
UgLyPuNk writes "After many, many delays, Gran Turismo 5 has finally gotten a solid release date: November 24th. ('Tis the season for vaporware titles to emerge into the real world, it seems.)" Eurogamer posted a preview of the game back in August, saying, "It's been a whirlwind of features and car chatter, beneath which the game still looks fantastic. It may have been in development for the whole of this console generation, but the technical arms race has slowed down and GT5 still looks as good as any other racing game we've seen, and it is, to say the least, comprehensive." Joystiq has a video of the course maker and a collection of screenshots.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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