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What about a book to introduce kids to electronics?
Harry Fairhead has some recommendations to make, although with some reservations.
In the case of Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred, rated 4.5, the overall conclusion was: If you have children and the time to engage them simply go and buy the book and get on with it.
He also reports that there are a few odd things about this book. The first is the range of projects - from a soft toy to a small robot. You do have to be able or willing to learn to read a simple circuit diagram. The second thing that you need to know is that while the book is written in a friendly amusing style it does have some strange turns of phrase that for some people may overstep a line.
Electronics enthusiasts might also be interested in books on the Arduino. Harry gave a rating of 4.5 to Learn Electronics with Arduino but also took issue with the book's title pointing out that this is not a book for the newcomer, either to electronics or to the Arduino.
Overall I enjoyed the book, but then I am not a beginner. I can, however, recommend it if you know enough electronics and want to know more.
On the other hand a full 5-star rating was given to the "highly recommended" Arduino Cookbook.
with the conclusion:
a very nice cookbook for both the hardware and the software it contributes via the recipes. ... It covers such a wide range of topics that it has to have something for everyone. ... If nothing else the cookbook provides an excellent list of modules that you can use to get a job done.
For electronics in general Harry's top recommendation is MAKE: Electronics, a full-color book crammed with photos, diagrams and cartoons which manages to explain how electronics works without being mysterious or mathematical. From the word go the experiments and projects are fun and are also fairly simple - an LED flasher, random dice, key pad code, "crystal" set radio, burglar alarm an so on. The projects not only help reinforce the theory but provide case studies on how to actually construct things - more soldering, stripboard, breadboards and even a mention of alternatives such as wire wrapping and surface mount.
The 5-star review ends:
If you know a little about electronics and want to rekindle your enthusiasm this is a great book. For the complete beginner its also a great book as long as you don't expect to master everything in it at one sitting. To go from the basics of electricity to chips in 300 or so pages is a lot of ground.
When looking for a book to give as a gift its a good idea to take into account the person's hobbies. Photography is one hobby shared by member of the IProgrammer team and David Conrad came up with a suggestions for fellow enthusiasts.
The Art of Black and White Photography comes close to being a coffee-table book and is about black-and-white photography in the digital age and how you feel about it depends on how you feel about moving back into something more technically primitive in order to make an impression.
Giving it a rating of 4.9 David concluded:
I found the book to be fun to read and inspirational. It is great for the beginner who wants to do better at black-and-white. Put simply it stimulates thinking about the task in hand even if you don't always agree with the author. If you already consider yourself an expert on the topic then don't even consider it, as it will only make you unhappy.
If you are looking for a book for an Apple aficionado, how about Revolution in The Valley which has the subtitle "The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made". Illustrated with photos and drawings, this book isn't about history, or design or technology - it's a book of gossip and old photos. It has lots of stories about Steve Jobs and even about Bill Gates and these are worth reading in themselves. Overall it does a good job of informing the reader of what it was like during the years 1979 to 1985.
The book is awarded a rating of 4.5 with the conclusion:
Overall it confirms the Apple mythology without being analytic or critical in any way. If this gives you a warm glow then you will enjoy the book a lot. One thing for certain is that it makes a great gift for any Apple fan.
Also on Programmer's Bookshelf
C# Books - Pick of the Shelf
Gems Amongst Ruby Books
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