This week's book giveaway is in the Mac OS forum. We're giving away four copies of a choice of "Take Control of Upgrading to Yosemite" or "Take Control of Automating Your Mac" and have Joe Kissell on-line! See this thread for details.
Author/s : Simon Monk
Publisher : McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics
Category : Other
Review by : Pat Farrell
Rating : 3 horseshoes
Other books in this series, and others by Simon Monk, have been well received and received good to excellent reviews. I had high expectations when I bought this book.
Its a serious disapointment. There is very little about Android in this book. It covers the Adruino side fairly well, but each project is a combination of part Android and part Arduino, and the Android side is essentially missing.
The book stated repeatidly that covering Android is too complex and would take its own book. OK, but why then does this book's title claim to do exactly this? The body does not deliver. A typical project will show 30 lines of Java/Dalvik and say "download the rest" with little to no explaination as to what the code does.
The author makes some strange engineering decisions, such as using an encoded audio format to transfer data between the Android and Arduino, but does not explain why this choice was made. The very first project uses Bluetooth to transmit data, and both the Andriod phone/table and Adruino boards have USB. One might expect a simple USB data connection rather than the strange audio encoding.
The book appears to have been quickly written and sloppily edited. For example, the section about "temperature logger" talks about the IC for the ultrasonic range finder, which is the topic of the next chapter. Clearly a bit too much copy and paste of the text.
The theory sections of each project, which is often a key part of each chapter in other books in this series, are very thin and don't discuss either theory or the rationale behind the engineering decisions in the book.
The book contains only a small number of projects, and four of them use exactly the same Arduino controller board. This might be a good engineering decision, but the board, the "home automation controller" is an ugly circuit with all sorts of hand wiring. If you are going to reuse a basic circuit, how about laying out a PCB and maybe selling the board through a distributor such as SparkFun or AdaFruit.