16 February 2011

Review of "Building Wireless Sensor Networks" by Robert Faludi

A curious mix of microhardware cookbook and primer, where tutorials on fundamental radio signals and hexadecimal seem out of place and views on geek culture fit right in.
The text features a comprehensive look at the XBee system (including copious illustrations and pictures) which also touches on the better known Arduino boards. If you are already familiar with circuit wiring, this book may be a refreshing howto guide. If you've never touched a breakout board before, even the in-depth and humor-filled instructions may seem daunting. The books only real failing lies in not teasing up front the many varied projects one can achieve or a sense of what might (or might not) be accomplished on the modest hardware. I liked the depth of content, but the integrated organization might be better served by putting all the theory and sections up front and appending the MAKE-style projects as recipes. An easily overlooked gem!

Check it out at O'Reilly's Web or Amazon.

09 February 2011

My O'Reilly Wishlist

Pre-order eBook and bundle prices are estimated, based on existing title prices.
Thanks, O'Reilly!

01 February 2011

Review: "Mining the Social Web: Analyzing Data from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Other Social Media Sites" by Matthew A. Russell

A good primer on capturing and visualizing social data, and tools to do more with what you find. Not for the faint of heart.

The book’s title may be deceptive outside the worlds of web design or data analysis. A prerequisite knowledge of getting around in Python is a must from the start. The examples for each recipe are straightforward enough to be understood in most cases without explanation.
I liked the fast and furious look at each of the major social network platforms (plus emerging HTML5 Microformats and raw email headers), and while we get a great sense of how to cast our data nets, I ended up wanting more about evolving APIs. The text also details how structured or free each service warehouses, and is a great starting point for each lexical tool. The book is also conspicuously designed to be read online, and is extensively hyperlinked.
We can admire word frequency and visualization as to “what” text is important at a given time among your data pool. This should not be mistaken for “why” it’s important, which is up to Semantic Web processing touched on but ultimately beyond the scope of this book. Interpretation is up to the reader.

Check it out at O'Reilly's web.