It takes but one look at modern handheld computers to be amazed by what is possible – a few years ago, dual core CPUs were rare beasts even on the desktop. This ever-rising amount of computational power has, of course, taken its toll on the mobile industry – resource-effective development is less important.
embedded front Making Embedded Systems   the review embedded rev Making Embedded Systems   the review

The book starts out by looking at what makes an embedded system, and at how embedded systems are built and brought up. This is continued in chapter five, which takes a look.at efficient ways to structure your embedded system.

In chapters four and six, the book takes a high level look.at how an embedded system interacts with its surroundings. Topics like ports, polling, etc are covered – please be aware that electrical engineering is not taught here.

Chapter number 7 is a bit of an oddball, as it loks at ways to update the software of a system which has already been deployed. This sounds weird at firszt, but can be highly useful.

Finally, the last three chapters look at various methods for optimizing application code. The information in these is useful for all kinds of coding, and definitely good to know.
it should not be surprising that this is not an easy reading title. Nevertheless, the author has done her best – the book is well written.
Given the large range of topics covered,

In the end, Elecia White’s book makes for an interesting read. If you ever wondered about how code is written on the really small boxes, this is the place to go! The price of 34 USD is fine – sadly, electronics are not covered…

One thing is constant among most countries: public broadcast annoying everyone who owns a TV, extorting a tax for their usually very mediocre produce. But why is this so?
front Comparing Media Systems   the review back Comparing Media Systems   the review

This book, published by the University of Cambridge, starts by looking at the media landscape of the past, breaking it into three distinct models.

Model number one is dubbed the “Polarized Pluralist Model”, and describes the media systems seen in mediterranean states such as Italy. Next up is the “Democratic Corporatist Model”, which is prevalent in most of continental Europe. Finally, the US “liberal” model is introduced.

After this introduction, the book moves on to differentiating the models in dimensions such as political influence, government subsidies and amount of unionization of staff. Even though these chapters do get a bit repetitive, they contain loads of interesting anecdotes which give extra food for thought.

A final chapter “rounds off” the tome by looking at what the future will hold for the various European media systems discussed.

From a text point of view, the book is – like most universitarian literature – too long for my taste. Nevertheless, it remains readable even for non-native speakers and contains quite a few interesting tables:
in Comparing Media Systems   the review

This book is ideal for all those who ever had to deal with public broadcasting and/or wonder how the news gets to their doorstep (and live in Canada, the USA or Western Europe) – the price of 30$ is ok.

P.S. The introduction is available in PDF form for free…

In today’s mobile market, little is as important as a good user interface design. Unfortunately, most books on the topic tend to take one “way” and then ride it home – can Lukas Mathis’s book provide a broader overview of the GUI design field?
front Designed for Use   the review back Designed for Use   the review

Designed for Use is split up into three parts, which each are made up of chapters explaining techniques and ideas used to accomplish user interface design.

Part 1 starts out with the design of applications – topics covered here are not directly related to the layout of forms, but rather to things like deciding which features are needed and how they should be grouped.

Part 2 looks at the layout of the individual forms, and also covers “new-age” things like animation and the design of mobile user interfaces.

Finally, Part 3 looks at things to do after the first version of the app has been released. In this part of the book, expect coverage of concepts like dealing with customer requests, adding and removing features, and so on.

As with almost all O’Reilly-published books, a number of images are included to make the text easier to read and understand. Paper quality was high as always; a huge amount of web references makes “further reading” easy:
in Designed for Use   the review

In the end, it is hard not to like Designed for Use. The book presents a plethora of design methods which are sure to inspire everybody – the price of 30$ is more than justified.

Before the PlayBook tablet by Research in Motion, ActionScript was a language mainly used by Flash designers for adding a bit of “brains” to their animations. Unfortunately, the BlackBerry tablet changed that – ActionScript now is interesting for classic programmers, too. Can O’Reilly’s classic satisfy the needs of this clientele?
front Learning ActionScript 3.0   the review back Learning ActionScript 3.0   the review

The first chapters are best described as Programming for Dummies – not only do they show the syntax of AS, they also explain the concepts behind the idioms in painstaking detail. Seasoned IT vets will have issues not falling asleep here…

Part 2 focuses onh all things graphics: topics like pixel graphics, vector graphics and motion are explained in considerable detail. This treatise is very interesting, and contains many examples. However, it suffers from two weaknesses: first of all, it is focused on people programming games or graphic demos. The second and more significant weakness is the dependency on Flash CS – if you use Flash Builder, many of the examples can not be used.

Text, Sound and video get one chapter each. The same is valid for file IO and XML processing.

Our review is based on the second edition of the book. As usual for O’Reilly, it is well-written and contains loads of images. This time, the book is printed in color:
in Learning ActionScript 3.0   the review

All in all, the book provides a great overview of the possibilities of ActionScript. Unfortunately, it is not perfectly suited for PlayBook developers – it does not explain the QNX controls or the Flash Builder IDE. However, developers who need to create a PlayBook app ASAP should invest the 32$ the book costs at Amazon’s – there is no better way to get up to speed with ActionScript quickly…

Tons of books have been written on the topic of selling desktop apps – when it comes to mobile, the bookshelves remain mostly empty. O’Reilly’s latest work is focused on mobile apps in general and the App Store in specific – does it make sense?
appsavvy App Savvy   the review appsavvy 001 App Savvy   the review

Ken Yarmosh starts out by looking at the process for creating an app. For him, this starts out at processing the idea – and finding out whether pursuing it actually makes sense.

When the idea is workable, the next step involves design and UI. Even though the tools shown are focused on the iPhone, the lessons learned here are valid on all platforms.

The next chapter looks at managing the development process. If you do the development yourself, the value of that is limited – but one never knows when scaling up is due. The chapter after that looks at the publishing process in iTunes.

chapters eight and nine are very interesting. Chapter 8 looks at the marketing process, while Chapter 9 analyzes various ways to keep a product line alive after its initial launch.

Finally, one or two interviews with prominent iPhone developers are at the end of each chapter.

As usual for O’Reilly, the book is well written and is made up of decent quality paper. The only issue I had was the permanent cross-referencing to the marketing chapter at the end – it seriously disturbed reading flow for me.

In the end, a seasoned and experienced developer who is interested in PR will probably find little new in this book. Rookies, on the other hand, must buy this book irregardless of which platform they end up targeting. If you are inexperienced in handling the iTunes store, the book also is worth its price…

Neither technology nor management books are new – we have reviewed loads of both types on the Tamoggemon Content Network over the years. O’Reilly’s “the productive programmer” wants to change the genre – can it stack up?
productivebook t The Productive Programmer   book review productivebook 001 t The Productive Programmer   book review

Neal Ford chose to subdivide the book into two parts. Part number one looks at various interesting tools which make your work easier. Think about things like virtual desktops, multiple clipboards and so on – even though the small things may not make too much of a difference at first glance, the long-term effects of a minute a day have been documented here in the past.

Part two looks at things which programmers can do to make their lives simpler. This is the part of the tome which I didn’t really like – very little of the information is applicable for C and C++ – most of it is for dynamic languages like Ruby, with an occasional comment about Java.

As usual for O’Reilly, the book is easy to read and has a decently high paper quality.

In the end, the book contains a lot of small yet interesting hints – but unfortunately does not leave me 100% satisfied. If you expected a huge performance increase, forget it – on the other hand, the current price of about 35$ is not that steep…

Whenever yours truly gets a book pitch on “social impacts of handheld computing”, experience has told me to just blacklist the publisher – in 99.9% of the cases, the content is written by an organization who wants to leech money off mobile users by talking them into believing some kind of nonsense and paying for a “cure”. However, Marshall Cavendish is a reputable printing house…which is why I gave their book the benefit of the doubt.
magic blackberry front The magic BlackBerry   the review magic blackberry back The magic BlackBerry   the review

David Thompson is a well-known author for self-help books. The intention of this work is to make you communicate more effectively using mobile email.

He achieves this by telling the fictive story of an employee working at an airline. He gets a “magic BlackBerry”, which then makes him think about the way he has communicated with his peers and managers in the past.

Topics covered include things like relationship flexibility, when to call rather than reply and the ever-famous “waiting-before-replying”.

As already said above, the book is very easy to read. Its layout furthermore emphasizes key passages:
magic blackberry side The magic BlackBerry   the review

If you do a lot of mobile email, definitely slip this book into your next Amazon order. Even though it won’t tell you much new, the 10$ are a small price for overthinking your messaging habits…

I first saw Brian Fling’s book on Mobile Design and Development on a local connection. Mark A. M. Kramer, an Austrian maven of the mobile computer scene read and praised it – can the tome stack up in the largely empty area of mobile user interface design books?
front Mobile Design and Development – the review back Mobile Design and Development – the review

Brian starts out by looking at the history of mobile and the mobile landscape as it is today. Long-term followers will not find much new stuff here, but it nevertheless makes for an interesting read.

He then moves on to “mobile strategy”. Topics include questions like “What is special about mobile”, the influence of “context” also is explained in some detail. Finally, various options for creating a mobile app are explained – some of them are somewhat obscure and definitely aren’t something you deal with every day.

The next part analyzes the design process for mobile applications. These chapters are what make the book really interesting – you are introduced to design, prototyping and user testing methods for touchscreen and non-touchscreen applications.

The second half of the book looks at the design and creation of mobile web sites: frameworks, compatibility et al get covered in extreme detail. Native application developers are largely left twiddling their thumbs…

As usual for O’Reilly, the book is well-written and readable even for non-native English speakers. Code examples are provided in various web languages; an ample amount of images is included for clarification where beneficial.

In the end, Mobile Design and Development is a great book if you want to create a mobile web app. Creators of native applications can’t use half of the book: if you are interested in the mobile design process, it is a good if somewhat paper-heavy tutorial. Web heads, on the other hand, should buy it straight away…the 23$ shouldn’t hurt

PackT can be considered the newest kid on the block of tech publishing – consider them the APress of “design-related technologies”. Their book on “User Programming for Busy Programmers” hit my desk. But can the 80-page booklet stack up?
front User Training for Busy Programmers   the review back User Training for Busy Programmers   the review

William Rice starts out by looking at a few “common myths” of the trade. What is user training, what isn’t it? Who needs to be trained?

Afterward, the book takes a strictly wizard-like approach. A repeating template not dissimilar to the one found in use cases takes you step-to-step from nothing to running user demo, which can be deployed to third-party instructors.

Style-wise, PackT is different from other, more “established” publishers. Their visual presentation is more “to the bone”, and less playful – the whole book didn’t contain a single image. Nevertheless, it was well written and easy to understand.

In the end, I predict that PackT has a bright future ahead of it. This book fulfills its need – if you have just been enlisted to teach at an university or often write manuals and online help systems, you definitely can benefit from it. The price of 13$ for the paperback is ok…

O’Reilly has had a long tradition of publishing small and slim portable reference books. As C++ is an extremely common programming language in mobile, I was given a sample copy of their Pocket Reference. Size-wise, it is about as big as three PDAs next to another…
front OReilly C++ Pocket Reference   the review back OReilly C++ Pocket Reference   the review

As this book is not intended as a learning but rather a reference tool, reading it from start to end is not as easy as with other books. However, I tried and succeeded – if you already have a pretty good understanding of C/C++ and object-oriented programming, you should be able to grasp the concepts within a few minutes of thinking around.

O’Reilly has put a lot of work into the index. If you are looking for something, you will usually be able to find the relevant piece of text very quickly.

Please let me put this in writing once again: you are NOT able to learn C++ from this book. Novices, look elsewhere! People familiar with Java may have a chance, but are also advised to look elsewhere.

Text-wise, there is nothing to bicker about. The book is clear (for a reference), and contains enough tables and graphs to visualize stuff where needed:
inside OReilly C++ Pocket Reference   the review

Cutting a long story short: the 10$ this book costs are well invested, especially if you tend to program offline a lot (netbook) and have a nasty habit of forgetting rarely used syntax elements. The book covers all important things except for using C code in C++ programs – this is a purchase you will not regret IF you are already proficient in C and have at least basic knowledge of object-oriented programming.

Microsoft C# is a difficult language: its neither C, C++ nor Java, but looks similar to all three of them. It nevertheless provides an easier transitional path to .NET for people who know C or Java (for them, VB is completely new) – can APress’s Beginning C# 2008 show you the way?
front Beginning C# 2008   the review back Beginning C# 2008   the review

The book starts out by looking at the basics of the .NET framework – what is CIL, why are things implemented the way they are and so on. The next two chapters look at variables and strings: this is not ideal for beginners, as it does not allow you to start coding immediately.

Want to find out more? Visit our sister site TamsPPC:
http://tamsppc.tamoggemon.com/2009/08/11/beginning-c-2008-the-review/

O’Reilly’s classic Designing Interfaces scored a rave review on TamsPalm some time ago. Designing Gestural Interfaces is from the same series – can it impress me as much as the forefather?
front Designing Gestural Interfaces   the review back Designing Gestural Interfaces   the review

Dan Saffer starts put by looking at the history of user interaction and the physiological principles behind UI. His summary is well-done, but contains nothing which is new for a seasoned UI designer – not bad to have, but no selling point here.

After that, the book starts out by presenting finger and whole-body gestures which are “common” in Western cultures. People looking for a reference of gestures will be happy with this part – but if your OS vendor already specifies gestures, his UI rules are the ones to follow.

The last chapters of the book look at various development process-related things: how to test gestures, how to document them and what to expect in the future. People wanting to develop mobile apps will benefit a bit from the testing stuff, although a good beta test should be mostly straightforward.

The appendix contains an even larger list of gestures – if you are looking for a gesture dictionary, getting the book definitely pays out.

Like most other O’Reilly works, Designing Gestural interfaces is easy to read. It furthermore contains loads of photos, snapshots and sketches – an example page is below:
inside Designing Gestural Interfaces   the review

In the end, Designing Gestural Interfaces definitely is not a bad book. However, most of its contents are of limited value to the average mobile developer. If you aren’t into virtual reality / winning a motion-game contest, the steep asking price of 43$ can definitely be spent better elsewhere…

When developing software, you always need graphics. Application icons, esd promo pictures or ads – code is not enough. Graphists tend to look cheap at first glance, but become incredibly espenaive as time goes by – which makes creating graphics yourself economically viable.

GNU’s image manipulation software (GIMP) is free…but is not particularly intuitive. Can Akkana Peck’s book fix you up?
p Beginning GIMP   the review b Beginning GIMP   the review

Beginning GIMP starts out with a thorough introduction to the basics of image editing. Even though most of this should not be new to seasoned developers, it nevertheless makes for an interesting read…and leaves you well prepared for the first steps into large-scale image manipulation.

Once these basics are done, Beginning GIMP moves on to looking at the creation of new images using GIMP. Topics covered include nasties like layers, paths and feathered selections. The explanations are presented in a down-to-earth way, and are understandable even for non-mathematical heads.

Akkana’s GIMP tour ends with a look at filters, layer compositions and other artistic stuff. The book then ends with a few appendices looking at various technical topics related co compiling and installation on various platforms.

Like most other APress books, Beginning GIMP is a pleasure to read. Paper quality is exceptional, the text is clearly written and the images make understanding stuff easy. The index is pretty good, too – looking something up on the go is more than comfortable.
f Beginning GIMP   the review

In the end, Beginning GIMP is one book which definitely belong on your desk. Its price pays off the moment you fire up GIMP for the first time and save the money needed for a graphist and a PhotoShop license. The clearly-written text will have you cooking up images in no time – the price of 32$ is a sound investment…

I stumbled across this book at a Viennese store specializing in book blow-out sales. As I was planning an advertising campaign at that time, I purchased it…expecting to find all kinds of cool stuff. But could it stack up?
front Advertising Online NOW   the review back Advertising Online NOW   the review

First of all: this book covers dynamic campaigns implemented with Flash. This means that the included images alone don’t tell the full story – you have to read the book and look at the included DVD on a PC in order to fully grasp a campaign.

Advertising OnLine divides its campaigns by their subject matter: the chapters cover Food&Beverage, Media, Service&Retailer, Technology&Games, Transport and Miscellaneous ads. Each ad campaign is given one to three pages worth of photos and a badly-written description text (which comes in three languages:). While some campaigns are straightforward or boring, some of the ideas really made me think. For example, did you ever think about using an IM bot as advertising tool?

Mobile computing freaks will be happy to hear that the book covers various advertising campaigns for phones: Nokia, Motorola and the now-defunct Siemens Mobile are all in the mix.

The aforementioned chapters are divided by interviews with various creatives: as the book was written in 2005, these serve more as amusing reading than as insight.

Like with most photo books, the paper quality is insanely high. The entire book is printed on semi-glossy paper, which makes the pictures look lovely. Unfortunately, the text is very unclear and full of grammatical errors…I often read all three (English, German, French) versions of the text in order to grasp its meaning.

In the end, people expecting to learn about making the most of a small ad space will be gravely disappointed with the book. It instead looks at what future technologies like ShockWave and Flash can achieve (or will be able to achieve in the future) compared to classic GIF banners. If you ever wondered why banner designers use flash, like picture books and have 26$ and some time to spare, hit this Amazon link

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