O'Reilly Book Reviewer

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: Learn to program with Scratch A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math

Learn to Program with Scratch
A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math
Publisher: No Starch Press
Released: February 2014
Pages: 288

This is one of those books that I didn't read but feel confident to review. Let me explain - I let my 9-year old read it instead. My kid was thrilled to receive this book and try out the exercises. It rarely came to me for any explanation except for installation of Scratch and some random troubleshooting. 

This is definitely a book I would recommend to any kid. It is very clear and examples are very simple and easy to follow. It kept my kid motivated and is helping him spend his summer vacation well. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Video Review: Douglas Crockford JavaScript Master Class (O'Reilly)

Having read Douglas Crockford's Javascript articles and blogs, I was naturally inquisitive to try out his JavaScript Master Class. Overall, I found the contents to be very good and relevant today even though this was released in 2009.

Of course, some tracks could have been done a little better. For example, the starting video of "History of the language" is 44 minutes. It should have been trimmed to under 10 minutes, in my honest opinion. I would have liked more coverage on the other sections rather than 44 minutes on the history.

I finally understood the various inheritance mechanisms in JavaScript thanks to the coverage on pseudo-classical  prototypical  and functional inheritance. The coverage on the "Theory of the DOM part one and two" provide insights into the complex DOM model and how the browsers render them.

There are many snippets throughout the video that are enjoyable thanks to Doug's sense of humor. Overall, a good buy for those that are new to JavaScript. This doesn't qualify as a "Master class" but it is very good nevertheless. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Book Review: Samsung Galaxy S4: The Missing Manual by Preston Gralla (O'Reilly)

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a beautiful, sophisticated piece of art. Nothing short of amazing. However, to be able to use it like a pro, the manual that ships with the phone is pretty insignificant. You could either discover by talking with fellow S4 owners or look up videos online. This book seeks to put all that information in a simple-to-understand format so you can easily go through it step-by-step.

Wow, I didn't know my Galaxy S4 could do that! Many a time, this was my reaction when I read about something that I wasn't aware of. The book has a lot of graphics and screenshots that make it a real pleasure to read and understand. When I got my new S4, I had often wondered what certain options meant and how some apps were used and this book actually covered those topics very well. I actually started using some of the apps, like S Health, after reading this book.

Of the many things I learned, I could sync my calendar with Google Calendar and Outlook, start watching movies and TV shows while they are loading, send pictures and videos wirelessly to your TV, etc. Pretty neat book and expansive coverage overall. This book is actually 485 pages but you should be able to skim through it pretty fast. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: The LEGO Build-It Book, Vol. 1 Amazing Vehicles By Nathanael Kuipers, Mattia Zamboni Publisher: No Starch Press

The LEGO Build-It Book, Vol. 1
Amazing Vehicles
Publisher: No Starch Press
Released: July 2013
Pages: 136

When I showed the book cover to my 8-year old son, he just couldn't resist the temptation. He kept on asking me to get the book for him which I eventually did. I must say this book has made him happy and engaged.

I am glad that the book has a one-pager with a "bill of materials". That allowed me to take a printout with me and my son to the Lego shop "pick  a brick" section. If you already have a couple of Lego toys for building cars, you probably don't need to buy the parts at all.

The graphics in this book are really crisp and delightful unlike the Lego manuals. The detail step by step instructions make it easy to make progress for a kid. If you have Super Speedster Item: 5867, then you don't need to buy the parts.

Have fun for hours with your kids. I loaded the ebook on my laptop and projected to my big screen TV and enjoyed with my son.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Review: AngularJS by Shyam Seshadri (O'Reilly)

Although many readers may have been disappointed by the code examples in this book from the outdated Github site, I think overall this is a good book. AngularJS concepts are a bit difficult to comprehend for any beginner but this book does a decent job of easing the reader into it. More advanced readers, especially those who are impatient, may get a bit disappointed at the pace of this book.

It takes a completely different mindset, no matter how fluent you are with web application programming, to understand the "Angular Paradigm".  It is going to take time to grasp the concepts if you are learning Angular for the first time, no matter how well it is presented. It is certainly not the fault of this book if you get a cultural programming shock.

The ideas and examples provided in the later part of the book are very useful and I would be using some of them for my applications. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review: Exam Ref 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 by Rick Delorme (Microsoft Press)

This book takes care of a wide range of audience from a beginner to intermediate users at different levels of learning. It is pretty large and comprehensive with exercises and Q&A at the end of each chapter. 

I recommended this book to some more folks on my team and they found it useful as well.

I got my certification with a good score. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Review of CSS3: The Missing Manual, 3rd Edition

Excellent coverage of all CSS3

By sandyboy55 from St Louis, MO on 3/14/2013


5out of 5

Pros: Concise, Easy to understand, Accurate, Well-written, Helpful examples

Best Uses: Expert, Student, Novice, Intermediate

Describe Yourself: Developer

This book has been a pleasure to read. CSS3 has brought some great enhancements to the plain old CSS and this book does an excellent job of covering that.

This book has 650 pages and that might sound intimidating. However, the language and the flow has been so friendly that you could literally pick something that interests you and get a deep coverage.

If you want to learn everything about CSS3, go out and pick this book. You will not regret it.