Category: Recent picks

New computing books for August

Different themes are coming through our new computer books this month. Raspberry Pi continues to be popular, Linux apparently will always have new books explaining its multiple uses together with books like Macs for dummies. Come with me and let’s explore our brand new collection.

Syndetics book coverGetting started with Processing.py / Allison Parrish, Ben Fry, and Casey Reas.
“Processing opened up the world of programming to artists, designers, educators, and beginners. The Processing.py Python implementation of Processing reinterprets it for today’s web. This short book gently introduces the core concepts of computer programming and working with Processing. Written by the co-founders of the Processing project, Reas and Fry, along with co-author Allison Parrish, Getting Started with Processing.py is your fast track to using Python’s Processing mode.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe joy of UX : user experience and interactive design for developers / David Platt.
“This guide will help you optimize usability and engagement while also coping with difficult technical, schedule, and budget constraints. Platt’s technology-agnostic approach illuminates all the principles, techniques, and best practices you need to build great user experiences for the web, mobile devices, and desktop environments. He covers the entire process, from user personas and stories through wireframes, layouts, and execution.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRaspberry Pi cookbook / Dr. Simon Monk.
“With millions of new users and several new models, the Raspberry Pi ecosystem continues to expand. The second edition of this popular cookbook provides more than 240 hands-on recipes for running this tiny low-cost computer with Linux, programming it with Python, and hooking up sensors, motors, and other hardware–including Arduino and the Internet of Things.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLearning Node : moving to the server side / Shelley Powers.
“Take your web development skills from browser to server with Node-and learn how to write fast, highly scalable network applications on this JavaScript-based platform. Updated for the latest Node Long Term Support (LTS) and Node Current (6.0) releases, this hands-on edition helps you master Node’s core fundamentals and gain experience with several built-in and contributed modules. ” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBig data : does size matter? / Timandra Harkness.
“From the first tally, scratched on a wolf bone over thirty thousand years ago, to the Large Hadron Collider, which produces forty million megabytes of data per second, data is big, and getting bigger.
Nobody needs a degree in computer science to follow Harkness’s exploration of what mega data can do for us–and what it can’t or shouldn’t. BIG DATA asks you to decide: Are you a data point, or a human being?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverData analytics with Hadoop : an introduction for data scientists / Benjamin Bengfort and Jenny Kim.
“Ready to use statistical and machine-learning techniques across large data sets? This practical guide shows you why the Hadoop ecosystem is perfect for the job. Instead of deployment, operations, or software development usually associated with distributed computing, you’ll focus on particular analyses you can build, the data warehousing techniques that Hadoop provides and higher order data workflows this framework can produce.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLearn & use Linux made easy / Maxwell Cooter and David Cartwright.
This is a highly accessible guide to the complex and highly customisable operating system Linux. Featuring step-by-step guides on a variety of topics, including how to choose and set up your distro, informative guides to many different distros including Ubuntu, Fedora and Red Hat, as well as advice on Linux firewalls and setting up your wireless network.” (adapted from Goodreads summary)

Syndetics book coverMacs for dummies / by Edward C. Baig.
“So, you joined the cool kids club and bought a Mac. Do you dare tell all your new cool Mac-owner friends that you still need some help figuring out how it works? No worries, Macs For Dummies is here to help! This fully updated edition turns you into a Mac pro. With coverage through OS X El Capitan, this edition of the long-running bestseller is sure to provide all your Mac answers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmbed with games : a year on the couch with game developers / Cara Ellison.
“In January of 2014 Cara wasn’t quite making rent but her cultural criticism on games for places like The Guardian seemed pretty popular. On a whim she pledged to her Twitter followers that she would do gonzo journalism and travel each month to stay with game creators she found across the world, if they put a bit of money towards it. Cara put a page up on Patreon and said if it got to $1000 that would be enough for her first flight. She thought it would never get there… Within an hour this ‘cyberpunk hair-dyed Attenborough’ had kicked herself out of her home and sent herself hurtling across a year of four continents, living on gamemakers’ couches, writing about their cities and creations. Six hundred readers funded her round-the-world trip, from London to Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne. This is a collected work of all the essays Cara wrote along the way, a map of independent game creation as she found it.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverGetting started with SQL : a hands-on approach for beginners / Thomas Nield.
Businesses are gathering data today at exponential rates and yet few people know how to access it meaningfully. If you’re a business or IT professional, this short hands-on guide teaches you how to pull and transform data with SQL in significant ways. You will quickly master the fundamentals of SQL and learn how to create your own databases.” (adapted from Goodreads summary)

New Computing books for February

With the New Year it’s good to see books about the new 2016 version of some of the most popular software together with Windows 10 and some other useful pieces of info. Come with me to find out more of what you need to know in 2016.

Syndetics book coverWindows 10 / Paul McFedries.
“Teach Yourself VISUALLY Windows 10 is the visual learner’s guide to the latest Windows upgrade. Using full color screen shots and clear instruction, you’ll learn your way around the interface, set up user accounts, and much more. If you want to get the most out of the latest Windows offering, Teach Yourself VISUALLY Windows 10 is the guide you need.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWindows 10 plain & simple / Nancy Muir Boysen.
“Learn the simplest ways to get things done with Windows 10. Follow easy steps and screenshots to see exactly what to do. Get handy tips for new techniques and shortcuts and exercises to apply what you learn right away” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOffice 2016 / Elaine Marmel.
“Quickly and efficiently learn the latest version of Office. Teach Yourself Visually Office offers you a straightforward, visual approach to making your work life more efficient and productive using the latest version of the Microsoft Office suite. Whether you′re looking to discover what′s new in the latest release of Microsoft Office or don′t know Access from Word, this visual guide makes learning easy!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExcel 2016 / by Paul McFedries.
“If you’re always hearing about the cool things Excel can do, here’s your chance to see how to do them! Teach Yourself Visually Excel is packed with visually rich tutorials and step-by-step instructions that will help you take your Excel skills to new heights, this friendly and approachable guide will have you creating, editing, and manipulating Excel spreadsheets in no time!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPowerPoint 2016/ Barbara Boyd with Ray Anthony.
“The uncomplicated PowerPoint guide designed specifically for visual learners. Teach Yourself Visually PowerPoint offers you an effortless approach to creating winning presentations with the latest version of PowerPoint.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy Excel 2016 / Tracy Syrstad.
My Excel 2016 is your must-have companion for getting most out of Excel 2016. This friendly, quick, full-color, 100% practical tutorial walks you through every task you’ll want to do with Excel 2016.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComputer basics : absolute beginner’s guide / Michael Miller.
“Make the most of your new Windows® 10 notebook or desktop computer-without becoming a technical expert! This book is the fastest way to get comfortable, get productive, get online, get started with social networking, make more connections, and have more fun!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMYOB Software For Dummies [electronic resource] / Veechi Curtis.
“MYOB(R) Software For Dummies walks you through everything you need to know, from starting your MYOB(R) file from scratch and recording payments and receipts, to tracking profit and analysing sales. This new edition includesall the information you need on the new generation of MYOB(R) Account Right software, including the new cloud computing features.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAutomate the boring stuff with Python : practical programming for total beginners / by Al Sweigart.
“If you’ve ever spent hours renaming files or updating hundreds of spreadsheet cells, you know how tedious tasks like these can be. In Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, you’ll learn how to use Python to write programs that do in minutes what would take you hours to do by hand. Once you’ve mastered the basics of programming, you’ll create Python programs that effortlessly perform useful and impressive feats of automation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA beginner’s guide to coding on Android tablets and smartphones / Jim Gatenby.
Explains, at an elementary level, basic concepts of computers and computer coding using an Android tablet or smartphone. Also covers how to then transfer your program code to a desktop or laptop computer and vice versa.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTeach yourself visually iPhone 6s / by Guy Hart-Davis.
“A visual guide to the iPhone 6s now fully updated. Teach Yourself VISUALLY iPhone, 3rd Edition is the book for you with 500 full-color screenshots that clearly illustrate all the features your iPhone has to offer.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow software works : the magic behind encryption, CGI, search engines, and other everyday technologies / by V. Anton Spraul.
“We use software every day to perform all kinds of powerful tasks. It’s the force behind stunning CGI graphics, safe online shopping, and speedy Google searches. How Software Works explains how computers perform common-yet-amazing tasks that we take for granted every day. If you’ve ever wondered what really goes on behind your computer screen, How Software Works will give you fascinating look into the software all around you.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Computing books for September

Our computer books are always diverse and for this month we have a great eBook about HTML5 Game Development, books on Android tablets and Digital Photography for Seniors, and one that explores the ever growing issue of girls having their lives exposed online, and how they can be more protected. So come with me and check all the new things we prepared for you.

Overdrive coverHTML5 Game Development by Example, by Makzan (eBook)
“This book is for web designers who have a basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and want to create Canvas or DOM-based games that run on browsers.” (Overdrive description)

Syndetics book coverMacBook in easy steps : for MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro / Nick Vandome.
MacBook in easy steps, now in its fourth edition, makes exploring the MacBook inspiring and a pleasure. Use this guide to accelerate your learning and take control of your new MacBook! Covers OS X Yosemite.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWindows 10 for dummies / by Andy Rathbone.
Windows 10 For Dummies covers the latest version of Windows and gets you up and running with the changes and new features you’ll find in this updated operating system. Packed with time-saving tips, this helpful Windows 10 guide shows you how to manage Windows tasks like navigating the interface with a mouse or touchscreen, connecting to the web, and troubleshooting problems and making quick fixes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAndroid tablets for seniors / Nick Vandome.
Android Tablets for Seniors in easy steps is the perfect guide to Android devices, their specifications and functionality, and explains the operating system and how to use it on your tablet. This book details the Android settings so that you can personalize your tablet to look and work in exactly the way that you want. The book features the Google Nexus but is applicable to all tablets running the Android operating system.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy digital photography for seniors / Jason R. Rich.
My Digital Photography for Seniors is an exceptionally easy and complete full-color tutorial on digital photography, visual storytelling, and image sharing. No ordinary “beginner’s book”, it approaches every topic using meaningful examples, step-by-step tasks, large text, close-up screen shots, and a custom full-color interior designed for comfortable reading.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHadoop application architectures / Mark Grover, Ted Malaska, Jonathan Seidman & Gwen Shapira.
“Get expert guidance on architecting end-to-end data management solutions with Apache Hadoop. This practical book takes you through architectural considerations necessary to tie those components together into a complete tailored application, based on your particular use case.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAndroid application development all-in-one for dummies / by Barry Burd.
“Your all-encompassing guide to learning Android app development. If you’re an aspiring or beginning programmer interested in creating apps for the Android market, which grows in size and downloads every day, this is your comprehensive, one-stop guide.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPhotos for OS X and iOS : take, edit, and share photos in the Apple photography ecosystem / Jeff Carlson.
“For anyone who’s taken photos, you know the frustration of trying to find and manage your snapshots on your iPhone, camera, or Mac. With Photos for OS X, Apple has made it possible to have at your fingertips all your photos.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Apple Watch book : master the most personal computer in your life / Scott McNulty.
“The Apple Watch is more than a timepiece and a fashion accessory. The watch is designed to be a very personal assistant, from paying for groceries or a coffee to keeping a detailed record of your daily physical activity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProgramming for the absolute beginner / Jerry Lee Ford Jr.
“Are you interested in learning to program computers? Programming For The Absolute Beginner, Second Edition is a friendly guide that will teach you the fundamentals of computer programming through the hands-on (and fun!) development of computer games.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe smart girl’s guide to privacy : practical tips for staying safe online / Violet Blue.
“The whirlwind of social media, online dating, and mobile apps can make life a dream–or a nightmare. For every trustworthy website, there are countless jerks, bullies, and scam artists who want to harvest your personal information for their own purposes. But you can fight back, right now. In The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy, award-winning author and investigative journalist Violet Blue shows you how women are targeted online and how to keep yourself safe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Computing Books for August

From step-by-step general help with technology, going through more specific themes like programming and coding and Android tablets, our selection for computer books this month has definitely something for everyone. So don’t be afraid and have a look at the amazing books!

Syndetics book cover“Is this thing on?” : a friendly guide to everything digital for newbies, technophobes, and the kicking & screaming / Abby Stokes ; illustrations by Michael Sloan and Susan Hunt Yale.
“Like a personal trainer for the digital age, Abby Stokes is the hand-holding, motivating expert that newbies–specifically older newbies–turn to when they want to become digitally literate. An all-new companion website–AskAbbyStokes.com–will include video tutorials explaining the latest technologies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy Android tablet / Craig James Johnston.
“More than 100,000,000 Android tablets were sold last year: that’s nearly 62% of all tablets sold. If you own or are considering an Android tablet, My Android Tablet is your must-have companion. This friendly, quick, full-colour, 100% practical tutorial walks you through every task you’ll want to perform with your new Android tablet, no matter what brand or model you choose.” (Adapted from Goodreads)

Syndetics book coverProfessional Android wearables / David Cuartielles Ruiz and Andreas Goransson.
Professional Android Wearables covers how to use the Android Wear platform and other techniques to build real-world apps for a variety of wearables including smartbands, smartwatches, and smart glasses.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coveriPad at work for dummies / by Galen Gruman.
iPad at Work For Dummies provides essential and in-depth coverage for a variety of productivity-related tasks made possible on the iPad. From basics such as setting up and starting out with an iPad to tips on the best practices for enterprise-level word processing, spreadsheet creation, presenting, task management, project management, graphic design, and communication. If you′re considering integrating the use of an iPad at work, or have recently begun and want to grasp the full spectrum of its capabilities in the workplace, iPad at Work For Dummies has you covered.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPHP : 20 lessons to successful web development / Robin Nixon.
“Based on the author’s successful online courses, this complete, integrated learning tool provides easy-to-follow lessons that feature clear explanations, sample code and exercises, and video tutorials. Each lesson is designed to take you less than an hour to complete. Together, the book and almost five hours of videotraining, make learning PHP easier than ever!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEffective Python : 59 specific ways to write better Python / Brett Slatkin.
“It’s easy to start coding with Python, which is why the language is so popular. However, Python’s unique strengths, charms, and expressiveness can be hard to grasp, and there are hidden pitfalls that can easily trip you up. Effective Python will help you master a truly “Pythonic” approach to programming, harnessing Python’s full power to write exceptionally robust and well-performing code.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCoding for beginners in easy steps / Mike McGrath.
Coding for Beginners in Easy Steps instructs readers how to write code to create their own computer programs. The examples feature the popular Python language and the final chapter demonstrates a comparison example in the C, C++, and Java programming languages to give the reader a rounded view of computer coding. The steps within the book is colour-coded to match the default colour-coding of the Python IDLE editor, making it easier for beginners to grasp.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeginning JavaScript / Jeremy McPeak, Paul Wilton.
“The bestselling JavaScript guide, updated with current features and best practices Beginning JavaScript 5th Edition shows you how to work effectively with JavaScript frameworks, functions, and modern browsers, and teaches more effective coding practices using HTML5. To learn JavaScript the way it’s used today, Beginning JavaScript, 5th Edition is your concise guide.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Computing books in July

Getting started with Arduino? If so, the book Arduino Wearables is suitable to help you learn, by teaching you how to make wearable creations using Arduino. For those already proficient in Arduino and JavaScript, another book, Make: JavaScript Robotics shows you how to build robots. Other features this month are: a guide to teach children basic programming using Python, Cocoa programming, Blender for Dummies, and managing Apple devices. A feast for all.

Syndetics book coverArduino wearables / Tony Olsson.
“You’ve probably seen LED-decorated t-shirts and hats, and maybe even other electronic gadgets embedded in clothing, but with Arduino Wearables you can learn to make your own wearable electronic creations. This book is an introduction to wearable computing, prototyping, and smart materials using the Arduino platform. Every chapter takes you all the way from idea to finished project. Even if you have no experience with Arduino, this book will get you set up with all the materials, software, and hardware you need; you’ll complete simple projects first, and then build on your growing expertise to make more complex projects.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverXcode 6 start to finish : IOS and OS X development / Fritz Anderson.
“…Fritz Anderson presents a complete best-practice workflow that reflects Xcode’s latest innovations. Through three full sample projects, you’ll learn to integrate testing, source control, and other key skills into a high-efficiency process that works. This is the only Xcode 6 book focused on deep mastery of the tools you’ll be living with every day. Anderson reveals better ways to storyboard, instrument, build, and compile code, and helps you apply new features, ranging from Interface Builder Live Rendering to View Debugging and XCTest Performance Testing…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCocoa programming for OS X : the Big Nerd Ranch guide / Aaron Hillegass, Adam Preble & Nate Chandler.
“Covering the bulk of what you need to know to develop full-featured applications for OS X, this edition is updated for OS X Yosemite (10.10), Xcode 6, and Swift. Written in an engaging tutorial style and class-tested for clarity and accuracy, it is an invaluable resource for any Mac programmer. The authors introduce the two most commonly used Mac developer tools: Xcode and Instruments. They also cover the Swift language, basic application architecture, and the major design patterns of Cocoa…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlender for dummies / by Jason van Gumster.
Blender For Dummies is the quick and easy guide to learning 3D modeling and animation using the popular, free, open source Blender software. You’ll learn how to create models, animate movement, and render well-lit scenes as you master the powerful features that rival the more expensive professional animation software… The companion web site provides access to additional tutorials that give you the confidence you need to start animating quickly.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMake : JavaScript robotics / Rick Waldron [and fourteen others].
Make: JavaScript Robotics shows you how to use JavaScript to build robots that react responsively to the world around them. Using the open source Johnny-Five robotic library with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone, you’ll learn step-by-step methods to build and program ‘bots that rove, swim, type, walk, dance, send alerts, make music, express emotion and more.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverTeach your kids to code : a parent-friendly guide to Python programming / by Bryson Payne.
Teach Your Kids to Code is a parent’s and teacher’s guide to teaching kids basic programming and problem solving using Python, the powerful language used in college courses and by tech companies like Google and IBM. Step-by-step explanations will have kids learning computational thinking right away, while visual and game-oriented examples hold their attention. Friendly introductions to fundamental programming concepts such as variables, loops, and functions will help even the youngest programmers build the skills they need to make their own cool games and applications…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverManaging Apple devices / Arek Dreyer, Kevin M. White.
Managing Apple Devices, Second Edition will teach you to formulate an effective plan for deploying and maintaining groups of Apple devices on iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite in your organization. You will be introduced to Apple management technologies including Mobile Device Management, the Volume Purchase Program, and the Device Enrollment Program. You will learn the theory behind these tools and work through practical exercises that teach you to use the tools while maintaining a highly secure environment.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverRuby on rails tutorial : learn web development with rails / Michael Hartl.
“…Used by sites as diverse as Twitter, GitHub, Disney, and the Yellow Pages, Ruby on Rails is one of the most popular frameworks for developing web applications, but it can be challenging to learn and use. Whether you’re new to web development or new only to Rails, Ruby on Rails(tm) Tutorial, Third Edition, is the solution. Best-selling author and leading Rails developer Michael Hartl teaches Rails by guiding you through the development of three example applications of increasing sophistication, focusing on the fundamental techniques in web development needed for virtually any kind of application…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe gourmet iOS developer’s cookbook : even more recipes for better iOS app development / Erica Sadun.
The Gourmet iOS Developer’s Cookbook offers a fresh banquet of delicious cutting-edge iOS programming recipes for projects both big and small. Renowned iOS programming expert Erica Sadun brings together reliable, proven code for creating today’s richest, most robust apps. Sadun presents innovative ways to make the most of AVFoundation, Text Kit, animation, adaptive interface programming, and much more. As in all of her iOS best-sellers, this pragmatic guide translates modern best practices into working code, distilling key concepts into recipes you can understand and build on… This book’s source code is frequently updated by the author and can be downloaded at https://github.com/erica/iOS-Gourmet-Cookbook.” (Syndetics summary)

Our choice of new Computing books in May

This month’s selection of computer books is very diverse. For the Office crowd, there are new books on Excel and Office for iPad and Mac; for the more games-oriented, there are books on Minecraft and HTML5 gaming. For those after general information on the interaction of technology in society, there are books on libraries’ role in the digital future and the mass surveillance society cultivated by public participation in sites such as Google and Facebook. Happy reading!

Syndetics book coverPower Excel with MrExcel : 567 Excel mysteries solved / Bill Jelen.
“Updating the previous edition’s tips to include features in Excel 2013, this new edition of Mr. Excel’s popular software guide even incorporates suggestions sent in by readers. Each featured topic has a problem statement and description, followed by a broad strategy for solving the problem. Mr. Excel then walks readers through the specific steps to solve the issue. Alternate strategies are also provided, along with common scenarios that trip users up, leaving readers with not only answers to their specific dilemmas but also new and quicker ways to use formulas and spreadsheets.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOffice for iPad and Mac for dummies / by Peter Weverka.
“…Are you a Mac user who isn’t accustomed to working with Microsoft Office? Consider this friendly guide your go-to reference! Written in plain English and packed with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, Office for iPad and Mac For Dummies walks you through every facet of Office, from installing the software and opening files to working with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and beyond. Plus, you’ll discover how to manage files, share content and collaborate online through social media, and find help when you need it… If you’re an Apple enthusiast who wants to get the most out of Microsoft Office, Office for iPad and Mac For Dummies shows you how simplifying and organizing your work or personal life is just a click away.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCoding for dummies / by Nikhil Abraham.
“…No coding experience is required for Coding For Dummies, your one-stop guide to building a foundation of knowledge in writing computer code for web, application, and software development… Using foundational web development languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, it explains in plain English how coding works and why it′s needed. Online exercises developed by Codecademy, a leading online code training site, help hone coding skills and demonstrate results as you practice. The site provides an environment where you can try out tutorials built into the text and see the actual output from your coding… If you′re a student looking for an introduction to the basic concepts of coding or a professional looking to add new skills, Coding For Dummies has you covered.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuild an HTML5 game : a developer’s guide with CSS and JavaScript / by Karl Bunyan.
“If you already have even basic familiarity with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, you’re ready to learn how to build a browser-based game. In Build an HTML5 Game, you’ll use your skills to create a truly cross-platform bubble-shooter game – playable in both desktop and mobile browsers… You’ll learn how to: send sprites zooming around the screen with JavaScript animations, make things explode with a jQuery plug-in, use hitboxes and geometry to detect collisions, implement game logic to display levels and respond to player input… Exercises at the end of each chapter challenge you to dig in to the bubble shooter’s code and modify the game… Learn to create a complete HTML5 game right now and then use your newfound skills to build your own mega-popular, addictive game.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA beginner’s guide to writing Minecraft plugins in JavaScript / Walter Higgins.
“The book is for anyone who wants to learn how to modify Minecraft–no previous programming experience required! The book uses JavaScript, a popular programming language for creating websites and scripting. Aimed at kids who already play Minecraft, this guide will teach coding through a series of “Recipes” (the term used in-game when crafting new objects)… The goal of each Recipe/chapter is to introduce a new JavaScript concept or expand upon a previously introduced concept. The author will present each recipe as a useful addition to the game while gently introducing programming concepts in an approachable style.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeginner’s guide to digital painting in Photoshop : characters.
Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting: Characters is a comprehensive guide for artists wishing to create convincing and detailed characters. It features established artists such as Charlie Bowater (concept artist at Atomhawk) and Derek Stenning (freelance concept artist and illustrator, with clients such as Marvel Entertainment and Nintendo) who share their industry experiences by covering such aspects as posing characters, choosing the correct costumes, conveying emotions, and creating suitable moods. Conclusive step-by-step instructionsmake this an invaluable resource for artists looking to learn new skills, as well as those pursuing the next level.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeginner’s guide to character creation in Maya / written by Jahirul Amin.
“Autodesk’s Maya is the industry standard software used in the movie and video game business for creating assets. In Beginner’s Guide to Character Creation in Maya, the artist will learn transferable skills for modeling anatomy with Maya and Mudbox, covering topics such as texturing and shading skin, hair, and eyes; kinesiology; deformation; locomotion; and lighting. Step-by-step guidance by expert tutor Jahirul Amin (3D trainer at Double Negative, London) will also detail how to create links, constraints, and controls for animation. With over 30 hours of downloadable videos, this is a book of amazing value that you won’t want to miss” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBiblioTech : why libraries matter more than ever in the age of Google / John Palfrey.
“Libraries today are more important than ever. More than just book repositories, libraries can become bulwarks against some of the most crucial challenges of our age: unequal access to education, jobs, and information. In BiblioTech, educator and technology expert John Palfrey argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. And libraries, which play a crucial role in making these skills and information available, are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible–by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online. Not all of these changes will be easy for libraries to implement. But as Palfrey boldly argues, these modifications are vital if we hope to save libraries and, through them, the American democratic ideal.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverData and Goliath : the hidden battles to collect your data and control your world / Bruce Schneier.
“Your cell phone provider tracks your location and knows who’s with you. Your online and in-store purchasing patterns are recorded, and reveal if you’re unemployed, sick, or pregnant. Your e-mails and texts expose your intimate and casual friends. Google knows what you’re thinking because it saves your private searches. Facebook can determine your sexual orientation without you ever mentioning it. The powers that surveil us do more than simply store this information… The result is a mass surveillance society of our own making. But have we given up more than we’ve gained? In Data and Goliath, security expert Bruce Schneier offers another path, one that values both security and privacy. He shows us exactly what we can do to reform our government surveillance programs and shake up surveillance-based business models, while also providing tips for you to protect your privacy every day. You’ll never look at your phone, your computer, your credit cards, or even your car in the same way again.” (Syndetics summary)

New books on Computing in April

In this month’s new computing books, there are a range of topics covered. Starting with the fundamentals of how computers work, this month’s picks also highlight how to make the most of storage using the Microsoft Private Cloud; HTML5, the interestingly named BeagleBone and how to create your own android apps. With the variety on offer, there should be something technological to sink your teeth into!

Syndetics book coverHow computers work : the evolution of technology / Ron White ; illustrated by Timothy Edward Downs.
“This full-color, fully illustrated guide to the world of technology assumes nothing and explains everything. In addition to all the content you’ve come to expect from prior editions, this newly revised edition includes all new coverage of topics such as: how smartphones and tablet PCs put the power of a desktop computer in your hands– literally; how advances such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, eBay, and smartphones are expanding our universe of friends, knowledge, and opportunity; how increased miniaturization leads to new products, such as smartphone, smartwatches, and Google Glass; and, how computing technology takes advantages of quantum physics and innovations no one even imagined a few years ago.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTest drive the Microsoft Private Cloud / Ron Carswell.
“As a network administrator, you may be tasked with implementing and maintaining your company’s interaction with Microsoft® private clouds. With a focus on quality, usability, and hands-on experience, Test drive the Microsoft Private Cloud features top-notch instructional content and includes clearly stated learning objectives, chapter summaries, key terms and definitions, and case projects. It will teach you how to effectively work with the Microsoft cloud and give you both the conceptual knowledge and hands-on skills necessary to work with network operating systems in a network administration environment…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHTML5 : 20 lessons to successful web development / Robin Nixon.
“…Fully tested and working examples are used throughout, so you can clearly see how the technologies work, and either type them in or download them for free from 20lessons.com, so you can try them out for yourself, and play with them too. …I also produced an instruction video for every lesson, taking you through all the topics in the lesson, and describing the examples and how they work from start to finish – instructions on how to view them are given in each chapter…” (adapted from “Editorial Reviews From the Author” Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBuilding Android apps in easy steps / Mike McGrath.
“…begins by explaining how to create a development environment on a computer in which to develop and test Android Apps. It then takes the reader through installing Java and the App Inventor 2, alongside each required key function of creating the app itself. Covering areas such as designing the interface, controlling progress, calling functions and deploying the app, this book shows how together technical knowledge and creativity can produce Android Apps to be proud of…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExploring BeagleBone : tools and techniques for building with embedded Linux / Derek Molloy.
“Whatever applications you can dream up, the BeagleBone can help you build them. This hands-on guide teaches you the essential BeagleBone skills and underlying engineering principles. It then takes you into interfacing, communication, and control so that you can create your own projects. Finally, you’ll explore using the BeagleBone for advanced applications such as building Internet-of-Things systems and real-time interfacing. With hands-on examples and outstanding guidance, this book will give you the in-depth knowledge to do great things with BeagleBone.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverWordPress : absolute beginner’s guide / Tris Hussey.
“…Whether you’re new to WordPress or not, this practical, approachable book will show you how to do exactly what you want, one incredibly clear and easy step at a time – all explained with full-color illustrations. Leading WordPress instructor Tris Hussey provides step-by-step instructions for every task requiring more than one step. Screenshots and illustrations guide you through complex processes, so you’ll never get lost or confused…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coveriPad all-in-one for dummies / by Nancy Muir.
“For iPad users who want more information than the basics of the iPad, iPad All-in-One For Dummies provides the goods! Based on Apple’s new iOS software, which includes Siri for iPad, new and improved maps with turn by turn directions, shared photo streams, Facebook integration, Passbook, FaceTime video calls over cellular, new calling features such as instant text reply and callback reminders, improved email with a VIP inbox, iCloud browsing tabs, and much more…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Photoshop elements 13 book for digital photographers / Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski.
“This book breaks new ground by doing something for digital photographers that’s never been done before-it cuts through the bull and shows you exactly “how to do it.” It’s not a bunch of theory; it doesn’t challenge you to come up with your own settings or figure things out on your own. Instead, it does something that virtually no other Elements bookhas ever done-it tells you flat-out which settings to use, when to use them, and why…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeb development and design foundations with HTML5 / Terry Ann Felke-Morris.
“The approach of the book reflects my personal philosophy of teaching web development and emphasizes hands-on practice exercises. Case studies are included throughout the book to provide students an opportunity to apply their new skills. The textbook companion website at webdevfoundations.net has a page for each chapter with hyperlinks for websites listed in the book, information on emerging trends, additional examples, corrections, and review games. Instructor materials are available from the publisher’s website.” (adapted from “Editorial Reviews From the Author”, Amazon.com)

New books on Computers for March

New books on computing including help learning Java & jQuery as well as getting familiar with Photoshop, Github and Raspberry Pi.

Syndetics book coverLearning to program / Steven Foote.
Learning to Program will help you build a solid foundation in programming that can prepare you to achieve just about any programming goal. Whether you want to become a professional software programmer, or you want to learn how to more effectively communicate with programmers, or you are just curious about how programming works, this book is a great first step in helping to get you there” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverJava in a nutshell / Benjamin J Evans and David Flanagan.
The sixth edition of Java in a Nutshell helps experienced Java programmers get the most out of Java 7 and 8, but it’s also a learning path for new developers. With examples rewritten to take full advantage of modern Java APIs and development best practices, this fully updated book brings you up to date and gets you ready to develop Java applications for the future. Learn how lambda expressions make your programs shorter, and easier to write and understand ; Explore Nashorn, the brand new implementation of Javascript on the Java Virtual Machine Start using the new I/O APIs to make your code cleaner, shorter, and safer ; Understand Java’s concurrency model and learn how to write multithreaded code with confidence.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coveriPad in easy steps / Drew Provan.
“The iPad is a fun, functional and powerful tablet computer, and iPad in easy steps is written to help you navigate your way through its myriad features.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverGetting started with Raspberry Pi / Matt Richardson and Shawn Wallace.
“What can you do with the raspberry Pi, the affordable computer the size of a credit card? All sorts of things! If you’re learning how to program – or looking to build new electronic projects, this hands-on-guide will show you just how valuable this flexible little platform can be. Updated to include coverage of the Raspberry pi Model B+ Getting Started with Raspberry Pi takes you step-by-step through many fun and educational possibilities…” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverPhotoshop Elements 13 : the missing manual / Barbara Brundage.
Photoshop Elements 13 looks sharper, performs better, and has more sophisticated photo-editing and slideshow features than previous versions – but knowing which tools to use when can be confusing. The new edition of the bestselling book removes the guesswork. With candid, jargon-free advice and step-by-step guidance, you’ll get most out of Elements for everything from sharing and touching up photos to fun print and online projects.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverOnline safety for children and teens on the autism spectrum : a parent’s and carer’s guide / Nicola Lonie.
“Children and teens with autism can be particularly vulnerable to online dangers and this practical handbook explains how you can help your child to navigate websites, chat rooms and social media safely.
Providing all the information needed to monitor, educate and guide your child’s computer use, the book discusses key concerns such as parental control, social networking, grooming, cyberbullying, internet addiction and hacking…” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverIntroducing GitHub : a non-technical guide / Peter Bell and Brent Beer.
“Software is eating the world, and GitHub is where software is built. GitHub is also a powerful way for people to collaborate on text-based documents, from contracts to screenplays to legislation. With this introductory guide, you’ll learn how to use GitHub to manage and collaborate with developers, designers, and other business professionals more effectively. Topics include project transparency, collaboration tools, the basics of Git version control management, and how to make changes yourself–without having to bother your development team. If you’re involved with software projects on GitHub–as a stakeholder, project manager, designer, tester, or developer–or want to learn how to collaborate on documents, this book is the perfect way to get started.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInformation doesn’t want to be free : laws for the Internet age / Cory Doctorow.
“In sharply argued, fast-moving chapters, Cory Doctorow’s “Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free” takes on the state of copyright and creative success in the digital age. Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? This is a book about the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative industries (and individuals) are confronting today — about how the old models have failed or found new footing, and about what might soon replace them. An essential read for anyone with a stake in the future of the arts, “Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free” offers a vivid guide to the ways creativity and the Internet interact today, and to what might be coming next.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGetting a big data job for dummies / by Jason Williamson.
“The demand for big data professionals just keeps growing. This down-to-earth guide shows you what you must know to qualify, how to identify the big data job for you, what constitutes the perfect resume, and what it takes to ace the interview. Learn about the different types of jobs and companies, how to build a plan, and how to set it in motion!” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverJavaScript and jQuery for data analysis and visualization / Jon J. Raasch… [et al.].
“Go beyond design concepts–build dynamic data visualizations using JavaScript
“JavaScript and jQuery for Data Analysis and Visualization” goes beyond design concepts to show readers how to build dynamic, best-of-breed visualizations using JavaScript–the most popular language for web programming. The authors show data analysts, developers, and web designers how they can put the power and flexibility of modern JavaScript libraries to work to analyze data and then present it using best-of-breed visualizations. They also demonstrate the use of each technique with real-world use cases, showing how to apply the appropriate JavaScript and jQuery libraries to achieve the desired visualization.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New books about Computers

This time we include books on apps and no apps, books on programming,on effective data communication and on Internet security, and a book about ‘The unprecedented rise of the instant tech billionaires’.

Syndetics book coverData fluency : empowering your organization with effective data communication / Zach Gemignani, Chris Gemignani, Dr. Richard Galentino, Dr. Patrick Schuermann.
“There is colossal disconnect between the volumes of data collected by organizations and the people who might make use of it. This gap can be bridged by creating focused and thoughtful data presentation tools, including reports, dashboards, visualizations, or key metrics. Together, these tools and capabilities lead to data fluency, the ability to use the language of data to exchange and explore ideas within your organization.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverYou only have to be right once : the unprecedented rise of the instant tech billionaires / Randall Lane, and the staff of Forbes.
“The ultimate insider’s look at the newest titans of tech, from the editorial team at Forbes. Silicon Valley’s new billionaires are an unconventional breed, turning ideas into money at a rate never before seen in human history. Their ascension proves a turning point in how great fortunes are made and how technology disseminates. Among these golden boys are: Elon Musk, billionaire bachelor and founder of Paypal, electric carmaker Tesla, and private space company SpaceX; Evan Spiegel, 23-year old founder of Snapchat, who recently turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook; and Alex Karp, the eccentric philosopher with almost no tech background who turned Palantir into a data-mining champion.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBecoming a better programmer / Pete Goodliffe.
Code Craft author Pete Goodliffe presents a collection of useful techniques and approaches to the art and craft of programming that will help boost your career and your well-being. Goodliffe presents sound advice that he’s learned in 15 years of professional programming. The book’s standalone chapters span the range of a software developer’s life – dealing with code, learning the trade, and improving performance – with no language or industry bias. Whether you’re a seasoned developer, a neophyte professional or a hobbyist, you’ll find tips in five independent categories…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to build a billion dollar app : discover the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time / George Berkowski.
“Apps are not only changing the way we communicate, shop, interact and travel, but they are becoming the dominant platform by which we manage many parts of our lives. Despite this, there are only a handful of mobile businesses that have cracked the code to making it billion-dollar big. George Berkowski is one of the masterminds behind one app on its way to breaking into this elite group – Hailo – the smartphone app which allows users to hail taxis from their mobile phones. In this book, Berkowski draws on his experience to show readers how to translate an idea for an app into a real world service, product and business.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInternet security you can afford : using Untangle as your internet gateway / Christopher Dawson.
“Discover one of the most efficient, effective, and inexpensive ways to stop Internet threats and protect your organization or home from malware and objectionable content with Internet Security You Can Afford: The Untangle Internet Gateway. This book by educator and well-known ZDnet technology expert Chris Dawson demonstrates how you can establish Internet security for free, or for very little money, using Untangle and buying only value-added components that you really need. This book serves as the perfect reference tool for readers who understand end-user IT, hardware, and operating systems, but who have limited experience in network administration.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMicrosoft Office for iPad : an essential guide to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive / Tom Negrino.
“The long-awaited version of Microsoft Office for the iPad gives Office users the opportunity to use Excel, PowerPoint, and Word on their Apple tablet. In this practical, no fluff guide, author Tom Negrino gets straight to point, showing users how to get the most out of the Office apps on an iPad. Assuming you have some existing knowledge of the desktop Office apps this book focuses on maximizing your productivity on the new iPad version.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeginning programming with Python for dummies / by John Paul Mueller.
“Learn Python-the fun and easy way-and get in the programming game today! Python is one of the fastest growing programming languages, and no wonder. It requires three to five times less time than developing in Java, is a great building block for learning both procedural and object-oriented programming concepts, and is an ideal language for data analysis. Beginning Programming with Python For Dummies is the perfect guide to this dynamic and powerful programming language-even if you’ve never coded before!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThere’s not an app for that : mobile user experience design for life / Simon Robinson, Gary Marsden, Matt Jones.
There’s Not an App for That will make your work stand out from the crowd. It walks you through mobile experiences, and teaches you to evaluate current UX approaches, enabling you to think outside of the screen and beyond the conventional. You’ll review diverse aspects of mobile UX: the screens, the experience, how apps are used, and why they’re used. You’ll find special sections on “challenging your approach”, as well as a series of questions you can use to critique and evaluate your own designs…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New popular non-fiction books on Comput*

November’s round up of new Computing books features several books with a design focus, including books on responsive web design, game design, and even social media design!

Syndetics book coverNo kidding! : why our kids know more about technology than us and what we can do about it / Yvette Adams.
“Your kids know way more about technology than you, and it’s time you did something about it. Today’s kids are intuitively able to use every device, app, game and social network handed to them. Just give a tablet or a smartphone to a toddler and watch what happens. But as life speeds up, and we are busier than ever being good parents the technological gap between parents and kids seems to grow exponentially. …kids desperately need their parents to understand the technology they are using and to embrace the technology themselves.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLearning responsive web design : a beginner’s guide / Clarissa Peterson.
“Deliver an optimal user experience to all devices-including tablets, smartphones, feature phones, laptops, and large screens-by learning the basics of responsive web design. In this hands-on guide, UX designer Clarissa Peterson explains how responsive web design works, and takes you through a responsive workflow from project kickoff to site launch. Ideal for anyone involved in the process of creating websites–not just developers–this book teaches you fundamental strategies and techniques for using HTML and CSS to design websites that not only adapt to any screen size, but also use progressive enhancement to provide a better user experience based on device capabilities such as touchscreens and retina displays.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOffice 2013 for seniors : in easy steps / Michael Price.
Office 2013 for Seniors in easy steps concentrates on the most useful elements of Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365 (the subscription version). Written with older citizens in mind, it uses larger type for easy reading and it’ll get you up to speed with Office 2013 features in easy steps. It will help you to: Install Office 2013 on your computer, write stylish documents using Word, use Excel to manage your finances and much more. Find all the key extras such as OneNote, Office Tools, MapPoint and more! Packed with extra tips, this guide will help you get more from your Office 2013, Office 365 and Office Web apps.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIntroduction to game design, prototyping, and development : from concept to playable game-with Unity® and C# / Jeremy Gibson.
“Learn Game Design, Prototyping, and Programming with Today’s Leading Tools: Unity(tm) and C# Award-winning game designer and professor Jeremy Gibson has spent the last decade teaching game design and working as an independent game developer. Over the years, his most successful students have always been those who effectively combined game design theory, concrete rapid-prototyping practices, and programming skills. Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development is the first time that all three of these disciplines have been brought together into a single book.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSocial media design for dummies / by Janine Warner and David LaFontaine.
“Learn to design professional and effective social media profiles! Whether you’re trying to attract a new employer or get new fans to notice your brand, your social media profiles need to distinguish you from the masses. Packed with the secrets behind the hottest Facebook timelines, Twitter backgrounds, and LinkedIn profiles, this fun-but-straightforward guide shows you how to create eye-catching social media profiles with a professional, cohesive design. Includes online resources and downloadable templates that allow you to make your own profiles quick and easy…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe innovators : how a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks created the digital revolution / Walter Isaacson.
“Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSocial networking using a tablet for all ages / Jim Gatenby.
“Social networking is no longer the province of only young people. In fact it is now one of the most popular uses for a tablet computer. This book covers both Facebook and Twitter on tablets using the Android, iPad and Windows operating systems.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow apps are changing the world / Stephen Molloy.
“There are 7 billion people in the world, 6 billion cell phone subscriptions and 1 App bible. So why isn’t everyone bored? Why are some companies focusing everything on mobile devices and making millions? In this book we explore the ideas, theories, strategies and technologies behind apps, with interviews and insights from the very best in the industry. Armed with this information, you will be able to improve your clients’ apps, your company’s apps, your own personal app project, and the app idea you’ve always wanted to make a reality.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMobile and web messaging / Jeff Mesnil.
“Messaging protocols are not only simple to use, but also conserve network bandwidth, device memory, and batteries. Using this book’s step-by-step format, author Jeff Mesnil helps you work with Objective-C and JavaScript libraries, as well as the protocols. All you need to get started are basic programming skills. Understand basic messaging concepts and composition. Learn two common messaging models: point-to-point and publish/subscribe. Use STOMP to write an iOS application that sends GPS data, and a web app that consumes the data. Build an iOS app with MQTT that tracks and broadcasts device motion data, and a web app that displays the data and sends alerts. Extend STOMP to filter, prioritize, persist, and expire messages. Take a complete tour of STOMP and MQTT, including features not used in the book’s sample apps.” (Syndetics summary)


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