Book Reviews

One of our members regularly writes reviews for IT related books. He's graciously offered to let us host them on our web site. These books and others all become part of the Library of LUV ( also known as "LoL"). If you're interested in borrowing one of these books, put your name on the wiki page and come to one of our regular Tuesday meetings. If you have books you no longer need that may be of interest to our members, you can add them to the LoL by putting them on the wiki page.

The Blender Game Kit 2nd edition

Carsten Wartmann, ed.: The Blender Game Kit 2nd edition; ISBN 978-1-59327-205-0; Published by No Starch Press, 317 pp., RRP AU$ 79.95

Since the first edition of Blender GameKit was published in 2002 there has been an important development of the games engine (GE), overcoming a problem: "The complexity of integrating a tool with a GE was just too much of a challenge". The new games engine is a significant advance that makes Blender a leading player in the field. Of equal importance is that users with no programming knowledge can use Blender to create interactive 3D games.

The Twitter Book

Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein: The Twitter Book; ISBN 978-0-596-80281-3; Published by O'Reilly, 234 pp., RRP AU$ 42.95

The Twitter Book is both a primer for novices and a guide-cum-reference for the more experienced. It is written in simple, but not patronising, language; the style is relaxed and readers won't sink in a mire of techspeak. The physical format (landscape, more-or-less A5, and lay-flat binding) makes it convenient to use. The topic-to-an-opening page design (text on right page with screen shots, graphics, illustrations on the facing left page) make for easy reading; where a topic needs more space spread the information is broken into discrete parts, each of which has its own two-page spread.

HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide 6th edn.

Chuck Musciano and Bill Kennedy: HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide 6th edn.; ISBN 978-0-596-52732-7; Published by O'Reilly, 654 pp., RRP AU$ 105

HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide has been in print for some thirteen years; the current (sixth) edition was released in 2006. It contains a discussion on what was something of a hot issue at the time: HTML 4 vs. XHTML 1.1 and whether to-use-or-not-to-use XHTML. For example, the <img> tag was out, and is now back (?for the time being). It seems we are likely to be waiting for some time before there is any real disturbance of present practice, which makes HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide still relevant.

The Manga Guide to Electricity

Kazahiro Fujitaki: The Manga Guide to Electricity; ISBN 978-1-59327-197-8; Published by No Starch Press, 206 pp., RRP AU$ 37.95

The Manga Guide to Electricity is the latest in a series of Japanese books published in English by No Starch Press. At first glance they look like comic books, which is not surprising—manga is a Japanese word that has come to mean comic book. The concept is to provide a comic-book story-line to explain some subject—in this case electricity. In between the manga presentation there are plain text summaries with diagrams and tables. A comprehensive index adds to the book's usefulness.

RFID Essentials

Bill Glover and Himanshu Bhatt: RFID Essentials; ISBN 0-596-00944-5; Published by O'Reilly, 260 pp., RRP AU$ 74.95

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is "a term that describes any system of identification wherein an electronic device that uses radio frequency or magnetic field variations to communicate is attached to an item" [Glover and Bart:RFID Essentials].

Scanning Negatives and Slides

Sascha Steinhoff: Scanning Negatives and Slides; ISBN 978-1-933952-01-7; Published by Rocky Nook, 239 pp., RRP AU$ 95

Rocky Nook, a recent (2006) entry to the field of publishing, focuses on digital photography and other areas related to modern photography and the application of computer technology to imaging. Their books stand out both for coverage of leading-edge developments and as an exemplar of fine printing and design. Scanning Negatives and Slides, now in its second edition, is a professional-level text that deals with converting a film-based photographic archive to digital format; as the publishers say, it "provides the knowledge necessary to bridge the gap between analog (traditional) and digital photography". Dealing with a large collection of transparencies and negatives—especially where it includes different film stock of various sizes—requires a workflow, which in turn requires an understanding of many factors, such differences in scanners.

Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress

Robert Douglass, Mike Little, and Jared Smith: Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress; ISBN 1-59059-562-9; Published by Apress, 530 pp., RRP AU$ 89.95

Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress describes three open source applications, each of which serves a particular purpose within the field of building online communities. The book is not a manual or tutorial for end end users; that is, those with an account that enables them to create content. The primary audience is those who develop, build, administer, and maintain community web sites. The applications covered are Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress.

GIMP 2 for Photographers

Klaus Goelker: GIMP 2 for Photographers; ISBN 1-933952-03-2; Published by Rocky Nook, 186 pp., RRP AU$ 65

Gimp 2 for Photographers is an elegant book from Rocky Nook, a niche publisher with a small list of excellent titles on modern photography, each one closely focused on a particular field or application. These are not big, all-singing-all-dancing books that claim to be complete references or 'bibles'; they are large format (205 × 255 mm), have a modest page-count, and—as well as being most attractive to look at—are practical guides for both lay readers and professionals. Anyone interested in good typographic design should look at Rocky Nook books, as should anyone interested in high quality documentation and technical communication. The more I look at this title the more I am surprised by the depth of coverage that is achieved in less than 200 pages; it is not just about using the GIMP, but discusses a wide range of photography-related issues.

Text Entry Systems: Mobility, Accessibility

I. Scott MacKenzie and Kumiko Tanaka-Ishii, eds.: Text Entry Systems: Mobility, Accessibility; ISBN 978-0-12-373591-1; Published by Morgan Kaufmann, 332 pp., RRP AU$ 90

Text Entry Systems, which has the subtitle, Mobility, Accessibility, Universality, is a seminal work that brings together a number of experts in various aspects of text entry systems and related disciplines.

The Essential Blender

Roland Hess Ed.: The Essential Blender ; ISBN 978-1-59327-166-4; Published by No Starch Press, 371 pp., RRP AU$ 79.95

Blender is open-source and the book comes with a companion CD that contains version 2.44 in releases for a number of operating systems, including Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Solaris, Freebsd, and IRIX. The book opens with information on the installation of Blender and a concise introduction to 3D. It then progresses through Blender's various tools and their application.

Syndicate content