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Book Reviews - Want to know what our librarians and staff are reading? Browse through a variety of book reviews added to our catalog from a variety of genres. Subscribe
There Are 23 Reviews | Showing 1 to 10
App Inventor Book Cover
App Inventor by Wolber, David.
Reviewed by Tamoul Q (Feb 23, 2012)
This is available only through OverDrive, our electronic e-book media, but it's well worth the effort. This is the book you want at your finger tips when the MIT version of the free in-browser application App Inventor goes live.

In this case you will want to work in two browser windows:one to have the e-book open and one to manipulate the in-browser app. The book will walk you through setting up your environment, working with an emulator, construting your content, signing and packaging your finished app, and much more.

This is a must-have for anyone who is interested in creating an application for the Android operating system but was afraid to learn to code!
 
Tags:  5 Stars (LOVED it), Science
 
3D for iPhone apps with Blender and SIO2 : your guide to creating 3D games and more with open-source software Book Cover
3D for iPhone apps with Blender and SIO2 : your guide to creating 3D games and more with open-source software by Mullen, Tony, 1971-
Reviewed by Tamoul Q (Nov 21, 2011)
Are you the next great game or application inventor? Don't have the big bucks to shell out for one of those big named CAD software Packages? There is a free, open source solution to your 3d animation and gaming creation needs. This book focus on the iphone and takes a simple but powerful, stright forward approach to walking through the development process. Blender can be used on PC, Linux and most Apple computers. Your invention might just be the next big thing since Angry Birds!
 
Tags:  5 Stars (LOVED it), Science
 
Absolute beginner's guide to programming Book Cover
Absolute beginner's guide to programming by Perry, Greg M.
Reviewed by Tamoul Q (Nov 21, 2011)
Don't know a thing about programming languages? Neither did I when I enrolled in my first computer programming class. This book helped me hit the ground running. There are a large number of languages used to program applications for computers. Basically, programming involves knowing which set of special characters and text to combine in order to "speak" to the computer's central processing unit. Your computer only understands 1 and 0. Setting up the text editors and compilers, learning to troubleshoot your code errors, and running the program files are hardest parts of the process.

This book explains the structure commands require to be converted into machine code and shows the most common mistakes new programmers make. A good starting resource for anyone even thinking about getting to programming languages.
 
Tags:  5 Stars (LOVED it), Science
 
The book of codes : understanding the world of hidden messages : an illustrated guide to signs, symbols, ciphers, and secret languages Book Cover
The book of codes : understanding the world of hidden messages : an illustrated guide to signs, symbols, ciphers, and secret languages by Lunde, Paul, 1943-
Reviewed by Kay W (Nov 19, 2011)
This is a visually-enticing introduction to the concept, history of, and application of, codes. Because it covers so much territory, it covers many topics, with each one covered quickly. What is missing is enough overview material to fully integrate all these topics into a properly coherent whole. This weakness, however, is forgotten when contemplating the book's key strength -- its colorful, dynamic parade of engaging illustrations. One can get so wrapped up in the visual delights that all else fades away. Therefore--recommeded.
 
 
Sams teach yourself Java 2 in 24 hours Book Cover
Sams teach yourself Java 2 in 24 hours by Cadenhead, Rogers.
Reviewed by Tamoul Q (Nov 18, 2011)
Whenever you scroll over content on a web page, click a link to another site, or fill in user information on an online form you are using Java. All those interesting games on the Web require Java functions to come alive.

Another reason to learn Java is that source code created for one application can be reused in many others.

You may want to run a single program on widely different platforms such as iOS (Apple), Windows (Microsoft) or Gingerbread (Android). Java’s open source object orientated structure will make that happen. This book will take you from setting up the work environment, to coding your introduction to the World. Jump in and have fun. No you will not master the language in 24hrs but you will be on the road to serious understanding and creating fun programs in 24 sessions. This book uses very easy to understand language and provides step by step examples for each project.
 
Tags:  5 Stars (LOVED it), Science
 
Metropolitan paradise : the struggle for nature in the city : Philadelphia's Wissahickon Valley, 1620-2020 Book Cover
Metropolitan paradise : the struggle for nature in the city : Philadelphia's Wissahickon Valley, 1620-2020 by Contosta, David R.
Reviewed by Kay W (Nov 15, 2011)

This is a 4 volume set, and this is a review of Volume 2.

Volume 2 looks at the history of Pennsylvania's Wissahickon watershed from approx. 1850-1940. This is the period during which most of what we now consider the area was developed. It was also the period during which Philadelphia's Fairmont Park incoroprated much of the lower Wissahickon, that what is now Northwest Philly became part of the city, and that a distinctive Wissahickon style came into being.

Contosta and Franklin present these and other events and influences in a series of illustrated and illustrative vignettes that allow them to convey a lot of information in little space. In short, for anyone with any interest or affection for this area, this book will be a welcome feast for the heart, the mind and the eye.
 
 
Descartes' bones : a skeletal history of the conflict between faith and reason Book Cover
Descartes' bones : a skeletal history of the conflict between faith and reason by Shorto, Russell.
Reviewed by Kay W (Nov 7, 2011)
What an odd subject, made fascinating and illuminating by the author's inquisitive mind and sturdy, deceptively simple, prose style. By historically tracking the physical remains of the man who's skeptical approach led to "cognito ergo sum," the author traces how the West has dealt with the mind/body conundrum since the 17th century to now. Not only that but his parting words, on how the path of the heart has embodied western unitive wisdom from earliest times till now, and will continue to even as the mind/brain debate throws up more heat than light, shows the author's deep knowledge of western culture. Well worth reading for almost anyone who is interested in what it means to be human.
 
 
Reality is broken : why games make us better and how they can change the world Book Cover
Reality is broken : why games make us better and how they can change the world by McGonigal, Jane.
Reviewed by Jeff B (Oct 24, 2011)
Applying the determination, persistance, and creativity people will apply to game-playing to the resolution of real life crises and issues will most likely solve those problems in short order, according to Jane McGonigal. Put another way, if the experts, politicians, and world leaders had the same attitude that gamers bring to their games, the world would be a much cleaner, safer, and better place. She lists real life examples of this in Part III such as "The Lost Ring" for the purpose of involving more of the world population in the World Olympics and "Evoke" for the purpose of resolving broad issues and concerns on the African continent.See http://olympics.wikibruce.com/home and www.urgentevoke.com respectfully. McGonigal postulates that the social media site Foursquare is in reality a life-management game. Something to think about. And that's why I loved this book, it was wide-eyed inspirational and really sparked the imagination.
 
 
How to build your own spaceship : the science of personal space travel Book Cover
How to build your own spaceship : the science of personal space travel by Bizony, Piers.
Reviewed by Jeff B (Oct 24, 2011)
A personable, conversational, immediate discussion on every aspect of space travel from getting off the ground, getting out of the atmosphere, getting into orbit, getting to various destinations ( space station, moon base, mars colony) and back to the ground securely and safely. Liberally sprinkled with history, insider knowledge about the politics and finances along the way, considering public opinion, public perception, and public relations.All with just enough technical data to make things convincing and interesting. A very fun read presenting the current thinking in the space industry from a unique and very successful perspective.
 
 
Pick Your Poison : How Our Mad Dash to Chemical Utopia is Making Lab Rats of Us All Book Cover
Pick Your Poison : How Our Mad Dash to Chemical Utopia is Making Lab Rats of Us All by Rossol, Monona, 1936-
Reviewed by Kay W (Oct 12, 2011)

Are we destroying ourselves as we better ourselves or merely taking intelligent risks? This book, by an industrial chemist who is enthusiastic about her topic, points out all the toxins and hormone-disrupters we make use of every day. She shows how most chemicals we use are untested, or not tested in the combinations in which they are used, how easy it is for these chemicals to enter our body, how different doses and forms of a chemical(say liquid and gas,) will behave differently so testing on one is not testing on another. In short she points out how much we do not know, and how uneasing that is when we consider how egregious a substance has to be in order to be tested, let alone banned.

She counsels against panic, because what will that accomplish, and suggests some common sense solutions to lessening our exposures. She sees hope in how the European Union is handling the problem and advises the reader towards a sensible activism.

 
Tags:  3 Stars (it was ok), Science