SiriusHardware
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Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:00 pm

Anyone got theirs yet? I've had mine on order from Amazon for a while now, latest estimate from them for delivery is early next week (week commencing 24th September 2012). Looking forward to getting it - has anyone got theirs yet? I'm one of those people who can't be doing with e-books, so I haven't even seen the Kindle version.

I don't know what the minimum book-to press timescale is but it will be interesting to see if they've managed to squeeze the revision 2 details into it at incredibly short notice. (Although, of course, Eben and Gareth will have been aware of those impending changes for rather longer than we have).

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DAve Shillito
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:11 pm

I arrived home to find mine waiting for me today.

To be honest I didn't expect much. No offence is meant to the authors, but I normally find technical books are either immediately out of date or seem excessively 'wordy' just to justify their price.

As such I expected to rely on the internet for most of my PI information, and I only really bought the book to 'support the cause' as it were.

However...
Having flicked through I have to say, I think I may have to admit I was wrong in this case.

The words/white space/pictures ratio is spot on, the sections are well organised and easy to understand, and I have already found some excellent advice I hadn't picked up on-line (and the price is spot on too).

So I have to say jolly good job well done!

I look forward to reading it in detail, and also to any future publications. I would think a course book written in the same style would be perfect for young people presented with a PI who are not fortunate enough to have geeks for parents :)

DAve
Pi count: 2 (raspbmc | tinker pi)
Games developer by day : Linux newbie by night

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Montala
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:49 pm

Mine arrived yesterday also.

I haven't really had a chance to look through it in detail yet, but my first impressions were that it looked a bit 'dull'! No, not the actual text or the content, but the fact that it is printed in 'black and white' rather than in colour.

Although it is probably more expensive to produce, the previous day I was sent a user guide for my new mobile phone which was about the same size (320 pages), and was virtually the same price, but which was far more readable, with much clearer screen shots, and a more attractive layout, but with full colour throughout.

Perhaps next time!

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Trixster
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:29 pm

It's a real shame it's not ring-bound like the old BBC Micro User Guide and Advanced User Guide.

SiriusHardware
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:09 am

OK, I've had a bit of time to go through it properly now.

Like the poster above, I have fond memories of the manuals for early eighties British computers, especially (in my case) the ones for the ZX81, ZX Spectrum and the BBC B user guide, and part of me does wish that the Raspberry Pi User guide was just a line-by -line conversion to Raspberry Pi of one of those classic manuals - it doesn't quite have the same feel.

There are a small number of non-fatal errors (by which I mean: Errors which won't actually stop the book from working). Maybe these can be corrected for future print runs, and presumably more quickly in the ebook version.

Examples:

P33, 2nd last paragraph, "Thist tool"
P178, Last paragraph, "Downloaded". Word intended: "Download".
P182, 2nd last paragraph, "Resister".

I'm sure there will be others, but at least, from these observations, you can tell that I really have read the book. I haven't typo-tested any of the programme listings yet, though.

One impression I have is that there is a lot in the book which is already out of date or needs to be amended. If it had been finalised a few days ago instead of three months ago, some sections would be very different.

For example, there is absolutely no mention (that I have been able to find) of Raspbian, which is now the recommended Pi Distro and probably the best Pi-tuned distro there is. Instead, the book assumes that you most likely chose Debian, although it doesn't force you to. This is not too much of a problem since Raspbian is virtually the same as Debian from the user's point of view.

The book makes reference to the Polyfuses on the USB ports and the trouble they may potentially cause if the user tries to draw too much power through them -in the next print revision / current ebook version this obviously needs to be spoken of as an issue mainly affecting early boards only, since later ones have had the polyfuses removed. There is no reference to the revision 2 at all, to the extent that the section on hardware / GPIO has a nice diagram of the pinout of the revision 1 GPIO header, and that's all. Again, this needs to be expanded to include the pinouts for rev 2 boards in the next print run.

A section on supply / availability of Pis themselves is now somewhat out of date as it still quotes RS and Farnell/Element14 as the sole places from which to buy a Pi - no longer the case, with (In the UK) CPC and shortly Maplin selling them as well. We can probably assume that from now on, the number of sellers will expand beyond any printed book's ability to keep track of them. It was probably a mistake to include a specific statement about the state of the supply chain, given that it was bound to change almost as soon as the words were written.

From the beginning, the book suffers from having to generalise because it isn't absolutely assumed that the user will choose any particular distro - so at the point where the absolute beginner really needs to have specific step by step instructions on what to do, the book has to talk rather vaguely about the user choosing their 'desired' distro from those available, without really discussing the pros or cons of one distro or another. This problem won't go away until every Pi comes preloaded with the same distro, does exactly the same thing after boot-up and ends up at the same prompt or on the same desktop at switch-on. Until then, every Raspberry Pi guide ever written will have to be annoyingly vague in places - the very places where brand new users need them to be specific.

From all of the above you might be thinking that I don't really like the book. Not so - the next, updated and mildly corrected edition of this book will be a must-have.

Where the book can be specific, it is very good, with a lot of good information about configuring / connecting the Pi. Did you know, for example, that the ethernet port doesn't care which kind of cable (straight through or crossover) you use to connect it to other ethernet devices? It automatically sets itself to suit the cable used. I haven't seen that info anywhere else. There's a sizeable appendix at the back detailing all the different HDMI modes which can be set in config.txt, and other settings which can be set in config.txt - such as those used for overclocking - are comprehensively covered.

The section on networking contains invaluable information about setting up and using ethernet, USB ethernet (for the Model A) and wireless network connections - for Linux newbies like me this section is a godsend because we get all the commands like 'Ifup' and 'ifdown', etc, explained and grouped together in a helpful and meaningful way. There's a similar section on disk partitioning and mounting, explained properly and not in the baffling, cryptic shorthand often encountered on forums populated by folks who haven't thought in any language but Linux for at least 20 years.

There's a section on using the Pi as a media centre (and here, it does focus on just one of the alternatives, namely RaspBMC). This is the kind of approach that new users need - all that needs to be added to the end of this section is that alternatives are available, see Xbian, OpenELEC, and so on.

Another section deals with productivity, covering both cloud based and locally situated Office type suites - using the Pi for that sort of thing isn't such a mad idea - recent editions of The Magpi have, as far as I know, been produced entirely on Pis. Gimp (Linux's answer to Photoshop) is also covered. There's no mention of music authoring or sequencing, or sound / music generation.

Programming covers Scratch and Python, the former to write a rudimentary game which includes collision detection, the latter gets as far as using elements of Pygame and (crossing over into the hardware section) use of the GPIO ports via the GPIO library. 'C' is not ventured into at all, unless I missed it, and neither is bare metal programming - both arguably subjects destined for 'The Advanced Raspberry Pi User Guide'.

Using the Pi as a web server is also covered, and this is something about which I would have no idea how to proceed were it not for the information presented in this section.

In the hardware section, subjects like soldering, using breadboard and transferring a working design to stripboard to make it more permanent are covered. Actual electronics is kept to the bare minimum (transistors are mentioned only once, in a note that they would be needed to drive anything which would demand a higher current than the GPIO port can supply - but this is not expanded upon). Against this, there is a surprisingly thorough explanation of how to work out the right series resistor for a given LED. Given the extremely basic level at which everything else in this section is pitched, it would have been sufficient just to suggest typical resistor values for use with (1) a green LED and (2) a red LED when being powered from 3.3V.

Finally, the hardware section goes on to discuss the availability of third party add-ons like Slice Of Pi, The Gertboard and Adafruit's similar offerings, although it doesn't say anything specific about how to use the hardware (especially the ATmega) on the Gertboard - but that would generate enough material to fill another book just by itself.

To summarise, this is a good book: But by the time the next edition comes out the hardware and distro situation should be a lot less dynamic and more settled, and the (hopefully updated) version of this book should then be able to be more accurate initially, and remain so for longer.
Last edited by SiriusHardware on Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Montala
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:59 am

Thank you for a very interesting and thought provoking post, about which I look forward to reading comments from some of the "management" team! :)

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liz
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:26 am

If you guys do spot any proofing errors, it's very helpful for us if you can email them to me rather than (or as well as) listing them here - the publisher is expecting occasional errata from the community to come to him via me. The address (just in case you hadn't got it already - unlikely...) is liz@raspberrypi.org.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

SiriusHardware
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:47 am

liz wrote:If you guys do spot any proofing errors, it's very helpful for us if you can email them to me rather than (or as well as) listing them here - the publisher is expecting occasional errata from the community to come to him via me. The address (just in case you hadn't got it already - unlikely...) is liz@raspberrypi.org.
Ok, I'll go through it again with a fine toothed comb and report back when I can. If it's of any comfort, I also spotted a typo in the text of my own post, but not until after it was too late to edit it, of course.

The original post was intended to be a fair, balanced review of the book, with the main thrust of any criticism being that the pace of change had rendered some of it already out of date by the time it was launched, which I'm sure Eben and Gareth will acknowledge was the case. These issues can hopefully be remedied by the time the paper book is next reprinted, and perhaps sooner in the Ebook version.

I'm off work with a crocked arm at the moment so had to go into town to get it x-rayed - on the way back I called into a main branch of Waterstones and was surprised and pleased to see that their dismally small array of computer books did, nonetheless, include 'The Raspberry Pi User Guide'.

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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:24 am

Will the user guide be updated to reflect the fact the model B has 512 mb ram ?

SiriusHardware
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:00 pm

psutton wrote:Will the user guide be updated to reflect the fact the model B has 512 mb ram ?
I would be surprised if future editions are not updated to reflect the changes (e.g, the rise of Raspbian as the main distro, the hardware change from revision 1 to revision 2, and memory size increase) which have occurred since the first edition was put together.

In theory, the e-book version could be amended more quickly, ...unless there's some kind of arcane publishing law which says that the currently available ebook and paper editions have to be identical, even when that is not necessarily a good thing.

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poglad
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:01 pm

This reminds me - and I haven't yet devoured every page in the book, but... - does the book have a section explaining the purpose of the LEDs and what the various signals mean? I didn't notice this in my initial look at it.

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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:09 pm

poglad wrote:This reminds me - and I haven't yet devoured every page in the book, but... - does the book have a section explaining the purpose of the LEDs and what the various signals mean? I didn't notice this in my initial look at it.

D5(Green) - OK - SDCard Access (via GPIO16)
D6(Red) - PWR - 3.3 V Power
D7(Green) - FDX - Full Duplex (LAN) (Model B)
D8(Green) - LNK - Link/Activity (LAN) (Model B)
D9(Yellow) - 10M - 10/100Mbit (LAN) (Model B)

If this is what your after. The last on is actually incorrect on the board it's supposed to indicate a 100Mbit connection is detected. So basically top SD Card is being accessed, Power, The rest are all for a network cable attached.
http://www.raspians.com - always looking for content feel free to ask to have it posted. Or sign up and message me to become a contributor to the site. Raspians is not affiliated with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. (RPi's + You = Raspians)

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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:18 am

after months of reading secondhand linux and unix books i got this book for christmas and have probably learnt more in a day than from all the other books ive read. a good and helpful read, well explained.

maybe a second book on programming the pi and maybe a third book on pi projects (or the best ones).

thank you authors ive enjoyed it and will be refering to it regularly. :)

SiriusHardware
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:00 pm

Has anyone bought Eben and Gareth's Raspberry Pi User Guide recently, ie, mid 2013? Has it been updated since the initial release?

SiriusHardware
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:47 pm

If you didn't catch it on the website front page, the thicker, creamier, heavily updated second paper edition of the 'Raspberry Pi user Guide' is now (December 2013) available.

Ivan Tham
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:58 pm

Does anyone knows a free version of Raspberry Pi User Guide, 2th Edition in pdf?
Thanks in advance.

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Montala
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:25 pm

Ivan Tham wrote:Does anyone knows a free version of Raspberry Pi User Guide, 2th Edition in pdf?
Thanks in advance.
Liz did say earlier today that it will be available in several different eBook formats, but didn't give any links.

I will be very surprised if it is 'free' though, and can't really see any reason why you think it should be! :)

You will probably find some further information available from the Amazon Kindle store, but nothing as good as the 'official' user guide of course!

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Montala
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Re: Raspberry Pi User Guide (Paper Edition)

Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:37 pm

I have just posted this in the 'Comments' section on the 'Home Page' but thought I would add it here also, just for information:-

"Although Amazon are still currently showing the 2nd edition as being temporarily out of stock, they must have had a few available as they have just despatched one off to me this afternoon, for delivery tomorrow!"

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