Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Inventor's Guide

This book is excellent both for beginners and for more experienced Lego enthusiasts. Most of the book is written in step by step instructions that are beautifully illustrated with informative graphics. These images blend both the Lego modeling aspect of building robots and the visual programming side.

The best part of the book is in the robot recipes which is in the second half. There are six different models to choose from and you can use these easily as a base for more complex designs that suit your needs.

For more experienced readers the book covers different ways of hacking the NXT set. There is information on different compilers that you can use to program your creation. As well as a fantastic resources section at the end which is sure to satisfy your craving for more ways to use your NXT system.

This text is well written. The coverage is in-depth but provides a reasonable learning curve. I highly recommend this book.

Scratch For Teens

Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.

Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create and share Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

The program is free to download and the Scratch web site has all kinds of information to get you started. But if you are the type who would rather have a step by step book kind of introduction to Scratch basically there is only one book on the market at this time "Scratch For Teens".

Don't let the title fool you. Scratch is great for kids as young as six and for adults as old as 106. Teachers will find this book as a great source of ideas for guided projects while kids will probably just jump in and start Scratching away.

"If you aspire to one day become a professional programmer, Scratch provides everything you need to build a foundation. Scratch also packs all of the programming power and punch needed to satisfy the programming needs of most computer enthusiasts and hobbyists.

Best of all, it’s actually fun to use!

Scratch Programming for Teens provides all the instruction that a first-time programmer needs to quickly get up and running with Scratch. Before you know it, you will be creating all kinds of projects that incorporate graphics, sound, and animation. As you learn how to program with Scratch, you will learn programming principles and techniques that you can later apply to other programming languages such as Microsoft Visual Basic and AppleScript."