The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book, Volume 5

The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book Volume 5Raspberry Pi Press has launched the fifth entry in the ongoing Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book series, a family of bookazine-style publications gathering hands-on content previously published in The MagPi Magazine – and, as usual, my content is included.

The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book Volume 5 is the first volume to be published since the introduction of the Raspberry Pi 4 family – the first in a new generation of single-board computers which brings with it a considerably more powerful processor, the first new graphics processor in Raspberry Pi history, two high-speed USB 3.0 ports, true gigabit-capable Ethernet, and dual-4k display compatibility.

While the bulk of the projects in the book are suitable for any model of Raspberry Pi, there’s some Raspberry Pi 4 exclusive stuff too – in particular my detailed look at the boards, originally written for the Mag Pi’s launch feature. The first feature in the book, it covers the specifications and features of the new board, a look at its performance in a range of synthetic and real-world workloads and including throughput on both Wi-Fi and Ethernet network connections, and two two-page interview spreads with user experience engineer Simon Long and Raspberry Pi Foundation co-founder Eben Upton on both the Raspberry Pi 4 and the new Raspbian ‘Buster’ operating system launched at the same time.

There’s only one thing missing compared to the original version of the feature: thermal performance, including the high-resolution thermal imagery I take of devices on test. There’s a good reason for that: in the latest issue of The MagPi I provided a twelve-page in-depth investigation into the thermal performance of the Raspberry Pi 4 since its launch to the present day through a string of firmware updates designed to decrease power usage and heat output. This represents a considerably more up-to-date look at the board’s thermal performance than in the original launch feature, and it’s entirely sensible to exclude the original test from its republication.

The book is available to buy now in all good supermarkets, newsagents, and for global delivery from the official website; alternatively, a DRM-free PDF copy can be downloaded free of charge under a Creative Commons licence.

Linux Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks, Volume 2

Linux Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks Volume 2Imagine Publishing’s popular range of Bookazine titles – they’re not quite a book, nor quite a magazine, but they are a competitor to Dennis Publishing’s MagBook range – is one entry larger this month with the launch of the latest volume of Linux Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks.

As with its predecessor, the content of the Bookazine is culled from the pages of Linux User & Developer magazine. Due to my prolific contributions to said magazine, it’s therefore no surprise to find my work republished within the pages of Linux Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks Volume 2.

The highlight of the volume is an investigation into the best Linux distribution for a given user’s needs. It’s a reprint of last year’s Ultimate Linux Distros 2013 feature I wrote for Linux User & Developer Issue 130. The feature takes a look at various categories of user – home user, gamer, hacker, coder, office user – and makes a recommendation of the best distribution to suite that given use case.

The volume is, naturally, filled with additional material including tutorials and software reviews, and makes for a fascinating précis of the year for those who do not subscribe to the magazine itself.

Linux Tips, Tricks, Apps & Hacks Volume 2 is available at newsagents and supermarkets around the country now, or for direct order from Imagine’s webshop.

Linux & Open Source Genius Guide, Volume 4

Linux & Open Source Genius Guide, Volume 4The latest Linux & Open Source Genius Guide, a ‘bookazine’ from Imagine Publishing comprised of reprints from Linux User & Developer Magazine, is out now and includes my regular look at the top ten Linux distributions.

An annual feature in the magazine, Top Ten Distros is a look at the movers and shakers in the Linux world. Biased towards desktop Linux distributions, the feature requires me to make a shortlist of popular distributions – based on download figures, page traffic rankings, comments to the magazine and other metrics – and then download and test each one.

The write-up of each distro, while around half the size of a normal review, takes some time to complete: it includes facts about each distribution, comments from its developers and/or users, and snippets regarding the distribution’s history.

It’s the screenshots that take the time, however. Rather than using stock images provided by the distribution team, as some magazines might, I install each distribution into a virtual machine and set up the desktop according to a pre-set layout: the menu open on the Internet category, a video playing from Archive.org in the default player, and a calculator app open in the bottom-right.

Yes, it’s fiddly – but it provides an at-a-glance comparison between distributions that the use of stock screenshots simply can’t match.

This latest Top Ten Distros feature first appeared in Linux User & Developer Issue 122, and is now reprinted in the Linux & Open Source Genius Guide Volume 4.

Linux & Open Source Genius Guide, Volume 3

Linux & Open Source Genius Guide Volume 3Hot on the heels of Linux Tips, Tricks Apps & Hacks Volume 1 – Imagine Publishing’s latest ‘bookazine,’ gathering themed content from the company’s Linux User & Developer magazine – is Linux & Open Source Genius Guide Volume 3, which takes some of the more technical content from Linux User & Developer and repackages it for those who missed it the first time around or who prefer a meatier read.

As before, my content features prominently in the publication: a reprise of my Arduino feature from Linux User & Developer Issue 95 is included, along with all three parts of my special feature on getting started as an open-source contributor to the LibreOffice project originally published in Linux User & Developer Issue 108, Issue 109 and Issue 110.

The ‘bookazine’ also includes a whole host of my regular group tests, including Issue 112‘s look at mind mapping software, project management packages from Issue 111, CD ripping apps from Issue 110, email clients from Issue 109, password managers from Issue 107, and my annual look at the best Linux desktop distributions.

If you missed any or all of that content the first time around, Linux & Open Source Genius Guide Volume 3 is available now from the Imagine Publishing Shop.

Linux Tips, Tricks Apps & Hacks, Volume 1

Linux Tips, Tricks & Hacks Volume 1Imagine Publishing has recently been attempting to branch out from its traditional magazine fare with ‘bookazines,’ the somewhat clumsy portmanteau given to the company’s book-format publications which gather content from previous issues of its magazines. The latest of these is Linux Tips, Tricks Apps & Hacks, which takes themed material from the company’s Linux User & Developer magazine and collates them together for easy access.

As a regular contributor to Linux User & Developer, it’s little surprise to see some of my content find its way into the first volume of Linux Tips, Tricks Apps & Hacks. There’s my feature on how to fix a broken Linux installation from Linux User & Developer Issue 107 plus my bumper 10-page special on Ubuntu 12.10, comparing it to rival distributions on a range of subjects from usability to community engagement, which first appeared in Linux User & Developer Issue 119. A few other pieces of mine, including distribution reviews, also appear between the covers.

Sadly for my bank balance, republication such as this does not carry with it an additional fee – but it’s always nice to see my work reaching a new audience, and for those who missed the features the first time round Linux Tips, Tricks Apps & Hacks provides a handy way to catch up on matters.

For more information, or to snag a copy, check of the official product page on the Imagine Publishing Shop.