Author Archive

Great feedback about C# Programming in easy steps from Kushiro Public University in Japan

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

We had some great feedback about our C# Programming in easy steps book (by Mike McGrath) today, from Professor Akinori Minazuki who teaches programming at Kushiro Public University in Japan. He says:

“Your book is very good. I teach programming in university. Many student bought your book”

He sent us this photo of the programming class at Kushiro Public University (posted here with kind permission of Prof Minazuki). We hope all students are enjoying learning C# programming!

 

 

 

C# Programming in easy steps is available to buy in our online shop

Writing a C program – in easy steps

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Why learn C programming?

The C language has been around for quite some time and has seen the introduction of newer programming languages like Java, C++, and C#. Many of these new languages are derived, at least in part, from C – but are much larger in size. The more compact C is better to start out in programming because it’s simpler to learn.

It is easier to move on to learn the newer languages once the principles of C programming have been grasped. For instance, C++ is an extension of C and can be difficult to learn unless you have mastered C programming first.

Despite the extra features available in newer languages, C remains popular because it is versatile and efficient. It is used today on a large number of platforms, for everything from micro-controllers to the most advanced scientific systems. Programmers around the world embrace C because it allows them maximum control and efficiency in their programs.

Writing a C program

In C programs the code statements to be executed are contained within “functions”, which are defined using this syntax format:

data-type function-name ( ) { statements-to-be-executed }

After a function has been called upon to execute the statements it contains, it can return a value to the caller. This value must be of the data type specified before the function name.

A program can contain one or many functions but must always have a function named “main”. The main() function is the starting point of all C programs, and the C compiler will not compile the code unless it finds a main() function within the program.

Other functions in a program may be given any name you like using letters, digits, and the underscore character, but the name may not begin with a digit. Also, the C keywords, listed in the table on the front inner cover of this book, must be avoided.

The ( ) parentheses that follow the function name may, optionally, contain values to be used by that function. These take the form of a comma-separated list and are known as function “arguments” or “parameters”.

The { } curly brackets (braces) contain the statements to be executed whenever that function is called. Each statement must be terminated by a semi-colon, in the same way that English language sentences must be terminated by a period/full stop.

Traditionally, the first program to attempt when learning any programming language is that which simply generates the message “Hello World”.

Step 1: Open a plain text editor, such as Notepad, then type this line of code at the start of the page, exactly as it is listed

#include <stdio.h>

The program begins with an instruction to the C compiler to include information from the standard input/output stdio.h
library file. This makes the functions contained within that library available for use within this program. The instruction is more properly called a “preprocessor instruction” or “preprocessor directive” and must always appear at the start of the page, before the actual program code is processed.


Do not use word processor applications to create program code as they store additional formatting information that prevents code compilation.



Preprocessor instructions begin with a # hash character and must enclose standard library names within < > angled brackets.

 

Step 2: Two lines below the preprocessor instruction, add an empty main function

int main()
{

}


Whitespace between the code is ignored by the C compiler but program code should always end with a newline character.

 

This function declaration specifies that an integer value, of the int data type, should be returned by the function upon completion.

Step 3: Between the braces, insert a line of code that calls upon one of the functions defined in the standard input/output library – made available by the preprocessor instruction

printf ( “Hello World!\n ) ;

Here the printf() function specifies a single string argument between its parentheses. In C programming, strings must always be enclosed within double quotes. This string contains the text Hello World and the \n “newline” escape sequence that moves the print head to the left margin of the next line.

 

Step 4: Between the braces, insert a final line of code to return a zero integer value, as required by the function declaration

return 0 ;

Traditionally, returning a value of zero after the execution of a program indicates to the operating system that the program executed correctly.

 

Step 5: Check that the program code looks exactly like the listing below, then add a final newline character (hit Return after the closing brace) and save the program as “hello.c”

#include <stdio.h>

int main()
{
printf( “Hello World!\n ) ;
return 0 ;
}


Each statement must be terminated by a semi-colon character.

 

The complete program in text format is now ready to be compiled into machine-readable byte format as an executable file.

 

This is an extract from C Programming in easy steps, 5th edition, which is due for publication mid-November (you can register to be notified when it’s available here), but if you can’t wait for the print version, ebook versions are available NOW from our online shop, Amazon (Kindle), Apple (iBooks), Google Play, Kobo and Nook.

 

This popular title, which is ideal for the newcomer to computer programming, has been updated to cover the GNU Complier version 6.3.0 and Windows 10.

It begins by explaining how to download and install a free C compiler so that you can quickly begin to create your own executable programs by copying the book’s examples. Each chapter builds your knowledge of C, and there’s even free, downloadable source code available for you to check your work against.

You need have no previous knowledge of any programming language.

C Programming in easy steps, 5th edition
Print ISBN: 9781840788402
eISBN: 9781840788457
Pages: 192

 

New release: iPad for Seniors in easy steps, 8th edition

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

 

A handy guide for any Senior new to the iPad – get up and running quickly! Presented in larger type for easier reading. For all iPads using iOS 12, including iPad Mini and iPad Pro.

 

Available NOW from our online shop, at the special launch price of only £7.99 (RRP £10.99)

 

iPad for Seniors in easy steps, 8th edition gives you all the essential information you need to know to make the most out of your iPad:

  • Choose the right model for you
  • Navigate around with Multi-Touch gestures
  • Master Settings and apps to stay organized
  • Find, download and explore exciting apps
  • Use your iPad to make travelling stress-free
  • Email, share photos and video chat for free
  • Access and share your music, books and videos
  • Stay in touch with family members
  • Access your documents from anywhere

 

192 pages

ISBN: 9781840788334

 

New release: Photoshop CC in easy steps, 2nd edition – updated for Photoshop CC 2018

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Master the essentials of Photoshop CC and then enjoy the full creative potential of this popular photo editing software. This book breaks down complex functions into easy to follow learning sequences.

 

Available NOW from our online shop at the special launch price of £9.99 (RRP £12.99)

 

Photoshop CC in easy steps, 2nd edition delivers a solid, secure and lasting foundation that you can build on as you explore Photoshop and develop more and more control over one the most creative pieces of software available today. The author’s extensive knowledge and understanding of the requirements and needs of the new user is distilled in this book which is written in simple, clear language with step by step instructions, breaking down complex functions into easy to follow learning sequences.

  • Grasp the basics of color, file formats, key graphics and design terminology
  • Master Photoshop window and the Tool panel
  • Learn the tricks of the trade for image editing
  • Explore Selection tools, Layers, Paths and Color adjustments to create your unique images
  • Optimize images for print, web or multimedia
  • Create effective animations for the web
  • Download example images used in the book and get updates to the features covered – FREE

Photoshop CC in easy steps, 2nd edition allows you to master the basics so you can proceed to unleash the full creative potential of the software.

240 pages

ISBN: 9781840788327

Understanding RGB and CMYK color models

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in Article

 

Understanding the basics of color is important, if you are working with images and graphics.

 

This extract from Photoshop CC in easy steps – 2018 edition, due for publication later this month, explains the RGB and CMYK color models…

 

RGB and CMYK Color Models

You need to be aware of two color models, as you start working with Adobe Photoshop. These are the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK) color models.

 

 

Strictly speaking, the “K” in “CMYK” stands for “key”. In four-color printing the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow plates need to be carefully and accurately aligned – or “keyed” – to the Black plate.

 

 

RGB is important, because it mirrors the way the human eye perceives color. It is the model used by scanners and digital cameras to capture color information in digital format, and it is the way that your computer monitor describes color.

 

 

 

Red, green and blue are referred to as the “additive primaries”. You can add varying proportions of the three colors, to produce millions of different colors – but still a more limited range (or “gamut”) than in nature, due to the limitations of the monitor.

If you add 100% of red, green and blue light together, you get white. You produce the “secondary” colors when you add red and blue to get magenta; green and blue to get cyan; red and green to get yellow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CMYK color model is referred to as the “subtractive” color model. It is important because this is the color model used by printing presses. If you subtract all cyan, magenta and yellow when printing, you end up with a complete absence of color – white.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the printing press, cyan, magenta, yellow and black combine to simulate a huge variety of colors. Printers add black because, although in theory, if you combine 100% each of cyan, magenta and yellow, you produce black, in reality (because of impurities in the dyes) you only get a muddy brown.

 

Color gamuts

Color gamut refers to the range of colors a specific device is capable of producing. There are millions of colors the eye can discern in the visible spectrum. Scanners, monitors, and printing presses cannot reproduce every color in the visible spectrum – the range of colors they are capable of producing is their gamut.

 

 

When you convert from RGB to CMYK mode, Photoshop converts out-of-gamut colors (in this case, colors that can be seen on screen, but not printed) into their nearest printable equivalent.

 

 

From the desktop publishing point of view, the process of capturing digital color information, viewing and manipulating this on-screen, and then finally printing the image using colored inks, is complicated because the gamut of a color monitor is different to the gamut of CMYK and PANTONE inks. There are colors (especially vibrant yellows and deep blues) that can be displayed on a monitor, but cannot be printed using traditional CMYK inks.

Typically, you will work in RGB mode if the image is intended for use on the web or in a multimedia presentation. You can work in CMYK or RGB mode if the image is intended for print. You can convert to CMYK mode, if necessary, before saving/exporting in EPS or TIFF file format, in order to use the image in a page layout application. Adobe InDesign can import CMYK or RGB images in native Photoshop (.PSD) file format.

 

CIE XYZ Colour Model

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visible Spectrum             Monitor                                  SWOP-CMYK

 

The CIE (Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage) XYZ color model is a model that defines the visible spectrum that can be seen by a “standard” observer. Colors with the same lightness value fall within an approximately triangular flat plane (the Visible Spectrum area in the diagram opposite). The x axis represents the amount of red in colors, and the y axis indicates the amount of green. The z axis represents the lightness of colors.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more on using Photoshop with Photoshop CC in easy steps – 2018 edition (due for publication mid-October).

New release: Linux in easy steps, 6th edition

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Available NOW from our online shop at the special launch price of £7.99 (RRP £10.99)

 

With Linux in easy steps, 6th edition, joining the Linux Revolution is as easy as one, two, three!

Following its simple instructions, you can learn to install the operating system, explore the desktop, and launch great applications. This fully illustrated primer teaches you to climb the Linux directory tree, navigate with the File Browser, and much more. Its easy-to-understand tutorials guide you through the OpenOffice business suite and media applications that let you enjoy the web, music, video, and graphics. Later chapters show you how to use the Linux shell to communicate directly with the kernel at the very heart of the operating system, allowing you total control over your Linux system.

Linux in easy steps, 6th edition opens the door to a whole new world of digital possibilities!

Fully illustrated using Linux Mint.

192 pages

ISBN: 9781840788082

News: Highlights from Apple’s Special Event, September 12th, 2018

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Apple held its Special Event at the Apple Park yesterday, September 12th, 2018, announcing new iPhone and Watch models. Here’s a summary of what was announced:

 

 

iPhone XS

This upgrade to the iPhone X comes in two sizes:

  • iPhone XS Max has a 6.5″ display and is priced at $1099/£1099
  • iPhone XS has a 5.8″ display and is priced at $999/£999

Both models will be available in three colours: gold, space gray, and silver.

The XS Max has the largest display ever on an iPhone. Both models contain the A12 Bionic powerful chip, have faster and more secure Face ID recognition and a new 12MP dual camera system with 2x optical zoom and dual optical image stabilization.

You can pre-order both models from September 14th, and the phones will be available from September 21st.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iPhone XR

A more affordable version of the iPhone X, priced at $749/£749

This model has a 6.1″ display and comes in six colours: white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red.

You can pre-order from October 19th, and it will be available from October 26th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Watch Series 4

Priced at $399/£399 with GPS and $499/£499 with GPS and cellular connection

A new gold stainless steel case joins existing silver and space black models.

This has been redesigned and re‑engineered with the largest Apple Watch display yet. It has a new a Digital Crown with haptic feedback. New features include: advanced heart monitoring capabilities; new Yoga and Hiking dedicated workout types; advanced features for runners like cadence and pace alerts; a new fall detection feature; Emergency SOS; and new Breathe watch faces. You can see up to five metrics at a glance.

You can order the new Apple Watch from September 14th, and it will be available from September 21st.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more detailed information about these new Apple products, see the full announcement here.

 

 

Great news for Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft is increasing device install limits!

 

If you have an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription, you can currently use Office on one PC or Mac and one tablet. But very soon you’ll be able to install it on all your devices (includes PCs, Macs, tablets, and phones) and sign in to up to five at the same time – that means you can use Office no matter where you are or what device you’re on.

If you have Office 365 Home, you can share your subscription with 5 additional people, and each user gets 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage space and 60 Skype minutes each month for ringing landlines around the world.

Microsoft is rolling this out from October 2nd, 2018, so keep an eye out for notification of when it will go live for your subscription.

More information from Microsoft here.

 

 

New release: Smart Homes in easy steps – master smart technology for your home

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Smart Homes in easy steps shows you how to start to take advantage of the current smart technology that is beginning to revolutionise the way in which we run our homes!

Available now from our online shop at the special launch price of £7.99 (RRP £10.99)

 

Smart Homes in easy steps 9781840788259

Smart Homes in easy steps 9781840788259

 

Smart Homes in easy steps takes the mystery out of all of the elements that are required to set up a smart home: it defines a smart home and shows what is needed to make a home smart: digital voice assistants, devices and apps.

Initially, the book looks at the concept of a smart home and how it is now affordable and accessible enough for it to be a serious option for any household. Then, setting up items for a smart home is covered in detail – installing the devices, and also linking them to apps and digital voice assistants for controlling them. The book then examines the digital voice assistants that can be used in the home to control smart home devices, including detailed information about using the most popular options (and their related speakers): Alexa and the Amazon Echo; Google Assistant and the Google Home; and Siri and the Apple HomePod.

The book then looks at specific areas of smart home devices, including installation and setup, and how to control them once they are up and running. Some of the areas that are covered in detail include:

  • Smart lighting
  • Smart heating
  • Smart security systems
  • Smart home cameras
  • Smart locks
  • Smart plugs

Illustrated using Amazon’s Echo and Alexa; Google Home and Assistant; Apple’s HomePod and Home App; and Nest.

Pages: 192

Publication: 24 August 2018

ISBN: 9781840788259

 

New release: Windows 10 for Seniors in easy steps, 3rd edition – covers the April 2018 Update

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Takes you through the essentials of Windows 10, a step at a time. Written with older citizens in mind, in larger print, it will get you up and running quickly.

Covers the April 2018 Update.

Available now from our online shop at the special launch price of £7.99 (RRP £11.99)

Windows 10 for Seniors in easy steps, 3rd edition is written with older citizens in mind. This best-selling guide uses larger type for easy reading and takes you through the essentials a step at a time. It is filled with tips and shortcuts to help you get the most out of Windows 10, whatever your level of experience and whichever type of PC system you are using.

Pages: 240
Publication: July 23rd, 2018

ISBN:  978-1-84078-811-2

New release: Windows 10 in easy steps, 4th edition – covers the Windows 10 April 2018 Update

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Ideal for those new to Windows 10, or those wanting to quickly grasp the essentials of the April 2018 Update.

In full-color and with comprehensive coverage of the latest Windows operating system, it shows how to get the most out of Windows 10, whether you are using a desktop computer or a mobile device.

Available NOW from our online shop

Special launch price £7.99 (RRP £10.99)

 

Windows 10 in easy steps, 4th edition 9781840788068

 

New release: Create Your First Website in easy steps – The QuestKids do Coding

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

This is the first title in a new sub-series of the popular In Easy Steps series. The QuestKids® series is designed to make learning fun for children aged 7+. It uses the same proven approach of fully-illustrated, easy-to-follow reading and concise instructions, but uses attention-grabbing storylines to inspire children to learn particular topics, starting with coding. The series is supported by a designated website for downloadable resources and further interactive learning.

Who are The QuestKids?

Dan Devices and Tiffany Tech are the best of friends, and an amazing team who love to explore and help each other whenever they can. Dan adores devices; Tiff loves tech, and both are on a constant quest to learn new things and look for fun and adventure in everything they do. The friends are joined by their pets, Smuffy and Chew-Chew, who help them out in their own special way. Together, they are The QuestKids!

Using a great storyline and delightful images, Create Your First Website in easy steps teaches key aspects of building a website. Join the gang at Earth’s most famous space centre, and follow their quest to design a website to power a new planet.

Along the way children will learn how to:

Master HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) basics:
  • Page Titles
  • Page Headings
  • Paragraphs
  • Links
  • Lists
  • Images
  • Tables
  • Page Structure
  • Navigation
  • Styling

 

They will only need a  computer or a laptop, a text editor, a web browser, and an internet connection. By the end of the book, they will have a fully functional website and a great book to refer back to for future projects.

Suitable for children aged 7 years and above.
£6.99, 72 pages (295 x 228 mm)   ISBN: 9781840788198

Publication date: 30 April 2018
Available NOW from our online shop!

Windows 10 April 2018 Update released

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Microsoft released the latest update to Windows 10 on Monday 30th April. Called Windows 10 April 2018 Update, it is being rolled out over the coming days and weeks, and is designed to help users make the most of their time when using their Windows device.

Check out what’s new, here

We’re in the process of updating our key Windows 10 titles to cover this latest update:

Windows 10 in easy steps, 4th edition – will be available at the end of May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows 10 for Seniors in easy steps, 3rd edition – will be available at the end of June


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows 10 in easy steps – Special Edition, 3rd edition – will also be available at the end of June


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the links above to find out more details about these titles, and to request to be notified email when they are available.

New release : Get going with Amazon Echo and Alexa in easy steps

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Get up and running quickly with Amazon Echo – the hands-free speaker you control with your voice, and its voice control service, Alexa.

This pocket-sized book shows how to quickly get up and running with this exciting digital personal assistant, and start transforming your day-to-day activities. First, it leads you through the process of setting up the Amazon Echo, connecting it to your home Wi-Fi network and then controlling much of its functionality, so that you can start making the most of your digital personal assistant. The book then looks at the common voice commands that can be used with Alexa and adding to its library of skills: it learns from your commands and can tailor content to your specific interests.

Available NOW from our online shop – price £5.99

 

New release: iPhone in easy steps, 7th edition

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

In full-colour and straightforward, jargon-free language, iPhone in easy steps, 7th edition gives you all the information you need to get up and running with your new iPhone, so you will quickly feel you are in control of it.

iPhone in easy steps, 7th edition takes the mystery out of using your iPhone and shows how it can become your most useful digital companion, ready to help keep you in touch, up-to-date and entertained. A great investment for newbies and Seniors.

Covers iPhone X with iOS 11.

Available NOW from our online shop at the special launch price of only £7.99 (RRP £10.99)

In Easy Steps Limited announces a new series of books for children: The QuestKids™

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

As a sub-series of the popular In Easy Steps series, The QuestKids™ series is designed to make learning fun for children. It uses the same proven approach of fully-illustrated, easy-to-follow reading and concise instructions, but uses attention-grabbing storylines to inspire children to learn particular topics, starting with coding. The series is supported by a designated website for downloadable resources and further interactive learning.

Who are The QuestKids?

Dan Devices and Tiffany Tech are the best of friends, and an amazing team who love to explore and help each other whenever they can. Dan adores devices; Tiff loves tech, and both are on a constant quest to learn new things and look for fun and adventure in everything they do. The friends are joined by their pets, Smuffy and Chew-Chew, who help them out in their own special way. Together, they are The QuestKids!

 

First title in the new series

 

The Questkids - Learn To Code - Cover - RGB

 

 

Create Your First Website in easy steps has a captivating storyline, and will teach children how to build their first website in a fun way, in easy steps. Children will follow The QuestKids on their quest to design a website to power a new planet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the way children will learn how to:

  • Master HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) basics:
    • Page Titles
    • Page Headings
    • Paragraphs
    • Links
    • Lists
    • Images
    • Tables
    • Page Structure
    • Navigation
    • Styling
  • Launch their new website. Children will only need a computer or a laptop, a text editor, a web browser, and an internet connection.

By the end of the book, children will have a fully functional website and a great book to refer back to for future projects. Suitable for children aged 7 years and above.

 

£6.99

72 pages (295 x 228 mm)

ISBN: 9781840788198

Publication date: 30 April 2018

 

For more information, email: info@ineasysteps.com or visit the book’s page in our online shop.

Tel: +44 (0)1926 831557

In Easy Steps Limited
16 Hamilton Terrace
Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
CV32 4LY
UK

 

5* review of Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps from The MagPi magazine

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Check out this 5* review of Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps, reviewed by The MagPi magazine – the official Raspberry Pi magazine!

 

CoolScratchProjectsMagPiReview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps is available to buy now from our online shop – £10.99
(Click the link above to view more details and to get the first chapter FREE!)

or

Buy as a set:

Scratch Programming in easy steps & Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps – only £15.99 (RRP £10.99 each)

Scratch Programming in easy steps, Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps, and Python in easy steps – only £20.99 (RRP £10.99 each)

New release: Photoshop Elements 2018 Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Over 1000 tips, tricks and shortcuts to help you get the most out of Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 2018.

 

9781840788037

Photoshop Elements 2018 Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps has something for everyone: an in depth introduction for new users, and a range of options for those who want to take their photo-editing to the next level. Throughout, there are hundreds of tips and handy hints so that you will feel like an Elements expert in no time!

 

Available NOW from our online shop at the special launch price of only £7.99 (RRP £10.99)

New release: MacBook in easy steps, 6th edition – covers macOS High Sierra

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Get to grips with your new MacBook quickly, in easy steps. Learn the basics first: the Mac Desktop, the Dock, the Finder, and how to use the new Touch Bar – then explore the great features of this popular Apple laptop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MacBook in easy steps, now in its 6th edition, gives a full rundown about using a MacBook and making the most of macOS High Sierra.

Available NOW from our online shop.

New special offers – Windows or Mac title with FREE mouse mat or magnetic bookmark

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Cross some Christmas presents off your shopping list with our latest special offer!

Know someone who can do with a little help using their computer?

How about an In Easy Steps guide to help them learn Windows or macOS at their own pace?

Now, on offer for Christmas, with a FREE mouse mat or magnetic bookmark with Windows or Mac shortcuts and tips to keep nearby for easy reference.

Everything they need to start using their computer independently.

The perfect present for a Windows or Mac newbie!

Books plus accessories slide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit this page to choose your book and accessory, and place your order!

Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps – a new review from techkids.com

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps – review

Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps is an awesome book. The projects are really impressive. This is a fairly advanced Scratch book. A lot of children now learn Scratch at school and some are ready for something a bit more advanced at home where they have more time available and a bit of support.

I tried out the book with my 9-year-old who has quite a bit of Scratch experience but is more of a tinkerer than an instruction follower! However, he was drawn to the book because it’s packed with neat techniques that he’ll be able to apply if he takes the time to learn them.

The Projects

The projects, especially the later ones, are very meaty. There’s lots of code to work through and kids need to really pay attention to instructions. The level of difficulty was about right for my son though he found the volume of code quite daunting at first.

Detailed Instructions

The majority of the book gives detailed instructions on exactly what code to enter. This means that kids can create quite impressive projects. Some children won’t understand everything they are entering, but that’s okay, they’ll pick up more over time. My 9-year-old found some of the Scratch blocks quite hard to focus on in the print edition (they’re not all the same size.) I helped him keep track of where he was by reading out instructions and he was fine. It is a lot of information to take in. That’s not a bad thing, following detailed instructions carefully is a great skill to have.

Creating Graphics

My favourite thing about the book is that it spends lots of time on creating graphics using the paint tool in Scratch. This is something I always try to encourage. In my experience young kids are very happy to experiment with the paint tool and create their own sprites and backgrounds. Then somewhere around age 9 they start to think that the graphics they can create are rubbish and just want to use images they can find online. It’s important to teach kids digital arts skills so that they do have the skill to create graphics that they think are good enough. Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps spends lots of time on these skills which is fantastic.

3D Glasses

The printed edition of the book comes with a pair of 3D glasses because some of the projects involve creating 3D effects. This is a great idea and instantly appealed to my son.

Scratch Versions

Although the book is recently published it refers to Scratch 1.4 on the Raspberry Pi. Scratch 2 is now available on the Pi so you don’t have to use Scratch 1.4. Some projects say that they can’t be completed on the Pi but they can (except on older models.) Technology does keep moving on! At the moment there’s no support for programmatically taking photos on the Pi in Scratch 2 (I hope it gets added) and one of the projects does use that feature so you’ll still need Scratch 1.4 on the Pi for that one. The book also includes a taster of Scratch Jr, I guess this is so younger siblings can join in.

Verdict

Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps by Sean McManus is a fantastic book for more experienced scratchers. The steps are fairly easy, but there are a lot of them! Kids will need to invest quite a bit of time to work through all the projects which makes the book good value. I often say that there’s no hurry to move children on to text-based programming languages. Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps is a great way to keep kids on the Scratch platform for longer. You know those really amazing Scratch projects that kids are always in awe of? This book is a great step towards learning the skills that are needed to be able to develop projects like that.

 

See the review on the techkids.com site

Buy the book from our online shop

New release: Java in easy steps, 6th edition – covers Java 9

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Create your own exciting Java programs and compile them into executable files that can be run on any Java-enabled device, with this newly-revised In Easy Steps title! 

9781840787535

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Java in easy steps, 6th edition instructs you how to easily create your own exciting Java programs. Updated for Java 9, which was released September 2017, it contains separate chapters on the major features of the Java language. Complete example programs with colorized code illustrate each important aspect of Java programming – all in easy steps.

Available NOW from our online shop.

 

 

Windows 10 in easy steps – Special Edition, 2nd Edition – updated for Fall Creators Update

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Following the Fall Creators Update, released 17 October 2017, we have updated the following pages in Windows 10 in easy steps – Special Edition, 2nd Edition:

Page 120 – Currency converter added to Calculator

Page 206 – Support for Emojis added to Mail

Page 216 – People hub added to taskbar

Pages 231 and 240 – Pin to taskbar option added to Edge

Pages 290306 and 406 – Phone and Cortana added to Settings

Pages 246-249 – Creations added to Photos

Page 355 – On-Demand Sync added to File Explorer

New iOS 11 titles for iPad and iPhone

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Following the release of iOS 11, the following titles have been updated and are available to buy now!

 

iPad for Seniors in easy steps, 7th Edition

9781840787900

 

A handy guide for any Senior new to the iPad – get up and running quickly! Presented in larger type for easier reading.
For all iPads using iOS 11, including iPad Mini and iPad Pro.

Special launch price: £7.99 (RRP £10.99)

 

 

 

 

 

iPhone for Seniors in easy steps, 4th Edition

9781840787917

 

Learn to use your new iPhone quickly: Messaging, calls and emails, video calls with FaceTime, use iCloud and Family Sharing, explore the iTunes Music Library and much more! Presented in larger type for easier reading.
Covers iPhones with iOS 11.

Special launch price: £7.99 (RRP £10.99)

 

 

 

 

 

New release: Earned Value Management in easy steps

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Keep tabs on the status of all projects, including agile projects, with this new title in our Project Management series:

 

 

  • Earned Value Management (EVM) helps to determine the real status of a project.
  • Monitor how much time and money has been spent, and how much has been achieved.
  • Understand how much still needs to be done, and get good indication of final costs and expected completion dates of the project.

Earned Value Management in easy steps is now available as an ebook (PDF) from our online shop, and from Amazon (for Kindle), Apple (iBooks), Google Play, Kobo, and Nook.

 

Also available in the series:

9781840786415

Agile Project Management in easy steps, 2nd Edition 

An essential guide for anyone new to agile projects and a valuable source of inspiration for the more experienced. Explains the key principles, techniques and processes of agile project management.

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

9781840787313

Scrum in easy steps

An essential guide for anyone new to Scrum, and a valuable reference for the more experienced. Scrum is the most widely used agile framework for developing software products.

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

9781840784466 Effective Project Management in easy steps

Shows how to make sure your project is successful. Covers risk-management together with insights on how to plan, lead, organize and control a project.

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to spot fake news on Facebook

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

As the continuing furore over fake news on Facebook shows, you can’t always believe what you see on social media.

Although Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg once said the idea that his company may have influenced the US election is “crazy”, he’s now vowing to tighten political advertising.

But what about “normal” advertising? You’ll often see appealing offers on Facebook, suggesting that a Like, a share or a click-through can reap a reward.

Yet as the old adage goes, you get nothing for free. What may sound like an offer you can’t refuse is more often something that should have you running for the hills.

Thousands of people have fallen for the supermarket voucher scam, for instance. You may well have seen it. It suggests that you can grab yourself a high value money-off coupon for a major retailer in celebration of a special event.

Click it, however, and you’ll simply be directed to a survey page. You’ll be asked to fill in your details and share the offer with others.

But get this: you won’t receive any money off your next shop. Instead, you will have simply given away some of your personal information and encouraged others to do the same.

So how do you spot such scams? Well, a quick look at the voucher below should set alarms bells ringing: for starters, the date is in the US format, which is unusual for a UK company, and the URL is a jumble of letters of numbers.

 

Facebook-coupons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are other telltale signs within this fake coupon which we look at in the advanced sections of our new book, Facebook for Beginners in Easy Steps.

We also cover the steps you need to take to enhance your privacy on social media, making it an invaluable guide for experienced users as well as newcomers. It is certainly worth pointing out those pages if you buy the book for a someone just starting out with Facebook. Online safety is, after all, vitally important.

 

9781840787795

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy it here at the special launch price of £7.99
(RRP £10.99)