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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



Power Reference Manual for the Electrical and Computer PE Exam by John A. Camara PE (Professional Publications, Inc.)
Power Practice Problems for the Electrical and Computer PE Exam by John A. Camara PE (Professional Publications, Inc.) Targeted Power Exam Coverage in One Easy-to-Use Book

The Power Reference Manual for the Electrical and Computer PE Exam is the best source for the information you need to pass the Power exam. Developed for candidates seeking focused Power exam coverage, this comprehensive text aligns with and covers all the topics on the NCEES Power exam specifications.

Best-selling author, John A. Camara, PE, draws upon his professional experience and his years as an instructor to provide clear and focused explanations of the exam topics using step-by-step example problems. He also provides suggested references, time management techniques, and exam tips—all the tools you need to pass your exam.

Once you pass your exam, the Power Reference Manual will serve as an invaluable reference for your daily power electrical engineering needs.

The Power Reference Manual prepares you to pass by

  • presenting 348 solved example problems that illustrate key concepts
  • featuring 498 figures, 104 tables, 40 appendices, and 1,998 equations, making it possible to work exam problems using the reference manual alone
  • referencing the 2008 NEC and the 2007 NESC for the most up-to-date code coverage
  • including an easy-to-use index and a full glossary for quick reference
  • recommending a study schedule, plus tips for successful exam preparation

Exam Topics Covered

  • General Power Engineering: Measurement and Instrumentation; Special Applications; Codes and Standards
  • Circuit Analysis: Analysis; Devices and Power Electronic Circuits
  • Rotating Machines and Electromagnetic Devices: Rotating AC Machinery; Rotating DC Machinery; Batteries, Fuel Cells, and Power Supplies
  • Transmissions and Distribution: System Analysis; Power System Performance; Protection

Excerpt: The Power Reference Manual for the Electrical and Computer PE Exam is the most comprehensive resource available for the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) Electrical and Computer– Power Exam. This reference includes myriad topics, encompassing the fundamentals of electrical engineering, including those topics appearing on the NCEES Power exam.

The scope of this book is beyond that of the Power exam, as it is intended to be. When the exam is complete and you are a licensed electrical engineer, you will need a resource for electrical and computer engineering information, either in your work or simply to satisfy the curiosity that makes us thinking humans. In both the exam and your career, I hope this book serves you well.

The Power Reference Manual descended from the eighth edition of the Electrical Engineering Reference Manual for the Power, Electrical and Electronics, and Computer PE Exams. The first edition of the Electrical Engineering Reference Manual was published in 1978. Over its many years in print, it has evolved with the industry and with changes to the Electrical and Computer PE exam. In April 2009, NCEES made a fundamental shift in the focus of this exam, converting the single morning session and three specialized afternoon sessions into three independent full-day specialized exams—for Power, for Electrical and Electronics, and for Computer Engineering. I have written the Power Reference Manual (as well as two other specialized reference manuals) to expand and focus the power coverage of the Electrical Engineering Reference Manual into a text supplying what you need to succeed on the Power exam.

My goal for the Power Reference Manual is to provide future electrical power engineers with the depth of information required to gain a solid understanding of theory and of practical applications. My hope is that the Power Reference Manual allows you to master the fundamentals necessary for the exam, and to become one of those rare individuals who understands how advanced technology works.

In selecting and preparing the contents, I followed the NCEES Power exam specifications. I have endeavored throughout the text to include the exact terminology used by these specifications.

Along with revising sections from the best-selling aforementioned reference, I added new chapters on power system analysis, protection and safety, and power system management. I also expanded the chapters on AC circuit fundamentals; three-phase electricity and power; batteries, fuel cells, and power supplies; rotating DC machinery; rotating AC machinery; electrical and electronic devices; illumination; measurement and instrumentation; and biomedical electrical engineering.

While I wrote the book with the NCEES specifications in mind, the contents of the Power Reference Manual are not limited to the specifications of the Power exam. This reference also contains the fundamental blocks you need to build a complete understanding of power engineering. With an understanding of the basics, you will comprehend the majority of the exam questions, as well as real-world electrical engineering problems. In each chapter, I explore mathematical, theoretical, and practical applications of the chapter's topic. You can focus your study on any or all of these types of applications.

The sources I consulted while developing this book's content include: (1) information on the Power exam published by NCEES; (2) PE Electrical and Computer: Power Sample Questions and Solutions, published by NCEES; (3) electrical engineering curricula at leading colleges and universities; (4) current literature in the field of electrical engineering; (5) electrical engineering websites; and (6) survey comments from those who have recently taken the PE exam and/or who purchased the Electrical Engineering Reference Manual.

A number of features enhance the usefulness of this text. The introduction gives details on how to use the book effectively. Lists of codes and references recommended for additional study are provided. Appendices provide information you need in your exam preparation, consolidate data you may need to quickly reference during the exam, and exhibit mathematical, basic theoretical, and practical data. I have constructed a comprehensive Index to aid in the search for specific information. The publisher has also provided an excellent resource in support of your success: you may access online updates, report errors, and participate in discussions with other prospective electrical engineers through PPI's website, www.ppi2pass.com

Power Practice Problems for the Electrical and Computer PE Exam by John A. Camara PE (Professional Publications, Inc.) This book is a companion to the Power Reference Manual—a compendium of power engineering. Admittedly, despite its size, the Reference Manual cannot cover all the details of power engineering. Nevertheless, a thorough study of that volume and its equations, terms, diagrams, and tables, as well as the problem statements and solutions given in this Practice Problems book, will expose you to many electrical engineering topics. This broad overview of the field can benefit you in a number of ways, not the least of which is by thoroughly preparing you for the Power exam. Further, the range of subjects covered allows you to tailor your review toward the topics of your choice, and to study at a level that suits your needs.

Before you start studying, read about the format and content of the Power exam in the Power Reference Manual or on the PPI website at www.ppi2pass.comkefaqs. Then, begin your studies with the fundamentals and progressively expand your review to include more specific topics. Keep in mind that experience in problem solving is key to success on the exam.

Depending on your specific study methods, you may wish to study the "easier" material first to build confidence. Alternatively, you might delay reading the easy material until just prior to the exam. The choice is yours.

If you are using this text to practice a particular area of study, go directly to the topic of interest and begin. Any weakness noted while attempting to solve the problems should prompt you to review the applicable material in the Reference Manual.

Allow yourself three to six months to prepare. You'll get the most benefit out of your exam preparation efforts if you make a plan and stick to it. Make sure, as you review chapters in the accompanying Reference Manual, that you also leave enough time to work the problems associated with those chapters. You should revisit practice problems during your exam preparation. Even if you successfully worked all the problems in a given chapter upon your initial review, you must maintain that knowledge as you work through unfamiliar or difficult material.

I'm confident that with diligent study, you will find the electrical engineering knowledge you seek within these pages or within the pages of the Reference Manual. At the very least, the companion book will allow you to conduct an intelligent search for knowledge. I hope these texts serve you well. Enjoy the adventure of learning!


Encyclopedia Of Human Computer Interaction edited by Claude Ghaoui (Idea Group Publishing) (Digital) Human Computer Interaction (HCI) attracts innovation and creativity because of its multi-disciplinary nature, in computing and IT research and development. For the last 25 years or so, it inspired new solutions, specially, for the benefit of the user as a human being, making the user the focal point which technology should serve rather than the other way round. The Encyclopedia of Human Computer Interaction is the most thorough and definitive source providing coverage of everything related to the field of human computer interaction (HCI). This encyclopedia covers a wide range of HCI related topics such as concepts, design, usability, evaluation, innovations, and applications of HCI in organizations around the globe. Hundreds of contributors and advisors from around the world have conferred their expertise to this publication, making this encyclopedia a single source of authoritative and contemporary research in field of human computer interaction.

Human computer interaction (HCI) evolved as a recognized discipline that attracts innovation and creativity. For the last 25 years, it inspired new solutions, especially for the benefit of the user as a human being, making the user the focal point that technology should serve rather than the other way around. The advent of the Internet, combined with the rapidly falling prices and increasing capability of personal computers, among other things, made the 1990s a period of very rapid change in technology. This has major implications on HCI research and advances, where peoples' demands and expectations as users of technology increased.

There is currently no agreement upon definition of the range of topics which form the area of human-computer interaction. Based on the definition given by the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction Curriculum Development, which is also repeated in most HCI literature, the following is considered as an acceptable definition:

Human-computer interaction is a discipline concerned with the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use in a social context, and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them.

A significant number of major corporations and academic institutions now study HCI. Many computer users today would argue that computer makers are still not paying enough attention to making their products "usable". HCI is undoubtedly a multi-disciplinary subject, which draws on disciplines such as psychology, cognitive science, ergonomics, sociology, engineering, business, graphic design, technical writing, and, most importantly, computer science and system design/software engineering.

As a discipline, HCI is relatively young. Throughout the history of civilization, technological innovations were motivated by fundamental human aspirations and by problems arising from human-computer interactions. Design, usability and interaction are recognised as the core issues in HCI.

Today, profound changes are taking place that touch all aspects of our society: changes in work, home, business, communication, science, technology, and engineering. These changes, as they involve humans, cannot but influence the future of HCI since they relate to how people interact with technology in an increasingly dynamic and complex world. This makes it even more essential for HCI to play a vital role in shaping the future.

Therefore, preparing an encyclopedia of HCI that can contribute to the further development of science and its applications, requires not only providing basic information on this subject, but also tackling problems that involve HCI issues in a wider sense, for example, by addressing HCI in and for various applications, that is, e-learning, health informatics, and many others.

The following are some challenges in the HCI field, which were taken into consideration when compiling this encyclopedia:

HCI is continually evolving with the fast change in technology and its cost. We, therefore, covered basic concepts/issues and also new advances in the field.

The need to strike a balance between covering theory, methods/models, applications, experiences, and research. The balance was sought to provide a rich scientific and technical resource from different perspectives.

The most important purpose of an encyclopedia in a particular discipline is to be a basic reference work for readers who need information on subjects in which they are not experts. The implication of "basic" is that an encyclopedia, while it should attempt to be comprehensive in breadth of coverage, cannot be comprehensive in the depth with which it treats most topics. What constitutes breadth of coverage is always a difficult question, and it is especially so for HCI, a relatively new discipline that has evolved over the past three decades and is still changing rapidly.

An encyclopedia should, however, direct the reader to information at a deeper level, as this encyclopedia does through bibliographic references, indexed keywords, and so forth.

This encyclopedia differs from other similar related references in that it covers core HCI topics/issues (that we see in most standard HCI books) as well as the use of HCI in various applications and recent advances and research. Thus the choice of specific topics for this encyclopedia has required our judgment of what is important. While there may be disagreement about the inclusion or exclusion of certain topics, we hope and believe that this selection is useful to a wide spectrum of readers. There are numerous articles that integrate the subject matter and put it into perspective. Overall, the encyclopedia is a general reference to HCI, its applications, and directions.

In order to meet these challenges, we invited professionals and researchers from many relevant fields and expertise to contribute. The resulting articles that appear in this volume were selected through a double-blind review process followed by rounds of revision prior to acceptance. Treatment of certain topics is not exclusive according to a given school or approach, and you will find a number of topics tackled from different perspectives with differing approaches. A field as dynamic as HCI will benefit from discussions, different opinions, and, wherever possible, a consensus.

An encyclopedia traditionally presents definitive articles that describe well-established and accepted concepts or events. While we have avoided the speculative extreme, this volume includes a number of entries that may be closer to the "experimental" end of the spectrum than the "well-established" end. The need to do so is driven by the dynamics of the discipline and the desire, not only to include the established, but also to provide a resource for those who are pursuing the experimental. Each author has provided a list of key terms and definitions deemed essential to the topic of his or her article. Rather than aggregate and filter these terms to produce a single "encyclopedic" definition, we have preferred instead to let the authors stand by their definition and allow each reader to interpret and understand each article according to the specific terminology used by its author(s).

Physically, the articles are printed in alphabetical order by their titles. This decision was made based on the overall requirements of Idea Group Reference's complete series of reference encyclopedias. The articles are varied, covering the following main themes: 1) Foundation (e.g., human, computer, interaction,

paradigms); 2) Design Process (e.g., design basics, design rules and guidelines, HCI in software development, implementation, evaluation, accessible design, user support); 3) Theories (e.g., cognitive models, social context and organisation, collaboration and group work, communication); 4) Analysis (e.g., task analysis, dialogue/interaction specification, modelling); and 5) UCI in various applications (e.g., e-learning, health informatics, multimedia, Web technology, ubiquitous computing, mobile computing).

This encyclopedia serves to inform practitioners, educators, students, researchers, and all who have an interest in the HCI field. Also, it is a useful resource for those not directly involved with HCI, but who want to understand some aspects of HCI in the domain they work in, for the benefit of "users". It may be used as a general reference, research reference, and also to support courses in education (undergraduate or postgraduate).

Human computer interaction will continue to strongly influence technology and its use in our every day life. In order to help develop more "usable" technology that is "human/user-centred", we need to understand what HCI can offer on these fronts: theoretical, procedural, social, managerial, and technical.

The process of editing this encyclopedia and the interaction with international scholars have been most enjoyable. This book is truly an international endeavour. It includes 109 entries and contributions by internationally-talented authors from around the world, who brought invaluable insights, experiences, and expertise, with varied and most interesting cultural perspectives in HCI and its related disciplines.

It is my sincere hope that this volume serves not only as a reference to HCI professionals and researchers, but also as a resource for those working in various fields, where HCI can make significant contributions and improvements. 

Claude Ghaoui Ph. D., is a senior lecturer in computer systems (since 1995) at the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, Liverpool JMU, UK. Her research interests and expertise are mainly in human computer interaction, multimedia/Internet technology and their applications in education. She is a UK correspondent for EUROMICRO (since 1998) and served on programme committees for several international HCI/multimedia conferences. Since 2000, she has been an advisor for eUniservity (UK-based), which promotes and provides online learning. She is the editor of two books, "E-Educational Applications: Human Factors and Innovative Approaches", 2004 published by IRM Press, and "Usability Evaluation of Online Learning Programs", 2003 published by Information Science Publishing.

Taming HAL: Designing Interfaces Beyond 2001 by Asaf Degani (Palgrave Macmillan) Machines dominate our lives, from alarm clocks that wake us up in the morning to radios that lull us to sleep. Most of our interactions with automated machines and computers are problem-free, but more often than we would like, they can be irritating and confusing. This is frequently harmless, such as a VCR recording the wrong show, but when it involves a critical system like an autopilot or medical device it can be a matter of life or death. Taming HAL seeks to explain these miscommunications between humans and machines by exploring user interfaces of everyday devices. Degani examines thirty different systems for human use, including watches, consumer electronic products, Internet applications, cars, medical equipment, navigation systems onboard cruise ships, and autopilots of commercial aircraft. Starting with relatively simple devices, such as portable phones and bedside alarms, Dr. Degani walks us through the logical pathways that we expect, what the designer created, and ultimately how the machine behaves when interacting with the user. The result, often, is not a pretty picture: unexpected outcomes. Yet, as Degani points out, many of these systems had flawed logic rules built into them by designers that neglected predominate stereotypical or cultural mores that most individuals expect of how systems should operate. Moreover, the presentation of machine modes frequently beguiles the user into thinking the device is operating in one fashion, whereas in reality it is functioning in another. Using logic diagrams, Degani analyses a variety of simple and complex systems and demonstrates that the end-result can range from the annoying to the deadly. Some of the case studies will astound the reader: for example, the grounding of the luxury cruise liner Royal Majesty on the shoals of Nantucket. However, these bizarre tales become more comprehensible when one sees that the professionals entrusted with operation of the vessels in question failed to understand the true nature of the automatic systems that were supposed to guide and assist them. Understandably, Degani focuses much attention on aircraft systems (his specialty), and I would have liked to see more examples in the medical and computer fields, but the book contains extremely useful information to both laypersons and professionals alike, and is a great read.  Readers will discover why interfaces between people and machines all too often do not work and what needs to be done to avoid potential tragedies.

Agent Culture: Human-Agent Interaction in a Multicultural World edited by Sabine Payr, Robert Trappl (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates) Due to rapid advances in computer animation, humans are coming into contact with an increasing number of realistic computer-generated actors in media such as computer games and movies. Written by international academics representing a variety of disciplines, the 11 papers in this volume consider these "embodied agents" as cultural objects and subjects. The papers were originally presented at a workshop held at the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Vienna.

Computer animation and computer simulation have been making such rapid progress during the last years that we are facing an increasing number of computer-generated, realistic, and believable actors in different roles and different media (e.g., in computer games and even in movies).

Whereas scientific research and technical development have been focusing mainly on the (individual) personality of synthetic actors, we wanted to investigate the role of the synthetic being as part of a heterogeneous society of real and virtual persons. We furthermore tried to investigate in which cultural context synthetic actors are developed and used. In doing so, we considered them as actors also in the sense of their becoming social beings through interactions with their users.

We only saw a chance for a success of our endeavor by initiating an interdisciplinary discourse among researchers in cultural and technical areas. However, this is an often attempted and rarely successful effort. We therefore looked for questions that seemed to be of current relevance also for technical developers. We found that several projects were modeling nonverbal communication of agents, especially by mimics, gestures, and postures. Clearly, those aspects are strongly culture-dependent, and ignoring these dependencies can lead to a breakdown in (intercultural) communication. This turned out to be one of the major starting points for the discourse we envisaged.

We therefore arranged an interdisciplinary international workshop on "Agent Culture" to be held at the premises of the Austrian Research Insti-

tute for Artificial Intelligence in Vienna. After searching the literature for potential participants, we found, to our ownpositive--surprise, that nearly all scientists who considered this aspect in their research were women, there-fore the vast majority of the participants were female. A second, also positive, surprise was the fact that in both the presentation and discussion, the main field of research of the participants, whether artificial intelligence, media design, communication, language, or cultural sciences or any combination of them, remained in the background, thus enabling vivid and truly cross-disciplinary discussions.

Among the many aspects we found during the discussions, only a few can be mentioned as a small appetizer for the book:

  • Believability of an actor is based less on detailed personality or emotionality models, but on functioning social interaction.

  • The cultural background of the synthetic actor is usually not modeled explicitly, but is taken for granted (i.e., taken implicitly from the culture of the developer).

  • The more a synthetic actor is humanlike, the higher the expectancies of the users on its sociocultural capabilities.

  • Nonhumanlike synthetic actors can escape these expectancies, but their acceptance by the users is considerably smaller in "serious" roles (e.g., as medical advisors).

  • Synthetic actors can play an important role in the improvement of intercultural communication.

  • Many more facets and examples of this fascinating topic are found in the chapters of this book.

Computers and Technology in a Changing Society, Second Edition by Deborah Morley, Charles S Parker (Course Technology) When it comes to technology, the only constant is evolution. Computers and Technology in a Changing Society, Second Edition presents an integrated, well-balanced look at the issues and concepts of a constantly-changing, computer-oriented society.

As computers and technology become more prevalent in our daily lives, it is increasingly important to not only understand their uses and benefits, but also the issues and risks that accompany their use. This unique textbook explores both aspectsthe benefits and the risksof computers and technology. In addition, each chapter's learning tools help the student master important concepts, and the numerous marginal notations direct students to interactive Student Edition Labs, Online Tutorials, Online Resources, and Tech TV video clips available via the robust Student Online Companion Web site.

Accommodating a wide range of teaching preferences and course needs, the book and companion Web site provide comprehensive coverage of traditional topics while also covering relevant, up-to-the-minute societal issues such as safeguarding your privacy; protecting your computer against theft, viruses, and spyware; protecting against identity theft, online fraud, phishing, and other online risks; intellectual property rights, including the legal and ethical use of online music resources; equal access to technology, and other timely social issues. It also covers new and emerging technologies that may affect our lives in the near future, such as RFID, electronic voting, video-on-demand, smart dust, and voice over IP (VoIP).

Clear & Simple Writing Style

The down-to-earth writing style makes the subject matter easy to understand and translate to everyday life situations. Technical concepts that could be daunting to a reader are made simple through well organized explanations, detailed illustrations, and current photographs.

Chapter Learning Tools

1. Outline, Objectives, and Overview: Each chapter starts with an Outline of the major topics covered, a list of student Learning Objectives, and a Chapter Overview. These added tools not only help instructors put the subject matter into perspective, but they also demystify the chapter for students.

2. Chapter Boxes: In each chapter, the Trends In... box provides students with a look at new or upcoming developments in the world of computers. The A Closer Look At... box explains and discusses a particular technology or issue, and the How To... box, which is presented on a two-page spread, provides hands-on instruction for how to do a specific computer task related to the chapter material.

3. Illustrations and Photographs: Current, full-color photographs and illustrations appear throughout the book to demonstrate important concepts. Figures and screen shots are carefully annotated to convey important information.

4. Student Edition Labs: Each chapter has several associated Student Edition Labs, which are clearly called out in the margins within each chapter. Student Edition Labs provide students with a series of multimedia-enhanced labs that help them learn hundreds of computer concepts topics through observation and hands-on simulations.

5. Online Tutorials and Online Resources: Each chapter also contains several Online Tutorials and Online Resources, which are clearly called out in the margins within each chapter. The Online Tutorials provide students with short, topical PowerPoint presentations accessed from the Student Online Companion site. The Online Resources provide students with a collection of relevant links available through the Student Online Companion Web site.

6. Boldfaced Key Terms: Important terms appear in boldface type as they are introduced in the chapter. These terms appear and are defined in the end-of-text Glossary, as well as in the Online Glossary available through the Student Online Companion site.

7. Summary and Key Terms: The end-of-chapter material begins with a concise, section-by-section Summary of the main points in the chapter. Boldfaced key terms in the chapter also appear in boldface type in the summary. A matching exercise based on selected Key Terms helps students test their retention of the chapter material.

8. Self-Quiz: An end-of-chapter Self-Quiz (with the answers at the end of the text) consists of true-false and completion questions, which allows students to test them-selves on what they have just read.

9. Discussion Question: A short Discussion Question follows the Self-Quiz in each chapter and provides the opportunity fora short classroom discussion on a specific current topic relative to the chapter material.

10. Balancing Act: The culminating Balancing Act exercise located at the end of each chapter consists of a short essay examining the pros and cons of a particular technology-oriented issue, followed by discussion questions designed to pro-mote interesting class discussions or thoughtful student opinion papers.

11. Projects: End-of-chapter Projects require students to extend their knowledge by doing research beyond the book in order to form and express their own opinions about timely and potentially controversial issues. These Projects are organized into six types: Your Opinion, Independent Research, Hands On, Group Presentation, Video Viewpoint, and Student Edition Labs.

12. Glossary and Index: A combined Glossary and Index at the end of the book defines all boldfaced key terms in the text with page references indicating where the term is discussed. It also contains page references for other important, but non-boldfaced, words.

Signal Integrity Issues and Printed Circuit Board Design by Douglas Brooks (Pearson Prentice Hall PTR) Finally, an easy to read guide for practicing engineers involved in Printed Circuit Board design and the signal integrity issues involved. Renowned engineer, author, and seminar leader Douglas Brooks teaches PCB designers how to successfully design boards for any high-speed application. Brooks begins with an easy-to-understand electronics primer for every PCB designer, then offers practical, real-world solutions for every important signal-integrity problem. Based on his legendary seminars, this book offers even more design rules, specific recommendations, examples, illustrations, and diagrams.

  • Complicated concepts explained succinctly and in laymen's terms to both experienced and novice PCB designers.
  • Numerous examples allow reader to visualize how high-end software simulators see various types of SI problems and then their solutions.
  • Author is a frequent and recognized seminar leader in the industry.

This book covers the increasingly complex area of Signal Integrity issues in PCB design thoroughly, but without a need for great technical depth of understanding. Section 1 is an overview of electrical engineering principles that can serve as an introductory course for someone without any engineering education, or a review for someone who has. Section 1 can be skipped for people who already have a solid understanding in EE. Section 2 covers the major causes of signal integrity problems on printed circuit boards (a) EMI, (c) crosstalk, (c) signal reflections and transmission lines, and (d) power system decoupling (bypass capacitors). Each topic is covered in depth with real world illustrations and numerous examples. Two complete chapters are devoted to examples of how high-end computer simulation software packages view signal integrity problems and their solutions.

Microcomputer Engineering, Third Edition by Gene H. Miller (Pearson Prentice Hall) Microcomputer Engineering is a complete course-teaching aid that encourages hands-on laboratory work. The exercises in this third edition have been greatly expanded and improved. Using the Motorola 68HC11 single-chip microcomputer/microprocessor as the hardware example, this second edition textbook covers the material necessary for students studying engineering and related disciplines in a first microcomputers course. Machine language, assembly language, and system design are discussed. An associated website at www.prenhall.com supports the text material.

The Motorola 68HC11 single-chip microcomputer/microprocessor is the only hardware discussed. I recommend the Motorola M68HC11EVB or the M68HC11EVBU2 microcomputer trainer with a personal computer system running Microsoft Windows NTor its successors for laboratory work. Considering the low cost of microcomputer trainers, Miller prefers them over software simulators. All the example programs and exercises can be run on the recommended trainers. I also recommend the PFE freeware editor and the 2500AD assembler. Material related to this support equipment and software is provided on the Web site. Other equipment and software can be used, although with greater effort. The aforementioned Web site also describes how to set up a complete laboratory.

Microcomputer Engineering can make teaching easy. The order of the chapters is the order in which Miller presents the material. Miller want students working on a trainer as soon as possible, so he deliberately simplified the early topics. Reading assigned by section is possible since the sections are mostly independent of one another. Small laboratory/homework exercises are at the end of each chapter. Larger projects are on the Web site.

Chapter 1 reviews the digital systems and computer fundamentals required. The section on number systems is essential to understanding later chapters.

Chapter 2 introduces some of the microprocessor registers, the programming model, and the functions of these registers. Following this, some instructions and the addressing modes are introduced with straightforward examples. At the end of this chapter, a section discusses designing and writing a small machine language program.

The author encourages laboratory/homework exercises on the trainer that demonstrate the instruction set, addressing modes, and a machine language program.

Chapter 3 changes direction and introduces assembly language. All examples thereafter use assembly language.

Motorola notation and terminology are used so one can reference Motorola manuals without confusion. Anything in program examples specifically related to the particular assembler program used for their development has been removed. Exercises in writing simple programs using an editor and assembler are appropriate, but only use the instructions from Chapter 2 at this point.

The student is now beginning to understand what a microcomputer is and how to program it. Because bad habits develop quickly, discussing program design before people have much programming experience is important. Chapter 4 concentrates on the established ideas for writing cost-effective and useful programs. Most microcomputer book authors avoid this topic apparently assuming that good software engineering is unnecessary; this author assumes exactly the contrary.

Chapter 5 introduces most of the remaining instructions using assembly language. Instructions are grouped according to their usual function, such as bit manipulation, comparison, BCD arithmetic, and stack operations. Subroutines and several parameter-passing techniques are covered in detail.

Chapter 6 covers hardware, input/output concepts, and input/output programming. Microprocessor buses, memory and 1/O chips, and input/output synchronization techniques are the main topics. Little electronics knowledge is required. The I/O section includes both polling and interrupt techniques. The interrupt material is quite extensive, including discussion of concurrency and reentrancy problems and their solutions.

Chapter 7 covers the I/O hardware capabilities of the 68HC11 chip. Operation in both the single-chip microcomputer and expanded modes, chip versions, chip configuration, and pin connections are first. The next topics include hardware reset and details of the interrupt system. The 1/O hardware sections that follow discuss the real-time clock, programmable timer, pulse accumulator, serial communications interface, and the analog-to-digital converter-all with programming examples. The next section on fail-safe operation discusses the COP timer, clock failure detection, and illegal instruction response. The hardware expansion section covers microprocessor bus extension, the SPI bus, and the port replacement unit. Finally, special hardware operations, such as stopping the clock, are covered.

Chapter 8 introduces the concept of an operating system and discusses the principles of real-time systems and multitasking systems.

Chapter 9 contains a major design example that encompasses much of the material in the first eight chapters. The goal is to develop a working product based on a relatively simple real-time multitasking operating system with preemptive priority scheduling. The product is a basic weather station that displays wind speed and direction on both digital displays and on a CRT. Design specifications for the weather station are stated first, then the complete operating system software is presented and discussed. Finally, all the tasks required to meet the weather station specifications are presented and discussed. The simplest working approach to the software is chosen in all cases. While reading the discussion of the software in this chapter, also `read the code."

Chapter 9 provides all the program code to make a working weather station. The required laboratory hardware is common to most student labs. The anemometer and wind vane are easily simulated with simple electronics if necessary.

Developing realistic student projects is often difficult because of the time required for students to get started. The design project in Chapter 9 provides a significant foundation for building additional projects. The projects can be modifications and improvements to the operating system, additions to the weather station, or development of entirely new applications of the operating system. In all these cases, the complexity is great enough to challenge students without requiring many hours of preliminary work. The modular nature of the multitasking operating system encourages student teamwork.

Appendix A documents the 68HC11 instruction set with an instruction set table, a reverse instruction set table, and op code maps. Appendix B tabulates the internal 68HC11A8 1/O hardware control registers. Appendix C has been expanded to include information about the M68HC11EVB, M68HC11EVBU, and M68HC11EVBU2 trainers and includes a tutorial on their use. The presentation should minimize any confusion about the differing features of the three trainers. Appendix C is particularly useful to the student doing hands-on projects in a laboratory using a Motorola trainer. Appendix D contains answers to selected exercises.

See the associated Web site for additional material, such as documentation on other microcomputer trainers, the PFE editor program, and assembler programs; lab setup information; source code for some examples; and laboratory exercises. A glossary of terms used in the text is also available.

The Language of New Media by Lev Manovich (MIT Press) offers the first systematic and rigorous theory of new media. He places new media within the histories of visual and media cultures of the last few centuries. He discusses new media's reliance on conventions of old media, such as the rectangular frame and mobile camera, and shows how new media works create the illusion of reality, address the viewer, and represent space. He also analyzes categories and forms unique to new media, such as interface and database.

Manovich uses concepts from film theory, art history, literary theory, and computer science and also develops new theoretical constructs, such as cultural interface, spatial montage, and cinegratography. The theory and history of cinema play a particularly important role in the book. Among other topics, Manovich discusses parallels between the histories of cinema and of new media, digital cinema, screen and montage in cinema and in new media, and historical ties between avant-garde film and new media.

As this book has argued, in a computer age, cinema, along with other established cultural forms, indeed becomes precisely a code. It is now used to communicate all types of data and experiences, and its language is encoded in the interfaces and defaults of software programs and in the hardware itself. Yet while new media strengthens existing cultural forms and languages, including the language of cinema, it simultaneously opens them up for redefinition. Elements of their interfaces become separated from the types of data to which they were traditionally connected. Further, cultural possibilities that were previously in the background, on the periphery, come into the center. For instance, animation comes to challenge live cinema; spatial montage comes to challenge temporal montage; database comes to challenge narrative; the search engine comes to challenge the encyclopedia; and, last but not least, online distribution of culture challenges traditional "off‑line" formats. To use a metaphor from computer culture, new media transforms all culture and cultural theory into an "open source." This opening up of cultural techniques, conventions, forms, and concepts is ultimately the most promising cultural effect of computerization‑an opportunity to see the world and the human being anew, in ways that were not available to "a man with a movie camera."

THE AGE OF SPIRITUAL MACHINES: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil   $25.95; 388 pages,  ISBN: 0670882178) AUDIO BOOK

In his visionary new book THE AGE OF SPIRITUAL MACHINES Ray Kurzweil, who Forbes Magazine calls "the ultimate thinking machine," takes readers on an breathtaking tour of the history of computation and artificial intelligence and makes startling predictions for the future of technology. Among them:

  • By 2020, computers will equal the memory capacity and speed of the human brain, with other attributes of human intelligence not far behind.
  • Over the next decade, the Translating Telephone will be perfected and you will be able to speak English to your Japanese friend while she hears Japanese in your voice!
  • By 2019, you’ll be able to choose the personality of your computer assistant. You will be able to have any type of experience with anyone regardless of physical proximity. By that time, paraplegics will be able to walk through a combination of computer controlled nerve simulation and robotic devices.
  • By 2029, formerly blind persons will see using visual implants. We will all be enhancing our sensory experiences and mental capacities through neural implants.

THE AGE OF SPIRITUAL MACHINES is no mere list of predictions, but a prophetic blueprint for the future. Kurzweil begins by asking a critical question for understanding the twenty-first century: Can humans create another intelligence more intelligent than ourselves? Kurzweil answers this question by probing into the intelligent process that created us: evolution. According to him "evolution’s grandest creation human intelligence is providing the means for the next stage of evolution, which is technology." Because his Law of Accelerating Returns holds that technology is exponentially speeding up, Kurzweil predicts that early in this next century, machines will attain human level intelligence through reverse engineering of the brain. Once this critical threshold is achieved, computers will necessarily soar past human limitations.

By 2020, we will begin to have relationships with automated personalities and use them as teachers, companions, and lovers. By 2030, the distinction between us and computers will have been so sufficiently blurred that when machines claim to be conscious, we will have no choice but to believe them. Human identity will be called into question as never before, as a billion years of evolution are superseded in a mere hundred by machine technology that we have created. We will become cyborgs, but what will computers become?

The abridged AUDIO BOOK version provides a good summary but lacks some important details. This is one well worth the read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ray Kurzweil is the author of The Age of intelligent Machines, which won the Association of American Publisher’s Award for the Most Outstanding Computer Science Book of 1990. He wag awarded the Dickson Prize, Carnegie Mellon’s top science prize in 1994. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology named him the Inventor of the Year in 1988. He is the recipient of nine honorary doctorates and honors from two U.S. presidents. Kurzweil lives in a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.

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