REVIEW - Detecting the World - Capturing Physical Measurements with C++


Detecting the World

Capturing Physical Measurements with C++


David McCombs



CRC Press (1999)




Chris Hills


December 2000



This book is aimed at the PC programmer looking to turn the PC into a multipurpose instrument. The main project is a volt, amp, ohmmeter. At first I thought the hardware parts were a little too simplistic however for its intended audience, PC programmers, it is probably about right as an introduction. This is because most PCsoftware engineers tend not to do electronics. The problem is that after the simple introduction to electronic sensors and brief diagrams of some of the interfaces there is no substance or detail. One would have to be quite familiar with electronics in order to fill in the gaps and make up the interfaces required. There is also a very simplistic section on making mains power supplies! (The book assumes 120vac mains and that parts are coming from Radio Shack). I would not recommend this book to software engineers because of this.

On the software side there are far too many source code listings in the book. (They are on the disc as well where they should be!) The disc contains some very useful classes and utilities for DOS, Win3.1 and Win95/8. The book assumes a working knowledge of C++. Whilst the basic theory of the intention of modules are explained there is no algorithm or structure.

I suppose this book might be of use to hardware engineers who can program in C++ but the value of the book would be limited to the value of the software on disc. Whilst some of the modules could be used standalone most will require the specific hardware or adjustment to use. My overall opinion of the book is that in order to use it you must already know enough to almost make the book superfluous. Not recommended.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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