Book Review: General Class by Gordon West

I bought this book after watching a series of videos on YouTube that mentioned it:

61i+nE392VLThe book has a short introduction and then jumps straight into the question pool for the general class amateur radio exam. For each question, you have the four potential answers, followed by an explanation of the subject and the correct answer. Because the questions and the answer are so close, you might need to use a piece of paper to cover the answer while you think about the question without spoiling it.

I did my study mostly by watching the video and using https://hamstudy.org but the explanations on that website, sometimes, leave a lot to be desire. For quite a few questions, reading the explanations in this book helped a lot. It also has extra snippets of information spread throughout the book that are very nice.

Another positive thing about this book is that it’s full color. It has pictures but most importantly, diagrams and chart making use of the color range to make the information more accessible. Even though I know by heart some of that information, I find myself hopping they would make posters of these charts so I can hang them on my shack: they are beautiful and informative.

Oh… one more thing, I passed the test. Well, I passed the three tests in one sitting.

★★★☆☆

Buy 2015-2019 General Class in USA
Buy 2015-2019 General Class in UK
Buy 2015-2019 General Class in Canada

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Book Review: Foundation Licence Now by Alan Betts

9781872309804_9c3c0da200c92b4703ae40246d591184I wished someone handed me this book years ago, when I moved to the UK, because I would have gotten my foundation amateur radio licence much, much sooner if I knew how simple it was. I have a similarly leveled licence from Argentina (LU5ARC) and it was much harder to obtain.

I found the structure of the book a bit erratic. Some chapters are formatted much different than others. I didn’t find this to be a problem though, just surprising. The content is generally covered well and I think people with no knowledge of electronics or radio could read it and understand it all.

I guess you could say the proof is in the pudding and whether I’ll pass the test, but being that I already took ham radio courses and I’m an electronic technician, me passing the test is no proof of the quality and usefulness of this book.

★★★☆☆

Buy Foundation Licence Now in USA
Buy Foundation Licence Now in UK
Buy Foundation Licence Now in Canada

Papers books are going away, and so does signing them

Free as in FreedomLet’s face it: paper is dying. It’s going to be a slow death, but for some purposes it’s dying faster. Newspapers find themselves not being able to print anymore due to costs and books are starting to be digital. I’ve recently got a Sony PRS-505 which I love (and my wife does too). And of course there’s the Kindle. With the death of paper-books, a fine tradition is going away: authors signing books.

It’s very likely that the tradition will continue with paper books for a very long time after our book-shelves were replaced with one little device. After all, a signed book is not a book but a collectible item, like a signed baseball or a signed t-shirt. They are stored and displayed differently than their mundane non-signed counterparts.

Eventually the books being signed will be custom-printed because there won’t be any more mass production. But what if we could replace signatures with something digital, and better?

At first I though that you could have your digital book signed. That’s possible, to have a PDF that has the signature in it. That’s trivial to generate automatically so it doesn’t have any value. If it has dedication, that is, your name hand-writen by the author, then it gets trickier to generate; and more valuable. But this is the digital age, the future, we can do better than that. What if you have a PDF where the picture of the cover of the book is not the usual one but a picture of you with the author.

Now, that’s something! The signing booth would now be a photo booth. After you take the picture they’d generate the PDF which you could download instantly by bluetooth or with a code they give you. Now suddenly the digitally signed book is something even more valuable than the usual signature.

Free as in Freedom - dedicated

If you plan on developing the software and do the hardware integration for this, let me know, I might be interested.