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January 4, 2005

"Home Hacking Projects for Geeks": The Smart Home Hands-On Training Kit Disguised as a Book

Sebastopol, CA--Take a geek and a PC, add a soldering iron, a home, and a copy of Home Hacking Projects for Geeks (Northrup and Faulkner, O'Reilly, US $29.95), and you'll give new meaning to the words "home improvement." From fearless neophytes to tool-wielding masterminds, the home hacker in any geek will find new inspiration and plenty of hands-on guidance to take on a variety of home-transforming projects once relegated to the world of sci-fi.

This fun new guide combines creativity with electricity and power tools to achieve cool--and often even practical--home automation projects. Never again will you have to flip a light switch when you enter a room or use a key to open your front door. With a few off-the-shelf devices, some homemade hardware, and a little imagination, you can create your own high-tech habitat.

According to the authors, Tony Northrup and Eric Faulkner, Home Hacking Projects for Geeks is a hands-on training kit disguised as a how-to book. But, unlike a typical training kit, the book offers no theoretical scenarios or lab environments; each project presents a workable, practical way to improve one's home. "No matter what your current skill level is, you can learn from the projects in this book," they assure readers. All of the projects are specifically designed not just to gratify a geek's need to tinker or even to improve a home for the sake of improvement, but also to make things easier for the people who live there.

"If you're reading this book, you're probably a geek, but chances are not everyone you live with would wear that moniker with pride," Northrup and Faulkner explain. "The end product of these projects should not intimidate even the most technophobic person--your family will never have to touch a command line or even a keyboard."

Home Hacking Projects for Geeks covers a wide range of projects, from the relatively small but energy-conscious automating of light switches, to building home theaters using Windows or Linux-based PCs, to more complicated projects like building home security systems that rival those offered by professional security consultants. Each project includes a conceptual diagram, a "What You Need List," and a small "Project Stats" section that describes the relative difficulty, time involved, and cost of the project.

The thirteen projects in Home Hacking Projects for Geeks are divided into three categories: Home Automation, Home Entertainment Systems, and Security. The book includes projects such as:

  • Remotely Monitor Your Pet
  • Make Your House Talk
  • Remotely Control Your Computer's MP3 player
  • Create Time-Shifted FM Radio
  • Watch Your House Across the Network
  • Build a Home Security System
  • If you've ever thought with envy that the Jetsons had it made, or looked around your house and mused, "I bet I could make that better," then you're ready for Home Hacking Projects for Geeks.

    Additional Resources:

    Home Hacking Projects for Geeks
    Eric Faulkner and Tony Northrup
    ISBN: 0-596-00405-2, 336 pages, $29.95 US, $43.95 CA
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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