Smart Home Hacks

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So much of what is commonplace today was once considered impossible, or at least wishful thinking. Laser beams in the operating room, cars with built-in guidance systems, cell phones with email access. There's just no getting around the fact that technology always has, and always will be, very cool.But technology isn't only cool; it's also very smart. That's why one of the hottest technological trends nowadays is the creation of smart homes.At an increasing rate, people are turning their homes into ...

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Smart Home Hacks: Tips & Tools for Automating Your House

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So much of what is commonplace today was once considered impossible, or at least wishful thinking. Laser beams in the operating room, cars with built-in guidance systems, cell phones with email access. There's just no getting around the fact that technology always has, and always will be, very cool.But technology isn't only cool; it's also very smart. That's why one of the hottest technological trends nowadays is the creation of smart homes.At an increasing rate, people are turning their homes into state-of-the-art machines, complete with more switches, sensors, and actuators than you can shake a stick at. Whether you want to equip your home with motion detectors for added security, install computer-controlled lights for optimum convenience, or even mount an in-home web cam or two purely for entertainment, the world is now your oyster. Ah, but like anything highly technical, creating a smart home is typically easier said than done.Thankfully, Smart Home Hacks takes the guesswork out of the process. Through a seemingly unending array of valuable tips, tools, and techniques, Smart Home Hacks explains in clear detail how to use Mac, Windows, or Linux to achieve the automated home of your dreams. In no time, you'll learn how to turn a loose collection of sensors and switches into a well-automated and well-functioning home no matter what your technical level may be.Smart Home Hacks covers a litany of stand-alone and integrated smart home solutions designed to enhance safety, comfort, and convenience in new and existing homes. Kitchens, bedrooms, home offices, living rooms, and even bathrooms are all candidates for smart automation and therefore are all addressed in Smart Home Hacks.Intelligently written by engineering guru and George Jetson wannabe, Gordon Meyer, Smart Home Hacks leaves no stone unturned. From what to purchase to how to use your remote control, it's the ultimate guide to understanding and implementing complete or partial home automation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596007225
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/12/2004
  • Series: Hacks Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 402
  • Sales rank: 1,356,567
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Gordon Meyer is a Chicago-based writer and speaker who has authored dozens of software manuals, numerous articles for Macintosh users and technical writers, and Smart Home Hacks, a leading book on do-it-yourself home automation techniques.

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Table of Contents

About the Author;
Why Smart Home Hacks?;
What Is Home Automation?;
Crossing Platforms;
How X10 Works;
X-What, You Say?;
How This Book Is Organized;
Conventions Used in This Book;
Using Code Examples;
How to Contact Us;
Got a Hack?;
Chapter 1: A Foot in the Front Door;
1.1 Hacks 1–24;
1 Know the X10 Address;
2 Turn On a Light;
3 Master Your Appliances;
4 Send X10 Commands;
5 Send X10 Commands Wirelessly;
6 Keep Watch with Motion Detectors;
7 Turn On the Lights When You Enter a Room;
8 Turn On the Lights When They're Needed;
9 Ring a Bell to Alert the House;
10 Sense What's Happening;
11 Control the Uncontrollable;
12 Groom Your Home for X10;
13 Set Addresses for Modules Without Dials;
14 Increase the Spousal Approval Factor;
15 Unplug Your Computer;
16 Add a Brain to Your Smart Home;
17 Get to Know XTension;
18 Get to Know Indigo;
19 Get to Know HomeSeer;
20 Sync with the Sun;
21 Choose the Right Controller;
22 Maintain an X10 Library;
23 Shop for Secret X10 Devices;
24 Welcome to the State Machine;
Chapter 2: Office;
2.1 Hacks 25–36;
25 Remember Important Events;
26 Keep the Lights On While You Work;
27 Know Who's Calling;
28 Broadcast Announcements to the Whole House;
29 Announce Events with Recorded Announcements;
30 Send Pager Messages;
31 Broadcast Messages on Your Home Network;
32 Control Your Printer from Afar;
33 Phone Your Home;
34 Control Your Home with Phlink;
35 Forward Phone Calls;
36 Silence the House when You're on the Phone;
Chapter 3: Kitchen and Bath;
3.1 Hacks 37–46;
37 Brew Your Morning Coffee;
38 Detect the Beer Thief;
39 Install a Kitchen Terminal;
40 Install a Home TV Server;
41 Control Your Heating Remotely;
42 Monitor the Refrigerator Door;
43 Heat the Toilet Seat;
44 Detect Flooding;
45 Monitor the Litter Box;
46 Avoid Battery Memory Problems;
Chapter 4: Bedroom;
4.1 Hacks 47–53;
47 Educate Your Alarm Clock;
48 Put the House to Sleep for the Night;
49 Lighting for Insomniacs;
50 Adjust Lights as the Sun Rises;
51 Simulate a Sunrise;
52 Motorize Your Window Blinds;
53 Outdo Big Ben;
Chapter 5: Garage and Yard;
5.1 Hacks 54–68;
54 Monitor Your Driveway;
55 Know If the Garage Door Is Open;
56 Control Your Garage Door;
57 Control Your Home from Your Car;
58 See Through Walls;
59 Use Indoor Modules in the Great Outdoors;
60 Control Outdoor Lighting;
61 Track Fuel Consumption;
62 Know When the Mail Arrives;
63 Mow the Lawn;
64 Get the Weather;
65 Safely Water the Garden;
66 Foster Green Pastures with a Smart Sprinkler System;
67 Stop Watering During Rainstorms;
68 Adapt Sprinkler Schedules and Solar Water Heating to Available Sunlight;
Chapter 6: Security;
6.1 Hacks 69–82;
69 Check for an Empty Home;
70 Know Who's Home;
71 Avoid False Intrusion Alarms;
72 Nobody Here but Us Ghosts;
73 Send Notifications of Home Events;
74 Who's There?;
75 Secure Your Construction Site;
76 Monitor Your Summer Home;
77 Protect Outdoor Cameras;
78 Know When Windows and Doors Are Open;
79 Bark like a Dog;
80 Unite Your Alarm and Home Automation Systems;
81 Instill Peace of Mind for the Elderly;
82 Monitor Your Home with a Network Camera;
Chapter 7: Advanced Techniques;
7.1 Hacks 83–100;
83 Improve the Response Time of Motion Detectors;
84 Check for Dead Motion Detector Batteries;
85 Outsmart Motion Detectors;
86 Improve X10 Reliability;
87 Avoid Common X10 Problems;
88 Streamline Your AppleScripts;
89 Harness Your Hamster to Power a Night Light;
90 Get More Out of Your Motion Detectors;
91 Track Home Events with iCal;
92 Chart Home Automation Data;
93 Share Your Home Automation Mac with Other Users;
94 Remap X10 Addresses;
95 Control Lights in a Group;
96 Block Units for Easier Scripting;
97 Calculate Elapsed Time;
98 Identify Trouble Spots;
99 Control Your Home from a Web Browser;
100 Which Way Did She Go?;

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2005

    All about X10

    Technical people are always looking for ways that technology can improve and enrich their lives. Smart homes¿or home automation¿has always seemed like something more from science fiction than science fact. However, after reading this book, the truth is that creating a smart home is easier and far less technical than most people think. This book provides the reader with 100 tips or things that can be done (some quite easy, some might take longer to complete) to automate your home. Contrary to what you might think, much of what you can do with home automation doesn¿t require your home to be re-wired. Instead, much of what you might want to accomplish (like having your computer automatically turning on or off lights in the house while you¿re on vacation) can be done very easily through X10 modules. X10 modules are relatively inexpensive components which can send signals over power lines. Once you understand X10, many of the more straightforward hacks in this book make a lot of sense. Other projects you¿ll find in this book include a home monitoring system, a smart sprinkling system, sending messages of what¿s happening at home to a cell phone or pager, and even controlling your home from a web browser. While some of these projects may sound a bit Orwellian, they are actually very interesting and can make your home a safer place to live. Instead of becoming a victim when a toilet or washing machine overflows, you can put preemptive measures in place to be alerted before a problem occurs. This is a very interesting book and a must read if you¿ve ever considered home automation. Not only will this book step you through some projects, but it will give you some excellent ideas for the future. I enjoyed reading this book and would highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2004

    wide range of hardware

    In yesterday's visions of tomorrow, a seductive scenario was the automated home. Meyer discusses how this is increasingly an affordable reality. The common factor between many of his hacks is the X10 standard for communicating with a device that is plugged into the electric grid, via that grid. Low bandwidth. But pervasive connectivity. On a related note, recently a government decision enabled electric utilities to offer Internet access via their power lines. Unlike many other O'Reilly books on hacks, this one covers a wide range of hardware. Because the possible home automation topics are very diverse. From security (via motion detectors for example) to motorising window blinds to mowing the lawn to forwarding phone calls. The appliances for these come from many vendors. And some of the hacks are really low tech, though they are not bad because of that, mind you. Meyer restricts himself to hacks that are achievable now. For maximum utility to you. He could also have added some speculation about future trends. Like IPv6, the next generation of the Internet. This will enable appliances, all the way down to light bulbs, to have their own internet addresses, and be remotely controlled.

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    Posted October 12, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2010

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