November 15, 2004
"Smart Home Hacks": Beyond Mere Automation
Sebastopol, CA--Even George Jetson would suffer gadget envy today. So much
of what is now commonplace was once considered impossible, or at least the
stuff of far-fetched futuristic cartoons: 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 been,
and always will be, very cool.
Technology isn't just cool, it's also very smart. That's why one of the
hottest technological trends nowadays is the creation of smart homes.
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.
If you want to equip your home with motion detectors for added security,
install computer-controlled lights for optimum convenience, or mount an
in-home web cam or two purely for entertainment, everything you need is
But some people--and they know who they are--just can't leave automated
alone. It's not enough that their sprinklers are automated; they want
their sprinklers tailored to the weekly forecast so they stop watering in
storms. They want to motorize their window blinds. Or heat their toilet
seat. And while their neighbors are cursing the teenagers TP-ing the
neighborhood, these George Jetson wannabes are rigging camcorders to
monitor their mailbox--even when they're not home.
According to Gordon Meyer, author of Smart Home Hacks (O'Reilly, US
$24.95), such things are not just possible, but with a little effort,
ingenuity, and elbow grease, they're even relatively cheap. "We're at a
nice junction between software, hardware, and the Internet," says Meyer.
"These pieces are sitting there, readily available, and can be combined to
put together something that's actually useful. You don't need a new house,
you don't need to rewire your house--you can get started for less than
$200 and grow your system from there as your needs dictate."
Today, the ingenuity--like the equipment--is here. Meyer's book captures
some of the most useful, clever, and practical (and perhaps most
importantly, thoroughly tested) methods that do-it-yourself home
automators are using turn a loose collection of sensors and switches into
a well-automated and well-functioning home. Readers will learn how to:
Turn on lights automatically upon entering a room, or when the sun sets,
or only when needed
Send reminders of important events to cell phones, email accounts, or
Alert everyone in the house with chimes or voice announcements
Monitor the driveway, mailbox, refrigerator door, or litter box for
Automate the sprinkler system, tailor its schedule to the weekly
forecast, and make it stop watering during rainstorms
Monitor the home when nobody is there
Control the entire house from a web browser
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.
Smart Home Hacks
ISBN: 0-596-00722-1, 400 pages, $24.95 US, $36.95 CA
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
Return to: O'Reilly Press Room
Recent Press Releases
Press Release Archive »
Media Relations - North America
Media Relations - Germany
Media Relations - Japan
Media Relations - United Kingdom
Media Relations - Conferences