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May 1, 2008

Make Projects: Small Form Factor PCs--New from O'Reilly: Build a Computer That Fits Inside Anything

Make Projects: Small Form Factor PCs Sebastopol, CA—Chances are you love playing music on your computer. And if you've ever longed to build a dedicated digital audio jukebox, now you can by following the instructions in an exciting new book from Make Projects--Small Form Factor PCs (O'Reilly, $29.99).

Developed by the creative team that brings you Make--the groundbreaking magazine devoted entirely to DIY technology--and authored by Matthew Weaver and Duane Wessels, this latest title presents clear, easy-to-follow instructions for making your own easily customizable geeky devices by learning how to build and customize small form factor PCs from scratch.

"We want to show you how they work, how they look (inside and outside), and how you can use them," write Weaver and Wessels. "We've written this book for people who like to tinker with both computer hardware and software."

The book is also written for those of us who think smaller is better when it comes to computers. As Wessels elaborates, "Nobody wants a large, noisy, 200-Watt computer sitting on their entertainment center. And why use a full-size computer for your network firewall when a much smaller computer gets the job done while using only 1/10th the power? We want people to see how easy and fun it is to turn a small form factor computer into something that you can use in your home or workplace."

The projects devised by Weaver and Wessels include all the necessary details for building eight different systems, from the shoebox-sized Shuttle system down to the stick-of-gum sized gumstix.

Thorough illustrations and step-by-step instructions make creating these projects easy:

  • Digital Jukebox. Play your music collection with this Mini-ITX system that will fit anywhere
  • Digital Video Recorder. Record and watch live television using a Shuttle ST62k-based system
  • Network Appliances. Create and configure your own router and network monitor using embedded computers from Soekris
  • Wi-Fi Extender. Extend the range of your Wi-Fi network with the Access Cube
  • Portable Firewall. Protect your computer from unknown networks with a USB-powered firewall based on the OpenBlockS
  • Handheld Wi-Fi Console. Turn the ZipIt Wireless Messenger into a go-anywhere, text-only, wireless handheld
  • Tiny Bluetooth gizmo. Use the Bluetooth-powered gumstix computer to talk to cell phones, PDAs, and more

Shoebox sized and smaller, small form factor PCs can pack as much computing muscle as everything from a PDA to a full-sized desktop computer. Even better, they consume less power, have few or no moving parts, and are very quiet. Whether you plan to use one as a standalone PC or want to embed it in your next hacking project, this new up-to-the-minute resource from Make Projects is a must.

For a review copy or more information please email maryr@oreilly.com. Please include your delivery address and contact information.

Matthew J. Weaver has 10 years of experience in software development and system administration. He's given many tutorials to technical audiences, and currently works with Nedernet Inc, a wireless ISP in the Rocky Mountains. He helped Nedernet see the value in using small form factor PCs for an array of devices, including remote outdoor access points and solar-powered servers.

Duane Wessels discovered Unix and the Internet as an undergraduate student studying physics at Washington State University.

Additional Resources:
For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and cover graphic, see: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596520762

Make Projects: Small Form Factor PCs
Duane Wessels, Matthew J. Weaver
ISBN: 9780596520762, 304 pages, Book Price: $29.99 USD, £18.50 GBP
PDF Price: $15.99 USD

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