reviews the book "Smart Home Hacks"


Staff member
When O'Reilly first contacted me about the release of this book, I was a little skeptical, mostly because of the misleading (more about that later) title. When I received my copy, and opened the first few pages to take a quick glance, I was relieved to see that this isn't just another home automation book that will sit on my shelf collecting dust. The index alone shows how interesting this book will be, as all the 'hacks' are indexed by location.


The book, written by Gordon Meyer (, a known and experienced home automation enthusiast, is 400 pages thick, will be able to answer most questions one can have about home automation, and give you some great ideas.

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PS: Read the review and you might win a free copy of this great book!
I have had this book for about a month now (but have not read through it all yet) and it looks like a good general introduction to HA. There are how-to articles as well as reviews, such as the one comparing hardware controllers like the CM11A, Ocelot, JDS, etc. It will probably be most useful to someone who is thinking of getting into HA and is wondering what can be done with it in terms of practical applications. The experienced HA enthusiats (of which I consider the majority of you reading this on Cocoontech) will almost always have already progressed beyond the scope of the material for any one given application or controller described in the book, although you might still find interesting application ideas that you might then want to implement with what you have.

As Electron noted, there is a fair amount of Mac material that for over 90% of us will be not of interest because we use PCs. In fairness, there is also a Homeseer introduction article. The introduction to X10 is fairly complete and will be appreciated by the beginner who wants it all in one place and in book form. The same material is available on the 'net albeit with some searching.

The reason I have this book already is that I was supposed to have an article in it, but still got my complimentary copy anyway... Gordon had contacted me last spring to include my X10 alarm system project that originally appeared on the Hometoys site. The article was cleaned up and sent in but when the time came to lay out the book, there was a problem with reproducing the schematic diagram and the article ended up getting cut, although my name still appears in the contributors... Such is life :D