Saturday, December 18, 2004

Season's greetings!

Season's greetings, I wish you all well at this time of the year. May it be merry and light hearted

Currently I'm quite busy with the X10 CM15A device driver for Linux and the cm15d daemon. The work is progressing quite well and I have a page devoted to the X10 USB devices. Currently it only contains the information on the cm15d and software interface details. I'll later be adding the information on the CM19A (RF transceiver), the PowerLinc 1132cu and the PCS UPB Powerline interface, hopefully the USB interface.

Books in review

I recently purchased 2 books from O'Reilly publishers. The first is Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks and the other is Smart Home Hacks. I'm excited to have these books as they are kind of cool hacks on different things.

Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks

Summary: 15 chapters, 5 appendixes, 1 index. 331 pages long. The book is easy to read (I'm comfortable with microcontrollers, building hardware and writing software). Though I haven't checked every detail it seems to be pretty thorough on it's technical details. My complaints are minor and one is that some of the fonts used in the schematics are tiny. I had to use a magnifying glass to see the words. Now there are 2 chapters which are my favorites: ch. 5 - How to Hack a Furby (and Other Talking Toys) and ch. 15 - How to Build an Internet Coffeemaker.

So I love this book and with time it will fall out of favor and look antiquated. Other such older books that fall into this category, with name like "Interfacing to your Atari 800" or Commodore 64 or TRS-80. But then again I'd love to see the schematics and software for the early Internet Coke machines (circa 1885 - 1990) and the IP attached elevator. :-) Now all of these projects can be found on the internet (for now) but in a few years time they'll be gone. In the mean time, I'll be getting a Furby or 2 and see what I can drop into it. Also I really want an Internet Tea machine (I prefer Tea to Coffee :-).

Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks - Scott Fullam, O'Reilly Media, 1st Edition, January 2004.

Smart Home Hacks

Summary: 7 chapters, 1 index, 376 pages long. Each chapter is a section of the house and an advanced chapter I treat this book as more of an idea book. Gordon uses a MAC with OSX, XTension HA software and mostly X10 interfaces. He does point out that the software techniques are applicable to other software. He points out other HA software used by Windows users, other MAC software and Linux software. Initially I wasn't happy with the idea of a book on HA for the MAC and XTension. But after reading I realized that the ideas in the book are portable to software like Mr. House. Once I got over that hurdle I became comfortable with the book and I really like it.

This book is for those of us who have a little imagination, some programming experience and the willingness to put a little effort into programming. It is in no way a recipe book where you follow the directions step by step to build a project. I really like the book and I really find it perfect for bathroom reading. :-)

Smart Home Hacks - Gordon Meyer, O'Reilly Media, 1st Edition, October 2004

More toys ...

My friend has given me some really neat Christmas presents! He knows that it tortures and entertains me at the same time. :-)

  • SmartHome PowerLinc 1132cu - X10 USB powerline transceiver.
  • Rain8 - 8 zone irrigation controller
  • Fossil wrist watch PDA
  • Linksys NSLU2 - OK so I got him, another friend and I a NSLU2. I hope to turn it into a home control computer using my cm15a driver, cm15d daemon and Home daemon.
So it looks like I have more software to write. :-)