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Preface > Why Your Home Will Love This Book

P3.2. Why Your Home Will Love This Book

This book is a hands-on training kit disguised as a how-to book. Unlike a typical training kit, there are no theoretical scenarios or lab environments—each project presents a workable, practical way to improve your home. When you finish a project, you will have built something unique that you can customize to your family's individual needs.

No matter what your current skill level is, you can learn from the projects in this book. Neither of the authors is a Linux guru by any means, and you don't need to be one either. Working through the Linux-oriented projects is an excellent introduction to the Linux operating system and to both well-known and underutilized Linux tools. There are Windows-based projects as well, and wherever practical, solutions are presented for both platforms. Above all, this is a practical book. If you're reading it, you're probably a geek, but chances are not everyone you live with would wear that moniker with pride. The end product of these projects should not intimidate even the most technophobic person—your family will never have to touch a command line, or even a keyboard. The whole point of these projects is not just to enhance your home life but to make things easier. We've relied on the user interfaces everyone is already comfortable with: wall switches, remote controls, and occasionally a web browser. In fact, many of the projects are designed to not require any interaction from your family—for example, you'll learn to completely automate your lighting so that it turns on and off based on movement, time, or other factors. (Of course, you'll still be able to flip the light switch when you need to.)

This book isn't about hacking just for the sake of hacking. Each project creates something that either is not available commercially or is too costly for the average person to justify. For instance, there are many security companies who would be happy to install a security system in your home with a closed-circuit camera system, but it will cost you thousands of dollars. We'll show you how to do it for a few hundred (and a few hours of your time).

Many of these projects were developed by the authors themselves, but in some cases, open source projects were used. In such instances the original authors are given full credit. We even name those in the community who are strong advocates for the projects. Hopefully, this book will help to bring new blood into those communities.


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