on 4 May 2012
You know those excitable TV advertorials where they talk about the next big thing and dress it up as practical advice? That's what this feels like. If you have never googled home automation, or considered it was even possible you may be wowed, but if you are looking for a bit of practical advice you would be better off going back to Google. The problem is the book is compiled as a sort of set of tutorials in that advertorial vein. There's a chapter on getting speech recognition working (Or speech synthesis, I've actually forgotten the details now Let me grab it out of the charity bag for the next bit...)
Right, so the chapter starts "You could use the Microsoft voice api, or Linux Festival project, but I like Macs, so stuff you." (paraphrased)
And continues for half a dozen pages with big pictures of configuring your mac, then the rest or the chapter covers programming the Mac on the Mac to use the Mac only API.
And this is a problem. Is any of it applicable to the Windows version? Well, sort of, if you are smart enough to figure it out, you really don't need to waste your money on this book. If you aren't smart enough, you probably already own a mac that talks to you...
Other chapters cover the essential activities of having your bird feeder tweet if a bird uses it, and building an Android door lock. Here we come to the main problem for me.
If this book had of been titled "10 PROJECTS FOR YOUR KIDS WITH PHONES AND BIRDS N STUFF" I wouldn't of bought it. If I had of bought it I probably would be writing this review in more glowing terms, because I can imagine a 10 year old would possibly quite like this stuff. Every kid wants a lock to keep their parents out. I however won't be trusting my home security to something cobbled together out of this book. Technically everyone would like their curtains to open automatically, I used to know a kid who's curtains did! I'm actually more interested in checking security, perhaps switching the washing machine on, that sort of thing...
Anyway, hopefully you get the idea.