From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 01:05:42 Pacific Time, Thursday, 10 March 2005.

Smart Homes for Dummies, Second Edition

   by Danny Briere / Pat Hurley / Danny Briere / Pat Hurley

    For Dummies
    23 December, 2002


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Editorial description(s):

Book Description
Most people have had some contact with a network through their work environment – computer local area networks (LANs) in the office, control networks in factories, telephone networks in many mid-sized or larger businesses. The Internet itself is one big network.

Although some folks may think of a network as simply something that helps them do their work, the network concept has begun to move from the workplace to the home address. Smart home builders and remodelers (and forward-looking owners of otherwise perfect existing homes) are starting to think in terms of wiring (or wirelessing) their homes both to make use of a network today and to prepare for future structural requirements.

Smart Homes For Dummies, 2nd Edition, lays out a richly landscaped spread of possibilities in networking your home devices – for convenience, cost control, time-savings, safety, and increased property values. This forward-thinking, fun guide spells out how to

Smart homes never want for innovation; people are constantly inventing things. Stuff that seems niche-oriented and expensive today may be high-volume consumer products tomorrow. Smart Homes For Dummies, 2nd Edition, invites you to take advantage of the latest techno developments as you rev up for the upcoming gee-whiz things that'll make your home a twenty-first century castle.  You'll meet the most recent information and insight on

A home network opens the world to your entire household, and Smart Homes For Dummies, 2nd Edition, provides a plan for your home, sweet home to enjoy all that awaits in an infinite space.

Reader review(s):

Brier and Hurley Get Wired!, December 24, 1999
If you work in a multimedia company or a high tech multimedia laboratory, you probably have a systems administrator and lots of eager students of engineering that can help you design a media and data network infrastructure. However, most of us users who would like to design a network for security, multimedia and computing in a home or small business do not have a systems administrator. Brier and Hurley give an enlightened short course on media, data and electrical networking of your home and small business in Smart Homes for Dummies.

The big vision outlined in this book is simplicity afforded by thinking ahead. Save money and space by designing a network which accesses one main computer server; one digital TV; one VCR; one CD player; one radio; one internet or cable service line for multiple users within the home or business. All these media sources are routed via cables, modulators, preamplifiers and switch panels to each room so that users can choose what they want to play on their computer, speakers and video screens. They inform the reader about 'multi-zone' or multiple channel receiving and transmitting devices needed to to push your wired house to full capacity now and in the future. Costs, esthetics, and how to anticipate future technologies are considered. This book is a pleasant read and a fast way to get up to speed on how to 'Get to Wired'. Think of it like an adventure tour of networking wonderland by Bill and Ted. At the same time this is a most excellent (easy to use) source of reference tables for those of us who prefer to bypass the 'Bill sheet' and get something done.

Second Edition -- Worth the wait, January 14, 2003
What a difference four years makes.

In the first edition (1999), Briere and Hurley did a great job providing an informative, helpful overview of home automation concepts, all wrapped up in an easy-to-read style that doesn't talk down to a reader. However, people purchasing the book in 2001 or later would be disappointed as the book showed its age: maybe half the links for automation-related companies yielded the dreaded "404" error (many courtesy the dot-com crash), wireless networking was barely mentioned, and cable modems and DSL hadn't reached critical mass to warrant an extended discussion.

Fast forward to the second edition (2003) and these shortcomings have all been addressed. New URLs are in place, the authors love wireless, and high-speed Internet connections are addressed for both cable modems and DSL modems. In addition, DBS is also discussed in much greater depth as DirecTV and DISH Network receivers have sprouted like mushrooms on homes and apartment buildings across the U.S.

I found the second edition extremely helpful, more so than the first, and it gave me a far better comfort level in figuring out smart home technology. My wife and I are currently remodeling and this book is a huge help to let us know what's possible, what's affordable, and what's do-able by us versus a professional installer.

While the book appears to be more focused on running hard wires for your network, don't let that fool you. The authors are firmly in favor of wireless for many homes and apartments, especially where cost or inability to renovate prevents running hard wiring through the walls. The main idea is that, when possible, put as many wires into the walls as you can. You don't have to connect every home computer directly to a wall; you can install a wireless hub wherever it's convenient (or invisible), and use wireless connections without having CAT5e cabling running along the baseboards to the nearest wall jack.

Further, there are new systems on the market that use CAT5e to distribute audio, video, and IR control to rooms. This means you can run thinner, cheaper CAT5e to rooms rather than bundled cabling. The authors recognize this trend and advise that readers watch for more developments that use CAT5e. My wife and I are leaning towards such a system, as it's easier to replace outlets and distribution boxes than it is to run new wires once the walls are sealed up.

So if you're wondering about having a connected home and what the considerations are, you owe it to yourself to BUY THIS BOOK. Then you can move to a wires-and-circuits discussion without feeling over your head, and without requiring a graduate degree in nerdspeak. Enjoy, and good luck with your own home projects.

If you are seeking DIY instructions- pass on this one, July 31, 2003
As the title implies, this book is intended for people seeking an overview of what home automation, networking, X10, security, a/v distibution. It is very comprehensive so kudos there.

However, if you are after more detailed instructions on how to hook something up, really plan & design your systems or prewire you new construction this book does not get that deep.

I suppose was hoping for more real examples, diagrams and do it yourself instruction. I'm trying to learn in order to avoid paying someone $2000 to install $200 worth of wire and outlets in my house (especially regarding X10 which is really cool). So I returned this book and am consdiering one called "Automated Home Control" by Bucceri. Haven't found it on Amazon yet, but it's on and

Thank you Danny Briere!, March 30, 2000
I read all of these reviews, and I think that it's important to know what the book is and is not. The authors say it above -- it's not a "here's where you put this wire" type of book. It's a design guide and something that you need to read before you read the "here's where you put this wire" types of books. I found it to be extremely helpful in providing the big picture. I think the example provided in one of the reviews about pages 42-43 were unfair -- I looked them up -- they're from the overview sections at the front of the book. Check out the later parts of the book and it gives you more detail than you want -- the part on which modulators to buy for instance. If you are looking for a wiring guide for your audio or stereo system -- this is not for you; if you are looking to figure out an overall approach towards wiring audio, video, security, home control, home automation, etc. -- which I personally would urge you do before you plunk down money on this all -- then I think this book is perfect. There's only so much anyone can do in 300 pages, and I think the authors did a great job in doing what they set out to do -- to introduce me to all my options and what I need to be thinking about when putting together a smart home. The wiring diagrams I can find elsewhere.

an overview....., November 21, 2003
....of many systems and choices, but NOT for the person who wants to know (as I did) how to actually wire things up. Use this as a guide to getting your mind into the topic and what it involves, not as a how-to.

There is one area that makes me nervous about how much of the book derived from having actually done what it recommends. About the DirecWay satellite system: I have used that system, and what's not stated in the book are its numerous glaring flaws. It is slow. It doesn't interface well with a wireless network. It is notorious (I found out after the fact) for having a problem accessing Hotmail. Customer support is almost useless; the email address and Web site that come with the installation are wrong, and the person who answers the phone very often doesn't know a satellite from a sabersaw. Any networking you do requiring an Ethernet port won't happen, because there is none. You can't download a file larger than 170 Mg in any four-hour period (and no, it's not in the product documentation because there's none of that either--all you get is a small online help file). And the speed is about the same as the 56K modem I once used over a phone line. Why isn't any of that discussed? It made me wonder how much of what the author(s) talked about actually came from a hands-on perspective.

Do you think 'network' means ABC, NBC or CBS?, January 20, 2000
If you think that 'network' refers to ABC, NBC or CBS, then this is a great book for you. I bought this book on the basis of the fabulous reviews on this site. However, I was very disappointed because of the lack of detail, specifically in the audio and video arena. This book is great if you are building a home and need ideas. I'd rate the coverage of the various areas as (1 - lowest, 5 - best): new home ideas - 4; audio - 2; video - 2; computer networks - 3; x10 automation - 4

Good for some concepts, April 24, 2000
I'm rating this book on how well it introduces novices to the "automated home" world.

This book does a really good job describing the basics of many different concepts in home automation and networking. I felt that it concentrated a lot on building a new smart house, rather than installing the technology in an existing home.

If you are interested in learning about automated homes, get this book. If you are already know the basics of home automation, borrow this book. If you are a "smart home" enthusiest who has already completed some automation projects and want's a detailed guide for your next one, look elsewhere.

An excellent reference, November 4, 2001
I actually only got the Dummies book because it happened to be bundled with Home Automation and Wiring. I returned HA&W and kept this one. Dummies gives you enough information that you can really do some of these projects on your own. HA&W is only useful if you're planning on contracting out all of the work and you only want a high-level overview of the concepts.

If your're not a dummy, don't buy it..., March 5, 2003
This book is good if all you want is an overview of WHAT you CAN do, but is nearly worthless if you are a do-it-yourselfer and want to know HOW to do it. It has almost nothing about the nuts and bolds of how to pre-wire or connect components for any of the systems. Every time it almost get into a "how-to" paragraph they tell you to buy "Home Improvement for Dummies." Hmmm, they get to sell two books instead of one... they're not dummies.

Great book with lots of valuable information, October 3, 2000
I am in the process of building a house and wanted to put some smart home features in. I read this book and it gave me the information I needed to run all the wire in my house. It is very good at explaining how to run the wires to provide the most benefit. I went from knowing very little about smart homes to putting 2,500 feet of wire throughout the home. Each room is wired with cat 5, coax and speaker wire. I did this for a fraction of the cost it would have been to hire someone else to do it.

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