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Hardware Hacking Projects for Geeks Paperback – January 28, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"...Fullam (the author) provides an excellent introduction to practical electronics, as well as a whole lots of fun." - Will Knight, New Scientist, March 20th "...this is a nice book for getting ideas on how to build nice projects. All basic knowledge of electronics and assembly are in the book, which makes it perfectly suitable for a beginner, while also providing ideas and details for the more tech-savy experts in the field. While reading through projects you'll learn the basic items needed for your own project. A fun book to read and to learn from and get new and novel ideas." Wirelessleiden.nl - http //wiki.wirelessleiden.nl/wcl/cgi-bin/moin.cgi/BoekenPg "Overall the book is good fun, and after reading it, you start to look at household objects in a different light."Linux Magazine, June

About the Author

Scott Fullam has been hacking hardware since he was 10 years old with his first RadioShack 100-in-1 electronic kit. He built an "intruder" alarm to keep his sister out of his room. Scott attended MIT earning Bachelors and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. While an undergraduate he built a "shower detection" system so that he could see if the community shower was in use. After graduating from MIT Scott designed children's toys and built close to 50 prototypes in 2 years. He then went to work at Apple Computer in the Advanced Technology Group designing digital still cameras. In 1995, Fullam co-founded PocketScience, which develops revolutionary mobile e-mail communications products and services. As the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Fullam personally developed all of the algorithms for the company's products. Scott now works as an independent consultant assisting consumer electronic companies design high quality products. Never satisfied with how the consumer electronics products he owns work, he often takes them apart and enhances their capabilities.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596003145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596003142
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,504,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a fun guide to hardware hacking projects from beginners to gurus.
The book is divided into three parts:
Part 1 - Basic Hacks, Tools, And Techniques - How To Build A Portable Laptop Power Supply; How To Build An Aquarium Inside A Macintosh; How To Hack 802.11b Antennas; How To Build A PC Water-Cooling System; How To Hack A Furby (And Other Talking Toys); How To Hack A Video Periscope For Your Car
Part 2 - Advanced Hacks, Tools, And Techniques - How To Build A Digital Video Recorder; How To Hack A Building-Size Display; How To Build A Cubicle Intrusion Detection System; How To Build An Internet Toaster; How To Build A Home Arcade Machine; How To Build A Remote Object Tracker; How To Make RC Cars Play Laser Tag; How To Build A Wearable Computer; How To Build An Internet Coffeemaker
Part 3 - Appendixes - Schematic Capture Software; Communication; Easy-to-Use Microcontroller Boards; Power Sources; Resources; Index
I'm a software guy, not a hardware nut. To me, plug and play has been a godsend. But every once in awhile, I wish I had the chance to play around with wires and such. I'd like to be able to hack together something cool just to say I could do it. And with this book, I now have the chance.
Scott Fullam has put together a fun volume of projects that span the range from rank beginners to people who read schematics on a daily basis. Each project is rated for cost, time requirements, and difficulty. Based on that, you can figure out whether or not the project is one you can reasonably expect to complete based on your skill level. There are some basic instructions on tools and reading schematics, but I think that you'd be better off if you come into the project with at least a little background knowledge beforehand.
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Format: Paperback
This is a big, floppy paperback full of projects many geeks or would be geeks already know about. After all, the internet leaks this sort of information all over. However despite some of the projects being a little underwhelming for the geek about town, the fifteen projects would probably be the perfect introduction to hardware hacking for a youngster keen to get into electronics and computers.

Now that there are very few electronic hobbyist magazines around, it is hard to know how any except the most talented youngsters will get started on hacking gadgets, except via books like this. Having a talented toy designer write the book is a great ploy, as many of the best gadgets are derived from subverting toys and general consumer appliances.

Some of the introductory projects are a little wimpy. The author doesn't really make it sufficiently clear that an external battery pack for a notebook computer is unlikely to extend your working time much (alkaline batteries are ill suited to most high current drain computers). However there is an undeniable need for a very simple introduction to the tools and materials you need to use. This is one of six tasks teaching tools and materials. The last couple are hacking Furbys, and making a video periscope for a car.

The advanced section includes digital video recorders, building lighting control, a remote GPS object tracker (just like James Bond). There is a very nice one chapter introduction to making wearable computers.

The book would make a perfect gift for the potential hardware geek.
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Format: Paperback
Are you an electronic enthusiastic with a lot of spare time and some extra cash laying around? Well, turn those resources of time and money into awe-inspiring hacker projects. Scott Fullam's latest book is the tool you need for that transformation. Inside you'll discover plans for your own cubicle intrusion detection system - cube warriors of the world unite! See what's causing the traffic jams with your homemade video periscope for your car. Go all out and build a gigantic (building-sized) low-resolution display, perfect for declaring your love for your girlfriend, or for mad games of pong.
The book is nicely laid out like a textbook and crammed full of illustrations and tables and schematics and photos. Page 270 (describing wearable computers) inspired me to hack my old camcorder's viewfinder for a handy head-mount display. Perhaps you'll be motivated to build your own home arcade machine (page 213) or customized TiVo from scratch. Whatever your hacking fancy, you'll find related projects within these pages. A must read for the experienced or up-and-coming hacker
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Format: Paperback
Was it Peter Pan who said "never grow old"? Because this book is for a select few. The ceaseless tinkerers who never left their childhoods. The common theme thru all the projects Fullam describes is one of hands on experimentalism. Enthusiasm is a more important prerequisite than technical background or skill. Electronics naturally pervades more examples. But simple stuff, and he even has explanations of how to read the colour coding of resistors. There is a modicum of software, because these days, even for hardware purists, you can rarely totally ignore software.
Perhaps what Fullam should do is consider an advanced sequel to this book, if the latter is well received. Those who enjoy the projects here may appreciate something more challenging. There is a burgeoning field of people using mini ITX systems for all sorts of crazy off the wall stuff. These ITXs are full computer systems, reduced to the basics of motherboard with cpu, memory and disk, all for a few hundred dollars. Hobbyists are putting them into funky mobile applications. From Fullam's expertise shown in this book, he is well qualified to take your tinkering to the next level.
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