Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review: Building a Home Security System with BeagleBone by Bill Pretty

I read another book on the BeagleBone last week.  Building a Home Security System with BeagleBone by Bill Pretty focuses on using the GPIO pins available on the BeagleBone Black to create a multi-zone security system.  I was pretty excited about this when I started reading the first few chapters.  The author provides very useful tips and tricks about electronics hardware with a light addition of Javascript as the programming language of choice.  There are useful explanations behind the IC selection but none of the circuit diagrams are explained in great detail.  To fully understand them, I feel you would need to have a full background and experience in electrical engineering but someone with only hobby level of knowledge and experience could still build, test and use the circuits.  At chapter 7 of 9, the book jumps into a how to guide of installing some basic network intrusion detection open source packages to run on the BeagleBone Black.  I wish the author would have continued the book, in the hardware direction, by having add-on modules that could be stacked onto the core project.  Instead, the book is 75% about the steps to build single (fun) home security system project and 25% about installing network monitoring software.  It seems loosely added to at the end.  This short 120 page book started off strong, but didn't keep it up all the way to the end.