“Programming Your Home,” by Mike Riley, $33 from Pragmatic Bookshelf at

If you’re a techie, this book could launch a new business in home automation. The author starts by telling us of his parents’ simple joy with their Mr. Coffee machine back in the 1970s. They could lie in bed knowing a cup of coffee was waiting for them, brewed at just the time they set. It combined an alarm clock with a coffeemaker. Things have moved along since then.

Even if you don’t want to start a small business, you might want this book to coordinate a house full of gadgets. Chances are, no commercial solution will tailor things exactly as you like them. The author shows how to merge sensors with circuitry that emails you an alert when they’re triggered. Arduino programming and familiarity with the Android operating system is desirable. but don’t panic if you don’t know about it; millions have figured out how to use it.

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