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📄 Contents

  1. Digital Lifestyles Reference Guide
  2. Home Audio
  3. Audio Standards
  4. Dolby Surround Sound
  5. DTS Surround Sound
  6. THX
  7. MP3
  8. Windows Media Audio (WMA)
  9. Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)
  10. Digital Rights Management (DRM)
  11. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  12. Books and e-Books
  13. Online Resources
  14. Audio Analog/Digital Components
  15. Receivers
  16. DVD-Audio Players
  17. CD/SACD Players
  18. Making Your Decision
  19. Books and e-Books
  20. Online Resources
  21. Audio Component Integration
  22. Standalone Components
  23. Internet Radio Receivers
  24. Connecting a PC to Your Home Stereo
  25. Making Your Decision
  26. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  27. Books and e-Books
  28. Online Resources
  29. Home Video
  30. Video Standards
  31. DVD versus VCD
  32. MPEG-1 and MPEG-2
  33. DTV
  34. HDTV
  35. HDTV Buying Tips
  36. Video Out: Composite, Component, and S-Video
  37. CSS Explained
  38. Making Your Decision
  39. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  40. Books and e-Books
  41. Online Resources
  42. Video Components
  43. Playback Components
  44. DVD Players
  45. Personal Video Recorders (PVRs)
  46. VHS
  47. Laser Discs
  48. Media Center PCs
  49. What's New in Media Center 2005
  50. Video-on-Demand (VoD)
  51. Screens
  52. Making Your Decision
  53. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  54. Books and e-Books
  55. Online Resources
  56. A/V Integration
  57. Home Theater
  58. Component Integration
  59. Universal Remotes
  60. Combining Home Theater with Home Computing
  61. Making Your Decision
  62. Books and e-Books
  63. Online Resources
  64. Home Theater PCs
  65. Uses for an HTPC
  66. Components of an HTPC
  67. Windows Media Center PCs
  68. Build Your Own HTPC
  69. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  70. Books and e-Books
  71. Online Resources
  72. Rear Projection Televisions
  73. CRT Projectors
  74. DLP Projectors
  75. LCD Projectors
  76. LCoS Projectors
  77. Choosing the Right RPTV Technology
  78. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  79. Books and e-Books
  80. Online Resources
  81. Multimedia Networks
  82. Connecting Your PC Network to Your Home Theater System
  83. Investing in Media Center Software
  84. What if Your PC and Home Theater are in Different Rooms?
  85. Media Center Extenders
  86. Multimedia Appliances
  87. Making the Connection
  88. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  89. Books and e-Books
  90. Online Resources
  91. PVRs, Consoles, and Media Extenders
  92. Finding the Right PVR
  93. Types of PVR Solutions
  94. Set Top Box PVR
  95. Portable PVRs
  96. DVD-Recorders
  97. Making Your Decision
  98. Getting the Most from Your TiVo
  99. Networking Your TiVo
  100. Transfer Video from TiVo to PC at Home
  101. Transfer Video from Your PC to TiVo
  102. Transferring Video from TiVo to a PC Anywhere
  103. Burning DVDs of TiVo Recording
  104. Watch TiVo Shows on a iPod Video Or Sony PSP
  105. Software PVR Solutions
  106. Required Features
  107. Optional Features with Advantages
  108. Software PVR Options
  109. Conclusion
  110. 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Xbox 360
  111. Xbox 360 Networking Tips
  112. Mobile Computing
  113. Notebook Computer Audio
  114. USB Audio
  115. FireWire Audio
  116. PCMCIA Audio
  117. Making Your Decision
  118. Books and e-Books
  119. Online Resources
  120. Broadband
  121. High-Speed Internet Options
  122. Cable
  123. DSL
  124. Cellular Data Services
  125. Satellite
  126. Wireless ISPs
  127. Making Your Decision
  128. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  129. Books and e-Books
  130. Online Video Subscription Services
  131. Today's Options
  132. Making Your Decision
  133. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  134. Books and e-Books
  135. Voice over IP
  136. Softphone VoIP
  137. InformIT Articles and Sample Chapters
  138. Books and e-Books
  139. Home Automation
  140. Home Automation Applications
  141. Types of Home Automation Systems
  142. Automation Features
  143. Making Your Decision
  144. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  145. Home Automation Security
  146. Making Your decision
  147. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  148. Books and e-Books
  149. Online Resources
  150. Books and e-Books
  151. Online Resources
  152. Digital Photography
  153. Digital Cameras
  154. Megapixels
  155. Camera Bodies
  156. Batteries
  157. Zoom Lenses
  158. Auto Focus vs. Manual Focus
  159. LCD Screens
  160. Exposure Settings
  161. White Balance
  162. Storage Formats
  163. Wi-Fi-enabled Digital Cameras
  164. Purchasing the Right Digital Camera
  165. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  166. Books and e-Books
  167. Online Resources
  168. Digital Photo Editing Tools
  169. Photo Organizers
  170. Photo Editing Suites
  171. Deciding Which App to Use
  172. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  173. Books and e-Books
  174. Online Resources
  175. Digital Photography Tips
  176. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  177. Books and e-Books
  178. Editing Digital Photographs
  179. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  180. Books and e-Books
  181. Online Prints From Digital Images
  182. Making Your Decision
  183. Digital Video
  184. Camcorders
  185. Camcorder Features You Shouldn't Be Without
  186. Recording Formats
  187. DV Camera Tools
  188. Books and e-Books
  189. Online Resources
  190. Digital Video Editing Tools
  191. Features to Look For
  192. Popular Video Editing Software
  193. Books and e-Books
  194. Online Resources
  195. Using Video Vault to Port Content to Portable Media Players
  196. 10 Tips to Improve Digital Video
  197. Weblogs and Podcasting
  198. Overview of Weblogs
  199. Blogs as Text
  200. Blogs as Pictorials
  201. Blogs as Audio
  202. Blogs as Video
  203. Getting Started
  204. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  205. Books and e-Books
  206. Online Resources
  207. Blogging Tools
  208. Hosted Services
  209. Desktop Tools
  210. Hosting Your Own Blog
  211. Making Your Decision
  212. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  213. Books and e-Books
  214. Photo Blogging
  215. Photo Blogging Services
  216. Hosted Services with Photo Support
  217. Making Your Decision
  218. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  219. Books and e-Books
  220. Audio Blogging
  221. Blog By Phone
  222. Recording Your Own Audio Blog Posts
  223. Audio Hosting Services
  224. Podcasting
  225. Making Your Decision
  226. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  227. Books and e-Books
  228. Recording and Distributing Podcasts
  229. Recording Software
  230. Before Recording
  231. Recording Your Podcast
  232. Publishing Your Podcast
  233. Podcasting Features in Apple's iTunes
  234. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  235. Books and e-Books
  236. Online Resources
  237. Video Blogging
  238. Video Blogging By Webcam
  239. Creating a Video Blog From Scratch
  240. Video Hosting Services
  241. Distributing Video Blogs
  242. Making Your Decision
  243. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  244. Books and e-Books
  245. Online Resources
  246. Attracting Traffic to Your Blog
  247. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  248. Books and e-Books
  249. Blogging Rules for Revolutionaries
  250. How Blogging will Change the World
  251. Create a Link to This Site Campaign
  252. Meta Tag Your Revolution
  253. New Comment Posted
  254. Coordinate Your Efforts
  255. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
  256. Portable and Handheld Devices
  257. Motorola ROKR: iTunes on Your Phone
  258. ROKR iTunes Features
  259. Cell Phone Standards
  260. Making Your Decision
  261. Manufacturer Resources
  262. Sony PSP
  263. PSP Navigation
  264. PSP as a Gaming Platform
  265. PSP for Movies
  266. PSP for Music
  267. Wireless Networking
  268. Bottom Line
  269. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  270. Online Resources
  271. Portable Digital Audio Players
  272. Types of Players
  273. File Formats
  274. Popular Models
  275. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  276. Books and e-Books
  277. Online Resources
  278. Integrating an iPod with a Car Audio System
  279. Auxiliary Line In Connections
  280. CD Changer Connection Integration
  281. Custom Integration
  282. Making Your Choice
  283. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  284. Online Resources
  285. Portable Entertainment Centers
  286. Screen Sizes
  287. Hard Disk Space
  288. File Formats
  289. Video Recording
  290. Battery Life
  291. Connection Options
  292. Additional Accessories
  293. Making Your Choice
  294. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  295. Online Resources
  296. PDAs
  297. Fancy Features
  298. Palm OS or Pocket PC?
  299. Palm OS Models
  300. Pocket PC Models
  301. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  302. Books and e-Books
  303. Online Resources
  304. Smartphones
  305. Different Types of Smartphones
  306. PDA/Phones
  307. Phone-Based Smartphones
  308. Cool Ways to Improve Your Windows Mobile Smartphone
  309. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  310. Books and e-Books
  311. Online Resources
  312. Cellular Network Technologies
  313. FDMA
  314. CDMA
  315. TDMA
  316. GSM
  317. iDEN
  318. PCS
  319. Dual Band and Dual Mode Phones
  320. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  321. Books and e-Books
  322. Online Resources
  323. Hi-Speed Wireless Data Plans
  324. Cingular Plans
  325. Verizon Wireless Plans
  326. Making Your Decision
  327. Low-Tech Alternatives to Cell Phone Feature Overload
  328. High Tech Watches
  329. Smart Watch Technology
  330. MSN Direct
  331. Popular Smart Watches
  332. Other Types of High-Tech Watches
  333. Books and e-Books
  334. Online Resources
  335. Portable Audio Recording
  336. Features
  337. Editing Features
  338. Effects
  339. Devices
  340. Making a Decision
  341. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  342. Books and e-Books
  343. Handheld GPS Receivers
  344. GPS Features
  345. ABCs of GPS
  346. Making A Choice
  347. Books and e-Books
  348. Online Resources
  349. Portable Gadgets for Holiday Giving
  350. PDA Accessories
  351. Portable Music Players
  352. iPod Accessories
  353. Headphones and Earbuds
  354. Other Cool Portable Gadgets
  355. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  356. Books and e-Books
  357. Online Resources
  358. Automobiles
  359. Satellite Radio
  360. How Satellite Radio Works
  361. XM Radio Programming
  362. SIRIUS Satellite Radio Programming
  363. XM Radio Receivers
  364. SIRIUS Receivers
  365. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  366. Books and e-Books
  367. Online Resources
  368. Satellite Navigation Systems
  369. How GPS Works
  370. Doing the Math
  371. Using the GPS Data
  372. Popular Automobile GPS Systems
  373. Books and e-Books
  374. Online Resources
  375. In-Car Computers
  376. Software
  377. Cases
  378. Power Interface
  379. LCD Screen
  380. Human Interface Options
  381. Storage Media
  382. Networking
  383. Audio
  384. Video
  385. Bluetooth
  386. Making Your Decision
  387. Online Resources
  388. E-Commerce
  389. Find Free Music — Legally
  390. Record Label Sites
  391. Blogs
  392. Podcasts
  393. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  394. Books and e-Books
  395. Subscription Audio Services
  396. Making Your Decision
  397. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  398. Books and e-Books
  399. Digital Wallets
  400. The History of Digital Wallets
  401. What is a Digital Wallet—and How Does It Work?
  402. Who Offers Digital Wallets
  403. Books and Online Resources
  404. Identity Theft
  405. How Your Identity Can Be Stolen
  406. What an Identity Thief Does With Your Personal Information
  407. Preventing Identity Theft
  408. What to Do If Your Identity Has Been Stolen
  409. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  410. Books and e-Books
  411. Online Resources
  412. Online Shopping Fraud
  413. Why Online Shopping Is (Generally) Safe
  414. Reporting Online Shopping Fraud
  415. Top Ten Tips for Safer Online Shopping
  416. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  417. Books and e-Books
  418. Online Resources
  419. Online and Desktop Mapping
  420. Web-Based Maps
  421. Desktop Maps
  422. Making Your Decision
  423. eBook Formats and Readers
  424. Formats
  425. eBook Hardware
  426. Sources of eBooks
  427. Making Your Decision
  428. 10 Google Maps Hacks
  429. Robotics
  430. Robots You Can Buy (or Build) Today
  431. Toy Robots
  432. Home Automation Robots
  433. Do-It-Yourself Robots
  434. Industrial Robots
  435. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  436. Books and e-Books
  437. Online Resources
  438. Additional Resources
  439. Predictions for 2006
  440. Jake's Digital Lifestyles Reading List
  441. Jake's Top Ten Digital Lifestyles Web Resources
  442. 10 Things on the Digital Lifestyle Holiday Wish List
  443. 2006 Consumer Electronics Show Preview
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Security is one of the key areas where home automation technologies are focusing innovation. Providing a sense of security is an easy sell for companies looking to install automation products in homes because it reaches an emotional trigger in the buyer. Many of the home security products also offer convenience in other areas of daily life, but at their core are designed with protection in mind.

Access Control

Access control is one of the most obvious ways to deliver automation to the home. Adding a layer of entry control beyond a key lock on doors creates a system for both altering when an intruder attempts to breach security, as well as defining rules determining who gains access to what based on permission based roles. For greater sense of security a combination of access control systems may be used.

Password Protection Systems

The most basic access control is password protection. In most cases, this is a pin number typed into a key pad. For simple systems, the pin number disarms or arms a home alarm system. In more complex pin access scenarios, entering the proper pass code presents access to specific portions of the home (maybe the garage is off limits without a pass code to keep small children from entering unsupervised). In more sophisticated systems the password may be a spoken phrase with voice matching, which overlaps into the realm of biometric access control.

Biometric Entry Systems

Biometric systems come in a variety of formats. The most affordable form of biometric security is the fingerprint. This is also the least secure method because fingerprints are proven to be easily faked, which is why they generally accompany a second form of access control like a pin or physical token.

More complex forms of biometric entry protection include hand geometry, which requires the entrant to place their hand on a sensor with a computer authentication system detecting patterns in the hand for access. At the high end of biometric protection, retinal scanning technologies authenticate based on a person's eye.

Physical Token

Physical token systems require a physical object for access. This type of access is most similar to what we are used to in gaining access with a key. The token may be a smart card with a chip inside. It might be an object with a barcode imprinted on it or it may be a type of key with a sensor that the authentication system determine to be friendly.

Monitoring Systems

Monitoring the home for security breaches both when residents are inside the home and when they are away is a primary role for security systems. Detecting unusual movement to trigger an alarm, capturing images based on motion detection or over elapsed time or simply recognizing that a physical entryway is open or closed are all mechanisms of security monitoring. Some combination of monitoring technologies delivers a snapshot of home security at any moment in time.

Entryway Open/Close Detection

Knowing whether entryways are open or closed, whether they are locked or unlocked, is one way to verify a secure perimeter. At a simplistic level, this may be contact points on doors and windows, with half the contact on the entry way and the other half on the physical obstruction of the entryway (the door or window). When these two halves are in close proximity, the door or window is viewed to be closed by the security system. When the two halves are separated, the entryway is viewed to be open. Depending on configuration settings in the security control center, a open portal may trigger an alarm, log an open/close event or do nothing.

Motion Sensors

Motion sensors are designed to detect movement in a room. These are typically used as a determinant to indicate someone actively in motion within a space. Motion sensors are used to send alarm signals back to the security center to inform the system that someone or something is moving in a room where no movement is expected.

Camera Technologies

Camera technologies provide the most accurate picture of what's taking place wherever the camera is aimed. Cameras are used to recognize someone at an entryway. Cameras are used as a motion detection device to grab an image of who or whatever may be in motion. Cameras are also used to capture everything in view of the lens over a period of time. In the event of a security breach, a camera provides a clear picture of who was in the breached environment.

Warning Systems

Warning systems are used primarily to act on data provided by authentication tools and monitoring systems. Various types of alerts and alarms may be triggered depending on what a particular information gathering tool transmits.

Audible Alarms

Audible alarms are often used to inform an intruder that they are discovered. Audible alarms may also function to alert people sleeping in a home to the appearance of an intruder within the previously secure perimeter. This type of alarm presents the benefit of potentially scaring an intruder into leaving while offering an immediate feedback system to alert residents they should be seeking safety.

Silent Alarms

Silent alarm systems are primarily used to send a message to an offsite security company about a breach. Silent signaling is used to keep an intruder from realizing they've been detected, which may be useful for a rapid response team trying to catch the intruder in the act of intruding.

Email Alerts and Paging

Some security systems offer alternative methods of delivering security system feedback. Email of photos taken when a motion sensing camera is triggered provide immediate feedback for someone away from home with computer access to know a motion event occurred. If logging the opening and closing of doors is important, an email or SMS message provides a running text log of when events take place.

Control Interfaces

At the heart of every security system is the interface for establishing system event rules, setting up passwords and identification procedures and storing data collected in the monitoring process. Depending on the level of sophistication available in a security system, it may contain some or all of these things.

Keypads

Keypads are a common mechanism for security control. They offer simply numerical options for configuring home security, like press '1' to activate the alarm. Keypads may be used on the outside of a home or garage to require a pin or alphanumeric sequence to gain access.

Web Access

Web access is becoming more common in security systems as Windows and Linux computer systems are increasingly used as the control center for security and other automation functions. Web access may be available via local computers, with a Web page essentially providing the visual interface or it may be an outward facing gateway with password authentication available from anywhere on the Web. The number of home automation applications integrated into any one computer ultimately determines the complexity.

Television Control Screens

Television-based control systems are currently available in several varieties. In some instances, they are an extension of Web-based PC access, providing access to common functions by way of a media center computer connected to the television. In other cases, they are integrated into a more traditional keypad system with a more user-friendly interface tied into the television remote control. As media center applications play a larger role in home theater setups, this is likely to become a popular way for people to interact with home automation.

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