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PC Toys: 14 Cool Projects for Home, Office and Entertainment

ISBN: 978-0-7645-4229-9
336 pages
November 2003
PC Toys: 14 Cool Projects for Home, Office and Entertainment (076454229X) cover image
Come on out and play

You can only surf the Net so long. You can only play so much video poker. So if you're a PC addict who's ready for some new fun, this book is your toybox. Each of the 14 projects inside includes a parts list, suggestions for finding the needed equipment, clues to the cost, helpful Web links, and complete directions. What's that? You have a few ideas of your own? Check out the suggestions in the final chapter, and start inventing your own PC toys.

The Toys

Each with a complete materials list and detailed, illustrated instructions
* TiVo-like video recorder
* MP3 or CD jukebox
* Coffeepot controller
* Telescope tracking station
* Workout monitor
* Home surveillance with Internet remote access
* Fridge and freezer monitor
* Fish tank monitor
* Auto diagnostic center
* In-car navigation system
* Weather station
* Robots
* Networked video games
* Model train controller

CD-ROM includes
* Trial version of Pinnacle Studio
* Visual GPS, freeware, and SocketWatch, shareware version
* Demo versions of GoldWave and Nero Burning ROM
* Unreal Tournament 2003 demo
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Chapter 1: Create Your Own TiVo-Like Digital Video Recorder.

Chapter 2: Build a Jukebox for Your Home Stereo.


Chapter 3: Have Hot, Fresh Coffee Whenever You Get Up.

Chapter 4: Build a Telescope Tracking Station.

Chapter 5: Monitor Your Workout.


Chapter 6: Home Surveillance with Internet Remote Access.

Chapter 7: Monitor Your Refrigerator and Freezer.

Chapter 8: Monitor Your Fish Tank.


Chapter 9: Do Your Own Automotive Diagnostics.

Chapter 10: Build Your Own In-Car Navigation System.

Chapter 11: Build a Weather Station.


Chapter 12: Create and Control Your Own Robots.

Chapter 13: Throw a Networked Head-To Head Video-Gaming Party.

Chapter 14: Set Up a Computerized Control Center for Model Trains.

Chapter 15: Inventing Your Own PC Toys.

Appendix A: Working With Your PC —Software.

Appendix B: Working With Your PC—Hardware.

Appendix C: What’s on the CD-ROM.


End-User License Agreements.

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Barry and Marcia Press have been indulging their need to build PC toys for 25 years. Barry’s creations have included a unique cable TV modem, ATM networks, a desktop computer that can analyze drug interactions, and an artificial intelligence planning system. He and Marcia are also the authors of the PC Upgrade and Repair Bible as well as several other hot-selling computer books.
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More notes on using WXSIM in DOC format.
More on Using WXSIM

Tom Ehrensperger, the developer of the WXSIM-Weather Simulator we showed you in the chapter on building a weather station (and that we included on your CD-ROM), wrote some additional notes for you to help clarify how to import weather data from sites on the Internet into WXSIM. We've posted his notes in both DOC and PDF formats.

If you do not have Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat you may download a free viewer from their vendors web sites: and

77.00 KB Click to Download
More notes on using WXSIM in PDF format. 34.20 KB Click to Download
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Welcome to the PC Toys Companion Web site.
Wecome to the PC Toys Companion Web Site.

The authors wrote PC Toys expecting you'd use the book in conjunction with the many sites on the Internet we've cited in the book. Those links are on the CD-ROM at the back of the book, and on this page.

The nature of the Internet is such that links can break. If the a link here goes bad, try searching the site for the item we discussed in the book. If the site itself has no search function, use the site search function in the Google toolbar. If a complete site vanishes, try searching for the company to see if they've chosen to change their domain name.

Introduction (search for sensor)

Chapter 1

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Chapter 2

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Chapter 3

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Chapter 4 ( The link is broken please use. )

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Chapter 5

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Chapter 6

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Chapter 7

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Chapter 8

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Chapter 9

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Chapter 10

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Chapter 11

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Chapter 12

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Chapter 13,10214,0-1257,00.html?tag=sort&qt=ethernet+hub&cn=&ca=1257&so=1&st=0,10214,0-1257,00.html?tag=sort&qt=ethernet+switch&cn=&ca=1257&so=1&st=0,10214,0-1257,00.html?tag=sort&qt=Ethernet+PCI&cn=&ca=1257&so=1&st=0,10214,0-1257,00.html?tag=sort&qt=ethernet+adapter+usb&cn=&ca=1257&so=1&st=0

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Chapter 14

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Chapter 15

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Appendix A

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Appendix B

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