Making Things Talk is intended for a specific audience, but one which I wish were bigger. It’s aimed at folks who want to wire up stuff.
Stuff like motion-sensing stuffed animals. A doorbell that chimes every time someone visits your website. Real-world, physical objects.
But without all the hassles of soldering.
Enter Making Things Talk and the Arduino module, which you can plug into any computer with a USB port and program using a simple language. The book—written very well by O’Reilly—explains how.
If the above description fired off an idea or two for something you’ve Always Wanted To Make, this is the book for you. It starts at the very basics, assuming you’re intelligent but uneducated about electricity, electronics, etc.
You’ll need to spend a fair amount of time fiddling with small parts, of course, and a bit of basic equipment. Which is why I bought Making Things Talk as part of the Advanced Arduino Starter Kit (US $115), which comes with most of that basic equipment.
If you’re willing to put in the time, you may find this to be a fun hobby—one that I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of—which provides a satisfying sense of accomplishment. At the end, you have something you can literally carry around and show off to your friends.
And there’s a lot to be said for controlling and inventing your environment.