Show Networks and Control Systems- The Book

That acronym conjures up many a late night. There’s usually a point in everyone’s career when it comes up. Maybe it’s after a hellish night patching and re-patching around a piece of gear, maybe it’s after discovering that shiny-new rack has a lot of hidden surprises. But it’ll come up one way or another. I read manuals for fun. I love reading manuals. If they’re well written- so much the better. In the case of putting together all the stuff that makes our industry work, there really isn’t a manual. Use Google all you want, but there aren’t really any definitive writs that piece it all together.

At least, that’s what I thought until I read Show Networks and Control Systems. I came of age when consoles like the Hog II and the Status Cue were the talk of the town, and DMX was in it’s hey-day. ACN and RDM were but a mere dream and sound consoles still had faders that you actually pushed up and down. Hell, the PC boom hadn’t even really taken off. But then the Network came into play and everything started to change rapidly. And that’s just light and sound! Think of all the other technologies that happen when we’re watching a show or visiting an amusement park…animatronics, pyrotechnics, lasers, water fountains, video.

The thing I like about John’s book is that it is really broad. It is a manual in every sense of the term and one I will refer to many times in the coming years, I’m sure. It covers all of the aforementioned plus a lot more- in plain terms. He explains how all these systems work together as networks- from peer-to-peer to star topology to master/slave. Being that it tips the scales at over 400 pages, I can’t begin to even guess how many times the word “network” is in there (although I tried to count…)! Maybe you can and you can win a copy! Head over to his excellent blog at to get all the details and enter your answer for a chance. If you don’t win, get the book anyway and learn something!

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