It is Wednesday June 24th 2021. A normal working day. Cloudy, but not cold. I receive a comment on my Instagram story from my brother: "Have you ever considered highlighting your stories? It's a pity your hard work just disappears.". And that's exactly what the stories do on Instagram; they disappear in my archive after 24h.
Cover illustration by Janneke Schot
His comment triggered me. My archive. That's a few clicks away from the comment section. I went there and had a look. I scrolled all the way back in history. A full year. On April 19th 2020. That's when it all started. That's when this crazy idea popped in my head. Like a popcorn in the microwave: I am going to built a plant irrigation system.
[you thinking]: Wait.. wait.. wait.. wait. You need oil to pop popcorn. What was your oil? What sparked this idea? Why? What's the story?
The long answer can be found here: welcome. A blog post about the why. More specifically: check question six of the Q&A.
The short answer: we left our apartment for five weeks. By the time we came back, the plants on the balcony had left for plant-heaven. Dead. All of them. A dessert on our balcony. We felt bad: "We have to prevent this from happening again" is what we said to each other. We will create more space for plants and make sure they are taken care of. If not by humans, then by computers.
It's too ambitious. That's what I thought. I have no idea about electronics. I can't program in C. Micro controllers look very scary. It will take ages to learn these things. And now, a year later, the system is working. Operational. Tested. And still being developed. I was - and still am - so excited about the project, that I occasionally shared some stories about the progress on Instagram. Just like I did yesterday. The story my brother commented on. People liked it. I received questions and endorsements. A friend living in Germany completely surprised me by sending electronics to support and challenge me. I even launched this blog to start sharing my experiences.
"Have you ever considered highlighting the stories?". That simple question made me realize that he was right: those stories need to come back. And they will, here, in this blog.
My plan is to convert my Instagram archive to blog posts. I will reconstruct the videos and images and upload them here. I will accompany the videos with text. Stories about this journey. Lessons learned and the amazing insights gained. A year of trial and error. Insights I use on daily base in my daily work. I want to show why everyone with the slightest interest in engineering and programming, should get a Raspberry Pi. Arduino. Adafruit or any other micro controller.
So, consider this as an introduction to a series of posts. I just need to find an efficient workflow to get these posts going. I'll keep you posted about updates on Linkedin and Twitter or whatever. If you have any questions or want to get in touch. Don't hesitate to reach out.
The first video is about how it all started. Creating space for the plants. Recycle an old rack we had in the basement.
That's it for now.
Are you still here? Wow, that means you read the whole blogpost. Thank you so much. I really hope you enjoyed it!