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About Us


My name is Alan.  And I love technology and being outdoors.  But these facts alone are not that important, really.

What's important to me is that our inquisitive kids grow up loving technology, and not to be intimidated by it. That they empower themselves by understanding how the things that they interact with everyday work. Then - just maybe - they will even become the engineers of the future. Imagine stuff. Then, build them.

...So when our eldest girl challenged me to build a robot ("Rosie"), I became (unusually) determined.  I wanted to show her what could be done and how. After all, there is nothing more exciting and encouraging than seeing technology come alive. Move. Groove. (Sometimes) quite literally.

This is my personal blog that documents the continuation of that journey, as a series of wacky blog posts.

These inventions aren't going to change the world, nor make anyone any money. But that's precisely the point. Because it's about proving that, with enough curiosity and determination, anyone can get acquainted with technology and enrich themselves with a deeper understanding of the world.

Lastly, it goes without saying, life is always an unpredictable journey. Since this blog was first started a number of years ago it has evolved into something a little bigger. Unwieldy and chaotic, at times. What used to house seemingly innocuous experiments using a Raspberry Pi, now features rather convoluted IoT demonstrations and cloud computing. But one principle continues to remain central to our posts: we never forget to approach our projects with an abundance of humour. We never forget to have fun, nor take ourselves too seriously.

You can read more about our Mission Statement here.

You can also follow us on Twitter: 

Enjoy!


[May 2020] ...And in an exciting new personal development, I have also begun work at Amazon Web Services (AWS).

As such, this is that obligatory disclaimer to state that this blog post reflects my personal opinions and exploits only, and in no way represents the views of my current or past employers!


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MOST VISITED (APPARENTLY)

LoRa-Wan Kenobi

In the regurgitated words of Michael BublĂ©: It's a new dawnIt's a new dayIt's a new Star Wars filmFor meAnd I'm (George Lucas, and I'm) feeling good.  Unfortunately for Canadian Mike, the Grammy that year was won by the novelty disco classic with the famous refrain: We love IoT, even in Planet Tatooine*.

*Not true.

Clearly, the Star Wars producers didn't sincerely mean the lastJedi the previous time around.  Return of the Jedi, released during the decade that spearheaded cultural renaissance 2.0 with the mullet and hair-metal, was less economic with the truth.  Either way, we're going to take inspiration from the impressive longevity of the money-spinning space-opera and reboot our franchise with some Jedi mind tricks.  Except this particular flick doesn't require an ever-growing cast of unrecognisable characters, unless ASCII or UTF counts.  In place of an ensemble gathering of Hollywood stars and starlets, we will be assembling together a…

Beam me up, Rosie!

How do you get from A to B?

You can't, as As and Bs are just letters in the alphabet. But if A is your house, and B is a meerkat village at your favourite safari park, you'd probably use a device equipped with GPS.  Not to be confused with UPS, who will deliver you your chosen meerkat through the post. And why on Earth would Rosie Patrol need one? Precisely, it's because she is on Earth that she needs one. Because our planet is rather big. Big enough to get lost in. And we don't want to lose our friendly plastic boxes on wheels. And maybe, eventually when she's clever enough, she'll go and defeat baddies on her own. And return home afterwards for a well deserved Earl Grey tea.

Besides, why wouldn't we want to add another three letter acronym to Rosie Patrol's repertoire?
All superheroes need:One Raspberry Pi 3, running Raspbian OSComputer from which you are connecting to the Raspberry Pi Probably the most important bit: a GPS receiver thingmy. …

Tea minus 30

We're fast approaching Christmas time.  And if robots were to make one simple observation about the human species during the Christmas festivities, it's that they watch a lot of TV.  A LOT.  Often, accompanied by an inappropriate amount of greenhouse gas-producing food.  Stuff you don't normally eat during the remainder of the year - for good reason.

And most so-called shows on TV are boring to robots like Rosie.  After all, why watch a minor subspecies of the human race - celebrities - stumble awkwardly around the dance floor, dressed like a faulty, sparking circuit board?  Such branch of entertainment doesn't require robots to engage any of their proud circuitry.  Their processors remain idle.  Memory under-utilised.

But if robots are to be part of people's homes (and blend in), they need to look at least a little interested in some of this irrational nonsense.  Nobody likes a party pooper.  A killjoy.  And this is where a certain subgenre of TV entertainment co…