What is this blog about?
This is a blog about my adventures in making things with microcontrollers, sensors, actuators and RF. Also it's about hacking things to make them work the way you want. Then it's about failure because failure will always be close when you set out to explore new things.
There probably will be the occasional rant about stuff that really pisses me off, too (and there is quite a lot of that).
The first few posts will probably be way too long, but I wanted to describe some of my first projects and the motivation behind them in greater detail to get 'em out of my system.
Update: The focus of this blog has considerably broadened as I took up building and flying RC models (multirotors only, for now) as a hobby. So there will be posts about RC stuff here, as well.
Who am I?
I am head of a a team of sysadmins in a mid sized company with about a hundred employees. Before becoming a sysadmin in 2001 or so, I did all kinds of stuff, from fixing tube amplifiers and distortion pedals in a guitar shop to studying social history (briefly) to various temp and assistant jobs at radio and TV stations.
So I do have a bit of a background in electronic engineering and computer science but I don't have any kind of degree to show for it. After finishing school I was just too busy playing guitar in a punkrock band and having a good time. So every single thing I know about this stuff I learned because I wanted to know about it, and not because I had to turn in a paper by the end of the week. Psychologists call this intrinsic motivation, and I think as far as motivation goes, this is the best kind.
Why am I doing this?
I've always been fascinated with technology. In my early childhood I would take apart anything I could get my sticky little paws on - and of course wouldn't be able to put it back together again. My parents weren't exactly thrilled when I disemboweled their stereo, so further support from their side was limited.
A problem back then was, that many of the Ideas I had were impossible to build. At least for me and with then (to me) available technology. So my hardware building activities were hibernating for almost two decades until I heard about a cheap little microcontroller prototyping board called Arduino.
When I learned about the Arduino in mid 2011 year I was absolutely fascinated about what you could do with microcontrollers and how cheap and easy it was compared to a few years ago. No more Assembler, no more expensive ass development boards and programmers, just a little board that cost about 30 Euros and could be programmed in C. The Arduino is kind of a gateway drug, though. It took me less than a week to get hooked and only a few weeks later I'd already spent a shitload of money on parts and tools, some of them I hadn't even heard of before. One day I didn't know what a logic analyzer was and the next I desperately needed one.
So I decided to tell people about the stuff I make, for mainly two reasons. One being that if I tried to tell my wife about it, she would pretend to listen for about half a sentence and then go: "Yeah, whatever, as long as you don't break the phone again..", but the other, more important one being that I loved the idea of open source from the moment I'd heard about it, and I've learned so much from people sharing their knowledge on the net, so I think I just wanted to give something back.