I backed Thumby on Kickstarter

I backed this even though I really try not to back tech stuff these days. It always feels like I end up with a device that I really don’t need and then eventually sell it. However, this was reasonably priced and just such a cool idea. Plus, I had been thinking about devices that sit alongside your keys. This certainly fits that description.

Over the last few years I have pulled back from backing things on Kickstarter, at least backing technology projects. This is in no small part due to the experience of backing blocks smart watch, which failed to deliver anything at all, but also as I backed too many projects where I subsequently never used the final product.

However, I couldn’t resist Thumby. It is so cool that I have made an exception. I do expect that I will struggle to be able to use it. Especially with a screen of that size and eyesight that is less than great these days. But maybe it will be fun, and maybe, just maybe, it might even be useful. Although I am not holding my breath on that.

The device itself can be programmed using the arduino IDE, which is cool, and, whilst I am nothing like a good programmer, I am at least familiar with it. I doubt that I will write much original code for it, but I might amend something that others have written to make it suit my needs. Maybe.

According to Kickstarter it is due to be shipped later this month. When it arrives I’ll post something about it with some pictures I expect.

Finding new uses for old technology (or not)

I recently read an article about people finding new uses for old technology. When I saw the article I was very keen to find out the what and the how, but I was sadly disappointed to discover that it was mostly about people using iPod Shuffles as hair clips. Which is not what I was after really.

For ages I’ve been trying to think of ways to make use of old technology. Uses for the technology that make sense, that are productive and interesting. I’m not really interested in using an old iPod as a hair clip. I don’t think it would suit me for one thing.

One thing I did manage to cobble together was using my old Pebble smartwatch as a key chain.

Not that it is a very useful device if I am honest. It is kind of useful to have the time on my keys, and some notifications are helpful there too, but aside from that it has not been the most successful of experiments.

So what else?

Ideally I would like to find a way to make real use of the old PDAs I have. Over the last couple of years I have sold off a lot of the old devices I owned, and I owned a lot. But I still have a few left that I feel unable to part with. Most of these devices don’t connect to the internet, and if they do they are painfully slow.

A few of them can be used for rudimentary music making, but that is really all it is though. So what could I use them for? That’s the question that is on my mind a lot of the time. Ok, not a lot of the time, but periodically and it is something that I seem to go back to on a regular basis.

As you can see I have used these devices in a variety of different ways over the years, and, whilst some of them have been interesting and fun, none of them have really had long term appeal or efficacy.

Most of the time I find that I need less technology these days rather than more, so finding a real use for any of these devices seems to become harder all the time.

To start off with I am reviving the Sony NX73V. This is a lovely device and one that I actually bought from new.

I found that there was a restore image on the memory stick from 2018, which is probably the last time I went through this process. Next I need to go through all the stuff that is now on the device from the restore process, but that is a post for another day.

Goodbye RandomBus

You probably don’t know what this is about, and that’s just fine. RandomBus was a twitter bot that I built with one singular purpose. It was there to suggest new and interesting Audiobus set ups. Now, if you don’t know what Audiobus is then there’s pretty much no point in going any further I’d say.

If you do know what Audiobus is then you’ll understand this a bit more. Basically RandomBus generated 3 random apps to work inside Audiobus. The tweet would have links to all three. All you had to do was to click on them to try out the ‘scene’. Anyway, after running for a couple of years I finally decided to close down the bot. It was fun whilst it lasted, but I’m not sure of its relevance anymore.

Investing in Chirp.io

I remember seeing Chirp.io back at a Music Tech Fest when it was at Ravensbourne college. It was an interesting idea and I was quite curious about it, but I wasn’t sure how I would use it and how it could be useful. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing of course. Sometimes it takes a while for things to find a place in my world and I like stuff to be actually useful to me.

So when I found that Chirp.io was equity funding on Crowdcube I thought I’d take a look. At the same time they’re expanding chirp into the IoT world with an SDK and Arduino code. It’s getting interesting now. Also, they’ve just announced a Chrome extension, which could be fun.

I wonder where they’ll go next.

At Tech Pitch this week

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I always enjoy Tech Pitch, but going along last night was especially good. Great pitches with some super quality start ups and meeting some great people too. A thoroughly enjoyable evening out on the whole.

A visit to Turing Fest

I really wanted to get along to something at Turing Fest this year and as I was in Edinburgh I was able to. It was a bit of a stretch though as I was leaving on the day that Turing Fest started. Anyway, I got along for a session on the first day. The session was about aligning the interests of investors and entrepreneurs. Whilst it was largely based around the Edinburgh start up scene I learnt a lot about the venture capital process itself and how VCs and angel investors look at start ups.

I wish I could have stuck around for more of the sessions, but that wasn’t possible sadly. Maybe next year.

Turning a Mac Mini into a server

One of my next personal projects is to turn an old mac mini into a little server for playing about with. For the most part it doesn’t look to difficult to do, but it might be a fair useful thing to have around.

As yet I’m not completely sure what I’ll use it for, but it might come in handy for stuff and if nothing else it’ll be fun to tinker about with.