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First Things First...

Hi <<First Name>>,

SOMEONE left the heater on in my shed.

It wasn’t the first time, either. Technically speaking though, it’s not just my shed. It’s our shed; I share it with my family. I work there on Mondays and Fridays. It was built in a really nice spot at the end of our garden by my brother-in-law, who builds sets for TV shows for a living. It’s insulated, got a proper floor and gets plenty of light. I rigged up a mini hifi (free) and a pair of tannoy speakers (£2 at a school sale) with a bluetooth receiver. There’s a wifi repeater and a whiteboard ready and waiting to capture thinkery scribbles. There are a few old computers, suitable only for the running of Minecraft and Scratch, but which refuse to give in, soldiering onwards in the creation of endless virtual worlds by chocolatey fingers.

 - I think I left the heating on in the shed…
This is said by my son who’s in the bathroom at 3am.
 - I think I better pop out and check…
5 mins later everyone is back in their respective beds and the heating in the shed (which was indeed left on) has been switched off.

And that brief grumpy exchange in the small hours formed the beginnings of an idea. The purpose, or enough of a purpose to provide an excuse to start. The enough-purpose framed a puzzle. A wonder. A challenge. What if I could rig up a Raspberry Pi to alert me when someone (cough, including me…) leaves the heating on in the shed? After approximately 5 seconds of thought, I decided that this could officially qualify for my first Internet of Things project. And so my course was set. Whilst the kids were busy on Minecraft, I got the soldering iron out and started to make. I’ve recently realised that if I start making something in view of my kids, they’ll soon start asking questions too. Here’s where I got to:

The things you don’t know

Writing this having successfully made a thing (whoop whoop!), I got to thinking how exactly I made it there. Of course, making something is easy when you know how (apart from the work involved in actually making it). Thinking back on what I needed to know in order to make this, I roughly separated it out into three categories. 

At any point in a maker journey, there is:

  1. The stuff you Know you Know (KK)
  2. The stuff you Know that you Don’t Know (KDK)
  3. The stuff you Don’t Know that you Don’t Know (DKDK)

So, after reflecting on who knew what, here’s my table of knowledge:

Don’t worry too much if this is all gobbledygook, and I’m sure I’ve missed some stuff out here, but on the whole, I reckon that I was pretty well teed up to succeed in my self-imposed challenge. Learning the stuff in the “You know you don’t know” category starts with a search engine. There are obvious keywords to search for, and some excellent tutorials, blogs and troubleshooting online just waiting to enlighten me. At the outset, there was only one thing I couldn’t see - how to fix IFTTT Google Drive authentication. The fact that authentication was the problem was an informed hunch from experience. It was the hunch that let me convert the DKDK into a KDK.

Five years ago, if you’d asked me can you draw?, I’d have replied not really. If you asked me now, I’d reply Absolutely and YOU CAN TOO! and then get very animated about how if you do anything every day, you’ll get a lot better at it and how when we’re young we decide that we’re not good at a whole bunch of stuff based on very shaky evidence. But what would my table of knowledge look like for the journey of creating visual thinkery from conversation?

There was so much I didn’t know that I didn’t know. As some of those things came into view, they changed the nature of some of the other things too. It’s a connected terrain of knowledge, and I started out seeing very little. In terms of making anything, each of us starts in a different place - and surely that's a good thing.

Interestingly, though, I never set out to learn how to draw. I set out to make things that resonated with people. 

Visual things. Visual thinkery


Here's some of the thinkery I've blogged in the last couple of weeks:

Love and hate

love and hate

A story.

Of how their life had changed.

There’s none so powerful as a story.

And this is what I heard him say.

The post Love and hate appeared first on Visual Thinkery.

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The Principles of Makery

The Principles of Makery

As I thought about the making process behind my Raspberry Pi being installed as protector of my shed from overheating, I found myself wondering (as I do) about the principles of Makery. Here are three that came to mind in the building of this project.

If you think of others, let me know…

The post The Principles of Makery appeared first on Visual Thinkery.

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Raspberry Pi – protector of the shed…

Shed temperature alert system

SOMEONE left the heater on in my shed.

You can read all about it here in the most recent dollop of thinkery to your inbox.

The post Raspberry Pi – protector of the shed… appeared first on Visual Thinkery.

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