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01 — Christmas day family projects.

2015-01-04. By Patrick.


Christmas. One of our favorite times. Sometimes we go on ski trips and those are much fun. Sometimes we just stay home and enjoy family. Those are fun in a different way. But the last two Christmases have been different. And it all came about from Kelly's plans.

Christmas 2013, Kelly's plan was to get each of us Raspberry Pi. Each of us means: Kelly, Isaac our older son, Luke our younger son, and me. My initial reaction was that they would end up being placed on a shelf. I understood how some people had used Raspberry Pis. And I thought many of the project I had seen were cool. But my impression was that people started with a need and found that the Raspberry Pi would work as part of the solution. I did not have the imagination to see how her plan would work. Each one of us would be getting a Raspberry Pi without any need for one. And only Kelly and I would even know they were coming. How would that make for a fun family time? After all, new technologies take time to understand.

After weeks of talking to Kelly about the Raspberry Pis, I finally got excited. I had a number of exciting projects in my mind. But as a Christmas family "fun day"? I was still skeptical about anything special happening on that day. Sure, Isaac and Luke are into tech stuff. I knew they would think they were neat. But wouldn't they just open the gifts, say "coool", and then put them away to check out some other time? I'm still not sure how Kelly came up with the plan. But she was right. We all spent the entire day working on the Pis together. Everyone went off in a different direction. Isaac had some neat networking up in no time and Luke was the first to try an alternate operating system (actually two separate ones). Isaac's networking is still with us as Kelly's Pi was stolen by Isaac to set up a 'family server'.

Christmas 2014. The same thing happened. This time it was Arduinos hooked up the small Parallax Robots (BOEBots). I really don't see how Kelly comes up with these ideas. Again, everyone was working on projects together. Isaac did much work on getting whiskers and IR sensors working. Luke did much on getting a compass working.

So what is it that made these two Christmases so distinct? We were usually not working on the same projects. It was more that we were all working on parallel projects using the same platform. So many problems were in common. And problems that were unrelated to other projects were easy to discuss with each other. At least, that's the way I remember it.

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