I make websites while I am parked up on delivery and overnight in my container delivery truck while I am away from home. I have been Tweeting and including the hashtag M25 and it was being re-tweeted. I contacted the person handling the account and they said they did it with a RaspberryPi and a “BOT”?
I set about finding out about this small computer and with the cost being so affordable I ordered the model B+ as well as a SunFounder Kit and the normal accessories. I had very little programming experience but with a two week honeymoon (and a very understanding wife) I had the time to try this wonderful computer out.
I managed to use Scratch to remind myself of Loops and structure of programming while controlling some switches and LED’s, a buzzer and some specific orders of many LED’s in a row. It was then that I researched and found “Geany”, a fantastic tool for seeing the code clearly, then running it in an integral terminal window.
I researched more out about Tweepy to send Tweets to Twitter and after a few hours I managed to tweet from the RaspberryPi. With the learning of buttons, LED’s and buzzers I was soon excited to realise I could make buttons for the truck, to Tweet the office my status. All I had to do was work out how to Email them at the same time as I doubted they would be checking Twitter!
So when I was back in the truck, I set to making something practical – and the iDataTruck was born.
I’m very fortunate that I was an electrician when I left school so I know how to solder (‘properly’ as I had done it as a teenager but melted most of the components I soldered). I had played around with Simon’s Basic but some very simple stuff and not many loops or ingenuity at all. The closest I came to a project like the Pi gives us was wiring up two sheets of tinfoil in-between some match sticks and connecting it to a disassembled gaming joystick that made the screen flash and make noise when someone came up the hall (on an Atari 600XL).
I had been spotted for my talents by our head of IT at my high school. He said that if I came back and did 6th form I could be network manager for both of the schools in Felixstowe. This was quite surprising as I had impressed him by changing the Autoexec.bat file on the network so that when the 3rd year English class logged in, a very basic embarrassing (DOS) moving image came up on all the screens! Even though he couldn’t prove it was me, he knew it probably was. This career starting opportunity was not be though as when I went home and told my dad, he said “Your not messing around at school any more, you can go out and get yourself a job”.
So the only computing I did was at work with programming boilers and CCTV recorder timers for a long time. I did wire up the headlights and horn as well as ignition, on a gear stick of my Mini using modelling clay (no 3D printers then) and got the lights flashing and horn beeping with a model aeroplane controller – It was great sitting in the pub watching my mates drive past, flashing back at me wondering where I was when they came back to see me!
In January of this year I wound up my on-line kitchen an worktops business, giving me time to be creative and explore new ideas. Having down time in the truck has meant that I am able to research and build more than if I still had the business. The 3G connection that I use for websites has given me access to the internet and I have 12v and 240v in the truck as well as plenty of room for a monitor connected to the RaspberryPi and space to create.
See the film that the BBC made about me here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30588704