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Computers, Arduino, Community and Bicycles

 
pollinator
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Location: Summers County, West Virginia
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This is a great thread.

I just turned 62 and I have advancing Arthritis and a pretty bad back.  I can actually ride a bicycle alot better than walking at this point, and so my bike is my assistive technology.  It gets me where I want to go. I strap a folding cane to it in case the need appears, but I get alot done with, and probably go about 3 miles on an average day and in most weather except the extreme.    Its a two wheel beach bike for now, one gear no muss no fuss, but someday it may turn into 3 wheeler and at some point it will probably have an engine. I can see how the three wheeler will be more useful for agriculture with its little basket in the back, for deliveries and pickups.

I have taken the computer more seriously as the years have gone by, and a young friend of mine occasionally uses the phrase "---the old people who can't use the computer" which is sobering, but it does illustrate what I see, that there is a particular segment of society which did not know digital technology ever, resisted it and are dependent in so many ways upon people who are computer-literate.  Another segment  just cant keep up with it because it is constantly evolving.  I get it, there are only so many hours in the day.  And the computer should be seen as a tool to protect the Earth and bring us together, and not some sort of escape or anesthesia.

I have worked with a number of seniors over the years helping them search the internet and learn the basics and understand their own computers. But there are people who just can't get their heads around how the whole thing is structured and how to troubleshoot when things go wrong. As for myself, it seems I wake up periodically and found I've missed the boat on something tech-wise and then struggle to catch up before I become one of those tech-related casualties. I therefore keep in close touch with the youngsters who are tech savvy (obsessed) even though I think they spend way too much time at it and play way too many games, I do try to learn what they think is current.

I think I am also inclined to take some intro computer courses since in most places I qualify for free higher learning due to my age, and I just need to see how far I am from the average person's computer ability.   I sometimes say not knowing the computer today is like not knowing how to dial a phone in 1967. Seniors should check out free higher education in their state.  You may find all sorts of useful classes at your local Community college or University.

Community is out there on the puter, research certainly, a perspective of the world. I installed a wifi card in my computer via a Zoom assist, which was a new one for me.  Its a tool for do it yourselfers. This board is community which would be denied me without a basic mastery of this technology.

I have recently had an interested in robotics, specifically Arduino, an open sourced microprocessor used for prototyping small robots.  I think that the ability to build little sensor robots that can see things I cant and report to me digitally will be of increasing importance.  Like the bike, my little creatures will be extensions of my own capabilities.  I'm learning Arduino via a kit I bought of Amazon and some great easy tutorials online.  There is an enormous community of Arduino users too for support and inspiration.  So the computer is a tool for creating tools.

Finally I will say that my ambitions are smaller but they are more focused. I no longer dream for acres and acres, Id go with a smaller project that I can manage physically, but its all good because it fits better.  I think its all about knowing your limitations but still being able to dream big and tackle interesting ideas.


 
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What are your Arduino plans?

I literally just sat down at my computer to play with an ESP8266 (baby brother of ESP32). They're like Arduino but unbelievably cheap.
 
Michael Littlejohn
pollinator
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Location: Summers County, West Virginia
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Actually Roy I'm just beginning with Arduino and it seems like a toy for the budding mad scientist.  I mentioned agricultural monitoring robots, and I hope to combine an insect-like walker with an array of sensors, a little army of them would be quite cool giving me real time data or coming home every day to let me download their findings.  Perhaps the robots will  be integrated into systems to monitor feed and water levels which would be extremely useful, time aquaponics water flow, track ambient temperatures around the house so I know where my heat and cooling is going, custom security devices to give me advance warning of tresspassers  both 2 and 4 legged,  And actually I wouldnt at all mind building an RC controlled drone and getting a bird's eye view of the place and doing some aerial photography, just for creativity's sake.  I am into my tutorials this week.  Yes they are affordable.  I am working off a basic kit of components and will probably build some 1 sensor walking bugs to start with.

 
Roy Sullivan
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That's very exciting!
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