operation overkill

This may be the dumbest thing I’ve set up yet.

So, some backstory. As you might know, I spend most of my free time on my balcony, cultivating my new lifestyle as a cannabis aficionado. While the actual weed part is all fine and good, I find I’m far more excited about all the collecting and categorizing and displaying I get to do: tiny jars are absolutely my jam, and there are a lot of them. Not every provider labels products the same way, so I’m left with a disorganized assortment missing the important information that goes into making an informed choice about the strain you’re about to enjoy. This lessens my fun a little, because I like order. Organized order, with shelves and codes and coloured jars, and shit.

I also like electronics, and needlessly complicated solutions to problems that aren’t really problems at all.

Yeah, you know where this is going.

Over the past week, I’ve been wracking my brain to think of how I can display information about what strains are currently being smoked, which bong they’re in, and what’s in the grinders, in addition to knowing what is in each unlabelled stash jar, and what’s on hand as part of our (Ed started it, I’m just here to complicate things) collection.

I have the Raspberry Pi and Hyperpixel display I set up as a Sonos album cover display last summer, but I couldn’t find any projects online that would do what I want. I thought about making a Twitter account that just tweeted the weed information I sent to the account, but nothing seemed quite right. The following list of ideas were tried and discarded:

  • Setting up the Raspberry Pi as a Twitter board
  • Setting up an Android tablet as a Twitter board
  • Using iPhone widgets to display a single Twitter account
  • Use a whiteboard
  • Set up a wall iPad that displayed a Google Doc

.. none of those worked. The Twitter account idea seemed solid, but when I tried it I didn’t like the character limits – and I’d have to mentally remember which tweets were out of date and which were still valid. Using a whiteboard was probably the easiest solution, but I don’t like easy and I have ridiculously large handwriting so I’d have to basically make a chalk wall that Ed would just draw dicks all over so that idea was out. Also, it turns out there ARE no iPhone widgets for Twitter, and the ones I tried (Aviary and Twidget) weren’t great: one wants to show a random selection of your entire timeline, and the other made me log into the separate account I made (@halfwackhoots, although I’m probably going to delete it soon) every day. Using Twitter as a public message board would technically work, but it wasn’t the most attractive application of my idea.

I needed to think bigger.

Like, digital signage bigger.

Obviously I don’t want a billboard for my balcony, but what about a small screen? All I really need is something that can play a slideshow of images, and accept them from a wireless source. Something like .. a digital picture frame.

Welcome to my cafe, apparently.

I found a small, wireless digital photo frame that I can send pictures to with an app. I’ve been spending most of my free balcony time not smoking cannabis, but making little posters of our collection and what we’ve been using, so there’s no more guess work about what you set up last night but can’t remember in the light of day. I have minimal graphic design skills, but I have another app that provides me with thousands of templates so I just pick something that looks cute and then waste an evening making dumb little signs:

It’s not a perfect system. These cards have a limited shelf life in that the text expires, so when we’ve finished with a particular strain or bowl and change to another, I need a new poster. I can’t imagine I’ll be doing this every single time, but for now that’s exactly what I’m doing and it’s the stupidest thing ever but it makes me laugh every time.

Stop on by the Halfwack Smoke Shack! We have a great selection, no prices, and many cats to pet!

I really need to teach myself Swift so I can make the organization apps I want but don’t exist. I’d like an app that allows you to track the strains you’ve tried and how you liked them, then suggest other strains you might enjoy based on your list. This exists for craft beer and wine, but not for cannabis. I’d also love an app that I could insert some text and have it generate me a poster and automatically send it to the frame. I can’t control the contents of the frame remotely, so when it’s time to hide a poster because it’s no longer in use, it’s a manual process to hide it via the frame’s UI.

I’m still working on a poster that shows the contents of the unlabeled stash jars, and one for the No Fun Box (we don’t often find strains that are a no-go but there are some. they’re kept in the “polite company” airtight container.) At this rate, I’m going to get really good at early Web 2.0 graphic design. If this whole tech writing thing doesn’t work out, maybe I can fall back on posters.

I’d say I need a new hobby, but that’s what led to this. At least it’s not a spreadsheet.

One thought on “operation overkill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s