I'd like to share a story with you today, about a bonehead move I made.

It's the story of how I trusted a little bird to care for my fish, and how they ended up dead.

But first you need to know something about my friend Arduino.

Arduino is a plucky little microcontroller that runs the pump, and fans, and heater in my aquaponics system at Maple Bottom. He keeps my fish and plants alive and healthy. He also keeps meticulous records and tells me what's going on over the internet. Arduino is my friend. He watches my fish.

For a time, Arduino had another friend - a little bird named Twitter. While Arduino was happily sending me data through the internet, sometimes he would notice a problem and wanted to warn me about them. So Arduino told Twitter when there was a problem, and Twitter would chirp at me and send me a text message.

All was happy with Arduino and Twitter in the land of Maple Bottom, till one day a great and mighty rainstorm came. For three days it rained and it rained. The rain poured off the roof and down the hill. The garden overflowed with water. The water ran into the greenhouse where the aquaponics lives.

Arduino saw the rain and thought, "It's okay.  What can rain do to fish? It's not like they can drown :)"

But Arduino forgot something. Can you guess what it is?

The waters rose higher and higher till they began to touch the pump, when Arduino remember the Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor. If the pump gets wet, he thought, we will lose power. Then the aerator will shut off and the fish won't be able to breathe. Oh no!

And just exactly that happened. The power shut off and all went dark and quiet at Maple Bottom.

Not to worry - Arduino had a plan for just such a moment. He would tell Twitter to come and find me before the fish ran out of air. I would bail out the water, restore power, and all would be well.

"Twitter!" Arduino called, "Twitter!" But Twitter didn't answer.  He tried again, "Twitter, where are you?  I need you!" But Twitter didn't answer.

What Arduino didn't realize is that Twitter had changed her permissions settings, and would have to be reset before she would send any more messages. Twitter had flown the coop, at the worst possible time!

A deep and profound sadness settled upon little Arduino, as one by one the tilapias ran out of air, starting with the biggest one.

The next morning Jeremiah returned to find nearly half his fish floating in the fish tanks, and the rest gasping for air. He restored power, but Arduino was inconsolable. They wept together over the fish, and Jeremiah gave each of the tilapia a proper burial.

And as the rain cleared and the rainbow filled the sky, they vowed a solemn vow that they would never again trust that blasted little bird to care for the fish.

And thus concludes the tale of brave Arduino, foolish Twitter, and the tragedy of the tilapia.

The End.

Views: 295

Comment by Chuck Cannaday on July 14, 2014 at 4:21am

I absolutely love your use of tech to keep an eye on your fish.  Had you considered a couple of backup messengers in case twitter's little wings gave out on her?  Could your arduino update a facebook page, send a tweet, and notify a particular circle of your Google friends of any perceived issues?  On a good day you'd get three updates, but odds of permissions updates from all 3 networks at the same time would be low.

Comment by Jeremiah Robinson on July 14, 2014 at 8:28am

Hi Chuck,

Thanks!  I now use a service called Zapier which is much more reliable.  I do have a website that I post to, but I have to be looking at the internet to see a problem.

Jer...

Comment by Jonathan Russo on July 17, 2014 at 6:32pm

All of the feels man, my condolences.

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