100 Guides for Brown Dog Gadgets

Back in March 2020 things were… weird, right? But that’s when I started writing guides for Brown Dog Gadgets. The guides and resources are free for anyone to use, and we hope that people like the guides, find them useful, and support us by purchasing from the BDG shop.

One year of projects! While you should definitely check out the whole Project Database, if you want to see all of my projects they’re listed on my profile page.

I added screen shots below showing them all. Oh, there’s a few I didn’t write, and just updated it, but there are a few new ones not listed here, so it’s still over 100. :)

The projects range from paper circuits, switches, greeting cards, no-sew wearables circuits, Arduino projects, and lots of micro:bit projects. I’ve learned a lot of new things along the way, and I think I’ve become pretty good at writing guides! For each guide I usually do the writing (copy and code), illustrations, photography, and video. It’s a great mix that covers many of my skills, and I like doing it.

And while I’m not great at math, 100 guides in about a year is an average of two guides per week. Not bad! Here’s to the next year of guides.


CheerLight Details


The CheerLights folks posted about my build, but at the time I hadn’t been able to provide many details, so I wrote up some details

CheerLights is a fun little project that is powered by ThingSpeak, a service which makes it easy to use Twitter as a control mechanism for the Internet of Things.

CheerLight Innards

Originally I just tossed a few notes up on the Milwaukee Makerspace wiki, but now I’ve got some code on GitHub and a detailed project page for my CheerLight.


Here’s my CheerLight connected to my MacBook Pro, ready to change colors at your command.

(And yes, my project is called "CheerLight" mainly because it consists of just one light. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with.)


Make A Sketch

Make A Sketch

The Make A Sketch features an Arduino-based microcontroller and a Processing application that work together to function like an old Etch A Sketch, letting you draw images using just two knobs. It’s a blend of old-school analog art with the modern digital world.

At least, that’s the fancy copy I wrote to explain it… But really, that’s what it is.

Back in May 2011 I did something we called Processing Month (as inspired by Vormplus) and I started out publishing some simple Processing sketches, and about halfway through May, with Gallery Night looming, I decided to try something a bit more challenging, and the Make A Sketch is the result.

Along the way I ended up drilling acrylic, breaking acrylic, drilling more acrylic, learning about Posterous, writing some Perl code, rewriting some Perl code, destroying an Apple Cinema Display, and finally putting it all together into a complete piece.

I used the RED ONE we have at Z2 to shoot this little video explaining it all… There’s also some time lapse footage from Gallery Night, and a selection of drawings from that night.

Oh, I also ended up building a Project page, and a page for the Make A Sketch, as well as permanent static pages for many of my other projects, such as Time Lapse Bot. These pages will serve as the home for each of my projects, and will point to all the associated blog posts, and other related info.


What will you do at MilwaukeeDevHouse1?

MilwaukeeDevHouse1 MilwaukeeDevHouse1 will take place March 14, 2008, and we hope to see you there.

Sure, we hope to combines serious and not-so-serious productivity with a fun and exciting party atmosphere, but what do you plan do when you are there?

SuperHappyDevHouse23 just took place, and here’s a few things people had on their TO DO list for it:

  • solar-powered Arduino
  • Hello World in Adobe Air
  • home automation web UI
  • trying to learn how to write a stored proc in Postgresql
  • reading about hotel software.
  • Working on a coupl’a Facebook apps
  • Working on a random heatmap overlay generator

I’ve already had one person say “I’ll bring nasty toxic chemicals to etch PC boards and make something” so already, we’re looking at something interesting happening. :)