Sometimes it’s just too easy

My church, being a modern and forward-looking organisation, keeps its rotas in a spreadsheet on Google Docs. Last week, I was asked if it was possible to send a text message to the victim volunteer the night before they're due to do their rota'd job. In the good old days, this would have involved an old PC, a brick-like Nokia mobile phone, some difficult to source cables and some low-level serial commands. And in 2014? I put it all together in less than an hour using Twilio's SMS API. I picked up $25 of credit in a promotion at JAX London 2014, and that should last us the best part of a year.

Let's take another example. Five years ago, I would have relished building my own computer controlled central heating timer, using a Raspberry Pi (if such a thing had existed) and some relays. But now? You can get Hive installed for £200, and it has the website and the app for your phone all ready to roll.

Progress is usually a good thing, but in our world of software-defined everything in the cloud, I do wonder if I'll ever find an excuse for a project where I do the hardware bit too.