Development Projects

Automatic Plant Watering Project

After nearly losing  a few plants at work with extended weekends with all the snow, I figured it’d be nice if there was a way for my plants to get water while no people were around. I’ve been toying with Arduino for a little bit now, and believe I’ve found a great project to use it with!

I’m going to make an automatic plant watering system!

My plan is to hook a moisture sensor up to my Arduino controller, then write up a little script to check the moisture sensor levels. The moisture sensor just gets inserted in the soil and is only a few dollars. So knowing when the soil is dry enough to need water, shouldn’t be too difficult to get working.

I’m still a bit puzzled on how I’m going to deliver the water, but I think attaching an electronic valve to the Arduino board would work out in this case. The plan to to hook up an IV bag or something similar, fill it up and let gravity and the electronic valve work their magic when the soil gets dry.

Also thinking of rigging up a solar power source, but will concentrate on those first two problem first.

Very excited to get started and will post updates and photos as I progress on this project.


visitavalonnj.comFinished up one of the cooler projects I’ve had the pleasure to work on a few weeks ago. The site is

I’ve worked with the client in the past and they were looking for a new site to help with the tourism of Avalon, NJ (a very nice place). Working with them is excellent and probably the best overall client relationship I’ve had to date. They know what that want, and present a professional design/concept and I build them a web solution to meet their needs.

In this case they really wanted a site that would be easy for them to maintain and add and edit content on a regular basis. Oh yeah, and they also needed it done before the start of their tourism season (middle of March ideally).

With only a few seconds into the conversation I knew that Drupal would be the perfect match for their needs.

Some modules featured in the creation of this project were:

  • Views – while I use it in every Drupal site I’ve ever worked on, it was heavily used in this project and really helped cut down on development time.
  • Calendar and Date – they needed an events calendar and the Calendar module was great to build upon. They also used dates with other content types and the Date module was a real life saver in these cases too.
  • Media – the client wanted the ability to add images inline view a wysiwyg editor. While still not a perfect solution, the Media module did help us give the client such a ability.
  • Facebook OAuth – they wanted users to have the option to login with their Facebook account instead of having to create a separate account for their site. This module was simple to set up and got the job done.
  • Google weather – this allowed us to easily bring in and display the latest weather in Avalon without too much hassle. Just some minor CSS tweaking was involved to get it done.
  • Social media – a very new module and it’s release was most timely. An excellent way to bring the now common social media button onto a website.
  • Webform – again a well known staple that just gets the job done.
  • Omega Theme – a real lifesaver for building a responsive web design. I highly recommend it as a starter theme for any new site.

The whole building block structure of Drupal really allowed us to deliver some cutting edge features without having to start from scratch. This really saved us a great deal in time and costs ($$$) and allowed me to concentrate more of the really unique aspects of the site.

Most impressive was how well the client has been able to use Drupal to manage the site. Our training simply consisted of a few minutes on a phone call. The admin interface was very intuitive to them and I did make sure to label all content types and fields so that each part was clear to them when it came time for them to manage the site.

Again, this was a pretty impressive project and and absolute treat to work with them again! I’m very impressed with it’s outcome and am very excited to check back with it’s performance in a few months.

Lots of fun.


Project Hosting on Google Code

I finally got around to hosting a project on Google Code. I’ve used countless projects that have been hosted on the service over the past few years, but strangely, never went through the process to host one of my own.

Setup was a breeze, just navigate to Project Hosting on Google Code, then login with your Google account. If you’re one of the 5 people online without a Google account, sign up is free and takes a few seconds to do.

I’ve found it to be a great spot to host an open source project. It’s simple and free. I downloaded ZigVersion to manage my Subversion on OS X. After a few minutes I had that all setup and synced with my hosting.

I’d also like to play around with GitHub more as well, to compare the 2 services.