Koti Home Automation And Mr. Rudolf, The Door Bell Bot

Ever since my friends Anna and Sergey gave me an Arduino Starter Kit as a birthday present, I’ve been experimenting with hardware: programming microcontrollers and connecting sensors to build a small home automation system. Prior to that I was a software-only person, with neither experience nor interest in hardware.

I thought I’d try that Arduino kit maybe once, since I had it anyway, and then just shove it in a closet somewhere. Then I connected a thermistor to the controller and saw my home temperature displayed in the console in Celsius, Fahrenheit and Kelvin! Seeing programs come to life, making things happen in real world and reacting to it got me excited for real. Turns out, those boring topics from school physics and math lessons have actual practical application. And I can be part of it, and come up with my own projects.

So here’s what I’ve been up to.

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Berlin

I moved to Berlin for a month of August to explore hidden beaches and a swimming pool on a river, tepee village, bike lanes, Back to the Future from a gentrification point of view, abandoned airport and a farm on a parking lot.

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Brooklyn. Chapter Two

This is Chapter Two of my Brooklyn story (read the beginning in Chapter One).

In this chapter: Stunning views of Red Hook, bicycles, Dumbo and Studiomates. The Brick theatre and a robot actor. Surreal couchsurfing in Williamsburg. Gentrification or how neighbourhoods change: Bushwick, Bed-Stuy and Gowanus. Smorgasburg flea food market. And delicious doughnuts.

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Brooklyn. Chapter One

In this chapter: Greenpoint and bagels, Jews in Williamsburg, Manhattan and the subway, food coops, community gardens and Brooklyn’s charming neighbourhoods: Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Park Slope.

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One Month Across the USA: the Movie

I’ve recently returned from a month-long trip across the United States. This time I decided to shoot a movie to go with my usual posts with pictures and stories. Here it is:

https://youtu.be/Mm1gwVTi7SM

I’ve taken it seriously, maybe even too much so (as I often tend to do), so I’ve spent a lot of time editing and writing subtitles in both English and Russian. So please turn those on, unless you speak both languages and have a really loud sound.

Enjoy and let me know what you think! If you really like it, you can thank me.

Paris and Amsterdam

For a few years I was convinced Paris is the best city in the world and nothing could ever compare. I would travel to other places, most of which I enjoyed and had fun at, but deep down I knew that Paris is the place to be. Its streets, parks, boulangeries, among with baguettes and croissants in the mornings, wine and cheese in the evenings with friends or alone, overlooking La Seine, made me come back at least once a year, sometimes twice.

From the very first Eurotrip I also really liked the Netherlands and Amsterdam — bicycles, canals and amazing architecture.

In fact, I loved Paris and Amsterdam so much, I even set my home Wi-Fi network name to “Paris” and used “Amsterdam” as a password. This is some serious stuff. Then I took a break for some time, during which I discovered other awesome places like New York (especially New York), Copenhagen and Berlin, but this summer I decided to return. Turns out, even though I’ve visited Paris half a dozen times, there still is a side of the city I completely missed out on. Same is true for Amsterdam, but let me start from the beginning.

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