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Member for
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Stream of Forum Topics

In 50 characters or less... Posted by Post date Last comment Number of Comments # of Comments new to you
Tool ideas for Farm Hack Ithaca brshute Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 4:44pm Monday, October 15, 2012 - 4:53pm 14
How does Fido know current time? brshute Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 3:57pm Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 4:05pm 2
"Add Event Group" Icon text cut off by Subscribe box brshute Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 11:42pm Monday, May 21, 2012 - 9:07pm 1
Seeking an architecture school for a FarmHack charrette brshute Friday, March 30, 2012 - 6:55pm Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 10:33pm 2
Introductions brshute Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 12:00am Monday, August 24, 2020 - 12:47am 65
FarmHack NH schedule of events brshute Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 12:00am Saturday, January 13, 2018 - 4:48pm 1
Harvest bin washer brshute Saturday, November 12, 2011 - 12:00am Monday, May 13, 2019 - 10:49pm 3

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If anyone has a place where I can roll out my sleeping bag in Ithaca on Saturday night, please get in touch at Thanks! --Ben Shute, Hearty Roots Community Farm + Farm Hack organizer

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I think that could work Louis. But you might want it to move only a certain amount per day-- for example you maybe wouldn't want the chicken house to go the whole 50' of the winch cable in one day, but rather 10' per day for 5 days. How easy would it be to add in a "controller" that would limit the length of winch travel per time period?

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I have been wondering about using 12v winches to move chicken tractors / henhouses. They can run off of a car battery and move things very slowly. A solar panel could recharge it easily. Once a week the farmer could move whatever the winch is attached to once the cable is mostly wound up (auger in the ground, heavy thing, or attach cable to another tree).

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Thanks a lot for scanning and posting these! I like the tool you used to display the images.

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Great photos RJ! (btw you were at HEARTY Roots Farm not Healthy Roots)

To answer the questions:

What did you find most challenging about the build process?

I was worried the the actual soldering of the circuit board would be challenging, and that I would mess something up. It turned out to be no problem and was actually fun. I found it difficult to completely understand the nuances of the circuitry and why I was soldering what things where-- but as long as there are clear diagrams, the farmer can choose whether or not to pursue understanding the theory, but still end up with a working tool.

What do you think other farmers will find challenging about the build process?

For farmers who are totally unfamiliar with circuitboards, soldering, computer code, etc. there might need to be some links to basic tutorials that can be consulted before jumping into the project. Or just more thorough explanation of some of the steps in the how-to-- like, most farmers probably will not understand what the purpose of "Downloading Arduino IDE and libraries" is without further explanation.

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Good idea Dorn, I just put up a tools page about this project,

I don't know how to upload the sketchup file of my Allis G, do you know how?

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Hi Grant-- Let me know when you have a graphic for the event and/or rsvp and/or schedule and I will put together a page at for the event and link to it from the front page. You can send it to

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Hi Ed, glad to have you here. I think your comment resonates with a lot of us who have been active in getting the Farm Hack project together. Our definition of "tool" has been pretty broad and there has been discussion that to solve a certain task (say, deep tillage) one might use a mechanical tool (yeoman plow) or a biological/management tool (tillage radish).

Don't hesitate to contribute "tools" and discussion that fit into the latter category!

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Using the cell phone to program it sounds great. In thinking through the interface let's keep in mind that the basic text plan for the phone has 200 messages/ month so people will probably want to try to keep below their limit, although I'm sure some users will be fine with paying a little more to get more updates, etc.

Louis I like the idea of being able to program lots of variables with one text using commas. Maybe an added feature could be coming up with a little web interface to make this more intuitive-- farmer could plug in the variables into a form (fill in box for upper limit, lower, limit, check box for updates daily, hourly, etc) which would generate a text message to the Fido coded properly, using some kind of online SMS tool? I don't know enough about this to know if it would work, or how it could work, just an idea.

Or, the web form could just generate a series of numbers/characters for the farmer to then text to Fido, which Fido would understand-- just a way to make the inputting more user friendly.

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In thinking about our default listing / tool organization let's think about who our average user will be and why they are visiting the site.

Hopefully our average user is a farmer who is looking for a solution to an issue on the farm. Ideally that user will also be a contributor to the site in terms of tool development; but the vast majority will be arriving because they are looking for information first-- and hopefully they will be contributing info through forum posts, questions, and maybe tool posts later. Just think about Wikipedia, and what percentage of users arrive to find information vs. to contribute information.

So if I am arriving at Farm Hack because I heard it could be a good place to find a solution to a problem on my farm, the default tool organization that I want to see would be tools by category, so I can find tools that are relevant to my farm or my problem (fruit growing tools aren't much use if I'm a dairy farmer, etc.).

It's also nice to be able to sort to see tools displayed other ways, for example those of us on the Farm Hack development team clearly are interested in seeing tools sorted by level of development, but I think it's not the most relevant thing at all to the average user.

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It's exciting that the Tools section allows for collaborative development of new tools, but I think we limit the depth of our potential tool resource library if we set standards that are too strict for what is and isn't a tool page.

Those who have been actively contributing to the development of Farm Hack are no doubt jazzed on using this platform to comprehensively develop new tools by collaborating online- but not all farmer inventors are going to want to delve in so deeply!

Let's remember to make space for someone who sees an interesting tool on an old timer neighbor's farm and snaps a few cell phone photos of it and gets a good description from the neighbor about how it was made. Keeping our platform open to lower commitment levels of participation is more inviting to new members of the Farm Hack community (who may delve in more deeply later), and will mean more information, even if some of it isn't completely thorough, in our library.

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A group at the first Farm Hack event at MIT thought this would be a good project too. I think Chris Yoder brought up the idea there and participated in the group. That day, the team came up with some tines that they bent in a vise, using old bicycle spokes for the metal. Not an adequate replacement for the Lely tines, but a good start. Maybe we can track down some of those team members to chime in on this.

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I was wondering about that too-- also, if you are logged in, you can "Add Wiki page" on the top bar, which takes you to a form to make a Wiki entry, but I don't know how you would associate that Wiki entry with a tool, or a forum, or whatever.

I think this would be pretty confusing for a typical user.