Who Has Two Thumbs and Made O’Reilly’s Radar?

Tim-bitbeambot

Okay, that tweet will probably be on my Top 10 Awesome Moments of 2011 list. But let’s back up for a second. How’d we get here?

On October 2nd, I presented my Angry Birds playing robot at the Jenkins User Conference in San Francisco. You can watch the video on YouTube, fast forwarded to the roboty bits at 14:25.

[The conference video doesn’t cut away from me while I narrate the two robot demo videos. But all is not lost! You can enjoy the two demo links here and here. Oh, and the slides, here.]

Weeks before the conference, I announced that I would unveil the bitbeam robot in my talk. Not satisfied with a mere Worldwide Premiere, I decided BitbeamBot deserved a Galactic Premiere. I used this as motivation to actually finish building the robot. I call this “Embarrassment Driven Development — make a big public promise to deliver on a deadline or risk embarrassment. Let me tell you, EDD works. Just a few hours before my conference talk, I was still furiously testing circuits and writing code, trying to get it all to work. But I pulled it off. I got the demo working, recorded a quick video of it working on my desk, then sprinted over to the conference to give my talk.

The talk went well. A good time was had by all. Okay, so the next day, I was scheduled to talk with Tim O’Brien from O’Reilly about Selenium. Still fired up by the success at JenkinsConf, I convinced Tim to let me talk about my robot. (He really had no choice, though. I was talkin’ robots with or without him.)

The interview is up on YouTube, and Tim posted his summary on O’Reilly Radar.

A few day’s later, Mr. O’Reilly himself posted that tweet.

And he lived happily ever after. The End!

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