The Aftermath of Christmas: the Deployment

by francine Hardaway on December 28, 2008

My family knows they can’t just give me pajamas or sweaters for Christmas, so they wildly search catalogs and online sites for the edgy, technologically advanced (and imperfect) geeky gift they know I will like. This year I got a couple of doozies (in addition to the organic nail care kit and the perfect Lululemon Pilates outfit).

The easiest to deploy was the Easy Bloom Plant Sensor, a USB device that helps you pick plants for your location and season, monitor ailing plants, and create a custom plant library.

This is perfect for me, because I live in a desert environment in Phoenix, and a salty, cold, foggy climate in Half Moon Bay. When I moved into my house, the woman next door told me that because my plants would all be exposed to salt spray, many of them wouldn’t survive. Of course she was right, and I lost half my front yard garden during the first winter.

After three years, the survivors have grown bigger and taken up the empty spaces, but I would like to try some plants that take less water as my landscape people have my sprinklers set to something not ecologically or economically feasible over the long term.

So I installed the EasyBloom software, synced it with the USB sensor, and entered my zipcode. Then I unplugged the sensor, plugged it into a little plastic stand, and stuck it in my front garden for 24 hours. When I took it in, it magically read the data it had collected about sun, shade, humidity, temperature, precipitation, and whatever, and gave me back a list of plants that would grow in my environment. The list can be filtered for season, color of bloom, annual or perennial, ground cover, vegetable of flow, and lots of other criteria. I filtered down to drought tolerant, insect tolerant, winter, and 2 feet tall before I reduced my selection to “none.” (Winter is the rainy season in HMB)

Through the magic of software, I could download either a photo view or a list view of the plants, and I can even order them.

If it’s a plant I already own, I can find out 1)what it is 2)how to keep it alive or 3) how to bring it back to health.

The interface is childlike, so it takes only minutes to get the EasyBloom Plant Sensor working.

But don’t get me started on the Panasonic Networked Camera. I’ll save that for another post, or whenever I either successfully deploy it or throw it back at the manufacturer. It required a MAC address to follow the stupid instructions, and the Windows-only software it came with was obsolete and tried to connect the camera via the internet using IE7, a browser I have tried to remove from the machine many times because I use Chrome on my PC. No one could have easily set this up by following the “EasySetup” instructions in the software, or by RTFM (reading the friggin manual). It violated all my principles for a good product.

But I have to conquer it. Not only because my daughter gave it to me, but because it’s designed to monitor Buppy the Puppy and his pals as they TPs my house and eat the Christmas tree ornaments when I leave the house. We need to know which dog is the culprit, and who might need his stomach pumped.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: