So..we made a thing. One of the fun problems we run into on a daily - shoot, almost a few times a day - is a “deploy” from IT. That is when they upload a bunch of new updates and fixes for both the website and our internal system.
Now, if you are working on something in our internal system when a “deploy” goes through, the site locks up. If you were trying to save something (like updating a shipping address or adjusting stock in storefront) it won't and everything that you did resets and everyone hates you.
We usually try to pay attention to the SparkFun IRC chat where our friends in IT let us know that it's going to happen, but that is certainly not a failproof system. No, we needed something more visual, something loud, something that says, “Stop working for like...a second." IT made a light and alarm system for this exact purpose - they call it "DeployBot" and it lights up and plays a little song when they are about to load data onto SparkFun.
And there it was - a sudden spark of genius!
Let's copy IT's DEPLOY LIGHT!
After connecting everything in what we thought were the right places, we soldered, burnt some fingers, broke some stuff, fixed it, programmed it and marveled at what we made.
Then we hung out for a month.
And then we realized we haven't finished it.
So we plugged it in to test it and the power supply fried...and we were sad. After gutting a new power supply and adjusting the code we now have a working flashing light thing that yells at us when something important is going to happen.
Basically we have the Ethernet shield plugged into our internet jack with an IRC client listening for key words written by IT or anyone else in the company trying to inform us of anything important (Deploy, First Platoon, Meatbags). When the Ethernet shield catches something it activates the relay powering the light and the MP3 trigger with a sound effect or song. For us it blurts out “LOCKDOWN” and the light flashes and we all cry because these are terrible words with red flashing colors, but hey, it sure is cool!
Thanks to: Todd, for making the first one and troubleshooting with us all steps of the way, IT for giving us the idea in the first place, and also IT for fixing Sparkle so that our DeployBot is now no longer necessary and has been made obsolete before we even really got it started...