Once upon a time, Heathkit was a big business.
Yeah, I know I’m dating myself. Meh.
Heathkit kits were great, but honestly, I had an issue with them: They were either too focused on (re-)teaching basic electronics, or they assumed the tinkerer was an EE, so they didn’t give a lot of consideration to explaining what you could do with them. I mean, my first kit was an alarm clock, and it had a snooze button and big, red numbers that kept me waking up all night for a couple weeks to look for the fire trucks. But in general, most of their really cool items — frequency analyzers, oscilloscopes, and so on — didn’t come with much in the way of “how can I use this device?”
That’s why I’m going to start taking the MAAS blog and doc in a little different direction going forward. I want to start using real-world examples and neat networking configurations and other problem-oriented efforts as my baseline for writing. Heck, I’d even like to try using MAAS to control my little Raspberry Pi farm, although that’s probably not the recommended configuration, and I’m not sure how PXE-booting would work yet. (But if I get it going, I promise to blog it.)
Don’t get me wrong; the MAAS doc is pretty solid. I just want to do more with it. As in not just update it for new versions, but make it come alive and show off what MAAS can do. I also want to pick up some of the mid-range applications and situations. MAAS is well-envisioned in large datacentres, and there are obviously hobbyists and small shops tinkering, but that’s not the bulk of people who could genuinely benefit from it. I want to dig into some of the middle-industry, small-to-medium-size possibilities.
Since I already know something about small hospital datacentres, having worked with them for about ten years, that might be a good place to start. Hospitals from 50-200 beds tend to have the same requirements as a full-size facility, but the challenges of a somewhat smaller budget and lower IT headcount. It really feels like a good sample problem for MAAS.
Yeah, I’m gonna sleep on it for a week and tinker a little, so set your Heathkit alarm clock for next Tuesday and check back to see where it’s going. And turn over the other way, so you’re not staring at the bright-red, segmented LEDs all week.