Pushing the Pico - D3d_Dr0p and Hyperlocal E-Graffiti

I've recently discovered that Raspberry Pi Pico W's, a tiny microcontroller with a wireless chip, are only $6 a board, a price so low that my mind created a myriad of projects around it that I just had to start on. So, as any rational human would do, I bought 20 of them.

The first project I wanted to work on was using them as Wifi extenders and mesh network devices. That said, I acknowledged that I am jumping into the world of embedded systems programming and had no idea what I was doing, so I was better off finding a solid starter project first to get my feet wet.

I came up with the idea behind D3d_Dr0p after hearing about a local school banning a ton of books, because Republican politicians in the US are hell bent on trying to prove that Orwell was actually an optimist. I wanted to find a way to hide a bunch of Picos around town with open WiFi networks and a captive portal site that linked to the banned books.

HydroponicTrash has a great version of this idea on his substack. Pico W's allow you to create a WiFi network and write up a simple captive portal site (or a site that requires you to view it upon logging into the network) from basic HTML and CSS. My plan was to set up a WiFi network on the device, write up a site that would tell viewers what books were banned and how to circumvent the bans, do some simple wiring to get a battery pack or, hell, maybe even a solar charger or a wall outlet plug, and start hiding them around town.

Then I spent 4 hours of my day trying to figure out how to make a light blink.

Turns out, embedded systems programming is not as easy as I thought, even when I reeled back away from my grander delusions.

This is going to be a long grind, but you can follow it on Mastodon, GitHub or this blog. Forgive my shitty C code.