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Getting Out of Bed in the Morning

The Chicken Shed

You know those annoying automated telephone information services?  “Dial 1 for Technical Support, Dial 2 for Sales, Dial 3 to realise you are sad wetware being told what to do by a machine?”.  Soz, but I used to make these.  It paid for a house I had out in the hills.

I’m ashamed to admit I did the audio for all jobs that came my way including a competition line quiz that kept the user on the line for at least 10 minutes at $4 per minute before they could leave their contact details, which, most likely, went into the bin.  Sucked in kid.  Sucked in Mum paying the phone bill.

Up until recently I was still supplying voice recording for the VCE results services.  For… Veggie Maths… you have… failed… dial 1 to receive a MacDonalds job application form in the post.

My voiceover business was like a Betamax video library.  It was only a matter of time it was replaced by something better.  In this instance, better was the electric internet.  Click Home for the Home page…

I lived on a half-acre block at the time and I owned chickens.  I love chickens.  They are all Zen and Dinosaur like.  They are a beautiful live garden feature.  I would rescue them from battery farms and enslave them under slightly better living conditions.

I built a walk-in chicken shed with my bare hands.  Externally accessible laying box.  The chicken area was surrounded by a high fence which extended along the ground surface.  If you were a fox you would need to dig a hole at least a meter long before you could murder the chickens.

I then went on to fully automate the chickens living environment.

At dawn the shed door would open allowing the chooks to free range in their large, secure compound.  Fresh water was continually topped up from mains and a large bin held chicken pellets which were distributed daily.  At dusk, with the chooks safely inside, the door would close.

The whole affair was run by an old AT class PC and a program written in QBASIC driving relays via a parallel port.

I am proud to say the system had an average uptime of 3 weeks without human intervention.  Sadly though, one chicken lost it’s life to a hastily deployed door opening mechanism.  I console myself with the fact that, by the evidence remaining, it’s death was quick and painless.  Sorry old chook. 🙁