Year in Review 2019 – Random Nerd Tutorials

Can you believe that 2019 is over? It’s hard to believe that another year has just passed by so quickly and that Random Nerd Tutorials is almost 7 years old!

Year in Review 2019 Random Nerd Tutorials

It’s time to reflect about what happened throughout this year and start thinking about what will come in 2020.

Summary of 2019 – most popular:

Most Popular Projects

Let’s take a look at the most popular content on the Random Nerd Tutorials website throughout this year.


The most popular content throughout this year was undoubtedly the ESP32-CAM.


The first video we released about the ESP32-CAM got more than 300k views until now, and it is definitely the most popular video of this year and one of our most popular videos of all time. It got 20 times more views than our other “regular” videos.

Check all our projects and tutorials with the ESP32-CAM:

The ESP32-CAM become so popular in our blog and we’ve received so many tutorial requests that we’re preparing a dedicated eBook/course with ESP32-CAM projects to be released in the first months of 2020.

What projects/content would you like to be included in the course? Let us know in the comments’ section.

ESP32/ESP8266 + Server Domain

This year, we’ve also dedicated some time building projects with the ESP32 or ESP8266 that include having your own server domain.

DIY Cloud Weather Station with ESP32/ESP8266 MySQL Database and PHP

In our opinion these projects are very interesting, because you can have your own cloud server to publish and access your sensor readings from anywhere in the world by accessing your own domain name. 

Here’s all the projects we’ve released that include having your own server:

Most popular guide

The most visited blog post this year was the ESP32 Pinout Reference Guide.

ESP32 Pinout Reference Guide

This guide is very useful to check which pins are better to use in your projects. The ESP32 comes with so many pins with different functions that it can be hard to pick up the best GPIOs.

Before starting any ESP32 project, we always check this guide, so make sure you bookmark the ESP32 GPIO Reference Guide and get back to it whenever needed.

This guide was so useful, that we’ve decided to write one for the ESP8266 too:

Throughout this year, we focused more on ESP32, ESP32-CAM, and MicroPython with ESP32 and ESP8266.

We also updated most of our Arduino guides, but we created very little new content for Arduino. Would you like to see any Arduino guide that its not covered yet? Or would you like to see simple and fun projects for beginners?

Most popular video

ESP32-CAM Video Streaming and Face Recognition with Arduino IDE

As mentioned previously, the ESP32-CAM was the most popular content throughout this year and this video was by far the most popular. You can watch the video below.

New Development Boards

This year we’ve dedicated some time experimenting with new development boards.

We also recently received new ESP32 boards with camera that we can’t wait to show you. 

RNT Courses

This year we didn’t create any new course. Instead, we took a lot of time updating and making our existing courses even better. We added new units, fixed bugs and typos, etc. Anyone that buys one of our courses gets free future updates – you have access to the new editions.

Here’s the highlights of this year:

Visit the Courses Page to see All the Courses »

Maker Advisor

For those of you who don’t know, Maker Advisor is our other website were you’ll find reviews about development boards, tools and gear for your electronics lab. That’s also where we show where you can buy your electronics components for your projects (check the Tools page).

This year we didn’t add as much new content compared to last year, but we’ve updated most of our buying guides. We’ve focus mainly on reviewing new development boards, highlight for the ESP32-CAM and T-Call ESP32 with SIM800L GSM/GPRS.

Are there any tools that you’d like to see reviewed on Maker Advisor? Let us know in the comments’ section.

Favorite Tool

If we would have to mention one of our favorite tools this year, it is undoubtedly the TS80 soldering iron. It is so easy to use, works incredibly well and occupies very little space. Read our review and see it for yourself:

Most popular blog post

The most popular blog post throughout this year on Maker Advisor was ESP32 vs ESP8266. If you still don’t know the different between the ESP32 and ESP8266 or you’re not sure whether you should get an ESP32 or ESP8266 check out that blog post:

About Creating Videos

At the end of last year, we told you that one of the goals for this year would be creating more video tutorials. However, we’ve just published 20 videos this year, which is not bad, but it is far beyond what we had as a goal for this year. 

Creating videos in this field is very time consuming, especially for us: our native language is not English and although we write in English everyday, we don’t speak English on a daily basis (we live in Portugal and speak Portuguese). 

All our videos are scripted. This means that we write a script, then we record it, and then, we put the audio together with the video. We record the script several times until we get something acceptable (that we still find mediocre). We want to make sure that everyone can understand what we are saying and don’t find it annoying. 

Additionally, since we moved in to the new house, we are having some troubles recording the audio. We’ve experimented with different microphones and we still don’t like our recordings. We’ve recently bought a new microphone and transformed our pantry into a studio for recording (see photo below). We’re still trying to figure out the right settings, but it’s getting better.

When it comes to video, we also invested in some new equipment. We bought a new lens for our camera to capture video with better quality and get better photos. We got two softboxes to get better lighting in our videos. See how the new setup to record video looks like in the photo below.

Have you been following our work and noticing that the photos are getting better? We hope so.

We also would like to record some videos showing up on camera, but we are both very shy, and our speaking skills are not that good, which makes it even more difficult. So we end up not recording ourselves at all. Should we try it next year?

New Office

At the end of last year we bought a house (two-bedroom apartment) to live and work together. After six months of remodeling work, we moved to the new house at the end of June and set up a whole new office.

Note: people often think that we are siblings, because we have the same last name. We are actually a couple (Rui Santos and Sara Santos), but we just happen to have the same last name “Santos”.

Here are some photos of the new office (and old office for comparison). Click the arrows to see all the photos.

Our old office was getting too small for the two of us. Now, we have lots of space and we can have everything organized.

We have a whole dedicated space to record audio and a dedicated table to record videos. This way, we can work more efficiently and we don’t have to remove everything from our desk every time we want to record something (which happened in the old office).

Wrapping Up

2019 was a great year for the Random Nerd Tutorials and Maker Advisor websites and for us, personally. We hope you had a great year too.

In the first months of the year, it was hard to focus on our work because we had a lot of things to plan for the new house and the new office. It took us more time than we anticipated and the only thing we could think about was how the new office would look like. We wanted to make sure that everything would be as efficient as possible.

Despite all these distractions we were able to publish at least one project/tutorial per week (except one or two times) and something new on Maker Advisor once a month.

We receive a lot of comments asking for help every day. It is impossible for us to answer all requests and we don’t write custom code. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the time to create tutorials… However, we do answer and try to help all RNT Lab members.

Lastly, we would like to thank all our readers, subscribers and followers for supporting our work and making 2019 a great year for us!

Happy new year!

Rui & Sara

Learn how to build a home automation system and we’ll cover the following main subjects: Node-RED, Node-RED Dashboard, Raspberry Pi, ESP32, ESP8266, MQTT, and InfluxDB database DOWNLOAD »
Learn how to build a home automation system and we’ll cover the following main subjects: Node-RED, Node-RED Dashboard, Raspberry Pi, ESP32, ESP8266, MQTT, and InfluxDB database DOWNLOAD »

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50 thoughts on “Year in Review 2019 – Random Nerd Tutorials”

  1. Hi Sara, Rui,

    Thank you for all your advices, help, tutorials, etc

    We wish you a good health, a lot of happiness, and successful 2020 !

  2. Big Thanks from Poland to Sara and Rui. Yours projects – its inspiration to many of my own projects. I still reading Yours article and books. And still waiting on project – how make easy combo MFRC522 with Mysql and ESP32 ;). Yeah… I wish You all the Best and a lot of happiness in New 2020 Year.

    • Hi Marck.
      Thank you for your nice words.
      Have a great year too.
      That project is in our list, but we still don’t know when we’ll start building it. Stay tuned!

  3. Congratulations to you and the RNT team. I thank you for your excellent and thorough tutorials and I wish you continued success into 2020 and beyond.

  4. To Sara and Rui, thank you both for the great work you are doing, I always enjoy reading your books and advice. May 2020 bring all the luck and hapiness and of course many great projects.

  5. Hi Sara, Hi Rui,
    thank you both for the incredible work you’ve done. Wish you great success into 2020 and further on.
    Always enjoyed your publication.

  6. Thank you both for all your hard work. More than once, you’ve shown me that an “old dog can learn new tricks. All the best to both of you.

  7. “The problem with the world is that intelligent people are full of doubts,
    while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
    – Charles Bukowski –

    The world needs your intelligent (and not mediocre at all) videos! 😀

    Thank you for sharing a bit of what goes on behind the scenes.
    Feliz Ano Novo!

  8. To Rui and Sara, thanks for your great tutorials and courses. I always enjoy reading your stuff. I always refer people to your work from Nigeria.Your new office looks nice.

  9. Happy new year from Australia.
    I really enjoy all of your hard work.
    More strength to your arms.
    Don’t be shy, if it makes it easier for to get your work published. More for us to contemplate.
    I personally think your English is very good.
    Enjoy your new environment.
    Thanks again for your intelligent and well considered approach to what you do.

  10. Thank you Rui and Sara for your clear step-wise esp32 instruction, and help with answering questions. I look forward to future courses and best of luck in 2020 !

  11. Keep up the good work. Another versatile platform I would like to see you address for projects is MAIXDuino. The basic platform has ESP32, camera, display, audio I/O & processing and AI processor in Arduino Uno format, also aimed at IOT. You can do many things with it.

  12. Hi Sara, Hi Rui,
    thank you both for the hard work you’ve done. Wishing you all the best in 2020 from good old Germany.

    I have a wish for 2020. I’m looking for a good working sketch and examples for the display ILI9341.


    • Hi Kurt.
      Thank you. Happy new year for you too.
      We’ve experimented with that display before but we weren’t successful getting it to work.
      Maybe we’l try again this year.

  13. Happy New Year to you both.Thanks for the many tutorials and courses.You said above that you were planing a ESP-CAM course.If possible could you show how we can use a simple mic to wake up this cam and rival the ESP-EYE. Once again many thanks.

  14. Thanks for your work, I wish I had more time to make, and modify, some more projects but really pleased that the time I do have has not been wasted as your projects actually work really well and I have been able to hack away to modifry to my own requirements.
    2020, I wish you both much success and a prosperous new year.

    • Hi Peter.
      Our aim is to keep things as clear as possible so that our readers can easily modify the project for their own needs.
      Thank you for your words.
      Happy new year.

  15. ……”We also would like to record some videos showing up on camera, but we are both very shy, and our speaking skills are not that good, which makes it even more difficult. So we end up not recording ourselves at all.”….

    Flash News: Your communication skills are fantastic and confidence can only get better the more you practice and put your self out there, but again some people value there privacy more or just not in to the “showing on camera” thing! Either way… Just promise you wont be changing your accent as the way I see it, you’ll be killing the “Nerd” and may as well just change it to “Random Tutorials”.

    Looking forward to new content this year (Y)

    You guys are great!

  16. I wish you a joyful peaceful happy new year 2020 for RNT team and appreciate your service. Do more and more go ahead.
    Inventor – sasika srimal fernando . From Sri Lanka .

  17. Hello,
    All the very best for the future endeavors, your tutorials for the ESP8266 is much more interesting as well as so easy to learn as a basic. and move to the actual product this tutorials are acting as a bridge between those two from basic to final product.
    Thank you so much,
    and happy new year.
    to ALL NERD’s like me xD.

  18. Yup, Rui and Sara, learnt a lot from you. Thanks for all your informative videos and very nice presentation. Looking forward for more…

  19. Semplicemente fantastici!
    Il vostro sito è una risorsa molto importante per gli appassionati come noi, che hanno sempre tanta voglia di imparare, perciò grazie del supporto che sapete dare, nonostante le difficoltà che sicuramente avrete incontrato durante il trasloco nella nuova casa. Tanti auguri a voi per un felice anno nuovo.
    Ciao Rui e Sara.

    Simply fantastic!
    Your site is a very important resource for fans like us, who always have a great desire to learn, so thanks for the support you can give, despite the difficulties that you will surely have encountered when moving to the new home. Happy new year.
    Bye Rui and Sara.

  20. Happy New Year. Wishing a prosperous one for you both!

    It was nice of you to show the behind the scenes for others that might like to provide their own content, and see what you guys go through to get out productions for us all! I think it is great stuff that you do, and I enjoy even the stuff I have o plans on making. You are a great team and I hope the goes on a long time!

    Also, Maker Advisor was a really good addition to your platform. It helps people to see what is out there and some comparisons of products that are generally better quality then a single person would make. (The team has influence, and is a better sum than 1+1!) I am sure you have disagreements on content and presentation occasionally, but however you work it out, it is working great for us! Thank You so much for your dedication and professionalism.

    By the way…I enjoy Rui’s accent, and the English is very good from both of you. (Probable better than mine, and I’m a US naitive!) Please do not hesitate to pass on the knowledge due to doubts, it will be fine!

    Best Always,

    • Thank you Dave!
      We thought it would be interesting for our followers to see the behind the scenes and the effort it takes to make these tutorials.
      Now we have a great place to work – it looks very professional (at least for me).
      And yes, I think we work well as a team. We’ll keep on trying improve our videos.
      Thanks for your nice words and have a great year.

      • So, for part 2:
        Have you guys considered, (or maybe already have) a Patreon page? You may find some folks are not so interested in purchasing a course, but want to support your work. I watch many videos that survive on that and the meager offerings from You Tube.

        Also, my personal interests lie around alternative energy solutions, and I would love to see more power saving techniques, as well as low power solutions in the future. The esp’s are power hungry compared to other processors that do not have to transmit, and I really enjoy when sleep modes are incorporated into your projects. (Obviously, that is NOT for every application.) I see someone requested a wake up via sound. That is good. I also would love to see some code that looks at a fast change in light levels that could provide wake up. (Like, not respond when day breaks, or clouds clear, but hit the sensor with a headlight or torch and a routine is executed.)

        Again, Best Always!

  21. I love the esp32 tutorials + micropython but I hate the ide (kinda buggy).
    Are there any new IDEs for micropython?

    Quick question,
    what software do you guys use for screen recording?

    • I think Thonny IDE works pretty well. I also like Mu Editor (Code with Mu), in the latest release it comes with a MicroPython Module.

      I’ve been using a free software called OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) to do screen recording


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