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!
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:
- Project: ESP32-CAM
- Guide: ESP32 Pinout Reference: Which GPIO pins should you use?
- YouTube Video: ESP32-CAM Video Streaming and Face Recognition
- Blog Post (Maker Advisor): ESP32 vs ESP8266
- Favorite Tool (Maker Advisor): TS80 Portable Soldering Iron
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:
- Video Streaming and Face Recognition with Arduino IDE
- Video Streaming Web Server (works with Home Assistant and Node-RED)
- Take Photo and Save to MicroSD Card
- PIR Motion Detector with Photo Capture (saves to microSD card)
- Take Photo and Display in Web Server
- Troubleshooting Guide: Most Common Problems Fixed
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.
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:
- DIY Cloud Weather Station with ESP32/ESP8266 (MySQL Database and PHP)
- ESP Send Email Notification using PHP Script
- ESP32 Publish Data to Cloud without Wi-Fi (TTGO T-Call ESP32 SIM800L)
- Visualize Your Sensor Readings from Anywhere in the World (ESP32 or ESP8266 + MySQL + PHP)
- ESP Insert Data into MySQL Database using PHP and Arduino IDE
Most popular guide
The most visited blog post this year was the 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
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.
- ESP32-CAM: ESP32-based board with camera and microSD card
- ESP-EYE: similar to ESP32-CAM but adds voice recognition and doesn’t include microSD card
- TTGO T-Call: ESP32 board with SIM800L and GSM/GPRS
- ESP32 with Built-in SX1276 LoRa and SSD1306 OLED Display
- ESP32 with Built-in OLED
- 10 IoT Development Boards You Need to Get
We also recently received new ESP32 boards with camera that we can’t wait to show you.
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:
- Home Automation using ESP8266 (4th Edition): new edition released with new eBook layout, new projects and units (November 2019).
- Learn ESP32 with Arduino IDE (version 1.4): new Units and some bugs fixed (June 2019)
- MicroPython Programming with ESP32 and ESP8266 (version 1.1): new Units added and some bugs fixed (February 2019)
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.
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?
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).
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