Caroline Dunn interview

By Rob Zwetsloot. Posted

"I started my channel by accident, when I posted a video of myself making a Christmas ornament from three wine corks,” recalls Caroline Dunn. She makes weekly tech videos for her YouTube channel, several of which include Raspberry Pi. “[It was] called ‘How to Make a Reindeer Cork Ornament’. I enjoyed explaining things visually (with my hands), but I was extremely camera shy; I rarely show my face in my videos 2010–2014. In 2016, I noticed how few technology channels were led by females, and I decided to transition my channel to technology to show men, women, and little girls out there that technology is not gender-specific.”

Caroline has a background in engineering – she studied it at university and has a master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. However, these days she’s a marketing consultant.

What was your first Raspberry Pi project?

I learned about the Raspberry Pi April 2014 during my first project with [it], installing Alexa Voice Service with my friend Steve Youngblood. We saw a tutorial on ‘How to Make an Alexa’ and decided to try it with no prior Raspberry Pi experience. It took us six hours to complete our first Raspberry Pi project. We would work on [it] every day on our lunch hour at work and invite our co-workers in our office to watch and/or help. Mostly they just laughed at us bumbling our way through the project. Morale at work was low and we provided comic relief. Prior to this project, I had not used terminal commands in well over a decade. We documented the entire experience on YouTube.

What’s been your favourite (Raspberry Pi-related) video to make?

Wow, that’s a tough question, like picking a favourite child or pet. I like practical projects, ones where there is a usefulness to our everyday lives. The most useful project that I have made and still use today is the motionEye project with motion-triggered photo and video. I initially set it up to monitor my geriatric cat, but after a large fire in my neighbour’s apartment, I use it to monitor anyone coming in and out of my apartment.

What is your story with The MagPi issue 57?

When [that issue] came out with the Google AIY kit, I went on a wild goose chase to try to buy [it]. I called every bookstore in my city in an attempt to find the elusive issue 57. One bookstore employee said, “You’re only the sixth person to call with that question today,” before hanging up on me. I was desperate to do the Google AIY project and started researching ways to complete the project without issue 57. I ordered a ‘button’ so that I could do the project, then I became impatient waiting two days for it to arrive. While waiting, I figured out how to do the project without the button and without issue 57. When the button arrived, I completed the project with the button. Approximately a year later, the AIY kits were sold at my local Micro Center, and then I finally completed the original project from issue 57.

Mental well-being

"Because I am concerned for the mental well-being of people sheltering at home, I’ve started a weekly live show on my YouTube channel where anyone can ask me questions, and I present project ideas that can be completed at home. I dedicate a section of my show to Raspberry Pi every week. For example, last week I provided the free link to the Code the Classics [book] made possible by Raspberry Pi. Anyone can access my weekly show from my channel page, youtube.com/caroline. My weekly show is broadcast every Thursday, 3pm EST / 8pm GMT.”


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