April 18, 2018

This guest post comes to us from Josh Heiner, Sr. Hardware Engineer at Skydrop.

Ah, spring! The earth is renewed as variegated glory bursts forth from the ground so recently frozen in the grey scales of winter. The air is fresh. The sky is invitingly azure. The days, noticeably longer. Cheerful animated songbirds descend from trees to land on your shoulder and whistle Disneyesque songs. Formerly timid forest animals join in a coordinated chorus as you stroll, carefree, through the bucolic panoply of nature that is your backyard.

Okay... perhaps the friendly animals are a stretch, but spring is a lovely time of year, no?

Alas, have you ever been to one of those psychological thriller movies where things are too perfect? The type where there’s something subtly amiss with the flawless house, town, family or friend in spite of all outward appearances? Spring is like that for a homeowner. The moment of paralyzing clarity wherein the sinister adversary reveals itself is when you remember that you must soon deal with IT.

No, I don’t mean a malevolent, shape-shifting supernatural clown, though that might be only slightly less pleasant. I’m talking about your sprinkler timer.

You know, that evil lump of soulless grey plastic stuck like some parasitic barnacle to the side of your house? It has been there since the Pleistocene epoch, it has the design aesthetic of a Soviet-era nuclear reactor, and it is currently host to a burgeoning nest of arachnids and their digested prey.

Terrifying? Yes. But to conquer our fears, we must first face them. So onward, dear reader, and back to your thirsty yard. You know it needs water, but you resist for fear of a reckoning with IT. Desperate, you conjure all of the procrastinating powers of a recalcitrant teen sleeping in on a Saturday morning, but eventually you can resist the call of your lawn no longer. You can feel the pleading supplication of each withering grass blade you pass: water me, you clod!

You approach the timer, resolute. It has the tired patina of depression-era farm equipment abandoned in a field. It has a user interface that was designed by the genius who blighted the entire decade of the eighties by making VCRs flash 12:00 incessantly. It is a sad monument to crushing banality and ruinous vapidness.

Opening the weathered lid, your eyes dart to the 9-volt battery inside which, you know from experience, is invariably depleted each spring. Current date and time - nada. Last year’s watering schedule you labored so painfully to program - finis. It’s like a newborn child. Bereft of the user manual you lost or threw out long ago, you must somehow convince this tabula rasa that your yard needs nourishment, pronto. Gingerly, you turn the scratchy dial to various cryptically-labeled positions, trying to recall how to resurrect the thing. Auto. Set Current. Rain delay. Seasonal adjustment %. Omit times / days. More / less. Program A, Program B, Program C... what can it all mean? You might as well be reading Stephen Hawking’s doctoral dissertation.

After valiant struggles with tiny blinking icons on a dirty monochrome LCD screen, you manage to get the time set. Later, you think you might have programmed a watering schedule, so you turn the dial to Test Schedule, and with palpable anticipation, witness... nothing. A narcoleptic tree sloth on a dose of barbiturates large enough to fell a draft horse shows more activity. Disappointment gives way to incredulity - how dare this thing treat me like this? Long dormant seeds of hot wrath begin to effervesce within you. Unsavory verbiage wells up in your throat, ready for instant deployment. You silently lament: Oh that I were a student in Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and could shoot lasers from my eyes, and I would smite this unworthy bit of failed automata with twin beams of incendiary justice!

You can imagine where things go from here. It gets ugly unless you can manage to quell your fiery rage demon. But, like a Dickensian spirit, let us now draw a curtain over this grotesque scene. Friends, this needn’t be.

Consider instead what spring with a Skydrop controller might be like. In contrast to your Mesopotamian sundial of a timer, the Skydrop controller looks like a gift from a kindly and sagacious extraterrestrial civilization. The dark space grey hue and fluid lines of the precision-tooled housing suggest meticulous design. The softly glowing LED ring hints at a mighty and benevolent intelligence inside, and indeed this is the case, for Skydrop is the product of more than five years of continuous and impassioned development by a team of hardware, software, and landscape experts.

Once the simple, guided setup process has been completed with your mobile device, Skydrop engages its patented Smart Watering algorithm by default, dynamically and intelligently adjusting your schedule and watering duration to always deliver the optimal amount of water to your yard, regardless of weather. And not just optimal, but demonstrably less water - yes, Skydrop saves you money on your water bill! No manual schedules to set (unless you really want to, in which case, yes, you can do that). The current date, time, and weather specific to your zip code are continuously gleaned from the internet, and Skydrop stands at the ready with a backup schedule in case of internet loss. There’s never a battery to replace. Adjustments are easily made from anywhere in the world your smartphone has a data connection. Freed from the cruel shackles of your old, benighted timer, you’re free at last to frolic about your verdant landscape the way nature intended. The primal mother earth goddess Gaia smiles down upon you.

Don’t let IT ruin your springtime delights - get Skydrop.
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