The Adafruit Problem
About a year ago I read about the Pi-hole project. For those of you who haven't heard of it, the gist is that you install it on a Raspberry Pi (hence the name) and then use that Raspberry Pi as your network's DNS server. It's a very specialized DNS server that blocks some 130,000 known advertising servers (and counting). And your home network becomes much more advertising-free. The project is designed to be easy. You run one script, adjust a few values, and it's up and running. I didn't put one together until three days ago. Why not? Because I fell into what I call The Adafruit Trap. I adore Adafruit.com. I love all the tricks, tools, and toys they make available. I love the tutorials they publish; I love the bundles they sell, I love the enthusiasm for tinkering that radiates off the site. I want to make it clear here: the problem isn't Adafruit, it's me. I never want them to change what they're doing. I'm writing this to help change what I do. Okay. Let's move on.
So, here's how the Adafruit Trap works: Step One: I find a project I'd like to try. In this case, it's setting up a Pi-hole server. In my initial research, the task looks accomplishable, and fun, and useful. Step Two: I look for guidance on how to make it happen. Because they write such excellent tutorials, Adafruit comes up high in the search rankings. Step Three: I read of all the really cool ways I could make my simple project So much fancier. In this case, by adding a sweet little OLED display to a Raspberry Pi Zero that has the stats on how many ads are blocked right on the device. This is a legitimately cool idea, and I want to do it! But I don't have the money to buy the OLED display right now, so I postpone for a while. And a while longer. And then get distracted by something else. Until the next time, someone mentions the Pi-hole project around me.
So here's the thing. I had a Raspberry Pi 3 sitting around, unused because it was part of another project for which I could never quite afford all the parts. It's already in a case, with SD card and power supply all set up. True, it doesn't have a sweet little OLED screen displaying how many ads it's blocked, but...what if...
What if I got a Pi-hole server working instead of waiting until I could do it “perfectly”?
One of my friends calls this the “Pinterest Trap,” where you look for inspiration on Pinterest, and everything is so perfect that it scares you off of even trying. In other words, the exact opposite of what tutorial sites are trying to do.
So how do you get over it? Good question! I don't know. So far my answer has been what I said above. I just forced myself to do what I can with what I had where I was instead of waiting for everything to be perfect.