If you know how to code, Amazon will let you make one of its Dash buttons -- originally designed to offer one-touch ordering of household staples like toilet paper -- do pretty much anything. But can you make one that lets you vent your frustration about President Donald Trump?
For one savvy programmer, the answer was yes, albeit indirectly. In a Medium post yesterday, designer and self-professed "take-aparter" Nathan Pryor described how he made a Dash button that he can press to donate $5 to the American Civil Liberties Union every time Trump makes him mad.
"It was my friend Katherine who made the comment 'I wish there was an ACLU Dash button I could push to donate any time I read about the latest offense from Trump,'" Pryor wrote. "Her language was sliiiiightly more colorful than that, but it got me thinking: why reserve that instant gratification for physical goods? Why not push a button and do some real good?"
So he set to work. The ACLU offers little in the way of an API or other programming tool that would make it easy to set up an automated donation, which meant Prior had to write his own Python script to fill in and submit the donation form and notify him via text message if the donation was successful.
He installed that script on Amazon's cloud platform, AWS Lamda, and connected it to his cloud-programmable $20 IoT button. After a bit of trial and error with Amazon's Dash IoT app, he eventually received a text message with a successful donation. All that was left to do was decorate the button with a custom ACLU graphic.
"The button resides near my laptop now, every press sending another $5 into the fight," Pryor wrote. "Sure, I could set up a recurring donation every month, but then there's not the tactile thrill of the press and I wouldn't have learned my way around this technology."