We've had this great family ritual, for a few years now: at the start of every summer we pitch a tent in our back yard! We leave it there all summer, and the kids have great fun, with neighbors and friends, playing in it, hiding from the rain, etc.
We also pick a few nights to sleep in the tent, which feels almost as real as camping, yet you have the delightful freedom of taking a short walk back to the house if you forgot something.
So, last night we slept in the tent. But, this year I brought our new iPad with us. The kids took turns playing a few games; one of their favorites is Gomi HD, a game I also love for its not-so-subtle message that we humans are screwing up the planet and it's up to the kids to fix it. Then we watched Shrek 2, which I had previously encoded for the iPad (using Handbrake). Finally, the kids, one by one, fell asleep.
Then, in the middle of the night, I woke up and heard rain hitting the tent. I was worried that it could turn into a big storm (in past years our tent has been literally flattened by passing thunderstorms, once when we were inside!), so, I turned on the iPad and loaded the local NexRAD radar, and confirmed that in fact it was just a small passing cell: phew!
Finally, I woke up, and was ready to get up, so I used the iPad again, this time to start the coffee maker. I have a simple Web server, written in Python, that exposes an HTML interface to variance lights and appliances controlled via Insteon, including the coffee maker. It's vital that I minimize the time from when I first stand up in the morning to when I consume my coffee!
Yes, I'm a geek Dad.