The Freenove kit included a DHT11 temperature/humidity module, so my first Home Assistant project was to set up a temperature/humidity sensor for my home office. It was much easier than I thought it would be: I downloaded and installed the Home Assistant OVA, then I installed ESPHome on the ESP32, then I configured the ESP32 with the DHT11 device.
This is inexpensive, useful, and cool. I can see me buying many of these ESP32 or similar devices, using them to monitor and control various things around the house. And, with the WireGuard support in ESPHome, I will be able to monitor remote devices as well, such as the temperature in my travel trailer, which is parked at a friend's house.
Another thing I have been playing with recently is digital voice in ham radio. A friend lent me a Yaesu FT-70D and a MMDVM hotspot running WPSD. After attaching the hotspot to my home WLAN, and a small bit of configuration, I have the FT-70D connected to the hotspot, and have a world of digital voice radio available to me, through the many YSF reflectors that exist.
In addition to the ESP32 modules and sensors mentioned above, the FT-70D and a MMDVM hotspot are now on my list.
I am a system engineer in the Raleigh, NC area. My main interests are Unix, VMware, and networking. More about me, and how I got started.