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Uh Oh, The Blog Is Doing That Thing...

Be Back In 5

Looks like this site is doing that thing where its lost its initial motivation. I have continued writing but haven't been able to actually publish due to a number of personal issues. In the spirit of public learning and personal documentation in general, I've decided to write up a quite update on some of the things I've been working on.

Wood Working

One thing I'd like to document a bit more going forward are the various wood working projects I work on. Often I'll just come up with something and just go build it, use it, and take for granted that I have a workshop that allows me to have that attitude about the situation. Everything from building frames, tables, board games, laptop mounts, and so forth.

Crokinole is something that I picked up during 2020 and I'd like to take another stab at building some additional boards. For those that don't know, Crokinole is a Canadian table top dexterity game. Its a circular board with a remarkably polished service to enable the pucks (i.e. the board pieces) to simply glide across the surface.

When I originally built my first board I was dealing with "the world is shutdown so I must use what I already have in stock". This left me with some creative contraints that I no longer have. This time I've got fresh wood and a lot of lessons learned about the board finishing. I've also got a brand new Makita router that I really haven't been able to break in.

Player First Studios

Player First Studios is an LLC that I've started with my business partner Patrick. Its a multifaceted company (i.e. we really don't know what we're doing) that aims to develop some social applications and games for everyone. There has been a lot of idea energy spent on this and hopefully some traction can be gained on the game development by the end of the year. Also, I'm crossing my fingers we can have our first social app released by years end.

Embedded Development Training

In previous articles, I've posted some of my initial thoughts and processes for material that I intend to use to educate folks on embedded development and analysis. This work continues. We've now reached a point where we're finally putting together a complete kit that we'll work all lectures and course materials around. Its still based on a Raspberry Pi 4, but we've now picked out a bunch of solid peripherals to use. Finally, we have a story (or use case) that'll cover the "Why" of the course. I find applying a learning experience to a realistic scenario goes miles for the learning experience. I'll likely write more about this in the coming months.

I Got An XBox Series X

So the secret I learned is that: you can only order an XBox on Thursdays. This is when they are delivered to the one of four authorized dealers (in the US?). Additionally it seems that only one of those 4 dealers get resupplied on a given Thursday. In any case, I was able to snag one. I've of course signed up for the Game Pass Ultimate, but the only game I've really been playing hard core has been The Ascent. Its basically a twin stick RPG/shooter with a Cyberpunk theme. Its very similar to the game Alienation that I used to play on the PS4.

Having the XBox in the house since July hasn't helped my productivity. But I'm sure that initial excitement will wear off as we get more into fall and into the school year.

I Have Three Kids Under 12

Wow, everything sucks if you have kids without vaccines that aren't able to get them. With the crazies that won't get vaccines running rampant, my wife and I (and the kids) have essentially remained quarantined to our bubble. Super lame that there are such a high number of negligent fools out there taking what they want where they want without considerations for others. This alone has kept morale low and really prevented me from wanted to do much in my personal time (i.e. my blog and game dev time). Once again, as we get over the hump of sending the kids off to school for the first time in ~18 months, maybe things will pick up again.

Big Data

Finally, the most recent development in my toolbox would be data mining. I've recently had the need to learn some modern data mining paradigms. Back in 2010, I did take some courses on Hadoop, but it all seemed like a fad back then. Now that things have matured, I'm trying to jump back in and work on that BigTable/MapReduce muscle. So far I've only really taken a look at some basics (e.g. Hadoop, Spark, Pig, and so forth).

More interestingly I've been learning about clustering algorithms and how to correlate data into meaningful results. While trivial for any data scientist, learning about calculating string similarities with Levenshtein distances, finding clusters with Affinity Propogation (via sklearn), and a bunch of other related stuff has been kind of exciting. Thinking in terms of "how do we do this thing with limited resources" is ironically similar to embedded systems development.