Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why I've Been Gone

     I just finished my next-to-last semester at Penn State, and boy, was it a busy one. I took 5 courses spread over electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science, plus a physical education course. Academically, I did very well, but it didn't leave me any time for hobby projects. I only turned my 3D printer on once, and didn't even have enough time to finish a print. The only thing I have completed is a makeshift 3D-printed case for my MSP430 Reaction Game. I call it makeshift because I had some rough parts printed out before but heavily modified them with a drill and knife. Also, I had to use a different potentiometer and buttons with this case setup. I'd really like to make a case that can keep the stock parts. I made this case the night before a job interview because it seemed the company would be more impressed with the addition of the case.

     Over the past month or so I got a bunch of new gadgets. On Black Friday, I got an iPad mini. I really like it and can see how it'll be convenient when I'm tinkering because I can keep the small device on my cluttered desk to reference things on compared to a huge laptop that takes up space. Plus the voice dictation makes it practically hand-free when I need to look something up with my hands full of tools. A few days ago I was able to update from my iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5 and the speed increase is very impressive.I don't think the taller screen is revolutionary, but Siri is very useful and I use it a few times every day. I also installed Windows 8 on my laptop's second drive so I can dual boot into it whenever I want (which will be never). I was able to get it for cheap as a Penn State employee, so I took a shot at it. I only booted it once after the quick and painless install, but I hate just about everything about it. It seems so counterproductive. It might be OK as a "second-screen" device like an iPad, but I can't see how it would replace the old Windows desktop. Last, but not least, I got a new Weller soldering iron for Christmas from my girlfriend. It's about time I get a replacement for the second-hand iron I started out with.

     I'm hoping this semester will leave me some extra time for my own projects. I'm taking fewer classes and one of them is my senior design course, so it's guaranteed that I'll be working on something. I am unsure if I will be able to post anything long or in-depth on this blog, but I'd like to post some snippets of my work on my Google+.