Thursday, July 10, 2014

Waking the Sore, Groggy Dog

Well, it's reached the point where I finally had enough of computers and everything I was doing on them for just a bit, so I closed the lid of my laptop on Tuesday right at 5 PM and sat outside in the lawn chair, doing absolutely nothing for about 30 minutes until my dog started panting up a storm.  I let her back inside and she gulped down tons of water quickly.  Still not knowing what to do with myself while trying to stay away from the computer, I just about dozed off on the couch when inspiration struck me: I needed to do something physical to stay awake.

Now I'm a huge fan of sitting, but sitting still in one position at a desk for a long time leads to unhappy muscles.  Plus, I find tedious or uninteresting work to be soporific, especially if I just had a heavy lunch or didn't get much sleep the night before.  However, taking a nap usually leads to undesirable outcomes: I wake up about 2 or 3 hours later, still feeling groggy, and often incapable of accomplishing my desired tasks for the night.  But what am I supposed to do if I don't want to be on the computer but still want to sit?

How about take a bicycle ride?

Perfect!

In this hot weather, my dog isn't capable of going more than about a mile before she gets utterly & completely pooped, so I just went solo.  (The reason she gets so tired is because she hates being behind me; she's a dominant little creature and likes to lead the way.  However, I can always ride as fast as she can run, thus she burns herself out very quickly at the beginning and never goes quite so fast until the next walk.)  So on my own, I was able to log over 5 miles in about 35 minutes -- not too bad, considering my bike (and I) aren't in the best of shape, it was about 100 degrees outside (since I was riding at about 6 PM), and I had to cross at a busy street a couple times and wait on a long light.

Anyway, I guess I'll shut up now.  I haven't been feeling incredibly prolific with regards to writing, and none of the draft articles in my queue to finish really struck my fancy.  Stay tuned for an article called "Speech Pipe: My First (And Probably Last) Windows Phone 8 App"... but, alas, I can't really remember too much about the pain points I encountered that made that experience so fraught with tedium.  Let's see what has happened since then:
  • My last blog post was one of those pesky "draft" posts that I write when I'm feeling a surplus of creativity so that I can save it for days when I don't have enough time or don't feel like writing anything on Thursday night.  I submitted it after arriving at the hotel in San Antonio for the SoHacks hackathon, and after our flight had been delayed for several hours (thus we probably could have just driven to San Antonio by the time our plane landed), doing anything besides laying in bed and watching TV didn't seem very appealing.
  • It was good that I'd written that canned article ahead of time, but I didn't have anything technical to write about because I'd been working on Speech Pipe.  I was trying to get the app done in time for the DVLUP Day Challenge in order to be eligible for a Nokia Lumia 1020, but two things went against me: I had a lot of work to do for LEDgoes as well, plus I didn't just want to crank out yet another turd-ball type of application for Windows Phone, which many of these challenges seem to inspire since people always try to do the bare minimum necessary in order to win points and get free stuff.  Nevertheless, I've since received a different model of Windows Phone 8 device from the local Developer Evangelist, and Speech Pipe is currently making money in the app store.  So there. >-D
  • You may have seen how I posted the game of Tetris those kids developed with LEDgoes during SoHacks.  If not, what are you waiting for -- check that link!  And you can read more about SoHacks from DoesItPew's perspective and from Randy Arnold's perspective.  Apparently, one of the kids wrote this about me as a mentor:

    Stephen is f#@king smart!
    How eloquent. :-P
  • I completely redesigned the LEDgoes Battery POWAH board, in cahoots with some overseas engineers at TI who have helped me fine-tune the schematic and will shortly be helping me fine-tune the PCB layout.  I also did like four other big things on that project, which you can see on our latest Kickstarter update to date.
  • The freaking Udoo board that I hooked up to the Yamaha for my IoT project stopped working.  I dunno what the deal is, but the screen is all garbled and it's not responding to MQTT messages anymore.  I think it needs to be rebooted, but really I think there's a memory leak that needs to be fixed with the Python MQTT client that's running on there.  Or in an ideal world, I'd just make it into an app you can run on XBMC and make the Udoo run XBMC instead of Ubuntu or whatever distro the Udoo has on it now.
  • I have helped close to a half dozen people track down long-lost episodes of The Price is Right over the past month or so by referring them to a contact I made at FremantleMedia who works in their tape vault, or sending them links to their shows on YouTube, or what have you.  It turns out that my "Price Is Right Episode Guide" (if you can call it that) has been very popular on Google lately, usually ranking among the top 10 whenever you search for "the price is right <specific-production-number>".  It's really nice to be able to help so many people track down their shows, and what's even more fun is if they manage to find their own long-lost copies and share bits of them with me!
  • I started taking a class on Lean Six Sigma, Green Belt.  @DoesItPew has already taken her green belt, so of course she sounds like a know-it-all in the class. :-P  Not to mention, she's a vocal person anyway, but she thought there was a "continuing education" component to keeping your Six Sigma green belt certification alive, and if she's right, this'll help her keep/retain it.
  • We have had jam sessions, beer sessions, attended classes and talks held by other sucessful startups, had friends poke holes in their success stories and claim to be able to do in 3 days what took them 3 years, but we're taking a break from that: 3 out of the 5 weekdays this week will have involved some sort of evening drinking or huge dinner, and only 1 was class (the Six Sigma).  It's been nice to cut loose.
  • My dad celebrated 30 years of working for Mercedes-Benz last week.  It's amazing anyone can stay in the car business that long these days, much less work for the same company.  At this point, even after he retires, he'll be able to keep getting the "friends & family" discount on Mercedes vehicles for the rest of his life.
So... until next time... keep your pants on at work!