2008 Projects

I have several projects underway and would like to have a few of them come to fruition if possible. Most of them started in 2007 and were being polished on and off whenever I get a weekend free. Like always, I wanted too much and ended up spreading myself too thin. It doesn’t mean that I am going to change my approach though. Having multiple projects means that I can work on the project with the maximum efficiency based on the condition of the day that I chose to work on it, taking weather, money, alertness and the type of work into account. The effect of this arrangement means that it drags out longer, but overall, I complete tasks faster because I get to batch similar jobs together and plan accordingly. I will list old projects that are nearing completion first and discuss new ones that I have started later

Old projects

Repair of forever flashlight: This one started when my father broke the flashlight by dropping it on the ground while shaking it. Instead of throwing it in the garbage and getting a new one, I decided to take on the unknown challenge and attempt to repair this somewhat advanced flash light. The journey took me back down the memory lane to revisit some simple college analog circuitry as well as physics and magnetism. Later, I managed to acquire a copy of its PCB (Printed Circuit Board) schematics and whistled in awe as I flipped through pages of well designed simple concepts. Anyone who passed the 2nd year of engineering has the skill to put these together, but only these people actually went ahead and did it.

I had to devise plans to test each individual components on the circuit and find the right tools to perform the correct measurement. Once those are acquired (within budget), the testing itself took only 2 days. The best memory I have about this project is in a shouting match between me and the store clerk of Access Electronic about whether or not a 0.22F 5.5V capacitor exists. I backed down because I wasn’t confidence in my own belief against a store clerk who’s had 10 years of experience helping hobbyists choose capacitors. It turns out to be the right decision after all. I later found out that they actually don’t have the type of capacitors that I am trying to find. These are called supercapacitors.

Mobile personal server: I mentioned it once in passing as I was getting frustrated at bricking one of the major components of this setup. Things have since changed and I’ve got the server part established as a permanent presence. What I lack now is a mobile terminal that is both ultra portable and low cost. The announcement of eeePC couldn’t have come at a better time and it is being shipped to my address as I am writing this entry. I am down to two final steps before completing the whole setup. Tunneling through my work place’s proxy/firewall and buying a $100 HDD for backup purposes. Eventually, I’d like to add another layer of protection by using port knocking.

Digital filing: A requirement for this to work properly is in setting up the mobile personal server. However, I can still pre-sort my photo folder and music folder before establish a general structure for the grander scheme of things.

Backpacking through Africa: It’s been 1.5 years now since I’ve taken on any kind of vacation. These are mainly caused by me changing jobs and never having any vacation days because I’ve always been a temporary worker. Even when I did take a vacation 1.5 years ago, I didn’t use it on relaxing. I used that time to look for a new job. In May, I am going on my back packing trip to a few countries in Africa after accumulating two years of vacation time and using it together. It won’t let me cover all of them so I will have to return where I left off a few years later. The conclusion of this project can be found here.

Home improvement: There are several furniture in certain styles which I can’t find in the current offerings (Or will end up costing me an arm and a leg) so I decided to make my own furniture from raw supplies. The design phase took the longest and has been materializing in my mind more solidly as I absorb the nature of my condo.

Tax optimizer: As most of you are aware, I’ve been investing in the stock market and had a hell of a time figuring out how to declare it last year. As the list of maneuvers become available to me and their complexities increase, optimizing my portfolio will only get harder. So I need to devise an algorithm that does it for me. So far, I am still playing with excel spreadsheets to test out the viability of different strategies, but eventually, I will convert it to Ruby.

Making a game with Ruby language: I just started this. I am still at the initial stage of requirement gathering and training in Ruby. It is a bigger undertaking than I originally thought. Or rather, I am not used to the amount of single tasking and constant focusing needed to make this work.

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