17 August 2013
Two main focuses for week 43.
Firstly, Sore. This week focused on packaging Sore up into its final chassis. That had two distinct phases.
On Monday, I built the final electronics board for it. This took the two boards I’d been prototyping with – one for breaking out high-current power to both a pair of wires and micro-USB, and one handling all the IO – and consolidate them onto a single board, with carefuly layout and breaking out lots of things to headers, so that they’re easily removable. I’ve learned my lesson before about hard-wiring too much.
Then, on Tuesday, I started drilling the front-panel to the plans I’d made in Illustrator. I’ve said it before: boxes will chew you up. Cutting plastic feels very final – there’s no way to revert to an old commit, so to speak. So the day was spent carefully measuring, drilling, cutting and filing – and hopefully not disturbing my studio-mates too much.
It took about as long as I’d expected, but at the end of the day, we had real progress: a sealed unit, which works simply by plugging it into the mains and flicking the switch on the front. Sore has gone from a tangle of cables, components and software on my desk, to a thing. Soon, I’ll be able to talk about what that thing is.
The rest of the week took a different talk: working on a new talk, which I’ll be delivering at Webdagene, and also in prototype form next week at LDNIA.
The writing process is often particularly hard work. The output is usually good, but making new things – and making them well – is always painful, and I spent much of the week pushing the words through the garlic press of my brain and onto the page. Once they’re on the page, I can manipulate and structure and edit, but until then, there’s nothing else to do. So that was my focus: get the draft out. It took a while to build up velocity, but appeared to be taking shape towards the end of the week, leaving the beginning of next week to hone it into a performable, visual talk.
I should note: I write my talks longhand, pretty much. It sounds like a lot of work, but I find it helps me structure them much better, not to mention stopping me running away with myself, telling punchlines too early, and so forth. Structure’s really important to me, when it comes to writing, and longhand makes it much easier to structure plot beats. My secret weapon when it comes to structure is a lot of blank playing cards.
Anyhow: soldering, drilling, writing this week; equal parts mental and manual effort. Pretty satisfying.