• Weeks 210-211

    9 January 2017

    I was out for all of Week 210, because it was Christmas and New Year, and downing tools is very important (and necessary). Turned out to be an excellent break.

    Then, in week 211, I spent much of the time ramping back up for 2017 – thinking a bit about what’s to come in the year, working on some small projects and continuing my own product development work. To that end:

    I spent some time really pushing Longcrag on. I built up a new prototype on a breadboard, and it proved markedly superior to an existing one, so I’m probably scrapping one of the five products under the Longcrag umbrella and replacing it with this one.

    I also spent some time continuing to plan out packaging approaches. This was helped by inheriting a surprisingly good USB thermal printer from Tim at Sensible Object (who are upstairs from me), and using this to prototype labels. That’s going to work well, I think.

    The final 10% of Longcrag is taking frustratingly long – it’s lots of small bits that need pushing forward – but it’s going to be good, I think, and right now, I’m trying to emulate the best producers I’ve worked with in terms of thinking how to get stuff into the world.

    I also spent some time in the ramp-up to 2017 working on Blackdown, the follow-up product to Longcrag. I spent an afternoon really prodding the firmware for Blackdown, and made a lot of progress – both in that it functions correctly, and in that it functions interestingly. My investment in the oscilloscope last year once again paid off – the usability and clarity of good tools is always a reward, and in this case, it made possible observing critical timing in the order of milliseconds (and quantifying the drop in latency as I optimised code). I’m really excited with where this object could go.

    Finally, I continued my work on tooling for Good Night Lamp. That meant getting the tools live into a production environment, adding some more features, fettling bugs, and talking to the team about their needs and then doing the best to integrate a minimal version of their current process into the tool. It’s coming to life nicely.

    Over the weekend, as is often the case, I sat down and thought about goals (rather than resolutions) for 2017. Some of those are work-related, and I feel like I’m going to be reviewing them roughly quarterly to see what I’ve done, what’s likely to prove impossible, and what needs to be added.

    For now, though: onwards!