• Week 80

    28 April 2014

    Big leaps forward for Hutton this week.

    Firstly, built the final hardware prototype – a custom shield to sit atop the Electric Imp shield, and the appropriate cabling to make it easy to assemble/disassemble. Then, after a trip Maplin and some wandering around hardware stores, acquiring the components for the housing and spending an afternoon in the workshop, drilling, nibbling and filing the housing for the project. By the end of Thursday, it was all boxed up, running off a battery and 3G, and it even appears to be able to be mounted where I hoped it would.

    So that’s most of the build for Hutton done. In week 81, I’m going to work on documenting it and preparing the short film about it.

    A few more sketches on Wingreen appear to be taking that to an interesting place. I’m going to have to park it soon, but there’s one more thing I’d like to try before I do.

    Also, small pieces of maintenance on previous projects for clients – fixing mapping solutions now that Cloudmade is turning down free projects, and dealing with some bugs in Dundry that reared their head as the client started poking it again.

    The pace of self-initiated work is proving a little challenging: maintaining momentum when I’m the client, and not feeling guilty that I’m not doing work for a client, is sometimes tough. It’s important to remind myself that the self-initiated work is an important component of my career, and that it’s not “clientless” work – it’s just that I’m the client and there are no invoices. On the flipside, when it’s going well, it’s very satisfying, and I’m looking forward to working out how to present it.

  • Week 79

    20 April 2014

    Another week of beavering away at Hutton: deploying code onto a VPS, getting PostGIS up and running on my server. Spending quite a bit of time in the shell bumping things into life.

    The good news is that lots of the projects on the VPS are now ticking away nicely, after a few days wrestling packages and crontabs into shape, so that’s good. And it looks like Hutton’s server and web components are good to go: enough to prototype and test with, for certain, and to build the hardware backend on.

    I spent Monday in Brighton whilst the folks at Lighthouse used the Literary Operator for a photoshoot. That gave me time to catch up with some friends and colleagues, and also think hard about the problems in Hutton away from London.

    I also spent some time sketching in code on a selection of work I’m calling Wingreen. This is entirely a visual piece of art, displayed and manipulated in software. Each sketch takes me around an hour, because the platform isn’t quite my natural medium. Each sketch also is telling me that there’s something interesting here, but I haven’t quite cracked it yet, so I’m going to keep iterating. Good to take some time to make something that’s purpose is being aesthetically satisfying.

    A week focused on self-initiated projects, then – what I call ‘personal projects’ that are actually part of my working practice, rather than just Stuff For Me. I hope to be able to show Hutton soon, and Wingreen eventually.

    A short week, too, because of Easter. Where possible, I try to stick to taking Bank Holidays: I may be freelance, but it suits everybody else in my life, and (as Michael Lopp has pointed out), time off is important to one’s working practice, not just to one’s energy reserves. So a slightly shorter week 79 – and a shorter week 80 to come next week, too.