The Year In Review : 2017


Year In Review 2017


W
hat a year this was! A great year indeed, even though I don't feel like if anything particular happened. I feel like tired, and I can't even recall how last year was.. I might have to read the Year In Review : 2016 myself again LoL! May be I'm not in a mood to write this blog now. Shall I wait for myself to turn into something else to write this ? I don't think so.

A lot of things happened this year; both good and bad. But most of them were beyond my control actually, in the sense that the effects of my actions and inactions were not what I was expecting, rather I was forced to alter my expectations time to time. It was like I had been being made the performer and the audience of a show at the same time; you watch your own show, you surprise yourself; it's weird! I never wanted to be the center of attention of anything ever. But it was literally inescapable this year. I had to play along and I think I did good, becasue I can confidently say now that everything eventually turned out be well at the end. These are some of the good and bad things happened in my life this year so far.


THE GOOD


1. My First Instructable Won First Prize

Probably this is the most momentous thing happened this year. I published my first project at Instructables on 01-Jul-2017 and entered it into the Power Supply contest. The project was a basic linear power supply based around LM317. I actually built it for my own use, not to enter into the contest. Then one day I coincidentally found that Instructables was running a power supply contest and I thought why not enter mine. I've had already documented the project here in my website. But it needed thorough modifications to be qualified as an instructable. It was well received in the Instructables community. Many users praised my box design which I had spent the most time on. That I think was the first time I started receiving appreciations for something I did, becasue I was not a guy that anticipate appreciations (still not, except for my own satisfaction). So it was unexpected, and I had to deal with it. After a month came the result of the competition that my project had won first prize for the Power Supply contest. It was a really really exciting moment. I read the mail around 5 AM and jumped out of my bed shouting "Yes I won it, I won it.." My first prize was technically second prize becasue there was a grand prize. Three of us won first prize and it was a DJI Phantom 3 Standard drone. Yay..a drone. But wait; things took a u-turn after I found out that I can not receive my prize due to an import embargo on drones (all types of UAVs) in India. It completely shattered me. Can you imagine how that would've been like ? I had no other way but to ask the Instructables team to send something else instead of the drone and they agreed. Meanwhile I even tried to sell the drone in the US. Instructables sent me a prize pack after 90 days after I won the contest. What inside the pack was, again not what I was expecting. It included a Dremel, Arduino basic Kit, Scribbler 3D Pen (useless garbage), Nokero Solar LED light (becasue you know I live in the Africa near the equator where we have no electricity but plenty of sunlight), a Dexter Raspberry Pi extension board without any sensors (useless), and some other swag. I'm not complaining about free stuff, but that's what I received instead of owning a drone. But still I won the contest, I got a Dremel.. It is something right ?! Whatever..


2. Kick Started CIRCUITSTATE

CIRCUITSTATE is my initiative that focuses on empowerment of the maker community in India. It'll become the part of my future company as the maker division. With CIRCUITSTATE, I've laid a foundation of my dream to start a company. ONEWAY electronics will be the sister company of CIRCUITSTATE. We now have an active WhatsApp community, Telegram channel, facebook page, twitter handle and even a website under construction. It was a huge hit and I'm happy about that. CIRCUITSTATE will essentially be a YouTube channel that publishes high quality video tutorials on open source projects, in order to attract more individuals into the world of making and DIY culture. We'll be uploading videos from next year onwards.


3. Inception of ONEWAY Electronics and Initial Plans for My Company

Along with CIRCUITSTATE, ONEWAY Electronics will too become a part of my company. Me and Hashim were planning the initial pitching of it. We plan to start it off by the end of next year with an online store.


4. Started Rebuilding My Website

Google is going to retire classic Sites which currently powers my website you see here. They're making everything mobile friendly and so will get rid of all these mobile unfriendly themes. They announced this about a year ago and I'v been thinking since then of rebuilding my website from scratch and hosting it myself. I've completed designing a simple, fast, mobile friendly and alike looking theme using W3CSS and it looks great. But I need to export all my pages to the new theme before I can upload it to my server and that's a hefty task that needs time. I was thinking of releasing my new website on this Christmas but that's not going to be possible now. You'll have to wait until February next year. Meanwhile you can a have a look at a sample page and give me feedback - http://wp.circuitstate.com/interfacing-catalex-micro-sd-card-module. That'd be appreciated :)


5. Published the First Edited Video on YouTube

I published an edited video on my YouTube channel this year. I used Premiere to compile some video clips I shot with KC annan's Nikon D90 back in 2012 and 13. Even though others might find it trivial, that was a new experience and a good start for me with video editing. I plan to do more video editing projects to improve my editing skills which I'll need for CIRCUITSTATE.


6. Won Giveaway Kit from Hackster.io

This was my first ever giveaway winning. I received the Infineon's DPS310 precision pressure sensor evaluation kit after my idea got selected. The idea was to develop a Portable GPS Logger with precise altitude sensing, and would be my first project on Hackster.io


7. TAROVI Humanoid Concept

TAROVI is humanoid concept I designed in Autodesk Fusion 360, my first design in fact. I designed it for the Instructables "Design for Robotics" challenge where you have to design robots that'll be used in 2025, but was rejected. Surprisingly, many other awful designs made it into the final list which made me to take a very bold decision of quitting Instructables. I never intended to build TAROVI in actual, but you know what, I'm going to build this by 2025 as a payback. I'll need a good hardware for my AI research in future anyway. So TAROVI will serve that purpose too.


8. Did a Presentation on Arduino and IoT at College

For the first time, I did a public presentation on the topic Arduino and Open Source Hardware. I proposed this idea to Sathish sir who propitiously welcomed it and is very supportive since then. That was a good experience even though I was nervous until just before I started talking. We're planning to conduct a hands on workshop soon and if time permits we're going to make it happen.


9. Started Hosting at Hostinger

Last year Bigrock was here in this place. But I no longer use Bigrock for hosting. Their service is too bad and they haven't even made any changes to their website UI or control panel for ages now. So there's no reason in continuing there. Hostinger is better, has great UI and features for more or less the same price. This was a nice upgrade.


10. Mini CNC Plotter Project

This probably would be the best project I've done this year. I've not completed it yet. It kept my brain busy in the vacation. I built a good hardware for it with lots of effort and designed a great GUI software in Processing for it. Even more exciting, I published a video of the plotter with time lapses. Cool isn't it ? Well, my own satisfaction is the scale of my hard earned achievements. I've completed designing the algorithm for freehand plotting and so will finish this project next year.


11. Portable GPS Logger Project

This was the project that meant to be published at Hackster.io for the Infineon contest. But unfortunately I couldn't complete the project in time before the deadline due to many difficulties I had to face. Hackster.io even extended the deadline many times, but that didn't help. I did my best trying to complete the project before deadline but in vein. If I had submitted the project in time, I'd have definitely won the USD 2000 prize. This is the most regrettable event happened this year. I plan to finish this project next year.


12. Started Working with ESP8266, MSP432 and ESP32

Arduino and other 8-bit MCUs are limited in terms of features and computation power. This year's projects were computationally demanding and so I had to move on to other platforms that offer more features and power. ESP8266 (I use NodeMCU) and ESP32 from Espressif are phenomenally awesome platforms that take advantage of the Arduino platform. I started native ARM MCU development with TI's MSP432 LaunchPad which is really impressive.


13. Improved Reaction/Reflex Time

This might seem silly; but it's true. My reflexes have been improved a lot this year and was apparent in many situations I was closely observing. I'm not sure if I'm noticing this only now or if there's an improvement at all. Whatever that is, I have good reflexes now. I can sometimes grab things that accidentally dropped, before they hit the ground. That's good isn't it ? LoL


14. Fought Off Many Health Issues

I've been being troubled by many health problems for many years. But I was able to fight off most them, and completely got rid of some. We're humans, biological machines. It's hard not to expect something goes wrong, considering our current lifestyle.


15. Improved Voice

I'm not a vocalist; but I do sing a lot with my garbage voice. But doing so has improved my voice a lot in recent times and I'm happy about that. I'll keep practicing :)
 

16. Improved Lifestyle

I've been able to improve my overall lifestyle a lot this year - in terms of diet and daily routines. I used to eat a lot of fast food, packed and fried food. But I've almost completely eliminated processed foods from my menu this year, instead I started eating more raw vegetables and fruits such as carrots (as a snack) and onion (as salad) etc. Beans (dry) and other types of nuts are now part of my daily intake.

I made at-home workout (Cardio workout) a habit this year. I plan to start jogging and gym a daily routine starting from next year. It's important to be stay healthy in order to be productive.



THE BAD

I don't usually document the bad things. But there's no point being superficial with unpleasant, unfortunate, awkward, regrettable and embarrassing memories. They are part of life. Not submitting the GPS Logger project was the most regrettable moment this year. Procrastinating too much has caused a of troubles this year. Quitting Instructables was the most bold decision I too this year which I don't regret. Health problems caused the most impediments but I was able to overcome all that. One thing I learned this year for sure is the fact that problems never settle. You'll only be solving problems to confront even more problems. In that sense, 2017 was a problem solving year too!


AHEAD WE GO!

All in all, 2017 was a great year just as 2016. There are many things good and bad that I have not listed here. But they all played a part in making my life the way I wanted. 2017 was a year of inceptions of many things I plan to do in future and had a great start too. Next year is going to be crucial, because I'll complete my studies, and so have to decide many things. I'll have to start the registration procedures of my company, setup the websites, setup a shop/office and even may be find a job. I have to start uploading videos to CIRCUITSTATE YouTube channel and for that I have to buy a good camera which I plan to do next year. I have to complete my pending projects, both personal and external. I have many projects in mind to do next year such as the VANSOH smart helmet, 6 x 6 general purpose rover platform etc. Owning a 3D printer by next year wouldn't be  acquisitive either. 2018 going to be a busy year.

There are two kinds of people; those without any specific life goals. They just live there life as normal trying to somehow fulfill what society is expecting them to be - choose the most demanding course at college, write exams, obtain high scores, start working for some XYZ company, make money, get married and so on. They simply do not care about the effects of their current actions have in the future of this country and the world. All they care about is the apparent present and themselves. They don't want to shape the future, but want to shape themselves to the changes. They take everything as granted and contribute almost nothing. But the changes continue to happen becasue of the second kind; those who have dreams, those who want to shape the future. They have goals to achieve. They never give up. All the goods of this world are there for them, for those who do. So I'll keep working to make my dreams come true no matter whatever difficulties I'll have to face. I'm not going to give up. I hope you could do the same next year. Have a great and successful year ahead ;)