I’m a person that always has several projects on the go, from day-long sprints to multi-year marathons. This is a sort-of-list of some of the things I’m currently working on.
BlackBerry 10 Apps
In the fourth year of an engineering degree at the University of Waterloo, everybody must do a fourth-year design project (FYDP). The FYDP is a year-long project which is intended to draw on all of your university-acquired knowledge to create something new and exciting to be presented at a design symposium. It’s a pretty big deal at UW, with some people starting to plan in their first years.
The group I was in created an automated telescope which works with Google Sky to allow users to find and track objects in the sky. At the time of the project, none of us had much interest in continuing its development after the symposium, but we received a lot of positive feedback on it, so I’m looking at improving it and possibly someday turning it into a real product.
Our design prototype for the symposium was a C# application that communicated with the telescope via USB, with the hardware side being controlled by an Arduino. My eventual idea is to move it to a smartphone app that communicates with the Arduino via Bluetooth.
I’ve got a few vehicles that I own and maintain myself. That said, these aren’t just ways for me to get around - they’re also sources of some fun projects!
1978 BMW R80/7
While BMWs are reknowned for being reliable and hardy machines (and this one is no different), any 30+-year-old vehicle needs some love to keep running. Fortunately with this machine I’ve never had any major problems, even after driving it across most of Canada. I’m currently planning to rebuild this motorcycle over the winter of 2014/2015 and really clean and tune everything properly, as it spent a fair number of years in storage until recently.
1980 Suzuki GS400
This is a confusing bike, since nobody seems to believe that it exists. I’m still not really sure of its origins, but it looks like it may have been an import model, which makes finding parts for it confusing at best. (Fortunately it’s very similar to a bunch of other Suzuki bikes of the same era.) This bike has been relatively reliable (especially for a bike bought for $800), but has needed a fair amount of electrical work over the past few years to keep it happy. The goal for the 2014/2015 winter is to tune it so that it can comfortably reach highway speeds again… (Of the original 27 horsepower this bike made, I suspect about half of them have since escaped.)
2002 GMC Yukon XL
This Truckosaurus is not fuel efficient, rarely practical, and has crash safety ratings that certainly leave something to be desired. That said, its large size does make it ideal for moving lots of people or stuff, and has already done a half dozen moves for people in the short time that I’ve had it. Hoping to build a device that reads the OBD-II bus from this vehicle to give more information, such as fuel consumption (which is terrible) and acceleration (which is slow).
In the fall of 2013, I bought an Epiphone Les Paul 100. I’ve had an acoustic guitar for years, but am much more of a fan of the sort of music played on electric, so opted to switch over. (Not to mention that acoustic is hard to practise without annoying the people you live with…) I’ve been practising fairly consistently thanks to Rocksmith, which is basically Guitar Hero for actual guitars. Quite fun!
Most years, I make a costume for Hallowe’en. In the past these have varied in complexity, with some of my favourites being Gordon Freeman (from Half Life 2) in his HEV suit, and The Comedian, a sort of anti-hero character from the comic series Watchmen. I’m always on the lookout for new costume ideas, and revel in making costumes that are as faithful to the original as possible (given limited resources and time, that is).
I play a red trombone. I started playing in middle and high school, and since then have played off and on for various groups and events.