Incomplete thoughts

  • February 4, 2020 Interruptions

    As I’m reading Shape Up, this has perfectly captured my perspective of interruptions:

    When people ask for “just a few hours” or “just one day,” don’t be fooled. Momentum and progress are second-order things, like growth or acceleration. You can’t describe them with one point. You need an uninterrupted curve of points. When you pull someone away for one day to fix a bug or help a different team, you don’t just lose a day. You lose the momentum they built up and the time it will take to gain it back. Losing the wrong hour can kill a day. Losing a day can kill a week.

    It is the perspective of which I’d like to view interruptions. The cost of a single interruption is multiplied by the number of time units you have been focused in. When working for 6 hours continuously, the interruption would destroy everything you have mentally built for 6 hours. You need to rebuild (accelerate from zero) to get back to the state of deep focus you were in.

    Acceleration and momentum is the physical metaphor Ryan has used. I usually think of deep working as riding a bicycle, you start from zero, then start accelerating till you reach the maximum speed. If someone down the road stopped you (aka: interrupted you) for a minute, you need to settle down and then start accelerating back from zero. Multiple interruptions during the day = you lost the entire day.

  • January 31, 2020 Buildling Unmanned Ground Vehicles

    It’s been a busy month working on my contribution to a funded research project for building modular Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) controlled via IoT.

    First three prototypes.

    The main job of the vehicles is to perform surveillance missions. Each vehicle is connected to the internet via a wireless network or LTE. In case the internet is disconnected, it runs in autonomous mode. It’s equipped with the required sensors and obstacle avoidance algorithms in order to navigate its way back to the base station.

    Two controllers are mounted on each vehicle, ATmega8U2 and Raspberry PI. Both are connected via serial communication. The Raspberry PI is responsible for streaming a live video through the mounted camera, to send telemetry data to the cloud, and to receive the commands. The ATmega8U2 is responsible for the vehicles movement and autonomous mode algorithm. It executes the commands received from the Raspberry PI.

    Operation Control Unit

    The main contribution of mine is to build a modular architecture of the entire system: from hardware to the software, connect the vehicles to the cloud service, and to design and build the control unit.

    The key priority of the architecture design is to create easily reconfigurable modules where each module is responsible for a specific task and can be seamlessly integrated with the other modules. With well-defined interfaces between them, the research teams could independently work and develop any module of interest.

    Another feature that’s still under development is V-to-V communication: in case any of the vehicles lost the internet connection, it would look for the nearest internet-connected vehicle and start to send and receive the needed information through it.

    It was an intresting project. I may write more technical highlights in future articles. But for now, if you need any further technical information don’t hestitate to contact me via email or Twitter.

    Thanks for reading.

  • December 28, 2019 First entry: on showing up

    Since 2019 is winding down, a new habit I’m planning to adapt in 2020 is to make the content I create sharable as much as possible through different channels. I’ve been almost hidden from the web for several years, and this is something I think I’ve regret the most. Not working in public or sharing stuff means that you are not working.

    Signaling creates the authenticity that you’re building things over the days.

    So, a new type of content I’m planning to publish is a content that doesn’t requrie a lot of effort. Something that could be as easy as writing a tweet. It could be incomplete thoughts, qoutes, ramblings from books and articles, normal journaling, life events, links, intresting stuff… or anything that could be articulated.

    That’s it.