What side projects are you working on?

(Daniel Hollands) #1

As I’m sure most of the regulars here know (and are probably tired of hearing about) I’m currently working on a couple of side projects as hobbies. Specifically, I’m learning how to survive the zombie apocalypse, and building a robot. (I’ve also got a super secret side project which I’m going to show off once it’s complete)

But I’m sure I’m not the only person with extracurricular activities, so I’d love to hear about what you’re working on.

It could be tech and cloud-based (sites, apps, etc…), some tech idea which is involved in the real world, or maybe something which isn’t related to tech at all (do you enjoy painting?)

I’d love to hear what gets you out of bed on the weekends :slight_smile:

(Stuart Langridge) #2


  • secret big game (with others)
  • GPS-based building game
  • gunfight game
  • making photo cubes (on hiatus because the universe doesn’t provide a way to do this afaict, but research continues)
  • writing Mycroft skills (hasn’t started because my Mycroft hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ve been reading about it)
  • writing fiction book
  • moving apartment

(Daniel Hollands) #3

Is this the one mentioned elsewhere on the forum? How’s it coming along? I’ve got an interest in GPS-based games and am planning on working toward my idea at Hackference.

(Marc Cooper) #4

Still learning Spanish. Just started using yabla for listening comprehension. So many accents and dialects!

Cracking the elixir/phoenix/elm stack. New project rsn.

Finish editing my novel, which I’ve barely touched in a year until recently.

(Andy Wootton) #5

Oh dear. I’m going to do this, even though I know it will be embarrassing. I’m off-plan.

My main task is writing a book about where computation/information science meets philosophy.
I accidentally started another book of stuff that fell out of my experiments with that one.
and another about Tennison’s poem ‘Lady of Shalott’, just for fun.
I’m trying to write a very short, free ‘pamphlet’ called ‘The Little Wizard Book’ to encourage kids to want to code. I’ve pretty much written it but it needs a lot more work to make it shorter.
I’ve also started a response to the Silicon Canal white-paper but it too has bugs.

I try to keep up with progress in my ‘real’ job by tracking agile and Lean thinking and sometimes blogging about it and trying to move things forward. This has spilled over into politics because my ideas are very similar. I think networks trump hierarchy. I want that message in the Silicon Canal response.

I’m trying to get back into software development after a 30 year break by learning Clojure with a side-order of JavaScript and Python, possibly not in that order. That’s what I’m putting off right now. It’s making me learn functional programming concepts and emacs. I have many ideas for things I want to do including better thinking & organising tools for writers, gravitational maps and solar panel occlusion modelling. I’d like the writing tool to scale to the ‘Massive Idea Colider’. I’m interested in digital democracy and electoral reform.
I may have to learn more about web and databases on the way.

I Link-In and I birmingham.io. I mingle at BCS, Java, JavaScript, Agile and functional meetups, Web Staffordshire and an occasional Silicon Canal.

I spent 25 of the 30 years I wasn’t coding as an OS tweaker. I have a Pi and MacOS whispering in my ears but I’m trying not to listen. The MacOS Server licence shouts loudest.

I want to build a shed-extension and play with solar energy panels. Mrs. Woo thinks I should stop the house from falling down too. I’m obsessively interested in the mathematical structures of nature, including information and whether we can learn from them.

Lean says I have too much WIP but Agile says to do experiments and this is all helping my book.
I’m not faffing, I’m DOING SCIENCE! I’ve reduced how much I music and art, to make room.
Everything is connected, as though I started with a plan/ I didn’t. I think meaning is ‘emergent behavior’ of networks.

(Daniel Hollands) #6

This is an issue that I’ve got, in that I have lots of small projects that I’m working on at the same time because they’re all at differing levels of blocked.

Take the Zombie one, for example - that’s quite expensive in the grand scheme of things (shame there isn’t an undead rising, else I could just steal all the stuff needed), so I do what I can, but am frequently blocked by problems which require cash to fix. So I move onto the robot, which is cheaper (and I’m hoping I have most of the bits I need for it already), but then that becomes blocked by something else, so I find a third thing to do (the secret project).

I don’t want to have lots of things going on, but I can’t help it.

(Andy Wootton) #7

Mine aren’t blocked. I do it deliberately. If you want to get 1 thing done to deliver value, I accept that you stick with it and avoid all distractions but if your object is to learn more then I think you try alternating between multiple things and you get cross fertiislation of ideas; you innovate and identify the higher level abstractions that make up real knowledge. It can go wrong if the cycle time is long enough to forget things. I’ve taken a couple of rests from coding that were too long and caused me to have to back-track.

I observed that my creative friends are incredibly easy to distract and ‘go with the flow’ far more than I did, so I tried it. I discovered that I can be both a bit ADHD and OCD without any structure, so I’ve reigned my sanity back in a little. It was interesting though :slight_smile: You don’t expect to gain such fundamental self-knowledge at my age.

(Stuart Langridge) #8

Nope. The GPS-based building game is a thing which came out of a completely different holiday discussion; it’s about capturing territory and building buildings on top of it. Sorta like GPS Tycoon. I haven’t had a chance to get back to it for ages…

(Andy Wootton) #9

As a joke/thought experiment, I suggested splitting the UK into 2 virtual countries, one of which would leave the EU and one that would stay. It now occurs to me that a) you could do this anonymously by only displaying meta data b) people would be interested in declaring their voting and current allegiance c) the data might be politically and commercially valuable. I’m amazed how little journalistic follow-up there has been to the Brexit vote.

If nothing else, you could mathematically minimise the cost of the ethnic cleansing operation :-/

(Steve Jalim) #10

www.programmingposters.com - should have stock ready to go tomorrow

EDIT: two of three initial designs on sale now. Gotta say: the blue on the Simple is better than Complex looks gorgeous - i need to get some real photos of them up

(Daniel Hollands) #11

This feels like a weird question to ask, seeing as it’s a poster shop, but do you have any plans to support other languages? I could easily see a “Matz is nice and so we are nice” poster sitting on my wall.

(Steve Jalim) #12

Absolutely - Python is just the start cos it’s so familiar and the ZoP is great

Key thing is: any content we use to make posters we want proper permission to use, so it would need knowledge of and permission from the source of that Matz quote

(Andy Wootton) #13

This is my current favourite computer science quotation but I think it’s a bit too long for your poster format. It’s in MIT’s Wizard Book.

"The acts of the mind, wherein it exerts its power over simple ideas, are chiefly these three:

  1. Combining several simple ideas into one compound one, and thus all complex ideas are made.

  2. The second is bringing two ideas, whether simple or complex, together, and setting them by one another so as to take a view of them at once, without uniting them into one, by which it gets all its ideas of relations.

  3. The third is separating them from all other ideas that accompany them in their real existence: this is called abstraction, and thus all its general ideas are made."

John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) so I think it might be out of copyright.

(Daniel Hollands) #14

The points of the Agile Manifesto would make good posters:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

  • Working software over comprehensive documentation

  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

  • Responding to change over following a plan

(Andy Wootton) #15

There’s a sentence before and after that too. Someone recently claimed the first is the most important one.

The last one explains that it says “over” not “instead of”.

Thanks for getting me to read the Principles again too. I’ve just noticed the forbidden word “processes” is in there :slight_smile:

(Marc Cooper) #17

Unless Disney hold the copyright, of course.

(Stuart Langridge) #18

awh, man, are you open to programmingposters suggestions? I’ve got about a million! Happy to provide.

Also, programminga4picturesinaniceglassframe.com might also attract my attention :wink:

Does it carefully not show the prices because of the “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” principle? Or just because that hasn’t been filled in yet? :stuck_out_tongue:

(this is a bloody great idea, incidentally.)

(Steve Jalim) #19

Do you not see the prices in the Buy Now button on http://www.programmingposters.com/zen-of-python/3/simple-is-better-than-complex.html say? The button comes automatically from Shopify (unless you have JS blocked…)

When the posters are out of stock, tho, the button doesn’t show the price. Still tinkering to see what display options the (wonderful) Shopify setup allows

PS: Yep, will be looking at smaller options over time, too - right now it’s a toe in the water. Lesson learned already: having a physical product to deal with as well as online sales is way more complex than you think. (And holding stock is expensive!)

PPS: Thanks! :o)

(Stuart Langridge) #20

Aha. It’s being blocked by EFF Privacy Badger. You might want to put something inside the Shopify div?

<div data-embed_type="product" ...><a href="shopify.com/some/link/to/my/store">buy from shopify</a></div>

because at the moment if it doesn’t work for whatever reason, nothing shows whatsoever…!

(Steve Jalim) #21

Ah, interesting - we’re currently just using the shopify buttons, so have no actual Shopify storefront to link to.

I wonder if it’s poss to detect blockers and show a message that nudges whitelisting our site so you can actually buy something…