Saturday, April 20, 2019

Electronics, disasterous career choices and good techy YouTubers...

The last few months have been a bit of an education for me; I changed jobs twice and kinda wished I hadn't - neither has been ideal. However, I wound up with six weeks with not much to do (I did a few days of freelance colour work) but I took the opportunity to finish off my home fixing bench;

After this I resorted to my usual cathartic activity of building a hand-held games console based around a RasPi and fitted into the dead carcass of an old Gameboy/Gamegear etc. I didn't make any videos of this project (unlike the Gamegear from last year;

BUT, back to the most recent build; I was really pleased how it worked out, probably the most tidy one I've done to date. I also implemented a proper shut-down script so the power button doesn't just crash the Pi (and I monitor the LiPo's voltage to avoid the system crashing that way too).

The other thing I took to whilst off was to start learning the Python programming language - if you're looking to get back up to speed with coding Python seems to cover a lot of the principles of modern scripting languages - the thing that has blown me away the most so far is the list data type - a list can have different data types within it! Perhaps all modern languages have this, but my degree in Maths and Programming in the mid-eighties did not prepare me for such things!
Can I recommend Jamie Chan's book "Learn Python in one day and learn it well" - as someone who still has a bit of C and VB experience it has bee good for me.

I have also been catching up on my favourite electronics YouTubers;
Louis Rossman - Apple repair guy and the best example of surface-mount rework and diagnostics you'll see.
Big Clive - more focussed on big volts and tearing down badly made power electronics!
Great Scott! My kind of small project builds with something of a focus on Arduino
A brother broadcast engineer who fixes stuff
The Post Apocalyptic Inventor - motors and generators are the emphasis of his builds
Dave Jones of the eevBlog is a design engineer who seems to know everything about electronics; really engaging style too.

So, not sure how 2019 is going to play out - one thing I have realised is that my plans of giving up all this broadcast engineering nonsense are perhaps closer than I thought; maybe the teaching PGCE is even closer than I thought...