New Year's Resolutions - 2015

1. Read a book every 2 weeks

I had one resolution from 2014 which I chose when I was in Busan, South Korea - to average one book every two weeks for 2014 (so 26 for the entire year). Due to some hefty work commitments that hit me around September I fell pretty far short of this (I managed 16). This was a nice resolution to have because too easy to forget that I enjoy reading and need just a little bit of motivation to make time for it, so I'm trying again in 2015.

Measurable goal: 26 books read by 31st December 2015

2. Assemble my own Single-board Computer

I've been messing around with my Arduino and BeagleBone for a while now, but I'd to learn more and have a more structured goal. For Electronic Engineers it's not too tough to put single-board computers together, but my experience with Embedded Systems is limited to the software\tools side of things so it's actually quite a challenge for me. 

I've found a number of blow-by-blow guides[1] on various microcontrollers so it's nice to see that it's not too uncommon to do this, but realistically I need to start from the beginning. Roughly speaking I think the first steps I want to do are the following:

  1. Undertake a primer in electronics (the last time I touched this was on my Physics Higher when I was 16)
  2. Put a simple but useful circuit together (Arduino ISP programmer for my BeagleBone, for example) then fully understand and document it
  3. Start looking at the microcontrollers I might want to use, pick one and get familiar with the architecture and ecosystem.

This will likely not turn into anything special or groundbreaking, but it'll help me scratch an itch I've had for quite a while.

[1]: The first few links I picked through were for Zilog Z80, Atmega\Arduino, and 6502 - there's a lot of nice support in the community it seems so this could be a nice achievable resolution :)

Measurable goal: Completed SBC on a breadboard with simple OS\output by 31st Dec 2015

3. Contribute (more) to Open Source

This is another long-standing one, I've been meaning to find a nice open source project where my contributions would be valued. I've already started contributing to OpenCorporates and I've enjoyed this so far, but I'd like to do more if possible. However this is a pretty vague resolution, and one which many people make and fail. I may need to define it a little better before I have any chance of considering it "done".

Measurable goal: ???

4. Learn to Pick a Lock

I've had a cheap set of lockpick tools for a month or so and have made no real attempt to learn other than skimming the MIT lockpicking guide a couple of times when I was in uni. I'd love to be able to pick locks.

Measurable goal: Able to pick the lock on my flat's door by 31st Dec 2015