The Joy of Coffee

I have been spending some of my time during the last two weeks in Starbucks which has allowed me to get a lot of work done while relaxing and meeting with people in a neutral and comfortable setting. No matter what time of day or night, it is perfectly acceptable to order coffee and sit down and enjoy it. With Christmas a little more than a month away it gives me the opportunity to do all of my catching up further away from the hustle and bustle in Canada known as Decemeber.

I can sit in a coffee shop and enjoy the colors of Christmas without having to listen to the Christmas music. I have nothing against Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, but I just can't stand it when I hear it in every store that I go to. Coffee can be enjoyed by yourself as I sit hear writing my blog after a meeting I just finished with. As I look across the store I see students working on term papers and old friends meeting for a weekly coffee, alright I have been listening to some conversations while I sit hear but that is part of the fun with being in a public place.

Death of Tools

I have been working hard on a couple of projects that last few weeks and I have been slowly killing my tools. I have had to replace my soldering iron and a couple hand tools. I realize that things die, but it makes me think about all of the happy days I spent waiting in line to pay for my first soldering iron and the tools that I needed to start college. Some of those tools I still have, like my wire strippers and a pair of needle-nose pliers. But through the years I have lost tools or been a little rough with them. Just as anyone might expect.

When I am shopping for new tools it gives me the opportunity to look at getting new toys as well. With my last order of tools I ended up picking up another power supply from BK Precision and this time I think a four channel oscilliscope may be in my future. I am starting to do more work that requires advanced tools. The days have past when I was using logic gates and a pair of side cutters to get my work done.

Personal Passion

This may seem simple, and obvious to someone in my field, but I enjoy working with my hands. I love the smell of solder right at the melting point of lead-free solder. It is the smell of progress. In the past 3 years I have been gaining confidence with my skills to continue working on different projects and expanding what I am capable of creating. The other I like doing with electronics is giving myself a task in which I have all the parts and seeing how fast I can prototype a circuit and provide code to reliably handle realistic conditions.

Of course my passions do not rest solely with working on electronics and building software. Nothing in my book can relax me more than going for a walk, either by myself or with someone a walk lets me control my surroundings. By taking more of my time to walk I feel like I am more productive in other areas of my life. The obvious benefit of getting additional exercise is that I have been losing weight and keeping a healthy diet means that I have more energy after walking to work and play.

If I can recommend you do just one thing, it is to go for a walk, it may be cold or warm so dress appropriately. Bring along some of your favorite music and away you go. You'll be amazed how strong you can be.

Employer or Self-Employed

Checklist

I have always been the kind of person that has the energy to get up do something that I enjoy doing. Being self employed over the last 8 months I have had time to reflect on what I want to be doing and where I want to go in life. I think that working for yourself is an important part of understanding who you actually are. By working for yourself you can determine what motivates you to get work done. For me personally I get a rush out of seeing the products that I have developed get used everyday and how they affect people's lives.

Friends of mine continue to commend me on the personal sacrifice that I make to follow my passions. Even though every road that I may lead myself down does not make me money it teaches me something new that I did not know before. As I am still young I can make sacrifices that may help to steer my career in a path where it might not have gone otherwise.

I have been reading a friend's blog Lauren LP, as I read her different posts I realize that she has been playing herself as a marketing master and she is truly great at what she does and she is happily employed by a local company. I remember when I was working on a website for her which is featured in my projects. She was trying to start her own firm and I think the final reason she didn't pursue it was the motivation wasn't there. Now I don't think motivation is the difference between self-employed or employer employed. It is just one of the many reasons.

I am sure this will come up in future blog posts, but this will get you thinking.

Rebuilding a Website from the Ground Up

Website Addons

Quite a bit of the contract work that I end up doing is building websites. Most simple websites are three to four pages long and consist of an information page, a page of contact information and usually a page about services or products. These websites can take anywhere from one to ten hours and can be made quite cheaply.

In building my own website I have spent quite of bit of time perfecting the design to add additional elements that grab the readers attention. A page with a good mix of images and information is the key to keeping someone interested in your page. Too many images and they won't read any of the text. Too much text and they will stop reading. A fine balance is the key.

Prebuilt website engines like WordPress are a way to go but do not really give a lot of customization ability. They are easy to edit and make good blog platforms though. Personally I write my websites in old fashioned HTML and then make them look pretty in CSS. There is something about writing all the code that allows me to stay relaxed. This website has been the evolution of my past four website designs with each one being an improvement on the last. Thank you for taking a look at my site and what goes into building a professional website.

Creating A Personal Brand

Hard Drives

In such a highly competitive field such as Electronics Engineering and Software Design you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. You need to find a way that allows employers or contractors to look at what you have done quickly and let them make their decision whether or not to hire you. I think that by creating a complete profile of previos work and showing that I am not afraid to start a project for no reason other that to build further experience that shows I am the ideal candidate. My portfolio will give possible employers access to see what I have to offer and possibly even help them sort out ideas that they may have.

I also am a proud member of the technology community and If I can I like to share source code and provide a rough tutorial to answer questions about how they might construct something themselves. Being able to communicate well is important as a part of a community. Please contact me if you would like to hear more about any particular project.

Unfortunately I cannot provide full details to every project as I may be under contract to develop certain items.