New Beginning

So, it’s been a while. One might even say “quite a while”, in fact. A long, long time. But hey, I’ve been busy!

A few months ago, I finally took the plunge and bit the bullet, deciding to move out (again) into a rental property with my shiny new Fiancee while we watch and wait for the housing bubble to collapse. Well, I hope it is and it does; after more than a year of searching it seems anything but a shack or shanty is overpriced by at least $50K at the moment here in Melbourne. Since I’m tired of being blatantly lied to my face by Real Estate agents Anika and I’ve signed on for a short lease while we regroup.

The end is nigh people, I can see it in sight. A little while ago I decided enough was enough, and sent in my resignation at LIFX. It wasn’t a decision made lightly, but magically after hitting send on that short email, a year of frustration, anger and regret flowed out and I’ve felt happier than I have for a long time. My time there has been turbulent; I’ve met some fantastic engineers, but also some horrific – nay, abysmal – managers and learned both how to think on my feet and design/test/ship a product with only a small handful of guys. It’s been the most instructive part of my life to be certain, and I’ve learned an entire swath of new tools for my future career.

It’s a time of my life I won’t look back on fondly (one pivotal decision will remain the biggest regret for a long time coming, and was the eventual straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back not just for me, but for many others too) but despite all the problems I’ll miss a bunch of my Melbourne colleagues; it’s amazing how well a small team can work together despite all the odds and still get things shipped. To that end, I’m happy I joined, if only so I can say I’ve worked alongside some great veterans of the electronics and software industries.

After making my decision I sought out somewhere new, and found it in Black Magic Design, local to Melbourne of all places. Actually, my dad’s been bending my ear about the place for a year ever since he heard about it from a friend whose son works in the film industry, but I didn’t realize it was both so close and so well established in the industry. I start there in a few weeks, but as I haven’t yet been told what I’ll be doing I’m a little apprehensive. I’m sure it’ll work out in the end. I’m excited to have the change of scenery and to jump into a whole new branch of software engineering, and overall it should be a great positive step in my life.

Moving out has also led Anika and I to buy a bunch of new things – I have a tendency to hold on to things until well past the point at which they should be replaced – so it’s been nice to experience good cookware and whatnot. That’s led me to start trying to automate my life a little more; I’ve bought a real Synology NAS which I’ve had great fun fiddling around with, then bought a Raspberry Pi 2 to run OpenELEC as a media center for my TV. I’ve always looked at the RPi boards with interest but never had a particular project in mind, so never ended up buying one before now. It’s all set up and working amazingly well, but that’s led me to buy another to use as a general purpose server/Linux machine.

It’s a revolution people, they’re fantastic little things. I can totally see why they’ve achieved the popularity they have, and I’m having great fun learning more about configuring Linux systems. I’ve used Linux a lot in the past as a VM, but always for firmware development and other general purpose tasks. Now I’m setting up OpenVPN services and making Python-based web GUIs to remotely start and stop the encryption tunnels and having a world of fun. Next I think I’ll see if I can attach some sensors to it and use it for temperature and humidity logging or something.

And with that, the next phase of my engineering career begins. It started with the 8-bits, moved to the bare-metal 32-bits, and now on to figuring out how to write Linux kernel modules. Huzzah!

 

Comments: 8

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Great to see you moving into the next phase of life! Ahead!!!

 

Hi Dean. Sorry to hear of your recent “adventures”, but pleased that you have started the next phase. Best wishes to Anika. Cheers, Ross

 

Hey Dean, now that you have too much time on your hands, it is time to edit your “I’m working at LiFx”-type entries.

Cheers,

Ross

 

Good point Ross! I leave tomorrow for a ten day cruise to reset, so have to take care of that tonight.

– Dean

 

Dean, if you ever played, and miss the N64, you can load RetroPie on a Pi 2 as well and buy some $15 USB-N64 controller clones on Amazon for 4-player Mario Kart! I’m new to the Raspberry Pi as well, but when overclocked the Pi 2 plays 4-player Mario Kart surprisingly well. Sorry though, no 007. Runs horribly slow…

 

I do indeed miss the N64 – never had one, but I loved playing Mario 64 at a friend’s house. I’ve just gone and bought a third RPi2 – one is (still) a media server, the other is happily running as a VPN and download client, and now the third will be for fun. I was hoping to get OpenELEC and RetroPie running in BerryBoot as a dual-boot solution, but it looks like it’s not an easy path to take. Perhaps I’ll make a dedicated RetroPie image for nostalgia purposes.

– Dean

 

Small world!
I live in Finland, and as a result of being: a) old – 59 – and b) poor at Finnish language, after my departure from Nokia due to “synergies” (don’cha hate that word!) I joined the ranks of the long-term unemployed. 8 years in fact…
I’ve had two kinda “work Experience” training courses imposed on me by the Social security office here.
One was to advise/draw up a plan for an enhanced video system for an art centre based in an old silo (of which all I know is how to Google intelligently). They’d chosen Roland stuff, so I googled about, came up with Black Magic’s ATEM system, saving thousands.
Second work experience was (is) at an environmental monitoring place. They had a logger, their bread-and-butter based on the Basic Stamp chip. However, that’s now “EOL’d”, so I suggested I could do something bsed on a mega32U4. Power consumption led me to an Xmega256A3U overkill, and I’m strugling with it still, as I gave a ‘gentlemans agreement’ to the company that I’d finish it in my spare time. Especially as they bought the PCB’s and all components I specified, just before my work-experience had to end.
Bit of a hint, I guess….
So, if you see some newbie on avrfreaks blathering on about how to do a simple USB CDC interface, or timeouts on TWI, that’s me.
Much to learn, fortunately not totally from scratch, but it’s a challenge that prevents me going old prematurely.
-Cheers!
-Andy

 

The fun thing about the Internet is that age isn’t a factor for good discussions; you can have an 80 year old happily arguing with a 15 year old, and vice-versa. Never stop learning, whether you’re 59 or 100!

The BMD ATEM switchers are great – that’s the team I’m on now. Blackmagic as a whole seem to have really perfected the “make good solid stuff, and sell it cheap in volume” business model which is a bit unheard of in the professional video industry, but it seems to be working really well so far. At the very least, the employees are really awesome.

Gentleman’s agreement or not, you should get some compensation for working outside the agreed contract period. Working on open source projects for free is fun, but working in a commercial capacity is something else entirely and everyone deserves to eat (except for advertising agency employees).

– Dean

 

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Vital Stats

  • 28 Years Old
  • Australian
  • Lover of embedded systems
  • Firmware engineer
  • Self-Proclaimed Geek

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