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The hardest trial

So as Loïk just posted, RoseRolls is probably undergoing some major changes in its objectives. And I think this part of the project is the hardest trial, and the best lesson for future project endeavors – in companies for example.

Once your goals are crystal-clear and you’re on your way and know what to do, it’s easier to spend days working on it. But when you can never settle down on objectives, or PSSCs, or features, or any of this project management stuff, well, it’s hard. Figuring out a clear goal out of blurry concepts we don’t quite know or don’t know how hard or complex they are, and basically pulling something out of our imaginations is really hard – even though I usually have no imagination problem. I actually already had RoseRolls rolling in my mind – and now I have to take it away to put it back again, with new features and a different setup for a new goal, which we have to define again.

This is the first step, and it’s the hardest and longest one, the one that allows the rest to flow out more easily, once we know where we’re going. It’s pushing the ball over the tipping point till it starts rolling, and then let it juste race down the slope – that’s the natural part (and yes, this image is not at all innocent). It was like that in PACT last year – and anyway we had time, and what little constraint they try to put on us we knew we could play with and say “Your PACT setup isn’t perfect yet”. With ROSE there’s experience of seeing students do it over and over, and there’s little time. So no cheating.

This’ll work out eventually though, since we’re all into it. By the way, putting a new firmware onto Sphero has never been done – either that or the people who did it did not publish on the Internet. All you find is blogs or videos from people showing off they have the money to buy a Sphero and who think they’re geeks when they’ve created a Macro that’s more than 5 lines long – where, for a comparison, in 30 minutes of work Alexis Polti was able to figure out so much more about the actual hardware setup of the Sphero with just an ohm-meter and a oscilloscope, it was wild.

Now I wish I had the strength to work on my PCB design lab – but I don’t … And yet I find this all absolutely amazing, believe me, I do. That’s the real thing, to put components side by side and connect them to turn it all into a powerful, nifty board that efficiently serves a purpose (not at all like the fake example we’re using for the lab). It’s worth it that it’s so hard because we have so little time to learn and figure so much out, as I said in a previous post.

Sleep now. Necessary.

Charles THIN

ROSE 2013

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