Haven’t written a proper post for the longest time. Reason being I’m very busy with exams and it’s my final year so no more playing around. Time to be dead serious. Few of us have been called up for oral already so my turn’s probably just around the corner. Just hope my Boeing 777 type course finishes before the dreaded phone call arrives from DCA.

I can’t say studying is fun, because I’m sure there are more things that are fun to do. Like holidaying. But going through the type course has exposed me to many new things. Logics for one. The aircraft is designed to be safe even if several systems fail. The computer logic will isolate the failed system and make sure the plane functions as normally as possible without the defective part. It’s so amazing that it’s almost human. I can almost envision the AIMS (airplane information management system) computer taking over the world with so much logic, control and inputs going through it. Something like Eagle Eye.

So the bulk of the designer’s job is not to make sure the plane looks nice, but to incorporate numerous fail safe designs into a plane to ensure that in the unlikely event of a system failure, the plane will still be able to land safely. And yes, there are so many fail safes that even I can’t remember them all.

And not only do I need to learn how they work, I need to think of how they will cease work and what are the possible failures and what will result from the failures. I’m constantly thinking about how to make a plane crash so I can prevent that from happening. Ironic isn’t it.

Also been doing a lot of jamming recently. Been spending way way way too much time at the Nikonian Academy’s “jamming studio”. We recorded a few songs but I’m afraid more practice is needed before I dare to post them up. I don’t have them with me anyways. But just to let you know, we have some excellent drummers and vocalists!

I’ve also gone back to do what I love best: systems design. I’ve always love solving problems because I love coming up with solutions. It can be a simple and easy solution, or it can be complex but elegant. Or failsafe and boring. Tackling them gives you immense satisfaction.

My last project involved some logics so I had the chance to use my long neglected PIC programmer. 8 years ago when I started learning the PIC, I never would have thought how useful that 18-legged piece of plastic and silicone (16F84/16F88) would be.

Current projects involve interfacing my recently installed air conditioning unit with Twitter so I can turn it on or off by sending it Tweets. Will also be upgrading the CarPC. Now it mainly functions as an entertainment and navigation computer. I want it to help me more with driving, mainly to maximize the car’s potential and to replace the analog gauges on the dash. Digitized engine information will help me shift better and have an advantage because I will then know which gear I will need to downshift to for maximum power without redlining the engine.

For safety, I want cameras all round to eliminate blind spots, and extra sensors to detect if there are cars when I’m switching lanes. And infrared cameras for driving at night without headlights on. Unfortunately since I don’t drive a drive-by-wire car, I cannot make the car drive itself. If not, a distance sensor in front of the car will predict crashes before they happen, and applying brakes to avoid a collision, making this car virtually uncrashable. Unless someone rams you from behind.

So much to do. But exams are nearing so I’ll need to put these on hold for a few months. Keep checking back, will be posting project progress from time to time, and hopefully write more of these posts. Will definitely help jog my memory 5 to 10 years down the road. Continue reading