Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2012 was a tough year for me personally, and I only set myself one goal for the year which was to start (and continue) giving blood.  I achieved that goal and have given blood 3 times so far with my 4th appointment in just a few days.

Here are my goals for 2013:

Learn to play the guitar

Tanglewood Discovery Purple
My Tanglewood Discovery electro-acoustic guitar

This all started when I literally found an acoustic guitar in my attic while I was clearing out a load of junk.  Unfortunately it didn’t last very long; the bridge (this is the part that holds up the strings on the base of the guitar) snapped shortly after getting it down from the attic.
The bug had bitten though and so I’ve decided to try learning the guitar in 2013.  I have bought myself this lovely electro-acoustic guitar from Bridgend Music Store:

So far I have managed to learn a few chords and toughen my finger-tips up a little bit.  I am told that this is a very important part of learning the guitar because unless perseverance is shown at this stage then I’ll never be able to progress with the more interesting stuff (learning to play actual songs) later on and I’ll end up getting nowhere.

Here’s to 2013 and learning to play a musical instrument!


Design and sell my first electronics product


Beagle Bone computer
Beagle Bone single board computer

It has been my ambition to start my own electronics design business for a little while.  It’s a tough industry to get into because to make good money you need to have quite a bit of money behind you as a budget for development, parts, PCB ordering, etc.  I don’t have any real money behind me, and I’m in a bit of a catch-22 situation because in order to get some money behind me I really need to be doing some extra work in addition to my full time job.  But to do the extra work I need some money behind me!

For this reason I’ve decided to start small.  I want to design some expansion boards for the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone single board computers.  These will be relatively low quantity products targetted at the electronics hobbyist market.  I have no idea if it’ll make me any money, but it’ll be fun designing them and I have an end-application of my own in mind for the boards as well so the effort will not be wasted even if the project never gets off the ground in terms of selling them on the market.

So far I have the following expansion boards planned:

1. Precision temperature and humidity measurement board with RTC.
2. GPS real-time tracking board with SMS command module.
3. Radio communications module.
4. Camera control module (not sure about this one yet)

 Launch my HAB project

Near Space photo
A photo from near space

Another goal I’ve had for a number of years is to design and build a working flight computer for a high altitude balloon and launch it.  This has been done many times before by other enthusiasts, and I’d like to have a go at it too.  This project ties in to my first electronic design products for the Raspberry Pi and Beagle Bone computers; the expansion boards I’m going to design for them will be used in the flight computer I am planning to build and launch.

If you can think of any cool science experiments you’d like to see conducted at near space altitudes please get in touch in the comments below with your suggestion!

Continue my 2012 Give Blood goal

Give Blood
Give Blood

I plan to continue to give blood in 2013 and I would encourage you to do it too.  For years I considered giving blood but didn’t end up making the time to do it.  And that’s an important point; you need to make the time, because unless you do, you’ll never end up doing it.  Once you make your first appointment and get into the routine it becomes easier to stick to the plan, and giving blood has been a rewarding experience for me.  Make it your New Year’s resolution!

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