Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Update and Signing Off...

Okay, first off... BIG apologies to anyone still checking in here occasionally. As you can see, it's been some time since I posted anything for Hands-On Arduino, and an explanation is in order. So, here are some details (and excuses mixed in).

1. I lost interest. That's the most honest statement I can make. I still wire up circuits and do some Arduino programming, but at some point I just hit a wall and the remaining experiments left in the book were interesting but I had so much else going on in my life that time was a rarity and I had to pick and choose carefully where I spent it.

2.  Two young boys. Given a free hour to spend at my desk tinkering with the Arduino or outside (or inside) with my boys playing... I chose my family. Believe it or not, performing all these experiments, debugging, wiring up, tearing down, photographing, and writing each project up... takes a lot of time. When I started the Hands-On Electronics blog (handsonelectronics.blogspot.com), my oldest boy was my only boy... and he was 3. Took lots of naps and went to bed really early. Now I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old and my time is even more valuable.

3.  My writing career took off. This is a good thing, but it also means that 6-8 hour of my day I'm sitting in front of a computer (or a laptop) typing away like mad. I try to write 5-6 books per year (now) and that means starting and finishing a book every two months (on average). And writing is only half of it... I'm a technology writer, so a lot more of my time is spent researching, teaching myself, and basically testing whatever subject I'm writing about. At the end of each day, I began to find less and less interest in going back to my desk and doing MORE writing.

So, Hands-On Arduino made it about halfway and then sputtered. For a while, I felt really guilty. I felt like I'd let my readers down, especially anyone following along and teaching themself the Arduino. I'm not a person to start a project and then not finish it... just ask my wife. But this one has bugged me and bugged me for some time now... but now I'm okay saying goodbye to it and moving on.

I did actually finish most of the book (Beginning Arduino), but I just didn't document it. I had some personal projects that required me to get a bit deeper with Arduino so I finished up about 85-90% of the book before closing it and nodding to myself that I had gotten what I needed from the book. Hopefully those of you teaching yourself have done the same. The Arduino is still immensely popular, and I think there must be about 10x as many books out there on the subject as when I first started.

So, please accept my apology for an unfinished blog and consider this a signing-off (of sorts). If you're looking to teach yourself how to program and use an Arduino, you cannot beat this book. (Maybe you'll even start a blog and finish all the projects!)

I do have two final books to recommend to you (one was sent to me very recently) -- Arduino Workshop  and Arduino Robot Bonanza.

The first book (Arduino Workshop) has 65 projects... I've not worked through them all, but I've read most of the book and it's another outstanding resource for novices wanting to teach themselves.

The Arduino Robot Bonanza book is also a great book to have on the shelf. I read it all and am blown away by the amount of information on integrating Arduino with robotics. I've even been asked to teach a camp next summer (2014) that would teach kids (ages 8 and up) to build a robot with an Arduino microcontroller. Nothing final yet, but this book will be my Go-To-Book for ideas and tech support.

Thanks to all my readers who followed along as I worked on the Arduino projects. Maybe one day I'll be able to update this blog if one of my boys shows an interest and wants to learn Arduino. But that's a few years away...

James Floyd Kelly
Atlanta, GA
July 2013

ps.  What's next? Well, I'll totally understand if people are gun-shy about following me again on any future projects, but yes... I do have a couple special projects that I've been asked to consider blogging about. That's one of the reasons I found this blog and chose to update it and sign off and turn off the lights -- I had just about forgotten about it, but it is quite possible I will be doing a new blog on a very interesting subject soon. If it gets the green light, I'll update this blog and Hands-On Electronics to point the way.