Recently I had a major issue with the cloud based syncing service - Dropbox
. Prior to this, I would sing it's praises to everyone -- now, I'm not so sure.
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On the weekend, GovHack 2014 took place over a 48 hour period at The Cube QUT Gardens Point campus.
Unfortunately, I only made it through 2 of the days and was out sick for the final and last day. So, what did I learn over the course of the weekend ?
- It was fun.
Working on a project as a team is something I rarely get to do. I do all my coding on my own, it is only at work on manual labour jobs were I will get or give assistance.
The group of guys I was working with I knew only through random contacts when they were at UQ (where I work). I believe that due to their working on projects at university together and with deadlines, this in turn helped them to manage their time and work on the projects.
So, it's rare for me to conceptualise, write and release something in a weekend. I usually take weeks to craft and polish the apps I work on.
- Government data is malformed.
Hindsight is a great thing and it was only after the aftermath of GovHack, that I realised the data is, for lack of a better word, bad. Sure it might be available in RSS or CSV -- parsing these wasn't the issue; it was the additional data that was not required (requiring sifting through) or were extensions of RSS or were data dumped into one column, which then required additional parsing.
The experienced members of my team, 1 worked on the front end, 1 on the back end setup and another on massaging and "fixing" the data, so when he was done, the coders would have a nice clean flow of data to use.
This is where I should have concentrated my efforts early on, as once you start coding, you can't really go back or change direction in a hurry.
- Don't pick something that's too big.
Also don't be afraid to do what some others consider boring. On the Friday night, the brainstorming happens. Lots of ideas are thrown around, some good, some bad, some crazy but the best thing to do is have an idea that you can start to flesh out and be ready to start working on Saturday. This is what happened with the 3 other people I was working with, except we had come up with two ideas. It wasn't until the Saturday morning that I found out that the other 3 people were working on one of the ideas, which left nothing for me to do, except play around with the second idea.
If I had known this was going to be the case, I might have gone with one of the original ideas that was shot down for being "too boring". It might have been boring, but it was also achievable.
- Don't stay too late.
I think this was my downfall, as I didn't get home on the Friday/Saturday night til after midnight. Walking 2-3kms in less then 4C temperatures, wasn't the best move, since I was up early the next morning and back at it for a full day. If I could do it again, I would go home earlier on the Friday and get a good rest for the coming Saturday and Sunday.
I also wouldn't stay so late on Saturday night either. I think next time, I would have go home around 5/6pm, had dinner, worked on the rest of the project from home and then come in early Sunday to finish it off / do the presentation video.
Will I do it again next year ? It's very tempting ... I guess we'll just have to see.
I'm going to drill a hole but first, let me take a #selfie.
Today, I received my AfterShokz Sportz 2 Bone Conduction Headphones and I proceeded to put them through the paces. The AfterShokz Sportz open ear headphones were designed with safely in mind for joggers, bike riders, skateboarders, hikers and other athletes.
The headphones feature *cough* military special ops bone conduction technology and sit in front of the ear, thereby bypassing the Outer Ear and Eardrum, and permitting users to hear ambient noises such as oncoming traffic, car horns, ambulances or other warning noises.
Unfortunately, I was hoping to use these headphones on my daily commute. In this scenario, being on a train, these headphones are an utter fail. The noise of the train on the tracks drowned out the voices of the podcast I was listening to. I had to put the iPhone on max volume and the AfterShokz's own standalone volume control to full and then I was able to make out what the people were saying on the podcast. I'm sure, so could the other passengers on the train, so I tried to keep this to a minimum.
Walking with the headphones in worked just fine. I could hear all the traffic noises and still listen to my music or podcasts, though I've never had any trouble with this and standard ear buds in the past. I could imagine running with this product to be very good as the headset helps keep them on your head and not fall our like the ear buds.
The main thing I have noticed is, the noise coming out of the headphones; I can't be sure it's actually using bone conduction and not just my ears picking up the sound as the headphone's speakers are in close proximity to my ear. The only way I could be sure was to put my fingers in my ears to block them and then the sound was very clear and even had more bass. So, I'm guessing I would have to use them with earplugs to get the best sound out of them -- there being the problem, they would no longer be open ear and provide any safety.
Still, in a quiet office or home environment, they work just fine. I can hear everything in the office, along with my tunes while no one else can, but once again, I'm wondering if my ear is actually picking up the noise not the bone conduction. The previous mentioned AfterShokz's amplifier box requires charging (2 hours for full charge and lasts about a week) and features it's own standalone volume control. Unfortunately, no control over the iPhone to stop/start and control it's volume. Also no microphone, though there is a later version AS321 that does include a microphone.