Good timing

Here is my once yearly blog post, coming to you for another year. This has been going on for the last 7 years without fail. This is the last day of 2014, so I’m glad that I didn’t miss it. It’s been a busy year, like all of the past years have been. Life never seems to slow down or get easier. Knowing this, it is exciting to face life this way. There’s always a response required to a challenge. Do I meet the challenge head on, or do I run away? From my experience, it’s definitely worth it to face challenge head on. In my life, the challenges have always been different.

Since last writing, I moved in with 8 roommates in Voltron home church, my friend got married, and I have been fortunate enough to help mentor people in robotics and in knowledge of the Bible. I’m incredibly grateful for all of the wonderful relationships that I now have with people. I’ve grown substantially as a person by learning how to rest in God. All action flows from what a person ultimately believes. I’ve had the great privilege of learning a lot about the Bible this year, and it’s been really exciting to critically think about what it says instead of simply having “blind faith”.

The Tri-Pacer is still flying, and I’ve kept my instrument rating current. Now I need more excuses to go flying! One highlight of flying this year was going to Wolf Run State Park to go camping at their “Fly-in Camp Ground”. It was so fun to fly in and camp. Scott even made a fishing pole, and we caught a fish with it! It was so much fun to enjoy nature and relax. I made it to Oshkosh this year in a Cessna 2010 and camped next to the airplane for most of the week. The Thunderbirds performed this year and put on a pretty cool show. I hope to get to Sun N Fun this upcoming year.

Another wonderful highlight of my year was going to San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference. It was so much fun to go to sessions and see the exhibit hall (and acquire tons of free stuff!). We stayed in a hostel a mile or so away, but it only cost us $70 for the whole week we were there! I definitely want to go back there. There was a restaurant called TBD that we went to that was fantastic. Everything there was cooked on a wood fire. I specifically remember eating this marshmallow “smore” dessert that blew my mind. A lot happens in a year, and I think it’s interesting that a food experience even makes a mention in this post. It was seriously delicious though!

The real bummer of the year is putting Soulfire on hold due to funding issues. I really hope we’ll have the opportunity to revisit it at some point to finish what we started. The games were fun, but making the games with the people we had was the most fun. Work is still going well, and I’m having the opportunity to work on such a variety of things that I never would have imagined two years ago when I started. A lot of things have happened over this past year that have legitimately allowed me to experience great joy in my soul. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cheers to another year!

Life over the past year

I’ve been out of school now for one year, and it has been an incredible year so far. I feel like I’ve been everywhere, done everything, and am still just as busy as I was during school. There are always good and bad times, but I am so blessed to be happy and view life as good. Life is about experiences, and I have enjoyed the trials and tribulations to the fullest. That’s what it means to truly live. I flew back from Oshkosh 2013 today, so that is the subject most readily on my mind to start out on.

On July 24, 2013, I passed my IFR practical test and received my instrument rating in the Piper Tripacer. OSU Avionics did a fantastic job of installing the Garmin 430W in our panel to enable this to happen. This was probably my most heavily ingrained desire that’d been burning for years. With the incredible instruction from John Wilson, I was able to finish my rating in less than two months. I passed my IFR written test with a score of 90% just one week before I took my practical test. I intend to have a future couple of blog posts in the coming weeks that go into more depth of this endeavour.

Earlier in March, I had the privilege to demo our SignWave hand-based biometric login application at SXSW. SXSW was one of the coolest places to be ever if you love Music, Film, or what they call “Interactive”. Interactive means anything from gaming to entrepreneurship, changing the world, or just changing our perspective of it. There was so much stuff everywhere. I even got to see Coolio and deadmau5. One of the downsides of the life happened shortly after when my car got broken into the day after St. Patricks day. My work laptop and flight bag were stolen from my car. About a month later, they stole my radio and my 12″ JL Audio subwoofers. Yikes. After a few weeks of not having a radio, you don’t really miss it. It’s pretty interesting to see how you “think” you need things (like cable), but when you are without them for a few weeks you don’t really miss them all that much. Humans have survived many thousands of years without the internet or smartphones.

Soulfire Software is still cooking. We’re still working on our first released 3D game. We hope to finish it by early next year. I’m really excited to see where that leads. Scott should be graduating by December, and that should help spur our progress tremendously. We’re using the Unity3D game engine, which has enhanced our development pipeline significantly. Our team did a gamejam a few months ago which was ridiculously successful. We hadn’t ever built a working 3D game yet to that point. In 48-hours, I think we nailed it. I’ll try to post a link to the version on the Soulfire website soon.

Work at Battelle has been going well. I’ve been working on some neat projects and learned an absurd amount about working with a team of engineers. At Soulfire, almost everyone is an artist. Everyone is a programmer at work except for one UI designer. It’s fascinating to see all of the pieces that need to fit into place to release a product into the consumer market. I’ve released/shipped over a half-dozen medium-scale projects to consumers. I have a love and passion for crafting fun, high quality product experiences for customers. I’m not a computer-scientist, I’m a software engineer. I know how to get things done, and I enjoy that immensely.

This last year has been an adventure. In fact, every year has been an adventure. This was the first year that I’ve been able to do things that have been useful other than spending time in school. Just because I’m no longer in school doesn’t mean I stop learning. I hope to never stop exploring and learning. This concludes my sixth yearly blog post. Cheers to another year!

Aviation.Private Pilot

Well, sorry for not updating for a couple months, but I have been extremely busy lately. Last week on my 17th birthday, I passed my check ride and earned my Private Pilot’s license! 17 is the earliest age which you can get your private pilot’s license. Because many people don’t know what it takes to get a private pilot’s license, I’ll give you a brief overview. You must have a student pilot’s license, meaning you have to go find an FAA Medical examiner because you need a medical certificate to make sure you are healthy enough to fly. With your student pilot’s license, you can not fly passengers. You can only fly with a flight instructor. After enough time and instruction, he will endorse your logbook (Logbook is required to keep track of flights and such while being a student pilot) so that you may solo an airplane all by yourself. As a student pilot striving for a private pilot’s license, you need 40 hours of flight time. 20 hours must be with an instructor and the other 20 must be solo time. The regulations make you do a certain number of night flying, cross-country, and solo hours that make up the 40 hours. You must also pass a 60 question knowledge test to show that you know all of the rules, regulations ect.. It all came down to the wire, and I passed everything. I am so proud that I was able to achieve this. It’s truly a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Now I can fly passengers and go anywhere I want to whenever (Not that I will, of course 😛 )

Aviation.Cross Country

Today was my day for flying with an instructor on a cross-country flight. For those of you who have no clue what i’m talking about, a cross country flight is defined as a flight with a distance longer than 50 nautical miles (wiki it). For those of you who didn’t know, I am a pilot working towards my private pilot’s license. A little known fact, aviation gas is 100 octane and costs about $4.75 a gallon!