Reflecting on my 2023
Just as with last year, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my journey through the last year. Because my memory is a leaky pot, it's useful for me to write down and reflect on events before they fade forever. As always, this article is less technical than my usual content, however, I hope it provides some entertainment if you read through it.
While there's still so much work to be done on KiCanvas, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. It's already being used to help create documentation for open hardware projects! I've been blown away by the amount of financial support folks have given me to work on the project, and I'm so thankful for everyone's support.
Castor & Pollux II
After about seven months of development, I started shipping Castor & Pollux II in April.
It was a joy to revisit Castor & Pollux and give it a much improved interface while also making it easier to manufacture. I also gave the manual a refresh with new illustrations. Despite a small hiccup requiring an adorable little "booboo" board, I couldn't be more proud of my work on it.
Thankfully, C&PII has been extremely well received! I've wanted to create a follow-up article to my original design exploration, so let me know if you'd be interested.
Open Hardware Summit
A huge highlight of this year was traveling to Manhattan for the Open Hardware Summit in April. This was my first time traveling to a conference since Covid and since leaving Google. I was thankful to not be speaking, as it gave me more time to meet some incredible people in person for the first time.
Some of the highlights for me was meeting fellow OSHWA board members and staff, setting up a makeshift zine-crafting station with Maggie, and the incredible bubble machine. Maggie and I had a wonderful time, and we still talk about the incredible pomme frites and taro ice cream we had.
Speaking of the Open Source Hardware Association, I've volunteered to serve as the president of the board of directors, giving Michael Weinberg a well earned break from the role. While it's mostly just a fancy sounding title, I am exciting to be more directly involved in leading OSHWA and its board over the next year.
I also got a pretty sick new tattoo:
I was delighted to have an opportunity to speak at Hackaday Superconference in Pasadena, California in November. Just like with the Open Hardware Summit, it was so delightful to talk to people face to face and build more connections. A true highlight was meeting Stephen Hawes in person after over a year of chatting with him weekly over video chat. On the last day of the conference I gave a talk about KiCanvas and some of the weird and wonderful things I discovered about KiCAD while creating it. People seemed to really enjoy the talk and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, which is always a joy. The talk was recorded, but unfortunately Hackaday has yet to upload the video.
Maggie and I spent our last day in Pasadena visiting our friends Kris and Stephen of Noise Engineering. We had a chance to meet their wonderful dog and see some of the incredible creations they have in their workshop. It was a joy to meet and catch up and the perfect ending to our trip.
Over the last year I've continued working with Stephen, Lucian, Justin, and the other wonderful LumenPnP developers. After developing the excellent linear rail mod that eventually got rolled into the LumenPnP V3, I also contributed a little artwork for the Lumen feeders:
I also had my own Lumen working away placing boards for Winterbloom:
Though I had to put it away once I received a new, stock Lumen from Opulo- a must have for some secret work I'm doing for the project. 😉
After returning from the Open Hardware Summit, I spent parts of May and June building a Voron 3D printer from kit. Building it was a really fun experience and I absolutely love the machine I have now. The Voron project is an incredible showcase of how open source hardware and community collaboration can create something truly unique and exceptional.
It's a good thing I built the Voron, since I immediately put it to work creating props for DragonCon, Atlanta's very own massive fantasy convention. My sister entered the Friday Night Costuming Contest with her incredible "Sailor Skeletor" costume which she meticulously designed, sewed, and modeled. I contributed the props- the mask, the staff, and the decorative jewelry. These were all made with a combination of 3d printing, resin casting, and other traditional propmaking techniques.
This contest always draws some of the most incredible costumers and makers, but I'm exceeding proud that we managed to win Best Prop! It's our first time winning any award for our combined costuming efforts and man it felt good!
Wonderful moments with friends
I am always thankful for my wonderful friends and the time we spend together. This year we made several trips to the Georgia Aquarium, the High Museum, saw a bunch of excellent concerts, watched some good (and bad) movies, went to the Ren Faire, went to a roller derby bout, and played lots of Fortnite together. Some of the highlights were seeing Ginger Root live, seeing Stop Making Sense in theaters, and attending Spider-Verse in Concert.
As I look towards next year, I can't help but feel some anxiety. I somehow feel that I'm not doing enough or that I'm not doing the right things, but I hope I can find some meaning and purpose in the coming months. Either way, I have plenty to look forward to, including an upcoming Winterbloom release and the 2024 Open Hardware Summit and much more!