From imagination to reality
It’s amazing what a good night of sleep will do for a person. Hopital-PI often has what he calls his “shower ideas” and frankly, my “big idea” was also a shower idea, but I find that the best ideas come to me when you’re not even thinking about them. When you step away from a problem and focus on something else, your brain just does something magical and works out the solution without you even realizing it, sometimes anyway.
I love making things. I’ve gotten pretty good at making just about anything you can think of. Welding, machining, woodworking, soldering, I’ve done it all and while I don’t think I’m skilled enough to call myself a master of any of those things, I’m good enough that I can competently create some really cool stuff. Over the years I’ve made a lot of different things and I like to believe that if you can dream it, you can make it.
Sometimes though, you don’t realize you have a problem. For the past few months I’ve been working on collecting data for “big idea,” an idea so big that I think if I can pull it off, it will be something that follows my name for life. It’s all very exciting and I recently got a new dataset for it. We still have zero datasets in the way I imagined it, but we’ll get to it… eventually? The point being, big idea is… well big! With big ideas come big problems however.
Recently I talked about how our first attempt gave us nothing. Like literally nothing, it was total garbage data and I believe a cable came disconnected and that was the problem, but the frustrating part is I will never know for certain. After two data collection efforts, both of which seem to be successful (yay), I thought there was nothing that I could do to improve the collection process. Things were finalized and working as planned, but my brain had a different idea apparently.
Between last night and today, I’ve had a realization that I can simplify some of the data collection process in a big way, but it requires me to make a few new pieces. Now, I do things on a shoestring budget regularly and big idea, that whole, “if it works it’s what I will be known for” project, that was done for (compared to other projects) pennies. All because we don’t really have funding for the project, but also because I can make the things needed for the project.
So today I’ve been busy fabricating (soldering, if I’m being completely honest) some things together that will make my job a lot easier, but also free up some of the resources (equipment) we’re using in place of this solution. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, now it seems so obvious, but for whatever reason I’ve only just come up with it and I’m glad I did.
I guess the whole point is that with the rise of the internet, youtube, and all the other resources out there, you can learn to do just about anything. Sure there’s a lot of practice involved and taking a class with someone watching over you telling you you’re doing it right or wrong is super helpful. But in the end that isn’t 100% needed, especially if you’re not afraid to fail at whatever you’re trying to do. Most of the things I know how to do I’ve learned by trial and error (or watching videos, reading, etc.)
It’s not a bad way to learn something new, but also I’ve held one thing to be true. That’s everything you own can be taken from you. Even your freedom can be taken from you. Your house, your car, your clothing, your most prized possessions, all can be taken. The one thing no one can take from you is knowledge.
I think that’s why people in power push so hard to keep the general public from learning. Those damned “elites” in their schools, you know what I’m talking about. When I make about 1000x less than any politician claiming I’m part of the “elite” because I’m someone who likes to learn. Knowledge is something no one can take away, so why not get all you can? I’ve lost mostly everything multiple times in my life, so maybe I’m bias, but I find comfort knowing that I can fix things, make things, and generally build things all because I bothered to pick up a book or watch a video.
If you dream it, you can make it.