Robotics. A sporadic obsession.
Of my endless sporadic obsessions, Robotics was one of the few that I never intensely dived into. I think it’s time. Backing up to the early days of my Robotics obsession research period coupled with rewatching Ex_Machina, Iron Man, The Imitation Game and the Tars tactical robot in the Interstellar universe, I was quick to associate Robotics with programming specifically Python. More than once I had attempted to start the learning curve only to quickly give up or shift focus to other obsessions except for this time. August 2017, an attempt was once more made. The first step was important but the consistency that followed, in my view, was the more significant doing.
Automate the Boring Stuff with Python was my main resource in the beginning. Daily practice from 6:00a.m. for an hour minimum, covering 3 chapters a week. I struggled with the first 6 chapters which cover the overall basics ; flow controls, functions, lists, dictionaries, string manipulation. It took me more than a month to really understand the basics. In that time, I did not encounter any feelings of giving up mainly because I was having so much fun and the satisfaction of my curiosity was on point. I was actually looking forward to mornings. Wake up, brush my teeth, hydrate, make me some coffee, open up the editor on one half of the screen pdf reader on the other half, start learning only to realize I forgot majority of what I covered the day before and it was okay , all part of the learning process. My mornings were golden. It was something different. Different from all the design that I had been trying out and most of all different from my main squeeze, Architecture. With this love development, consistency was no issue. I completed the book on October 31st 2017 and planned to move on to more practice by making small programs.
Practice. Learning by practice.
It did not go as expected. With Google searches and answers from Quora, I listed quite a number of small programs that one can use for practice and learning at the beginner level. It was overwhelming to a point that I procrastinated the daily practice with the excuse of ‘I can’t decide which program to start working on.’ The consistency started fading. In addition to this, I had no clear reason why I wanted to learn Python or what I intended to specialize in Python. In an attempt to regain the love, consistency and growth, I turned for advice : “Observe your own life, your days and routine. What can you automate?” I came up with a list which I loved. I still love the list though it wasn’t enough to jumpstart the former golden mornings. Then came an exploration bout on Twitter which led me to #100DaysOfCode, a challenge to code a minimum one hour everyday for a consecutive 100 days while tweeting each day’s progress using the hashtag #100DaysOfCode for accountability purposes. Motivation is a good jumpstart but habits are powerful. Given that the 2017 is about to come to an end, I thought it to be poetic to start off the #100DaysofCode on January 1st 2018 but that’s failing. There will be never be a ‘perfect’ time to start . I started #100daysOfCode the following morning, Thursday, December 21st 2017. Today is Day 5 and am still as excited as the first day. Every Thursday morning, I intend to post a 7-day progress log recap detailing the learning journey. This challenge seems to be the best gateway for me to move from a beginner level to an intermediate level.
Back to Robotics. On more thought, my obsession with robotics may have been sourced from a desire to be both an Architect and a Mechatronics Engineer. Could be the reason why it didn’t take off but its different this time round. Robotics holds a certain overlapping beauty in that it encompasses a variety of fields that I love from design to engineering to mathematics to computer science and artificial intelligence. With this surge of motivation, happiness and a lot of thought, am sticking to Python and specializing in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Even the inner child in me is very excited for this adventure.
Awesome Holidays to everyone. 🙂