My Lime Addiction

No, not the fruit, the scooter company. If you’re in a larger American city (LA, Austin, Dallas, etc) you’ve already seen the bright green electric scooters littering your walkways. Here’s a quick video used as a tutorial to teach new users how to properly park your scooter at the end of a ride.

Hey, can I park it here? No? What about here? Yeah!

Lime started a pilot program in Calgary on the second week of July. The city gave them the latitude to have these devices out on the streets for people to use and to charge same people 30 cents a minute for the opportunity.

So these scooters have pretty good batteries and will last almost a full day but they eventually require recharging. Enter the Juicers!

I’ve signed up as a ‘Juicer’, a contracted employee of Lime that is tasked with gathering, charging and ‘serving’ a number of Lime scooters each day. I was provided with a couple of chargers to use in my activities and will charge an empty scooter to full in about six hours. Then I find a location out on the street to serve, or drop off, the scooter. For that sequence of activities (harvest, charge, serve) i receive a payment of $5.25 CDN for each scooter charged.

Why? Why am I doing this? What is the possible reasoning behind someone who is doing fine financially wanting to run around being a ‘Juicer’? In the rain, tonight, I asked myself that question a couple of times.

It’s tough to explain but people who actually know me will probably understand: it’s about the quest rewards! I’ve always been a big fan of Role Playing Games (RPGs) going all the way back to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Sitting around a table, rolling dice that are desperately trying to kill me and killing the (dragon, kobold colony, Orc infestation) before receiving a reward for all my hard work. +5 Vorpal Sword!

I like the small work/small reward of the ‘Gig’ economy. I like that I can make an extra $10.50 per night doing about 30 minutes (max!) combined of work. Pays for my morning coffee addiction!

The other question I get asked all the time is how much electricity am I paying for to charge these scooters? I asked one of the electronic engineers in my lab for a suggestion as to how much electricity is consumed and his suggestion was about 8 cents per scooter per night. I haven’t gotten my first full electricity bill to confirm this yet but I don’t have any reason to think it’s much more than that.

I’m going to continue doing this until they take the scooters off the road in November. I might still be interested in continuing in the spring but who knows? As long as I continue to get that mini-rush of quest complete, I’ll probably continue the activity indefinitely. I’ll update if that changes.

Photo Dump Before the Cruise

Got a business problem? College students can solve it. – Macleans.ca

Article about a project we did a few summers ago and how we use student interns to solve business problems.

I’m always perplexed seeing my name included in an article about the work we do. I know we do good work and solving problems that might not find traction elsewhere is really cool but it’s not until someone external says, ‘Hey, this was really neat and I’d like to know more about it!’, that I actually feel a sense of accomplishment. So having an article published about it is almost surreal. If you’re interested, read the MacLean’s article here.

With our change in vector to more IoT and sensor networks based projects, it would seem I should get used to it. Innovation space has never been more exciting.

We haven’t moved into our new lab yet but we’re already getting queries about potential projects and that is very exciting.

Source: https://www.macleans.ca/education/college/got-a-business-problem-college-students-can-solve-it/ “Got a business problem? College students can solve it. – Macleans.ca”

Precision Cattle Ranching Project Video

I’ve been working at SAIT since 2005, in one capacity or another. I’m quite proud of that fact as the school is one of the better employers I’ve had in my life.

Since March of 2013, I’ve been working with the Applied Research and Innovation Services Department at SAIT. During that time I’ve had many roles: embedded programmer, project coordinator and now Research Associate, which is basically the manager for the Centre for Innovative IT Solutions. It’s been a great experience for me and I continue to get more opportunities as time goes by.

The video below is the first time I’ve been asked to present myself for an audio and visual presentation that we’ve published for the world on Youtube. Another good experience.

I thought I’d put the video here for posterity as I continue to inch away from Facebook as a social media platform. I have yet to generate enough courage to release myself fully but I see that in the future.

Happy New Year!

Another year comes to a close with me on the computer and my wife sleeping soundly on the couch. I’m not sure I’d have it any other way.

I have plenty of things to be thankful for even though I have a lot of shit going on that just generally sucks. My wife continues being the best thing that ever happened to me, I get a chance to travel ( though not as much as I would like ), I work with people who I enjoy going out with and consuming soju (SSome in Calgary is great) and I don’t particularly mind going into work everyday.

These are all things that I know I should be grateful for; and I am.  But like many other people I know, more would be better. More time off, more salary, more enjoyable work projects.

New Years’ Resolutions rub me the wrong way; I don’t like them. Too often people say what they’d like to change without ever actually putting a plan together for how they are going to make those changes in their life. I was one of those people for many years.  Then I just stopped making them. Completely.

That won’t change this year either. I’m going to continue doing what I’ve done so far and make slight course corrections as necessary to continue pushing myself in the same direction I have since the Winter of 2008: to give my wife a life that both of us can enjoy to it’s fullest. If I can keep my wife happy, my life will follow.

I wish whoever took the time to read this the very best of 2016 and hope that you get exactly what you work for or exactly what you have coming to you.

Slainte!

Repetition

I’ve spent just about the last year at the RADLab working in a project management capacity… Or at least attempting to. Not only have I been trying to improve my skill base as I go but I’ve started taking an Applied Project Management certificate course through work. It’s a long program and will take me the better part of a year to get through it all but I believe it will be worth it in the long run.

Ah yes, the long run. What is that, exactly? Or, more accurately, WHEN is that? I’ve already spent a good part of my life doing nothing and when I finally get off my ass and select something I wanted to do with my life, I get shuffled off into an area I really didn’t have much interest in. I think this is the point where I digress….

Sly often says that she thinks I’ll never be truly happy; that I’ll move through life always thinking that it should be better. That I should be making more money, getting more time off or receiving more perks from my work. She’s right but I don’t apologize for that.

Is it not the true meaning of ambition to want better for yourself and the people you love? Yes, perhaps my childhood has caused an echo into the present that causes me to make sure Sly and I don’t have to struggle as much as my Mom did. I want Sly to have the things that she desires without being fearful that acquiring them would cause us financial hardship. Or set us back too terribly far.

Which gets me back to the reason of this post: repetition. How many times do I need to feel the same thing over again before I do something to either change my circumstances or change my mind? Which is easier?  Which would lead to a more fulfilling existence?  My work feels really tough and that’s mostly because it challenges me. There’s never been a time in the past when I liked to ‘coast’, sometimes going so far as to create challenges within the work space I’m in if it gets too easy or requesting more responsibility.

Facebook is the place where people go to humble-brag about their lives (whether that’s posting pictures of some amazing trip they are taking or posting pictures of their spawn) but it also sometimes inspires me. So many memes being posted, so many inspirational posters of cats with the caption “Hang in There!” that I just want to barf until I realize one thing: I’m not the only person out there disheartened, disillusioned, disenfranchised (That last one might be untrue but I’m not positive yet) by his/her life in its current state.

Everyone wants a better life but only a few realize that change is a necessity if you wish to continue moving forward in your life; if you choose it; if you welcome it.  Change can be scary and it can be the most liberating thing you’ll ever experience but you have to embrace it. Embrace the change you want to be.

So that’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to embrace the change that’s occurring in my life and enjoy the ride while making slight corrections to my direction. I think it’s for the best, mentally and physically.

We’ll see.

One Month Anniversary

I’ve worked at SAIT as a full employee (not contract wages) for the past month. In that time I’ve had opportunity to have one day in Edmonton, expenses and salary paid, for the ASTEK awards (second place 🙁 ), one flex day (which is a day off with pay) and one sick day, also paid.

Is this what the real world is like?  Full of perks and benefits that a lot of people don’t get to take advantage of?  I could probably get used to this.

Also, after going over the annual bank statements, it also appears that one of the more challenging times during the year was two weeks after the Xmas break where the income was almost non-existent due to the two-week hold back on reporting wages and actually getting paid for them.   Not working for almost two weeks will do that to a person. 😉

I don’t think I’ve ever had a job that paid me for time off nor have I ever been in a place where I wasn’t actually having to wait for pay for the work I’ve done.  At least two weeks, anyways.

It feels good and I really appreciate being able to experience this with Sly and take that “next adult step”.  I know it probably sounds odd but this isn’t something I ever really considered as important and,  until I’ve given it more thought,  it may turn out that it isn’t .  But I know that with Xmas holidays this year,  there will be no break in my pay;  I’ll still get the same amount, every two weeks as expected without pause.  So, in effect, I’m being paid while in Las Vegas.  I guess that means blowing a couple of bills in the slots or at the tables won’t make me feel as guilty.

Oh Happy Day! 🙂

PROMOTED!!!

Ok, so if you’re not into Battlefield 3 or 4 then the title of this post is probably nonsense.  I’m embedding the video below for some context.

Funny.

I’ve worked at SAIT for several years now.  After graduation, I was lucky enough to get in with the Commercial Services department which allowed me to gain even more experience with the internal workings of an educational institution as well as spend time working on some of my less ‘programmy’ skills. This included acting as a contracted manager for a medium-sized project creating the groundwork for an internally branded and operated RFID based commerce card.

Continue reading “PROMOTED!!!”