Wow. It's been 4 years since I posted. A lot has happened in that time. I'll give some updates and then talk about a new project.
When I left off, I was trying to get the CAN bus board working for my BASPLC project. That project stalled in part due to some frustrations getting the board to work. Even after the patches that I mentioned, I had trouble with the software. Another thing that stalled BASPLC was a major distraction. When I was making the display board I realized that I needed a jig of some kind to make the LEDs line up neatly. That and there was so much bleed-over between the LEDs, I needed them to be isolated from each other. How to do that? I know, 3D printing. Thus was another hobby born. I'll chronicle my thrills with that one in another post.
Work and life intervened somewhere in there and I only got some small projects done, mostly a few 3D printed things. I did get some construction plans for a Walt Disney World attraction and tried to 3D model it. OpenSCAD worked fairly well, but there's no way to decorate. Blender is terrible for architectural type stuff and so I tried moving data from one platform to the other. That didn't work nearly as well as I would have liked. I'll have to go back and continue the OpenSCAD design work and see if there are new 3rd party transfer tools.
What else? I took a few classes on Udemy in PLC programming. These helped fill some gaps in my self-teaching, especially around some best practices. I'm still in the middle of the PLC III course, which covers SCADA and HMI. PLC IV goes outside of the Allen Bradley/Rockwell PLCs so that should be interesting, too.
Speaking of education, I'm back in school, formally. For a bunch of reasons, I've enrolled in UCLA's Engineering MS Online program studying Engineering Management. Some of this is just because I've always been frustrated that I didn't have an advanced degree. I also want to open up some more job opportunities. It helped that having both boys in school inspired me to give it a shot. There are some things that I love about this program and a few things that I don't like. The teachers have either been fantastic or terrible and there's some disorganization in the department. One surprise: I took ENGR 200, "Systems Engineering" and discovered that I'm a systems engineer. All through the class I was saying to myself "wait, I have to do that in my job." It was just a matter of terminology; what I call a "Software Architect" is really a systems engineer. I kinda regret not taking the SE specialization, but I may have a chance for at least one elective that I can take, so I'll look at the choices there.
On to the new (old, really) project: I had applied for a job that I really want, but have been told that they want people with embedded systems experience and not application development. Fair enough, my resume doesn't have a lot of embedded experience and I don't have concrete examples, despite work like the BASPLC. So, what can I do? I'm going to revive BASPLC but take a very different approach to developing it, concentrating on the software and not the hardware. More to follow -- that is, unless I get distracted by something new and shiny!