Hi again!The Pip-Boy desktop prototype
As you remember from my previous post, I was planning to start my work on this project at the beginning of October. Unfortunately, I cannot make it so - my current job, which requires me to build a control system for Modbus devices, has extended the project's deadline and I am currently doing what I should have been doing 2 weeks ago - helping to plan all the wiring they're making for the whole setup, making some new devices, searching for parts that are missing, and, most importantly, not yet receiving any money as I'll get money as soon as I install the system on the site which isn't ready yet. I'll make a personal blog entry about the system some time later, it'd be excellent as I know it's gonna be interesting to many =)

Depression is a funny illness, in a way. In my case, there are still too many factors influencing me that don't let me get rid of it. But then, I don't feel any of it when I work on things I love working on, and that's coding and electronics. They make me distracted so well that I don't feel any of bad things I usually feel. Instead, there's a sense of accomplishment. Well, the explanation is easy - one thing that depresses me is feeling unproductive. Those reasons are something I should be getting rid of, but as far as it helps me along the way, why not? Hope that helps me fight my procrastination. And about that I shall start my train of thought.

 

Have you ever actually played Fallout? I highly recommend it - not if you have an important project coming, mind you ;-) I started playing Fallout 3 two years ago, and I got stuck in it for two freaking months. I had a boring shift job, completely unrelated to what I love doing, but at least, hey, I received money, even if it was sorting shitloads of dirty laundry every day! But that was boring. I didn't feel any achievement at all, and the pay wasn't that good compared to amount of force applied. So I went home every day, tired and needing some relaxation. As usual, it was videogames or similar stuff - so I was installing lots of games to try out, but the Fallout 3 was the one that caught my attention with first hours of gameplay. I know I like open-world games, first person shooters even more so, never liked RPGs much but there was and still is something beautiful about the whole combination of these that Fallout is. Long story short, it consumed all my free time, and even a little more, given how boring the job was ;-) What was fascinating about the whole thing?
The sense of achievement. The whole thing that we call gamification wasn't a new idea to me but it was a hella good motivator and every second of gameplay felt worth it. What's the matter? Well, I'd say we people generally like achieving, and we like to be reminded about these achievements. Or maybe it's about how people like quantifying their success... Crap, I'm not a psychologist and I don't know the explanation by heart =) But I'm sure you've felt that way, at least once, if not regularly, and can understand what I mean. Basically, we need achievements, reminders about our successes and victories and similar motivational things to keep us going. Or is it just me? =D

 

Gamification was the reason I started to think Pip-Boy is worth bringing to the real world. The Pip-Boy, which had a task manager I've come to love so much. For the non-enlightened ones - it was all about the in-game quests, and it happened to be so well built onto the gameplay it started to be an integral part of it. I remember missing it in Vault 112 (wasn't it the one with Tranquility Lane simulation?), always being amazed by how well-built the interface is while using it and discovering some new functions when I thought I knew everything. Say, your life consists of some quest lines, each having its own tasks, sub-tasks and maybe some optional things to do that might influence the outcome. You can see what you need to do at the moment, what you can switch to doing and what's needed for what purpose. That's not exactly a new thing, as that's what people keep all those task books, note books, whatever those paper calendar books with blank places for describing TODOs for every day are called :-) But then, that hardly can be gamificated! It's just a plain boring note book. Moreover, it's not electronic and therefore it doesn't have notifications, achievements and task trees I call quests - not without some scissor and glue magic ;-) There are phone apps for task management, but 1) I still don't have a smartphone 2) neither I want to keep my data on the cloud 3) neither rely on third-party application to provide the exact functions I need when I know I can make my own and better. There are more reasons, and I'm yet to list them all for you - but one thing for sure, I need my own task manager, Fallout style.

 

Enough about the reasons. While I still have time, let me describe what I've got.
As for now, it's a rechargeable accu-powered Raspberry Pi 2B with a simple yet sophisticated framework for managing simple input devices. The framework is a crucial part of the system and will be something I'll base all my software on. You can read more of it here, I've planned to put a short description here on Element14 but right now I've got no time for writing, so a hackaday.io link will do =) I wrote the whole description there because I needed something to push me to work, and a Hackaday Prize deadline looked like worth it. No way I could have gone further that the application form, but at least I'll likely get a T-shirt with Hackaday logo, and if that's not worth it, then I don't even know ;-) I still plan on describing it here, just not today.
Another Pip-Boy photo

Right now, as I've told you, it's all cardboard outside, meant purely for protection from occasional wind and rain. See, it travels with me every day in the rear pocket of my backpack, for now - as a music player =) Music playback is one of the functions I've already implemented because I needed it desperately. I don't actually have anything capable of music playback all day long that fits in my pocket and is comfortable to use, and the real problem is I'm getting depressed without music. Two months ago, I'd come home only to feel completely powerless and unable to do anything, then fall asleep - only to regret my lack of productivity the next day. Music in the background changes everything, though. I feel better and I'm able to do more things, and if all that's between my well-being is making a Raspberry Pi battery-powered and writing a music playback control system, I'll do it.

 

It's gonna change this week, however. As you can deduce from the first pic with a Vault-Boy badge, I've got access to a laser cutter, and it's completely free for me. I've got a part-time job maintaining the said cutter, and I get to play with it too =) I've ordered a sheet of acrylic that I'll use to make a case, and I plan on making the first wrist-worn version till Monday, possibly with minor app updates. I wish there could have been more to tell you, but I already spend too much time on my main project. As for now, keeping you updated =)