A Great Year!

Well folks, its that time again.  Christmas is fast approaching and everyone is in a crunch to get everything done before the end of the season.  The same is true for me, and although I’m getting close, there’s enough left on my ‘to do’ list to keep me busy the whole holiday!

But even with that list, I can still take a moment to enjoy the conclusion of the semester and many accomplishments this year – and what a year it’s been!

I left friends and my family back home in Florida to journey across the country out to a brand new adventure in Seattle.  I zigzagged across the U.S., going up both coasts and from one corner to the other.  I had the chance to see many beautiful sights around the country, and appreciate much of the natural splendor that I’ve been guilty more than a few times of missing:











I had chance to catch up with faces I hadn’t seen in years:

The family.

The family.










And find buddies while soaking in the energy of my new home:

The city at night.

The city at night.










The sheer enormity of the change is almost overwhelming upon reflection.  I took more pictures in two months than I have in the rest of my entire life.  The idea of cutting out photos so that I don’t make my blog a half-mile long is unbelievable.

With the conclusion of the semester, I can appreciate not only how much I saw and did, but how much I learned and changed, as well.  School has been extremely challenging, but it’s also been refreshing.  Programming, math, and even lessons about teamwork have been pounded into my head.  But all of its been great, because I can say I learned to do and make things I never could before.  Like this little guy – known as ‘Hamton’, car #33: (video has sound)

Being able to say that I programmed a self-driving car is pretty darn cool.

Hamton worked great, too.  He never collided with anything, and his ‘close call’ was more due to hardware limitations with the sensors and their ability to see corners than with anything else.   The course was divided into two parts – a straightaway designed to test whether the car could move in a straight line (which is harder than it sounds in certain situations), and an obstacle laden path that had to be navigated.  Hamton did both with flying colors, completing the course without error in 24.9 seconds.

For those of interested in how he did this, Hamton was programmed in Assembly, which is just one step above binary.  Assembly is critical in that it forms the foundation of other programming languages and is used in many consumer electronics (like appliances).  But if you have a choice: DON”T USE ASSEMBLY.  It’s an extremely difficult language that you should avoid at all costs.  It’s best for situations that need great computing speed, or have limited memory/processing power (like our cars with their small circuit boards and low power availability).  In Assembly’s defense though, I will say it’s a lot more fun when you see it interact directly with a real world hardware problem.

Hamton’s run marked the conclusion of my classes and exams.  So only one task truly remains for the year: releasing Book II.

It amazing to say I published a book this year.  Later this week, I’ll be able to say I published two!  Yes, I know I still don’t have the exact day yet.  But it will be happening this week – no question!  In the meantime, to satiate your hunger, have a gander at the art for the new cover:












There’s still much work to be done, but despite the ups and downs of writing, it’s been a great experience so far.  Who knows if my books will ever sell more than a few thousand copies, but I’m still glad that I wrote them, and that I’m seeing them through to the end.  More than anything else, I would say The Phoenix Fallacy made me start the adventure that began this summer.

To all my readers, both of my books and my blog, thanks for the great year!  Your support and friendship has helped make this journey possible, and I certainly wouldn’t have had this wonderful experience without it.

That wraps up the posts around here for 2013.  I’ll make an announcement for the book later this week, but otherwise I’ll be back in three weeks for the start of 2014.  In the meantime, have a safe and wonderful holiday, and I wish all of you as much happiness as you’ve brought me over the past year!

Good reading and good adventure!




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