■ FIGURE 9. The Ping Pong Printer at a movie
premier in Austin, TX.
projects, but with the right team, and/or the right attitude,
he can be evicted. You just have to learn to manage the stress.
HOW DO YOU SPELL “SUCCESS?”
For many of us (me included!), success is spelled
"S-T-R-E-S-S." When a deadline is looming, you're staring
down the throat of a killer problem, and you have no idea
of how to solve it, it's time to try and regain perspective.
Take a deep breath and a step back. Look at what you're
doing, what you've accomplished, and envision how you
would like things to come out. Remember the bottom line:
Making things is supposed to be fun! Unfortunately, the
price of this type of fun is sometimes a bit of stress
(okay, sometimes more than a bit!). Being nervous, feeling
pressure, getting headaches, lack of sleep, worrying, and
then worrying some more, then worrying about worrying
... The point is to "keep your eye on the prize."
Bear with me as I wax a bit philosophical here; projects
like these are supposed to be the events that — when you
look back on your life — clearly stand out as landmarks along
the twisted path of this mortal coil (hmm ... I wonder how
many uH a mortal coil has ... but I digress ...). I don't know
about you, but when I turn around and examine my life
there are long gray blurs of continuous, monotonous, "work."
Swaths of the regular "nine to five" stuff that consumes much
of my life. Honestly, I can't tell you what I was doing at
this time and date exactly 10 years ago, or even 10 months
ago! However, I can tell you all about my first Maker Faire
in San Mateo, CA and going out to San Francisco to
attend RoboGames. I can tell you about the first First
Night Austin, and the second First Night Austin, and I can
also tell you all about the first Robot Group meeting I
attended. I can tell you all about the first article I had
published in this magazine (yes, writing can be a project!).
For me, these projects really stand out when I look
back on my life. I can also tell you that each and every
one of these memorable events was surrounded by stress.
It was the price of admission. The interesting part is that
each of us gets to set that ticket price. If we choose to
relax, take the long view, and realize this isn't rocket
Maker Faire Austin
Ponginator in Nuts & Volts:
The Robot Group
The Ping Pong Printer in
Nuts & Volts
The Original Ponginator Video:
The Ponginator featured on
The Original Ping Pong
The Ping Pong Printer on the net:
The Creation of the Thereping
science (well ... maybe in some cases it is), it might help
to reduce that price.
Remember: ELEC TRONICS IS SUPPOSED TO BE
FUN! Treat it accordingly. Build a project, draw a drawing,
create a monster, find a team, form a team, do something
that challenges you. Take some chances. But for cryin' out
loud, HAVE FUN with it! And please, PLEASE take care of
yourself so you can be healthy and ready to PLAY! If you
have questions, comments, or would like to share your
project experiences, feel free to drop me an email. As
always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. NV
November 2009 65