Tim Gittos

I'm an Australian currently living in Austin, TX in the USA.

I currently earn a living programming, though I wouldn't call myself a programmer. If I had to attach a label to myself, I'd use the term autodidact.

I love learning, and my favorite things to learn about are programming, computer graphics, AI & machine learning, robotics, painting and creativity.

SXSW and Side Projects, Oh My!

Last updated on 02 Apr 2013

This year I was lucky to be sent to SXSW by my awesome employer. Along with some other co-workers, one of my personal friends was also going. Normally I attend conferences and stick strictly to sessions that are directly and clearly related to my work. After doing some reading about creativity, I decided to broaden my horizons this time and attend any session that caught my eye.

While attending, I took plenty of notes for each session for a total of 30 pages of a 3.5″ × 5.5″ notebook. My original intention was to sketchnote all the talks from these notes, but I think I might skip it. One thing The Sketchnote Handbook showed me was that caputuring the gist of a presentation, either in text or images, was the most important principle. Eventually I may transfer all my notes from my notebook to the site, however that probably isn’t too likely since I heard a lot of the talks were recorded and will be available online.

Back to the conference itself, I had a blast and felt very inspired through the whole thing. I saw sessions on a variety of topics, from particle physics to virtual reality to 3D printing to game design. I learned a lot from each session, and can probably find principles and ideas to apply to my day to day work in each one.

One of the best things to come out of the conference was clarification of a side project I’ve had in my mind for a while. My friend and I talked things through over the 5 days of the conference, and based on some of the sessions we saw, we have a clear roadmap for the development of the side project, one that may even lead it to becoming a fully fledged, adult business. To say we’re both excited is a bit of an understatement.

I said at the start of the year that I would make things that seem cool to me. This side project is definitely something that’s cool. As we progress, I’ll probably share some details, but to avoid putting the idea at risk , I won’t share anything I haven’t done yet. On the plus side, that will mean a more comprehensive write up, possibly with pictures. I can reveal that it’s a hardware project, which will be my first real hardware project.

I also have an RSS related idea that I may bump to the front of the queue as well given the imminent shutting down of Google Reader. That one would definitely be a case of eating my own dog food, however it requires other people to use it as well. Again, I won’t share details until I’ve done the work, but that one I will definitely do some write ups on.

As a side note, I recently started taking notes on books I’m reading, and haven’t posted any lately. That’s because my wife decided that now was the time for me to read all 7 Harry Potter books, so I’m slowly working my way through those. I’m onto book 4, so I anticipate being done in a few months. I will however try to squeak in the odd non-fiction book reading here and there. The next book I want to read is “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp.