Sunday, April 6, 2008

Misc. Work on Personal Enrichment Goals 2008

While I did well earlier in the year with getting PE stuff done, I’ve been slacking off lately. So, I decided to use this weekend to catch up a little bit. Along with the discussed work below, I updated my Calender in Thunderbird to reflect all the tasks and due dates I’ve set for myself. Here’s the recent progress:

1) Research for Disaster Kit(s): I spent a few hours browsing on-line for ideas on what to include in my kit(s). Right now, I plan to create a home kit, an evacuation (to-go) kit and an automobile kit for keeping in my car. There’s several places to go for ideas on what to include. Some of the most helpful:

Red Cross Disaster Planning Guides – The First Place to start. Not just for home planning. They have a very good .pdf for planning your workplace kit.
How To Assemble A Home Disaster Kit - Very Comprehensive List
FEMA's “Plan Ahead” Guide - Not Just checklists but they also have "Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness" (available online here).

Now, I have some of the items on the home list. I need to go through them and see if any of the perishable items need to be replaced. Also, I need to purchase a storage container for the home kit and a couple of backpacks (for evacuation and auto kits).

2) Teach Myself: Controls Engineering: Previous to this weekend, I haven’t even started this one. I wrote myself a lesson plan for the first 2-3 chapters of the (new!improved!) book I’m using with some reading assignments, problems and due dates. I didn't want to go any further ahead because I want to see how quickly I get through the problems from the second chapter; the rate of problem-solving will probably be the biggest factor in how far I get through the book.

After some consideration, I decided to set aside a 2-hr block of time on Wednesday evenings for “class” with a 2-hr “study/homework” time on Sundays. One area of concern of me is the lack of laboratory work. The original class I took in college had several lab sessions involving equipment & software that I cannot easily or cheaply duplicate. I did some browsing on-line for recommended free tools for controls work. The best option I found was Octave which I'll have to teach myself how to use concurrently with the “Controls Engineering”. My schedule reflects that.

3) Maintain Weblog with Improvements:
I’m a little disappointed in myself on this one. The last two months, I’ve fallen below my target goal of 20posts/month. As you can see, I won’t allow this failure to continue for 3 months in a row. Also, I’ve added a “Last.FM” playback feature showing the last several songs I’ve listen to. For a while now, I’ve been considering on expanding my Blogroll. However, the list of blogs and online journals I read is huge and changes often. So instead I changed "Favorites to “Places I Like” and added links to places I go most frequently. These are not likely to change in the foreseeable future In addition, I’ve added “Other Places to Find Me” which is small right now but I hope to add more to it as the year progresses.

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