I love teaching myself new technologies, and I learn best by doing. As a result, I always have at least three or four side projects on the go. Below are a few that managed to make it to a semi-finished state.
Inspiral is my most ambitious side project to date. It’s a mobile app follow-up to the web version (see below). Over 25,000 people signed up to be notified of its release!
Everything about this project was new to me. It was my first time writing a mobile app and publishing to either app store; my first time using both Dart and Flutter; my first time monetizing a side project.
A little web app to scratch an itch. It makes generating ASCII hierarchical diagrams as frictionless as possible.
When I saw the first demo of the Leap Motion controller, I was hooked.
This little device tracks a user’s hands in full 3D with incredible precision, opening up a whole new class of human-computer interaction. And it retails for about $80!
Around the same time, I discovered the Web Audio API. I have always been fascinated with the intersection of technology and music - I grew up in a musical family and even considered pursuing music professionally (I play the cello). I began brainstorming side project ideas that would make use of this technology when I ran across a video showcasing the creepy, futuristic sounds of the theremin, an electronic instrument that is played without any physical contact:
What a perfect application for the Leap Motion controller! I immediately began building an in-browser theremin powered by the Web Audio API that used the Leap Motion device as a controller.
Since these devices haven’t really taken off (yet), it’s probably safe to assume you don’t own one. That’s okay, because I made a little demo video to showcase the project:
A small web application that hosts a QBasic environment inside the browser (using DOSBox) and runs all the little programs I wrote as a child when first learning to program. I wrote a blog post about this project which you can read here.
girlfriend fiancée wife and I dated long-distance for about a year before I made the leap across the border to Prince Edward Island to live closer to her. As a result, we spent a lot of time on Skype. Since five hours of non-stop conversation can be a bit exhausting, we would often play video-chat-friendly games to pass the time.
One of our favorites was a little project I built called Roggle, a digital clone of Boggle built with React. The project used WebSockets to synchronize the board between countries to ensure my wife and I were always looking at the same set of letters.
The final project for a graduate course I took at ISU (HCI 557: Computer Graphics and Geometric Modeling) while working towards my Masters. Here are a couple of bullet points stolen from the project’s README on GitHub:
Before you ask - unfortunately, no, you can’t move the pieces yourself! The Stockfish engine plays for both players.
Should you use this library? No, definitely not!
My wife is a teacher, and since we
live used to live in PEI, we got lots of snow. We liked to know as early as possible whether or not school was delayed or cancelled. Since I work from home, no school = no need to shovel the driveway.
Little needs to be said about this project - you’re currently experiencing it first-hand!