A few years ago, I realized that I had no digital record of many of my previous projects. If I didn’t want to lose more than I already had, I needed a place where I could catalog my projects. Initially, I tried to accomplish this with a simple “Projects” folder on my computer where I stored pictures of everything I worked on. Unsurprisingly, it was a muddled mess generically named jpegs, and after trying to organize it multiple times, some of my best pictures were lost. While the folder was simple, it proved to be nearly worthless: on the few occasions that I actually wanted to find a specific project or to show someone what I had made, I could never find the pictures I wanted.
I next tried the blog format for documenting my projects. I made a page on Tumblr titled “Measure Once, Cut Twice”, and I thought it would a simple and functional way to organize my work. It turns out that I do not think about my projects in a linear blog style. I tend to start new projects before I finish previous ones, and everything gets jumbled together when shared in a single chronological stream. I tried making short videos about my projects, figuring they would be more self-contained posts. I made a handful of videos and while it was fun, a decent and creative video is an entire project on its own. I am also far from being a cinematographer.
Following a suggestion from a friend, I finally made this site. I like it. It’s simple for me to edit and update and I can organize it how I see fit. While I cannot control everything I might like to, I can focus on my projects and the content, which has been my goal all along. This being said, when one my projects made it onto HackADay.com and my site got over nine thousand views in one day, I realized that my site was nowhere near polished. For the following two weeks after my project was posted on HackADay.com, I did not make any progress on any of my summer projects; I worked solely on the site, trying to make sure it was organized and reasonably professional. It made me realize something very simple: I am not a web designer. I have not the slightest idea what makes a good website. I am an engineering student, and my passion is in making physical things. I do not want to spend more time working on a website than my other projects. However, if I put no effort into this site, it may become just as useless and disorganized as my original “Projects” folder. So where is the balance? With a new semester starting soon, I am going to have significantly less time than I have had this summer for my personal projects and for this website. I guess I will have to wait and see. If you have thoughts of your own on this, please let me know.