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Failure is only the end... if we allow it to be.

This morning I got a text message from my daughter letting me know her car didn't start. Naturally, me being a handy guy, I threw some tools in my car to go help get the troubled vehicle running again. After a quick jump start, I was driving around town. I did a little diagnostic work, and decided it was time for a new alternator. A quick trip to the parts store, and hour later, the car had a shiny new alternator. It was great... except, it wasn't.

After installing the new alternator, the problems continued. The car was no better than it was before I had replaced the alternator. This was a disheartening, to say the least. Even now, at 8:00 in the evening, I have been unable to figure out exactly what the issue is with the ailing vehicle.

I am writing this blog while taking a break from researching the problem with the car. After this brief brain break, I will be back at it, pouring over wiring diagrams, looking for clues online, sorting out symptoms and looking for corroded ground wires. I will triumph. I will prevail. The "Guppy" will not defeat me!

A few months ago, I had the privilege of presenting at GaETC '18. It was an amazing experience. One that I will never forget. In fact, I am already planning the sessions I will apply to present next year, but I digress. The presentation was about using Python to program drones to fly through an obstacle course. The venue was amazing. The room was huge. The projector and the sound system worked. The audience arrived. The presentation was going amazingly... until it wasn't.

The very moment I tried to demonstrate using Python on a Raspberry Pi to control a drone in the room, it failed. The entire point of the presentation came crashing to a halt. I nervously did some quick troubleshooting, but alas, we were not meant to fly that day. The venue was amazing. The room was huge. The drones failed. The audience was... understanding.

I was blown away.

I went home, and filmed a video demonstrating the very thing that failed me in the room that day. I've attached it at the bottom of this post. I'll also include the link to the presentation from that day... just in case you are interested in seeing it.

I suppose the takeaway here is perseverance and forgiveness. Sometimes the technology won't work. Sometimes the diagnosis of that problem in the car isn't as simple as it seems. Sometimes it just won't go your way. Keep at it. Keep going. Keep pushing through. It will be worth it in the long run.

I will be back at GaETC in 2019. This time, we're going to fly!


  1. Still working on the car... ugh! Anyone with experience in automotive electrical systems, your expertise would be appreciated.

  2. By the way, the car required a new PCM. It is back on the road. SUCCESS!!


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