Happy New Year from the new US Field Application Engineer at Bluegiga - jrowberg.io
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Happy New Year from the new US Field Application Engineer at Bluegiga

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So it’s been…what, seven months since my last post? For shame. At least I have some excuse though: I’ve been so busy with work, projects, and travel the last many months that finding or making time to write has been nearly impossible.

Busy with what? I hear you ask.

Well, in the last many months, I’ve gone full-bore on my Keyglove project right up until exhibiting it at Open Hardware Summit and Maker Faire in New York right at the end of September, followed immediately by an unplanned but very fortuitous job change to Bluegiga Technologies, which involved a week in Atlanta, then two weeks in Finland, then another week in Chicago, all in October. That was hectic, but all kinds of exciting.

November was a chance for me to get my feet wet and start really taking on my role of Bluegiga support in the US before and around the Thanksgiving holiday. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I went through another period of tremendous learning, becoming more proficient at my new job and learning how to be a good field application engineer instead of my previous role as a web application developer.

A big portion of what I do now is pretty unrelated to what I did before, but I still frequently notice ways in which my previous job experience helps me to do my new job well. There is still a fair amount of programming, and I really love that part even though the languages are different. The project management and prioritization techniques still apply. My new position does require at least a few orders of magnitude more customer interaction, but I’ve been growing into that reasonably quickly (not that I don’t have more room to grow). The travel is pretty awesome as well. The first two-week trip to Finland was my first international flight, and it turned out well.

So what do I do at Bluegiga?

Much of my time is spent responding to support tickets in our Zendesk system. This is a really great system minus a couple minor limitations here and there, and given the fact that they switch over to it right at the same time I had to start using it, I’m definitely grateful that it’s my main tool. I support a lot of end customers figure out how to integrate our products into their applications, sometimes addressing questions about possibility or technique, and other times addressing questions about fixing problems or unexplained behavior. My area of responsibility is the entire “Americas” region&em;that is, all of North and South America. This is no small task, but fortunately, it is manageable. At least until we grow a little more, anyway. Bluegiga is doing very well, and I sincerely hope that we have to solve the “too many customers” problem again in the near future by adding more personnel. It’s an exciting prospect.

I don’t mind doing support tickets and often actually enjoy it, but what I love most is getting to write code, knowledge base articles, and app notes that center around Bluegiga’s products. I especially like creating my own designs and projects that help connect Bluegiga to the open-source community, both hardware and software.

I get to write code, help people out, and learn a ton of stuff all the time. This job is awesome.

What about the Keyglove?

This is one of the things I wish I could spend a lot more time on right now. The Keyglove has been basically on hold for three months solid, since the beginning of October, due to my other responsibilities. It’s definitely not cancelled or anything like that; I’ve just been completely swamped.

However, the great part about working for Bluegiga—which happened in no small part because of my efforts integrating their WT12 module into the Keyglove project—is that I now have a ton of experience and an untapped wealth of knowledge behind me when it comes to wireless support on the Keyglove itself. This is great because wireless integration is one of the lingering issues I haven’t fully addressed in the project. I think I can now easily answer all of the questions I previously had about how to use the WT12 module for Bluetooth connectivity, and even how to integrate the new Bluetooth Smart BLE112 module as well. I just…know. And that is worth a lot.

The trick will be finding opportunities to spend time actually doing it. I have five trips scheduled in the next three months: San Francisco, Finland, Orange County, San Francisco again, and somewhere else (I believe it’s in CA again). I have more to do than I have time for, no doubt. How will I prioritize? We’ll find out.

What’s up for 2013?

What I’d like to do is work on the various BLE-related projects I have in the pipeline and post updates about them, as well as updates about some of the awesome things I learn and get to do with Bluegiga’s products for any others who might want to do the same kinds of things. I need to learn some more iOS development skills as soon as possible. I am creating a BLE112 project builder, an Arduino BGLib implementation, a potential pseudo-debugger for BGScript, a Python BGLib implementation for use with the Raspberry Pi + BLED112, a light-based postal mail delivery sensor, and a few new breakout boards for various things.

And that’s just January.



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