Solve problems, dont just pile up skills

Sent on June 15th, 2021

Hi, Iā€™m Aravind Balla and you are reading letter 13 from the Hackletter where I talk about my learnings and give you behind the scenes of things I keep doing for fun.

I was a curious kid in college. I still am. I always want to find solutions to the issues I face. Only if I solved them all, my life would be at peace already.

We were learning IoT back in those days and we were asked to build a project using the skills we've learned.

I did something interesting there. Instead of looking for projects to do, I looked for problems that I can solve. "How can I use these skills I gained to solve something that's been troubling me?", I wondered.

IoT is an interesting technology which makes the devices around us, like plugs and bulbs smart.

When I looked for things I wanted to solve, I realized that the way I charge my phone (over-night) is harmful for its battery. So I thought, "Why don't I turn off the charger after it finished charging". I looked for a way to get the plug/socket switch off based on some signal. Soon I learnt, it was possible if I hook up Arduino and a software relay.

I learned how to use a bluetooth module with the Arduino to enable communication to the phone so that it knows when to turn off. And then I built an Android app which sends a signal to Arduino when it is charged up to 99%.


Did I solve this purely with the learnt about IoT? No

Before doing this, I didn't know how to integrate bluetooth to Arduino, I just knew the basics of Android. Nothing about bluetooth or reading your phone's battery. I learned on the way and patched up things to make it work. Just in time learning.

half knowledge art

Learn to do things with half knowledge. Don't fool yourself thinking you need to know everything before you start. It's the schooling that made us believe we should know it all. Or you'd fail the exam.

What makes you unique is your ability to mix and match the skills you have. Look for what you can solve. Don't just accumulate skills that would be helpful one day.

See you next Tuesday šŸ‘‹

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