I know official ro semi-official support of her library is dropped now but our team was still using her libraries, and we had not tried to compile our code in like last few weeks, until we made some changes this week, and all of a sudden her website is done and we are trying to remove any traces of pathfinding that can be found in our code. But the real thing I am wondering is, is she gone for good (if we als consider she has been inactive on Chief Delphi and her GitHub projects for the last year)? Or is her website (imjac.in and de.vimjac.in) down temporarily?
Jaci’s pathfinder source is here:
(hmm seems to point to https://github.com/GrappleRobotics/Pathfinder which has older updates …)
I looked at Jaci’s weblog in the last two weeks (https://imjac.in) and it was still there, so maybe it’s just a temporary outage.
Jaci’s not inactive on github; her userpage shows contributions in the last week, including to her webpage. Developers step away from projects all the time, for multiple reasons.
You might consider integrating WPILib’s PathWeaver as an alternative.
I meant in Pathfinder, sorry for the misphrasal. But thanks, it is a bit late to change now for an array of reasons but thanks for the suggestions.
As a member of the team Jaci mentors I can safely say that she is not gone for good. In fact I saw her two days ago. I will pass this thread on to Jaci as I don’t know much about code bases and Github things and don’t want to pass on information that isn’t true.
TL;DR: I’m still alive. Development of Pathfinder has ceased now that Pathweaver and the inbuilt trajectory generators of WPILib are on the rise. The website being down is just some technical hosting difficulties I’m still fixing. In terms of personal reasons, see below.
Need not worry, I’m still alive, I’ve just been on break. It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride, but I figure I’ll share the story here in the hopes that it benefits anyone finding themselves in the same situation.
Around April last year, just after our last events of the year, I started feeling the effects of burnout pretty hard. I was finding myself more tired and unmotivated than normal. I spent more time sleeping, and I found that my time dedicated to my personal projects quickly diminished to zero. I was still working on FRC, but not with the same energy and enthusiasm as normal. It seems that last 5 years had finally caught up to me.
Around late July/August I started stepping back and handed over my lead mentor role to the next in line (who’s been doing an awesome job, by the way). It was a really hard decision to make, and came with its own more than fair share of guilt. This was a few months after I was honoured enough to win the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award, one of (if not the) greatest honour of my life thus far. Leaving that role felt like I just took the award and ran, something I’m still getting over.
I started realizing that over the last 5 years I’ve been involved in FIRST, I’ve been neglecting myself. Over those years I achieved a lot - I wrote code that (almost) every team in FIRST is using in some way or another, became Lead Mentor of the teams I started on, held a Key Volunteer role on many occassions, became a WFFA winner at 19, and more. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved it and they’re some of the most fond memories I hold, but I’m 20 now, and I realise that my life recently has been defined by my involvement in FIRST - not defined by myself. The old joke “FRC is a cult” started to hit closer to home than usual. (To be clear, this isn’t a critique of FIRST, more a critique of myself and how I’ve handled my time)
I decided I was going to take a break to focus on myself and my career. In November I moved to the other side of Australia for a work opportunity (3 months fixed-term). Not only did this give me the opportunity to build my career, but also forcibly pulled me away from everything back home, which was for the better. It sounds cliche, but it’s a bit of an excuse for “finding myself”.
I landed back in Perth two weeks ago after completing my contract. The job was awesome, I absolutely loved it and I’m really glad that I went. This of course meant that I missed the build season, but since returning I’ve been full speed ahead with meeting the new students and getting our robot and non-robot elements competition ready. Now that the regionals are postponed due to the evolving situation of COVID19, I’m working with the other teams in Western Australia to form our contingencies.
As for now, I’m practicing balancing FRC with other aspects of my life. Last week my partner and I joined a local social sport (beach volleyball, my lord do my arms hurt). I’m working on my career, spending more time with the people that matter most to me, learning another language (a spoken language, not a programming one ), and making some solid plans for the future.
For the time being, I’m putting my contributions to FRC software on hold. Thad and the WPI team are doing a great job at keeping GradleRIO up to date, and Pathfinder is approaching (if not surpassed) its use-by date by now.
I don’t know what my involvement is going to look like over the next year or so, but I definitely still want to be involved; just maybe not to the same level as before. Maybe I might start volunteering for events more, and working with the team less (I’ve been FTAA’ing for the last few years, and it’s great fun. I’d love to do it more). Maybe I’ll come in as an advisor, or just part-time. I’m not sure yet.
I never really liked the term “you have to look after number 1”, but it’s starting to make more sense than not.
I know this is more of a wall-of-text than the answer you expected, but hopefully it clears up any concerns or questions you might have. I’m still here, I’m just taking my time
I just wanted to say, your contributions to FRC software have been a massive inspiration to me personally, and I can say with 100% certainty that I wouldn’t be anywhere near as interested in controls had I not heard of the black magic known as Pathfinder that some teams used to (gasp) follow curved paths (my team at the time barely had an auto, so it came as a huge shock that it was even possible).
Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for the community, and best of luck with your future ventures!
Thanks so much for the kind words. Knowing I’ve helped and left an impact is very humbling to hear.
Hopefully I’ll find time to come back and develop more, but at least in the short term, I’ve got to be a little selfish to be selfless
Good, you need to take care of yourself. As hard as it is to believe, there are more important things than robotics.
Quoted for truth.
Trust me when I say that there are many many of us who can relate to this story. Many of us have been there. It takes time to realize that you need a break and define yourself with something other than robots.
Best of luck!
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