COVID Testimony

Having COVID shut down our campus back in March, we were concerned about how to actually complete this project without possibly meeting for the remaining time that we had to work before the deadline. Our biggest concern was health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones or the people we lived with. One of the biggest fears of the COVID outbreak effect was that Justin would have to move a few hours away to live with family while Robert remained in Camarillo. Fortunately, that plan didn’t come to fruition, as of June, so we managed to remain in the same city to continue to work on our project together. Surely, a lot of technology related projects can be done almost completely virtually, but our project, having a physical component, seemed to be a little less COVID friendly considering we were aiming to split the work up evenly amongst hardware and software responsibilities. 

After having discussed meeting in person to complete the project, we established that we were both taking necessary precautions during these times that would allow us to be comfortable with working directly with each other moving forward on the project. We had turned to Zoom, Discord, text messages and still nothing compared to the amount of work we were able to get done together, in person. Admittedly, the initial fear of COVID had kept us from wanting to meet in person, so we attempted to work virtually, which worked in the design process, but definitely did us no good when it came to both of us needing to be present for physical aspects such as hardware configuration for the Atari and Raspberry Pi systems. 

One external factor that had negatively affected our project was the delayed mail times for certain hardware that we had ordered from companies like Amazon. For example, we ordered USB extenders and we were expecting to be able to meet that week with them having been delivered already, but due to the delay in the delivery of mail for a period of time during the year, we were unable to meet to work on the project because we had set aside that time to specifically work with USB hardware on the project. That was the main issue that we had once we were working together in person, however, it wasn’t the end of the world, we just weren’t able to work during that week and we pushed our plans back another week.

Once we had configured the physical components of the project, it had become easier to work individually on different aspects of the project. For example, working on written components, the website and the poster presentation had then become more of a virtual meeting or email discussion than a necessary in-person interaction. Overall, the completion of the project was a lot less stressful than originally anticipated and we were able to devote enough time to completing the project with a comfortable amount of “wiggle room” to adjust anything that may have gone wrong. We were fortunate enough to have the support of those that we live with to allow us to work together in person. Without that support, we imagine that this project would have either had the work distributed unevenly or we would both have to look into other options for a project overall.

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