Paperless

Recently I’ve been doing the paperless thing. I know it is green, good for the environment, and all that jazz, but that is not why I have started to do this. The reason behind this is my e-memory.

In a book that I am reading called “Total Recall” by Gordon Bell, Bell describes the wave of the future, e-memory. The concept of an e-memory is to store everything that happens in your life (video, audio, things you read, say, people you meet, etc.). These “memories” are then stored in the cloud in a searchable format. For an in depth description and a good read, I highly recommend picking this book up.

Anyway, I’ve decided to start building my e-memory by going paperless with Evernote. Evernote is a free application which allows you to store images, audio, files, and more. And then everything (including the images) are searchable.

So I’ve been taking notes in class on my notebook as usual, and when I get home I take snapshots of each page with an iPhone application called “Genius Scan+”. This application takes each image of my notebook, crops out items which aren’t notes, and (by my command) converts each image to black and white (smaller image size). Then each image is put in a set of images, and then I can upload this set to my Evernote account which I can access on my iPhone, iPad, Mac, or on the web.

Evernote takes in the images and converts the contents of the image to searchable text. So say I wrote, “Test next Thursday” in my notes — I’d be able to search through all of my notes for this sentence.

By doing this, I can eliminate clutter of notebooks, recycle paper, and keep my notes (and eventually memories) organized and accessible all for the small price of an iPhone app ($2.99).

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Dev: Next Project

My next project is an app that was started by a senior design team here at Iowa State. The app was being made for the College of Engineering, specifically. Most of the app’s functionality and design was already laid out and finished when I came into the project. My job is to add some of the final touches and extra features on the already great application. And I’m excited that the app might have the possibility to become the official application for the whole campus instead of being centralized to the CoE.

Today I’ll be working on adding an athletics news feed to the app. It’ll load the RSS from the official athletics website. Also, there will be an option to be sent to the App Store from the app to download the official Cyclone’s athletics application. So I’ll be adding that news feed to the app.

Also, I’ll be adding alerts that alert the user when they aren’t connected to a network. Judging off of console reports, the app already is checking to see if it is connected to the network, but nothing is being done if you are not. That’s a real simple alert to add on my end if it’s already being checked in the background.

Here we go.

Edit — Okay, so I updated to Xcode4, which, is amazing. Instead of having to fill both of my screens with Xcode and Interface Builder, I know have it all right within one, elegant program. Thank you, Apple! But one thing…where the hell is the console?!

Edit – Found you, you sneaky little *insert your own word here*

Happy Edit — The code was already checking for a connection! I must have overlooked that the first time. I’ve added the check to the new modules that I’ve added.

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Dev: Innovate (v1.0) [Completed]

Innovate (iPad Edition) is ready to be shipped out the door and onto your own iPad! After just over a month, the College of Engineering’s Innovate publishing has an app to call its own.

The app was awesome to make. I’ve honestly learned so much about development on Apple devices with Objective-C and just more about OOP (Object Oriented Programming) in general. It was a great experience to work a project of this nature and size out to its end.

When I say end, I mean the end of v1.0, however. One feature that 1.1 might have is the ability to go to the next/last article from within the article viewer. And I am in no way done with Innovate yet!

After I finish up the next project, I will be working on an iPhone/iPod Touch version of Innovate. After that I will try to get Innovate up and ready for Android devices.

In conclusion, I’ve had a lot of fun, and it’s been great to see it out to the end. Here’s to the next project that the CoE will throw my way.

Innovate (iPad Edition) Screenshots


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Dev: VRAC Job Updates

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my job at the Virtual Reality Applications Center here on campus. So where to begin?

Now that Will and I have pretty much taken care of the bugs we found in Subgraph Creator, that plugin is ready to ship out. At our meeting tonight we were discussing distribution methods. As of right now the .jar plugin will be zipped up along with the plugin’s documentation, sample data, and installation instructions.

We got “access” to a WordPress site through the VRAC people, and that’s where we’ll be hosting said zip file. I think it’s kind of dumb though that we were just given an author account to a site that was set up for us.

In my opinion, that’s not really giving us very much control over our content. Who knows? Maybe I’m assessing the situation all wrong, and we have unlimited access. We’ll see where that road goes.

As for our new project, we’ve been working on Cytoscape Web. I’ll be calling it Cyweb for now on.

What Cyweb does is pretty much the same thing as Cytoscape except through Javascript code (within HTML) through a Flash interface. It’s actually pretty cool and cutting-edge stuff.

So far I’ve been able to load a network onto a local site and customize the node’s image. As a joke I set one of the node’s images to a picture of my face. That’s right, leaving my mark!

I think that this project will be really fun, actually. I’m getting paid to add a new language to my resume. Who could complain with that?!

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Dev: Image Caching [Success]

This is the topic that I’ve been scared of during the whole project. Going into its implementation, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that I’d have to have the images stored somewhere in the app’s memory for retrieval when it is called.

Prior to image caching, when the table was scrolled to view the stories, the app would have to parse the post, find the image url, load the url,  create the image from that url, and resize the image. This process happened each and every time you scrolled through the posts. This resulted in a jumpy post table and impatience.

The solution? Now when the feed parses, it does the same parse, load, create, resize process except it adds the final image to an array. This way, the images only have to be loaded once, and this load happens in the background while it’s parsing. When each cell is loaded in the table now, it just needs to reference the array that the images were loaded into for quick and easy retrieval.

Innovate iPad Edition (1.0) is now pretty much done. Images cache, stories can be viewed and shared, links can be loaded, and more. It’s been an exciting.

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Dev: Tetris Game

So I’m working on a Tetris game for my 228 Java class. It’s pretty much done if this were a normal Tetris game, but of course, it’s not. In this version, there is a 1/10 chance that the certain piece is “magic”. This means that one of the piece’s cells is magic. If a row is cleared with 3+ magic cells in it, then ‘gravity’ mode is turned on.

Gravity mode essentially makes all of the empty cells with blocks above them clear, so the blocks fall down into place, aka, gravity turns on.

Fun.

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Will and I have been hard at work this l…

Will and I have been hard at work this last week fixing bugs and such, and I’m proud to say that they’re pretty much all taken care of. As it looks from my end, this version of Subgraph Creator is ready to hit the web/plugin manager.

I’m going to talk to Julie tomorrow about making a website for the downloads to be hosted on.

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Dev: Threading

I’ve gone through a tutorial or two on threading in Java, and I think I’ve come across a functionality in Subgraph Creator that is in need of it. I am going to attempt to implement the code that already runs but within a new thread.

U1 — I’ve recreated the problem. Time to see what’s causing it.

U2 — Well, nothing was really wrong with the method. It was working exactly like it was supposed to, I just thought it did something else. It does what it’s supposed to. But when the user has multiple nodes selected in the list before they update the list, it breaks cytoscape. What I think I might do is when the user selects the “Update List” button is to deselect all of the nodes and then run the code that already worked.

U3 — DONE. Upon the user clicking “Update List” the node at index 1 will be selected then the list will be updated. No more crashes.

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Steve Jobs takes a leave of absence

On January 17th, Steve Jobs announced he would be taking a medical leave of absence to focus on his health and is leaving day-to-day operations to COO Tim Cook, like he did in 2009 when he took a leave of absence to get a liver transplant.

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Verizon iPhone

On Jan. 11th, 2011, Verizon announced the worst-kept secret
tech. They had the iPhone and it was coming Feb. 3rd to eligible
upgrade customers and Feb. 10th for everyone else. What does that
mean for most people? Less dropped calls and maybe better rates. It
also means no simultaneous voice and data like on AT&T.
This is because Verizon and Big Blue use different technologies to
carry the signal. Verizon uses CDMA and EV-DO technology (which is
newer but can’t use data and voice at the same time) while
AT&T uses GSM/UMTS/HSPA (like most of the rest of
world).

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