1 October 2008 - 11:05pmMainframes

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So today I completed parts 1 and 2 of the IBM Master the Mainframe Competition.  All total it took me about 4 hours to complete.  I’m hoping I got all of the part 2 answers right and that I finished within the first 60 (the prize is $100).  Some of the content was completely different than last year’s, but about half of it was pretty much the same as it was last year (too bad I didn’t take time to document the exact procedures from last year).

Since I’m not at school this semester while I do my co-op, I’m thinking I may take time to work on part 3.  The five people to have accumulated the most points in part 3 tasks by December 29 win an MSI Wind Laptop running Linux (the top two of those five get a trip to the Mainframe lab in Poughkeepsie, NY).  A laptop would be a sweet prize so I figure it might be worth the effort to work on part 3 (not to mention the fact that I’ll probably learn a lot from it).

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14 May 2008 - 10:34amAndroid Winners

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A list of the 50 winners of the first portion of the Android Challenge has been posted on the Android blog.  After reading through the titles, I found a link at the bottom to the Phandriod site where links to many of the winner’s websites or videos have been aggregated.  Take a look at them.  These people developed some pretty outstanding applications.  I looked at several of the 50 that sounded interesting based on the description and I’ve picked a few favorites.

  1. Commandro – A new take on social networking, Commandro utilizes the Android platform’s location-based services to show you where your friends are and what they’re doing at all times.  It makes good use of the Google Maps functionality available on the device and the interface looks very intuitive.
  2. AndroidScan – This application is really cool.  Using the phone’s camera, AndroidScan allows you to take a picture of a barcode that it will then process, giving you a list of places where you can buy it and the price it’s being sold for there.  In addition to websites carrying that item (which you can view by clicking a link), the application also searches for nearby stores with that product and, in the case of a book, nearby libraries.  One thing I thought was particularly cool is that if the barcode you scanned belongs to a CD, the phone will access the Amazon MP3 store and give you the option to listen to the 30 second previews for each track on the album.  The AndroidScan website has a 3 minute video that shows it off pretty well.
  3. ShapeWriter WritingPad – This application is truly phenomenal.  Developed by ShapeWriter Inc., this application facilitates entering text into your touchscreen phone in a way I’ve never even imagined.  The best way for you to see what I mean is to just watch the video.  This application is really cool.

Now I can see more clearly why our application was not among the top 50.  The applications that won had truly innovative ideas that were almost flawlessly implemented.  Though I thought (and still think) that our idea was innovative, taking the whole social networking thing from a different angle, we didn’t have the skills or the time to implement it in such a complete way.

Edit (3/9/09): Thought I’d add in some information about our entry to the Contest.  Our team consisted of 6 students from Clarkson University (all undergraduates of various class levels) and one professor.  We developed an application we call “Digital Lifelines.”  Basically, it allows the user to custom create timelines of any type by choosing what fields to include for each entry.  These are created by following a simple XML format and then pulling that XML file from the internet for loading into the program.  Users add entries at will and then have the ability to browse through all their entries in a timeline-like fashion.  Our goal was to develop a web component where users could log on and see their timelines presented in a more visually appealling format, but that feature has yet to come.  We do, however, have a website you can visit where the source code will hopefully be posted sometime in the near future (we’ve been neglectful in attending to that).

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12 May 2008 - 4:04pmGoogle sucks

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As may be evident by the title of this post, our team of 7 was not one of the 50 winners of the Android Developer Challenge. We were informed by email Friday afternoon that, regrettably, we would not be receiving one of the $25,000 prizes.

In all reality I knew we didn’t have much of a chance. I saw a few of the other entries that people had posted on the internet and our application just doesn’t even compare. I’m proud of what we did and I had a lot of fun doing it… I wish we’d had more time and energy to come up with a submission that could have competed better with the top entries.

There’s another Android Challenge starting later this year, perhaps we’ll continue work on our application in preparation for another submission then. At some point in the future the write-up we submitted (and possibly the source code) will be posted on our website.

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21 January 2008 - 4:46pmStuff

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It’s been far too long, blog.

This post is dedicated to new news. I will discuss this news in several categories. Enjoy.

My life: I miss home, Joelle, my family, and my dog. I’ve been back at school for almost 2 weeks now, just trying to slip into this semester’s routine and stay on top of my work.

Google Android Contest: As I’ve mentioned, a group of us from the lab have set out to build an application that will run on Google’s new Android platfrom (part of the Open Handset Alliance). Progress so far is very good and we’re actually hoping to have two separate submissions for the March 3rd-ish deadline.

Classes: They are going well. Most everything has been fairly straightforward so far but I’m expecting the workload to get somewhat heavier as the semester progresses. One thing I’m looking forward to is an idea Pat and I have for a project for our Computer and Network Security course. I’m not going to delve into too much detail here because I don’t want to leak information about it to anyone on the Clarkson campus (it could affect the results of our little experiment). If you don’t go to Clarkson and would like more details, let me know.

COSI: Maybe I should finish the time server project I started last semester. Hmmm…

K2CC: For those of you who don’t know, I’m a member of the Clarkson Amateur Radio Club. The club does a lot of neat projects, a few of which I get involved in here and there. Check out the wiki I set up. There’s a license exam coming up on February 2nd and I’m considering upgrading to a General Class license. I’ll let you know how it goes.

My Website: Recently added on the right hand side of my blog’s home page is a link to a calendar that shows my schedule. I’ll try to keep this thing as up to date as possible so that if you want to know when I’m available or what I’m up to you can check there. Also, I’m working on a photo browsing application (using some AJAX) that I hope to put up here at some point, I’ll let you know when that becomes available (it will probably be password-protected, so you’ll have to know me to check it out).

Clarkson: Is a mess. There’s construction vehicles all over and it’s become one huge mud/snow pit. Due to the abundance of dirt everywhere, maintenance has decided to use dirt to coat every slippery surface on campus. Not only does this make the surface somewhat less slippery, it contributes a great deal to the mud collection here at the University. This is as opposed to using salt which would effectively melt the ice and actually prevent a muddy mess, and that would be terrible.

Potsdam: It’s cold here (sorry, that’s not new news). This morning my computer informed me that it was -1. -1 is cold.

Snow and Mud

I think that will be all for today. I’ll try to post more often, I promise. :)

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14 December 2007 - 11:43pmYay for break

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I’m writing this post from my bedroom… looking forward to a good night’s sleep in my bed. :) Arrived home safely today around 1 and am very happy to be finished with school for a couple weeks.

Thought I’d update you all with an addition to the things to do list for break. Some of us from COSI have decided to participate in the Google Android Contest. We have a few pretty sweet ideas and work is to start over break with the hopes of having a basic prototype done by the start of the semester. If you’ve never heard of it, check out the site to see what it’s about. Should be a lot of fun.

Anyway, it’s late and I’m tired.

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