Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23rd

It's been grand. Goodbye. The End.

August 22nd

Second to last day of the internship! Today we did the dry run of our presentations...that took a while to get through everyone and give everyone the advice they needed, but it was helpful, I think. I didn't really need to change much with my presentation, so I spent the rest of the day reading through it a few more times to prepare myself tomorrow...another pretty short and easy day.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 21st

There's only two more days left of the internship, now that today is went by really quickly. I did manage to get my PowerPoint done for the presentation tomorrow relatively quickly, and spent the rest of the day touching it up, thinking about what I was going to say, and practicing my presentation (mostly in my head)...all in all it was a pretty easy, short day.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 20th

In the morning today, I started in earnest my presentation for Friday, thinking that I would easily have it done by the end of the day. However, I had a meeting with Jake at 10:00 (originally I thought that the meeting would be a brief checkup on my progress in my presentation), but he instead gave Ian and I the job of moving all the contents of the Insight Lab from its room on the third floor down to the new room on the first floor. This took all day, even with considerable help from some of the other interns. Thus, I made almost no progress on my presentation.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August 19th

It's been quite a while since I had to make a blog post (I went on vacation last week)...

Anyway, it was relatively easy to get back into the swing of things yesterday, despite missing a week of work, mainly because I ended at a good stopping point on Friday before I went away (I had just finished (for good) my GUI program). This morning, I did a final run-through of my GUI to make sure there weren't any obvious errors with it that I had overlooked, and I sent it off to Vlad via email. After that, I spent the rest of the day finishing the UML diagram of the entire VoTech program that I started a few weeks ago, and thus finished up all the actual work I have to do for the summer. It now looks like this (obviously, it is zoomed pretty far out):

All I have left to do now is to put together my presentation for Friday, actually do the presentation, and the internship will be went by rather quickly.

Friday, August 9, 2013

August 8th

My program was finally, completely finished today...or so I thought. I did completely debug it, but after lunch I had a meeting with Vlad, and there were some aspects of it that he wanted me to tweak. "Tweak", however, is probably a misleading word to use...the changes themselves were rather minor and seemingly insignificant, but when I went to try to make them after lunch, some of them started causing me lots of problems...many of them weren't fixed by the end of the day, so that's what I'll be doing tomorrow. This whole dubuging process is certainly the most annoying part of coding that I've come up against so far.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 7th

There were several times across the course of the day today that I thought that I had finished my GUI, but every time I did what I thought would be a final run-through, I found some error that made me have to go back and revise my code once again. I am fairly certain that this occurred 7 or 8 times, each time requiring me to spend an additional half hour to hour figuring out what the problem was, finding it, and fixing it. Not a fun process.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 6th

All I did today, with the exception of taking some time to help Jacob with some of his work (he needed a second pair of hands again), was find errors in my code and fix them. Some of them, such as the issues with the Move to Top and Move to Bottom buttons that I mentioned yesterday, were quite annoying (although I did end up getting that particular issue fixed by the end of the day). I made the last of the buttons do something (the save buttons), but while I had expected that those buttons would be quite easy and I would finish with them quickly, it turned out that they actually were quite problematic (I couldn't get my files to save to the right places). Thus, I did not finish writing the program by the end of the day today, as I thought that I would.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 5th

By lunchtime today I had my GUI almost entirely operational...almost all of the buttons work; questions appear in the question field, you can click on them, etc. However, there are a number of bugs I have yet to work out. For example, when you click the "Move to Top" button, the entire question set gets thoroughly screwed up (essentially the same thing happens when you click the "Move to Bottom" button). I spent the rest of the day trying to work out these bugs and others - some problems I solved, whereas others I repeatedly tried to fix with no success...I guess I will just have to try again tomorrow. I still haven't done much in the way of organizing my code (which is likely a big part of my problem).

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 2nd

I had thought that my GUI was almost finished...however, I talked with Vlad today, and although it is in working order, there are a lot of things with it that I need to restructure and organize to make it more usable for other people; so that other people can edit and change my code after I am done with it without needing me to explain how it works to them (I have to admit, it does make sense to do this; as of right now my code is rather unorganized and hard to follow). So, after a day of working on getting it almost all the way to complete functionality, I'm thinking that I will need Monday to finish doing that, and Tuesday and Wednesday to get it well organized, and then I will be done with it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 1st

Today I tackled the issue of having an editable list of selectable items (a list of the questions that the teachers enter that can be clicked on to select a question to edit or move) far as I know, that was probably the only thing in the GUI that I wasn't sure how I was going to make work. Because of the fact that I do not know all of the different components of Java Swing, I spent a large portion of the day trying to utilize the components I do know how to use to make such a list, only to find that 1) I don't have the programming ability to do that, and 2) there is a Java Swing "list" component that does all of this for me. Although it was somewhat annoying to find that the answer was right there all along, after I found that out I was able to get quite a bit done.

July 31st

I worked solely on my GUI again guess is that is essentially all I will be doing for the next week today. I got several of the buttons to "do things"; thanks to the Java plug-in Jacob showed me, doing that is quite easy. However, I do have to keep things in a certain format (it still has to be in Model-View-Controller), and the plug-in doesn't actually let you do anything as far as giving the buttons actions, so it does still take some time to make sure everything is how Vlad wants it.

I also went to the summer seminar series again today....this time it was a series of short videos on "elevator speeches" - some of the videos were on how to give elevator speeches (essentially 2-minute sales pitches asking someone for something very concisely), and the other videos were of examples of elevator speeches. Some of the examples were very impressive - it was actually very informative, overall.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 30th

Once again, all I did today was worked more on my GUI...I have been making good progress on it, I think, although I didn't get much done today. My bike tire blew out this morning, and I needed to leave even earlier (I'm already leaving at 1:15 or so) to get it fixed. Anyway, this is what my GUI looks like now:

So, I have the visual set up pretty far along...however most of the buttons don't do much yet.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 29th

I spent the whole day today working on my new is a pretty big project, and I think it will be taking me a while to complete. Fortunately, one of the other interns, Jacob, who knows Java, helped me along by showing me a plug-in for Eclipse (the code-editing software I'm using) which makes setting up GUIs a heck of a lot easier. Essentially it is a GUI for creating GUIs - I just arrange manually the different components of my GUI on the application screen. I do still have to do a lot of actual coding (to make those components do anything), but it still makes my job a lot easier.

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 26th

Today, I spent the morning expanding my UML documentation of the Votech of now, this is what is looks like:

After lunch, I met up with Vlad, and he gave me much better instructions as to what to do with putting my program into a real GUI interface. As of right now, my "GUI" looks like this:

Now I have to make it look something like this:

Friday, July 26, 2013

July 25th

Today I got a new assignment from Vlad - one of the other undergrads helped me download the entire Votech program onto my laptop, and Vlad had me begin diagramming the program in UML (Unified Modelling Language). Vlad gave me a tutorial on UML (which can be found here, if anyone is interested) - it is essentially a graphical organizational method for laying out programs - so far it has been helpful in making me understand how the Votech program operates. Between reading through the tutorial and actually starting doing that, I spent my whole day. I think tomorrow I will take a break from that and get back to programming, because Vlad will actually be back in the building, and we can meet and discuss what I should do next with my program.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 24th

Unfortunately, neither Vlad nor Jake emailed me back today with anything to do, so as far as getting things done, not much happened. I edited my Java program a little by giving it some simple "Votech" graphics I made, and made it a little bit more user-friendly, but now my program is entirely finished; unless I decide for some reason to completely redo the GUI, there is nothing more for me to do with it. Apart from that, Ian and I did help Jacob (another intern) out with some of his spectroscopy work (we helped him measure the radiance of a flame for the cataloging he's doing). All in all, a pretty slow day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 23rd

I did manage to finish the graphical user interface (GUI) for my program today, although I'm not sure if it is exactly what Vlad wanted...after making multiple attempts at doing a more complex GUI, with a menu and whatnot, I eventually gave up (only because its very hard to make that kind of GUI in the Model View Controller format; it isn't too hard to make that kind of GUI in general) and opted for a simpler method of just using a series of dialog boxes, which might be a little too simple.

Anyway, I finished that a little after lunch, but I couldn't actually check that with Vlad or move onto a new project, because both Vlad and Jake are out of town, so there was no-one to ask for a new assignment. I emailed them both, and spent the majority of the afternoon tweaking my program and waiting for a response, which I didn't get.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 22nd

Today (mostly in order to avoid having to teach myself more Java) I spent most of the day working in the basement with a few of the other interns helping our of the other researchers of CIS put together a clean room in his lab to do some research he's working on. I did take a break from that after lunch to learn a little bit of Java "swing", and to write my abstract due on Wednesday, but for the most part that was all I did today.

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 19th

In the morning,  I finished up converting my command line program into Model View Controller; there weren't any real problems in doing that, as I had expected yesterday. We had our weekly barbecue for lunch yesterday, which was lots of fun, just like last week.

The next step for my program is to take the "View" part of my program and to convert it from a command-line style interface into a graphical user interface (in other words, to make it look nicer to the user). To do this I have to learn a whole new aspect of Java (called Swing), which isn't going to be much fun. I started looking at some examples of it after lunch, but it was post-lunch Friday (not the best time to start a new step in a project) so I didn't end up getting much done on that.

Friday, July 19, 2013

July 18th

The beginning of the day today was really frustrating ... I spent the first several hours trying to figure out Model View Controller, how it works and how to implement it, with absolutely no success until lunch time. It wasn't until while I took a break to eat lunch that I realized what I had been doing wrong with it. After lunch, however, I made really good time with it. I got more than half of my original command line program converted to MVC format by the end of the day, and I have no doubt that I will have it completely done before lunch tomorrow. After that I will be converting the whole interface into a graphical user interface to make it look better to the user, which will require learning quite a bit more about that part of Java.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July 17th

Once again, I got a lot done today. By lunchtime, I had finished the command line program completely, despite running into more challenges in finishing it up than I thought I would run into at the end of the day yesterday.

For lunch, there was the weekly summer seminar series again - the movie we watched this time was entitled the Zen Art of Presentation ... needless to say, it was somewhat less interesting than last week's TED Talks. However, the free food made it more than worth it.

After the presentation, I had a meeting with Vlad, in which he explained Model-View-Controller, and exactly what I will be doing with it. Basically, I have to rewrite my command line program in a different [cleaner] format (called Model-View-Controller, or MVC), and after that I will change it from a command line interface to a graphical user interface (putting it into the MVC format will theoretically make it a lot easier to do). I spent the rest of the day trying to rewrite my program...thus far it has been pretty difficult, so I'm sure that is all I will be doing tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 16th

Today was interesting - even though I spent the entire first half of the day getting nothing done because I was trying to tackle something way over my head, making what I was doing much harder than it needed to be (I was essentially trying to learn way too much about how XML works with Java, when all I really needed to know, as it turned out, was how XML is formatted, which is easy. I had actually learned that withing five minutes of looking up "XML").

However, at lunch I realized how much I was over-complicating things, and after that I was able to move a lot faster after that. By the end of the day I had the whole command-line program almost finished. I plan to get entirely done tomorrow by lunchtime, and after lunch I will talk with Vlad about how to convert the program into something called the "Model-View-Controller" paradigm (from there I will be able to change it from a command line interface to a graphical user interface, so it looks nicer).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 15th

I was rather productive today; at the beginning of the day, I jumped right in to working on the command line program I have to write - I made the decision to just skip/skim over the rest of the tutorial material, or at least save reading it for later, because I had simply reached a point at which I wasn't absorbing any information, and just started working in Java for myself instead of reading about it. I wasn't sure how much I would be able to do, but so far I have been able to keep working relatively continuously, without having to stop to go back to the tutorials too frequently. By the end of the day I had done almost everything I could have...tomorrow I have to learn how XML works, and how to make Java manipulate XML documents, which is sure to be more reading, but at least I had a nice break of actual productivity today.

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 12th

Today was the first intern barbecue - every Friday this summer there will be a grill outside CIS for us to use, so we interns will bring in something to share each week. Today there was plenty of food, and a volleyball net set up, so it was lots of fun. It was a nice way to end the week.

Beyond that, I made some good progress with Java. I read through a ton of tutorial material throughout the day (loads of fun, of course), but by the end of the day I had finished my first "assignment" from Vlad of writing a simple command-line program, and now I can at least move on a little from the "teaching myself" part of this...I have a good enough understanding of Java to be able to work with it, I think. I do, however, need to learn about the Votech technology that I have to make my program interact with, so Vlad gave me more reading to do...but hopefully I will be able to get through that early next week, so I can really get started on the project.

Friday, July 12, 2013

July 11th

I spent the majority of the day today doing nothing but reading through the online tutorial for's helpful and I've learned quite a bit so far, but I have to say, it got really boring really quickly. Reading text on one subject for ~6 hours is not fun. There were some exercises with which I did actually write a little bit of code, but for the most part, it was just reading. The worst part was that I already knew a good portion of what I was reading, because it was just going over the very basics of Java, but I couldn't skip anything, because there was stuff I didn't know scattered throughout the whole thing. I can't wait until I'm good enough to actually begin working on the project.

Apart from this, the only thing I did yesterday was go to a presentation on electron microscopes, which was part of a undergraduate seminar series which occurs every Thursday. It was a relatively interesting presentation, and was a nice relief from the reading.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 10th

Today I [finally] got  computer, so now I can start actually learning Java. Trying to teach it to myself from a book was not working too well; it is much better to be able to use a computer and experiment with the coding. Right after I got my computer, Vlad (the college student who seems to be "in charge" of my project) found me and gave me a detailed list of instructions on how I should go about teaching myself, which so far has made doing so a lot easier. The instructions pointed me to a selection of tutorials on, which I have begun going through, and I've found them quite helpful so far.

For lunch today, there was free pizza at a weekly "Seminar Series" which happens every Wednesday. The seminar consisted of 3 "TED Talks" videos, all of which were interesting. After that, the Insight Lab people did  a "learning exchange", in which we were all paired up with another researcher, and discussed our projects.

Sometime after lunch, a few of the other interns and I helped move a ton of equipment to the basement of the CIS for a clean room that a student is setting up. Apparently, next week we interns will be helping in the construction of the clean room, which should be fun, although it will certainly be a lot of work.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 9th

Today started with me going with the undergrad students to Java's. The undergrads go there every day to discuss their projects, and how far along they are with them. Since I hadn't done anything with my project at that point, I mostly just listened to what the students were working on, but it was interesting all the same. After that, I got a book on Java from one of the students, and spent most of the rest of the day teaching myself Java with that and online resources, and made a good bit of progress

At the end of every day, for the Insight Lab, there is a "daily wrap-up", for which the entirety of the researchers for the Insight Lab meet in a room and take turns saying what they did today, and then got two questions from the other researchers about their work. The Insight Lab is apparently really big on involving all of the researchers in all of the research, which is really cool.

Hopefully I will get a computer tomorrow, so I can actually start working on my project.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 8th

Today was the first day of the internship. I spent the first part of the day getting to know the other interns and the different people involved with the internship program: after the 8:45 meeting, the interns broke into groups and did a scavenger hunt around campus, which was a great way to get to know the other members of my group. At noon we met back in the CIS building and compiled videos of our scavenger hunts, which we shared with all the interns, while eating free pizza (always fun). After the videos were presented, we all got to go to our different labs - the two other interns working in the Insight Lab (Sara and Ian) and I met Dr. Noel-Storr, who showed us around the different Insight Lab rooms, and I got my assignment for what I would be doing this summer: learning Java so that I can create a user interface one of the Insight Lab projects. Ian, Sara, and I then met the undergrads working in the Insight Lab this summer, and we spent the rest of the day learning more about the different projects the Lab is currently working on.