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.