Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An overdue update and a present from Google

Things have been a bit busy for me recently. I started my winter quarter at RIT just a few weeks ago and feeling the pain of coursework already.

I'm taking a parallel programming class which should be interesting. One issue I have with the class is that it teaches a specific parallel library for Java written by an RIT Professor. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it is a great library, but at the same time I feel the class is a bit biased as it appears that the library isn't very well maintained. When the homepage of the library says that it recommends an older version of java then the current standards. There may be a reason that is justified, but I don't know. Hopefully I will be able to take some of the techniques from the class and apply them to other libraries and languages.

Another class I have been taking is a 2D Game design class. The class seems to be a pretty open class where the purpose of the class it to work in teams and create a single level prototype game. The class has a few assignments where we need to implement simple tasks in DirectX 10 which we are finding it a bit more difficult then expected. I have been spoiled with python, so relearning C++ is always fun; Especially when using the Windows and DirectX api, lots of pointers and reference passing. So this is taking a lot of my time having. To complicate things, I don't have a single DirectX 10 computer, all mine use DirectX 9c. At least our game lab is very comfortable and has a very friendly schedule of open hours. Expect to hear some updates about our game, codename Project Parasite, in the near future.

Outside of classes, I am still working in the Innovation Center. My primary role at the center is working on a social site which is used to keep track of Projects, People, Groups, and Ideas and how they are linked. It is slowly expanding, but hopefully it will continue to grow in a more defined and specific use. In its current state, it is a collection space for all things. My hope is it will become less of a static site and will hopefully become a very useful tool. One of my long term goals is to apply some Graph Theory to be able to automatically draw conclusions about projects and their related networks. This is a ways as the site is still young. Some of my other roles are to provide assistance with various tasks in the center from helping run events and help setup and maintain public computers, a/v equipment, and other resources.

Foss at RIT is still moving along. We have placed a bunch of our fossers with some sponsored projects. I haven't been able to work on anything specific for FOSS @ RIT, but I am there everyday working on things for the Innovation Center as well as Foss. Sometime when I get back to the school, the Foss website will need some attention.

Outside of schoolwork, the Christmas/New Year break has been going well. The break started off with a pleasant surprise, a nice box delivered to my door. The return address was only an address, so I had no idea what it was. When opening the shipping box there was a box inside with a great technical diagram on the surface, some sort of hamster wheel assembly rocket engine. That was screaming geek, and sure enough inside the box was my own CR-48, Google's ChromeOS Netbook computer. It's a beautiful machine. So far I have been testing away, submitting a bunch of bug reports and feature requests as well as playing with the underlying OS; I wish all product manufacturers had a Dev/Jailbreak mode switch. The OS is very stripped down, took me a while to find out which text editor was on the system (qemacs) before I grabbed busybox. At least they gave us the ability to crack open the hood, so I am happy.

So that has been a great start to the break. We had a great Christmas and now looking forward to a great New Year.

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