Saturday, December 31, 2011

State of the App

Hey everyone, there's a few things that I want to write about. For today, we're going to talk about the app for iOS that I've made several posts on.

A few months ago my developer account expired and I decided not to renew it at this time. My reasoning is pretty simple: I don't want to be directly supporting a company like Apple who is trying to poison the personal computing industry. I'm tired of the system lockouts, the constant injunctions against competitors' products. The fact that you must develop for iOS on an Apple computer (or in a VM) also annoys me.

On top of that, it's expensive and time consuming for someone casually working on it to keep up with the entire system. My iPhone 3G is still running iOS 3.1.3 to keep it from getting bogged down. My VM is running an older version of OSX, so I can't install the latest dev tools. If I wanted to do things the "proper" and "right" way (according to Apple) I would need to spend around $1000 just to bring my tools (computer and iphone/ipod) up to date!

Setting aside my stance against the company, the iOS app market is highly competitive. Sure, I was working on something in a less competitive subsection, but is it really worth my time? Maybe yes, maybe no, but what I do know is that I'd rather be spending the time working on my electronics projects than grinding out more PDFs for the app.

So since I'm not renewing my account, it goes hand-in-hand that I won't be finishing this app in the near future. Maybe someday I'll come back to it and finish it off. Apple currently falls in with a small list of companies that I choose not to financially support (Sony and Ubisoft are the others). If they manage to pull their self-righteous head out of the sand, then I'll rethink my position.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hell, it's about time.

Well everyone, I finally made it. Despite the lack of blog posts in recent months, I somehow survived my final terms as an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo. Its been a long time coming (4 years now), which is why it deserved the Starcraft 2 trailer quote you see. Of course, my undergrad wasn't as long as the gap between SC1 and 2, but still, it feels fitting.

For my most recent winter term (starting back in Jan 2011), I actually ended up doing pretty well. It was my first term in my university career where I actually managed to get an over-80% average. I know for some people that might not be much of an accomplishment, but for me that was a lot of work. It took a long time to make up for the mistakes I made in first/second year. As an added bonus, I finally was able to bring my academic standing up from satisfactory to good. My overall average was pulled down from my earlier mistakes, which took a long time to pull up.

This spring term, I ended up taking 2 courses. The first I mentioned in my last post, Digital Signal Processing (DSP), and the other was Intro to Computational Math (CM). Now, before I mention how much I disliked CM, let me say that DSP was a great time. I had an amazing professor who was extremely enthusiastic about the subject. It was one of the best courses I've taken during my undergrad. Although the final hasn't been marked yet (it took place on Aug 13, which was also my last exam!!!), I feel that I will do fine. I did after all, get a 94% on the midterm.

Now, CM. What a waste of time that was. Now of course, I picked it because I wanted to hopefully learn a little bit while also not working too hard. I went into the course expecting a programming focused course, where our assignments mostly consist of us applying various computational methods to different problems. It wasn't that in the slightest. Our assignments mostly consisted of theoretical work. Any and all programming problems we had our hand held, told step by step what to do. We spent the first 6 weeks on GEPP. In the end, I learned a few useful things, but overall, it was not what I wanted.

On a positive note, I'll be starting graduate school in Sept! Yeah, that doesn't leave me much time to go on post-undergrad vacation and whatnot, but that's not a problem. I'll be a student in Prof Cory's research group. It should be a good time.

Last thing for now, I plan on changing the URL of this blog. I was never really happy with the current URL, so I'm going to just change it tomorrow or so to . If anyone reads this, update your bookmarks!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Analog Project

So this morning I gave my analog electronics project presentation. Yes, I did extremely well. If I didn't get 100% I would be surprised.

What this means is I'll soon be in a capacity to upload the schematic to this very blog for all to enjoy! Hurray! Until then, I'll just leave you with the circuit concept.

For my project I designed a audio level trigger. It uses the intensity of the sound picked up by the condenser microphone to trigger a secondary circuit.

Expect to see the details soon!

(that said, there are some improvements I would like to still make)

PS: Long time no post?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Work work work...

Its been nearly two months since my last blog post. I didn't get anything done on my app during that time. Thankfully, it wasn't because I was lazy.

Shortly after my last post was my 21st birthday. Carolyn got me a record of ACDC Back in Black and a ring that say "one ring to pwn them all". ISN'T THAT AWEOMSE?!

I wanted to get some work done on my app, but I just didn't really have the time. Sure I could have spent my weekends, but I also wanted to get *some* video gaming in. Exams hit shortly after my birthday. After exams, I went to my parents house for a lovely time.

When I got back, I was working on finishing my research project. Experiments to run, presentations to prepare for, reports to write. No time for app development.

The presentation for my research project was last Monday. It went extremely well, and my supervisor seems to be pleased with it. Today, I handed in my written report, so I hope that it also goes well.

With reports and all that jazz out of the way, I can return to my app. My course load for this term is lighter than last, so I'll have more time to spend in the lab and more time for my app.

I made some development progress tonight. I removed the "main menu" screen and made the app boot straight to the root browsing directory. I decided to do this based on feedback, and because you can access search from anywhere in the app. In its place I added a png "loading" image. This image is displayed for the few seconds (~2 sec) it takes to load the app on my iPhone 3G.

Since I removed the main menu, I moved all the additional buttons that where there (rate this app, tell a friend) into an "about" screen. This is currently accessed by clicking "About" on the root directory of the browser. I'll include a screenshot of this later because I'm sure that was not clear.

On the academic front, I'm taking the following courses this term:
  • Introduction to Quantum Information Processing
  • Electricity and Magnetism: Part 2
  • Analog Electronics & Lab (yes, this is the second analog class
  • Research Project
This isn't enough for me to graduate. I'll be taking one additional term to finish off my undergraduate degree. This is in an attempt to lower my work load so I don't go (more) crazy. During the summer I plan on taking Digital Signal Processing from the Electrical Engineering department, and one other course that I haven't decided on.

Anyways, enough talking. Going to get some more work done!