August 9, 2011

Got my own domain finally! Please go to woo!



August 8, 2011

Hello blogosphere!

This past weekend I spent a day helping out at the first #LadiesLearningCode Workshop. It was a most eye-opening experience. It made me realize that there is a huge demand for a space where women can learn how to code. I want to quickly say thanks to Heather Payne and all the organizers and developers who helped make the day run so smoothly. As a developer realized what a terrible teacher I am. However! It has, happily, left me with a new drive to spread the word to all women in Engineering and Computer Science and young ladies all around the city.

One of the lightning talks given by Jessamyn Smith made me realize that all the feelings of insecurity I had for 3 years of my undergrad were apparently normal! Who’d have thought!? It took me until my fourth year, after coming back from my Professional Experience Year, to realize that I actually *DO* know just as much if not more than a lot of the guys I thought were always smarter than me. Finishing up now, I realize how much university has helped shape me into a more confident, and independent person. This is largely due to the interactions I’ve had with some of my classmates (for better and worse). So really, Thank you all!

A couple weeks ago, when I was first put in touch with Heather, I started thinking about why I was in computer science. I always tell people it’s by chance in high school, but I wish it wasn’t. When I graduated high school I was one of a handful of girls going into a technical field. I always felt put-off by that fact especially since I was lucky enough to go to a prestigious school that’s ranked on a world-wide scale. So why weren’t more girls interested in programming or computers? Why was there such emphasis on the arts and humanities where it was less so on maths and sciences?

I’m hoping to be able to make it a personal goal of mine to get to the bottom of it. The current plan is to contact *someone* from the faculty and get some information. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to eventually give a talk to these girls about the merits of technical fields, the problems they may encounter, and anything else I can come up with. *IF* I do get to give a talk, I’ll definitely be looking for input about content from my fellow CS girls or Branksome girls.

Wish me luck!


Accessibility Project Update

November 16, 2010

Okay, one month in, and I still feel like I haven’t done enough. I keep hitting the silliest road blocks.

At first, I started working on some front end things and integrating into the chrome browser. Admittedly, I don’t feel like I did enough for a first milestone. I had basic front end functionality and basically no back end functionality.

Milestone 2: ‘Coming Along’

I decided to focus on server side processing and have the client interact with the ‘master server list’ of videos that are problematic. This meant that I could write a server side application that just scrapes YouTube for content and processes each video. Initially, I thought this would be OK. I knew the Python Imaging library existed and so I thought I’d try my hand at it. That was a failing attempt. Not only did I not remember much Python, I couldn’t even get a development environment set up (I’m terrible at that sort of thing). Next, I thought I could do it in Java, since I’m more familiar with Java. Again, I couldn’t get my environment set up. (yes, I’m a failure). The Java media Framework did NOT want to cooperate with me. In the end I turned to Matlab. Trusty, reliable, bloated Matlab. This was because it’s just easier. No environment to set up, it has all the packages I need already so I didn’t have to go out and download/install other libraries. Simple! Also, given that I’d already done this type of thing in Matlab, I had the basic code written up in 15 minutes. *sigh* <– One whole weekend of work….

My Matlab program appears to come up with the same results as the PEAT application, but does not display them as nicely. I look at the average value of each frame and compare it to previous frames. If there is a difference of moret han 100 between a set of frames, then set a warning because this indicates a large change in the sequence of frames. Granted, this is not the most scientific way to detect flashes in a video, but it’s start. To save time, we can stop processing the rest of the video once a warning sign has been detected.

Next I had to set up a local server. I decided to just use my localhost. Googled how to do it, and found IIS simple enough for my purposes. Now my client can connect and read data off my localhost. *good enough*

My new problem is trying to get a modal dialog box to appear in the YouTube window that covers the video and warns the viewer of the video. I can get a regular dialog box, but not the flashy in window frame. I might just stick to this for now.

Next Steps:

Trying to get the server to automatically scrape YouTube for videos to process OR accept requests from the client. Accepting requests however, means that I can somehow automate the process of grabbing videos off YouTube, process it, and return the result back to the user in a timely manner. (not likely to happen anytime soon)

I need to make the client side more usable. Still lots of “features” that need to be attended to. I also need to test on a real server, but I need help setting one up properly and not just hacking together a default localhost.

Canvas For One Note

November 21, 2009

Just installed office and thought I’d look into Canvas for One Note. I know it’s still in development stages but I must say the interactions are just not agreeing with me.

There is an invisible wall on the upper and left sides of your canvas. Sure, you can grow your canvas out to be as large as you need, but you can only do so and navigate to the right and down. I thought that was a little irking especially because there are no visual clues that you can’t pan above or to the left. A canvas border would be useful here. I then managed to grow my canvas so large, all my content was tiny in the upper left corner when I zoom out. Looking for a “shrink” option, there isn’t one. You have to restart canvas. Sections and pages themselves are also only expandable in the right and bottom directions. I definitely think you should be able to expand and explore everything in all directions and pan and zoom so that your content is framed and centered. Or have canvas view automatically detect where content is and zoom out framing all the content. I don’t need to know that my canvas is gigantic, but only the top left corner is being used.

One click zoom in and out is also sometimes frustrating. If I have many pages in a section without much open space, it’s difficult to zoom in to the section and not a specific page. I think that there needs to be a stage of zoom. So if I click anywhere within a section, then it will zoom into the section and I have to click again to get a specific page. Or have the user double click on the page that they want to see from any level of zoom to zoom into that page.

I think the idea behind this software is really cool and I can see myself using it since I’m a very visual person. However, it has to work out the navigation kinks.

Happy Birthday Me!

June 22, 2009

I am officially 21, which means I’m legal in all countries now. yay! I want to thank everyone who has and will wish me a happy birthday today. My parents were very happy that I’d be in the country for my birthday. We had Father’s day/Birthday cake yesterday at the restaurant. It was nice to see my aunts, uncles, and cousins again. Actually I see them almost every weekend so it’s going to be sad when I leave and can’t take part in the craziness we call family bonding.

Plans for today:

  • Shopping! Must finally get around to buying work clothes
  • Spend time outside
  • There is potentially more cake to be eaten.
  • Start packing winter clothes in my new Hey’s luggage! 🙂 (Thank you family!)

Not too busy. I don’t like to be too busy during vacation.

Exactly 1 month from today…

May 27, 2009

… I leave for Japan. I’m sorry if people are getting annoyed with all of my updates about that. Mostly on Facebook and Twitter. However, I’m more excited than ever! Knowing the date that I’m leaving has totally amped me up to go. It helps that it was like dirt cheap for my plane ticket too and the company is going to reimburse me for it. Awesome! I should be receiving my certificate of eligibility from the Japan early next week so that I can finally go to the Japanese consulate in Toronto and apply for my VISA.

Things that still need to get done before I leave:

  • Deal with me cell phone: It seems that nobody wants my phone for a year, so now I have to decide whether I want to pay the $500 to cancel my plan and lose my number OR reduce my plan to something like $40 a month and just keep paying it and keep my number in the end. How irritating.
  • Get VISA.
  • Go shopping for business clothes.
  • Prepare for going away parties with family and friends.

It doesn’t seem like too much to do and I have tons of time to get it all done. 3 weeks is more than enough free time for me I think. It might actually be a vacation for once! Outrageous. I think it will be the first time since the start of first year where I actually had time off from school and work. Of course I can see myself popping in on Basie from time to time. I also want to take Basie with me to Japan to work on during spare time there (like the dashboard). I’ll also likely pop in on my replacement at PMH to see how he’s coming along. But I’m definitely going to try and take it easy and relax for once.

That’s really exciting! Can’t wait!

It’s been so long

April 30, 2009

Hello world!

Everyday I learn that there are more and more people reading my blog. Thanks to everyone who does! I’ve been off the map for a couple of weeks now. I blame exams and nice weather mostly. There are lots of other things that need to get done before leaving for Japan, but everything has to happen one step at a time.

First things first, finishing up my time at the Princess Margaret Hospital. I’ve been cleaning up my files and organizing them so that my successor will be able to comprehend my cryptic labels and filenames. Looking back at my time here, I’ve definitely learned a lot about medical imaging, and working closely with my boss with him being the ‘client’. It’s interesting to see all the features of the application  that are no longer needed, but kept around because we might need it later. I do feel like I learned a lot more about code style, development, and mathematical theories during third year that would have been useful to have prior to beginning this job.

Second, working for Greg and Karen for the next month. Doing UX design is always fun. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to be working on, but I’m sure it will be interesting. They’ve promised to work me hard, so let’s hope I survive.

Third, preparing and going to Japan. I’ve been waiting for my certificate of eligibiliy from Japan, and I can’t really do much until I get that. So I feel like I’m in limbo. I’d like to get all my preparations done and a flight booked, but I can’t and it’s driving me nuts.

Things to do along the way:

  • Extend driver’s liscence (it’s supposed to expire in August, but I’m not going to be in the country. I hate driving)
  • Get VISA from Japanese consulate
  • Book flight to Japan
  • Seeing all my friends before I leave for the other side of the world
  • Go to farewell party for Mrs. Xuereb (I really want to attend this event, but it’s on June 19th and I’m afraid I might not be here for that 😥 )