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.


Basie Dashboard – Go!

June 4, 2009

So this week I’ve started working on the Basie Dashboard. I’m picking up where Heather left off essentially. Although I don’t know much about the flot library or java scripting, so manipulating the graphs is going to be tough. I have added a recent events table and a list of quick links for users. I think these are very important especially to get a quick overview of the most recent things that has happened on the project. 

Here are some things that i think could make the graphs useful to users:

  • hide/show ability -> this way users can choose which graphs they want to see. I think that having the overall graph visible at all times is useful. This we can toggle the more detailed graph, which is the one that takes up the most space. 
  • I want to have some way of changing the graph styles to be either lines or bars for each user. I know people like to see the totals as breakdowns of individual users in different colours (personally I like line graphs). I’m just not sure how managable that is especially if the project has a lot of developers on it.

As far as the ‘quick links’ go, I added it to the dashboard, because if this is going to be the screen that users see once they sign in, then it is important to be able to navigate away from there. That being said, we still don’t have an easy navigational system for other parts of Basie. At the moment, users have to click ‘back’ or on the breadcrumbs we added to the top of the pages. I think adding a ‘quick links’ widget to each page would be best. 

So far the dashboard is also project specific and not user specific. In the future I would like to have the dashboard user specific, which will display data and news relevant to that user across all the projects they’re in. This may be a v3.0 feature.