Friday, April 30, 2010

Oh the Drama

You know, there's just as much drama in the Tech world as there is in the 'other' world. Who cares about Miley Syrus, Britteny what's-her-face, and what the latest fashion stores are selling. Look at what is happening to the Flash platform! First off, Virgin America ditches Flash for its website and adopts HTML5. No biggie, it's just one site. Well next, I find out that video juggernaut sites Vimeo and Youtube are eyeballing HTML5. Not to mention that Apple ditched Adobe Flash back in 2007 with its iPhone platform. Apple continues to deal blows as they still do not support flash on their newest "magical" expensive brick ipad (Mark my words they will release an ipad with MAC OSX on it, while cranking up the prices to the 3k+ mark. Perhaps called iPad X. or iPad OSX. or just iOSX...). Finally, Jobs outlines a few reasons why he continues to show the cold shoulder to Adobe. Adobe won't take this sitting down as its CTO Lynch defends his platform, saying that HTML has had a history of inconsistently rendering on different platforms and browsers, and that Flash's relevance and standard output across all platforms that it is implemented on is part of what will keep flash alive. He has a point, but recent criticism of Adobe's Flash platform causing battery life drainage and overall performance hit on less powerful devices has not been disproved and even succumbs to some of this criticism. Nevertheless, Flash 10.1 has been well under development and is soon to be every mobile device's savior as it will bring performance increases and a better user experience!!

Anyway, moral of the story being that you have to make conscious and smart decisions when designing software. If you're sure you don't want to develop for an up coming mobile platform, be sure you're ready to face the music when your users or investors question you. If you want to cut support for X product or limit your users to only Y protocol, you better be sure you know what you're doing. I for one would love to see some Flash apps on the Android now that iPhone is out of the picture ;)

In other news, HP buys Palm. Now we're going for a web-OS powered HP netbook!? I think it would have been neat if Adobe bought Palm.. As Palm recently faced its own music as it was forced to sell its assets in its ailing Web-OS.

But think about it.. A Flash powered phone? That may be the prettiest phone ever.. or perhaps the slowest phone ever. We'll never know now. I myself am fairly versed in Flash.. at least I used to be back in the Flash MX and even Flash 8 days.

Friday, April 23, 2010

UNT Robotics Society

Recently I paid a visit to the UNT Robotics society. A Jolly group of engineering students and graduates who like robots. They showed me a bunch of things they were working on and even invited me to join!

Not the prettiest thing I've ever seen, but definitely shows off the guts of the project

This is the Self-aware Coke-Mobile, as I've just now decided to dub it that. It's a work-in-progress autonomous remote control car. What it does is navigate through hallways and avoid objects by itself. Given the correct programming in a language called Spin - a multitasking high level computer programming language, it uses something called a Parallax Propeller Chip to interpret sensor data and Spin commands. At least, I think that's a pretty accurate description.

Today in particular was a pretty exciting day for the Robotics Society, as they've just received a golf cart:
It's so that new members can use it to run errands around Discovery Park for them...

Nah it's actually their newest guinea pig of sorts. They plan on hacking this thing apart and installing some new toys onto it. What they plan on doing with it is akin to DARPA's autonomous vehicle challenge. They're going to attempt to upgrade this thing to be totally autonomous, and be able to navigate Discovery Park, while avoiding obstacles, pedestrians, walls, polls, and what have you. It takes quite a bit of knowledge in computer science, but the feat is definitely worth bragging about.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stop the Presses!

It seems that today, some of the computer systems around campus are acting up. Namely, any computer running Windows XP and UNT's standard suite of software (*coughantivirusandadministrativetoolscough*). That means most the computers in the computer labs, general classrooms, and regular desktop computers that run Windows XP are going through some down time. I happened to noticed today in Math, the PC at the front of the classroom shut off, as the distinct Windows XP shutdown noise went off. Within a second, the classroom next door emitted the same sound. It just so happens that most PCs on campus are running Windows XP with McAfee Anti Virus "Protection". Seems to be causing quite the stir across campus.

That must mean whoever manages these computers must not have graduated from UNT, otherwise we'd be fine right now!!! Actually that's not the case. In fact, here's a quote from the CSE Systems Administrator:

"It should now be safe to turn Windows computers on again. It appears to
have been a false positive of sorts, related to the latest McAfee DAT

I think we all know who the next Criticism of the Week goes to. *CoughMCAFEEcough*

Friday, April 16, 2010

We're Home to More than Just Engineers

Look what I found:
What is this exactly? Is it.. a Vulture? A turkey or something? There's a legend about UNT and its strange animals. One of them includes the tale of an albino squirrel. There's an entire organization about it

But this thing is strange. This is the second time I've walked by this window at Research Park and spotted this thing. This time I stopped to take a picture. Although as soon as I whipped out my Hero, it started getting mad..

It tried to attack me! What did I do? =[

Indeed when I went to get a closer look it lunged at me. What is this thing? I'm obviously no Zooligist if I can't even name this bird, but I'll describe it. It's black, about 1'4" tall, did not make any audible noises, and it's extremely pissed. Perhaps there's an engineer here who keeps a pet vulture? Or maybe this guy feeds on helpless engineers... :(

And to my knowledge, Discovery Park does not house wild animals or Zoos of any sort!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mean Green Lacrosse

We play other sports besides football? Oh yes , indeed. And I'm pretty sure every sport has its male and female counterparts, including Lacrosse!
It was a beautiful day, for sure, and we were at UNT's Eagle Point Intramural Rec Sports Fields. In the background of that picture, you can see my favorite spot: The Waranch Tennis Complex!

So how did we do? Mean Green played against SMU and Texas Tech. Southern Methodist University won their match 9-16 (I believe), and Texas Tech pulled a last minute come back to win their round at 9-10. Close games indeed. UNT's women's Lacrosse performed very well, and improved their game compared to last season exponentially. Mean Green's team captain is quoted in saying, "It was disappointing to have lost the game in the last few minutes of the half, but a great game nonetheless. I'm proud of my team. We've performed so well this season." Hats off to Mean Green Lacrosse - I'm pretty sure any of them could beat me in an arm wrestle. Then again, I'm left handed, so I'm pretty sure my lefty could beat anybody else's ;)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Everything's Connected

Really, everything is. I'm connected to my life at UNT.. and here I am in Frisco! I'm in a meeting with some old friends.
This is the Convergence Technology Center (CTC). You've heard vague references to them in the past, and for good reason. They're the reason I am where I am, and I'm doing what I'm doing. They're who got me on my college feet, and sent me off into the world. The world is UNT, I guess!

The CTC is based out of Collin College (CCCC) in Collin County. Some of you may know it as a two year community college. That would make sense, because that's what it is. But it's also the place I worked for 2 years, went to school for 2 years, and learned a million things (in 2 years).

Once I was set in my ways of computer networking, voice over IP, Cisco/Juniper/Nortel networking, operating systems basics, and public speaking, they sent me off to UNT. Or rather, I chose UNT as the next best step - as it is! My degree in particular - the Bachelor's in Information Technology, melds very comfortably with the work I did at the CTC. It is fantastic that UNT accepted so many of my credit hours that otherwise overlap so many other lower level courses. All other schools I looked at told me I'd have to drop all my Convergence credit hours, and restart my degree at their school. Instead, at UNT, I transferred 18 hours of my Convergence credit hours, plus all the other core classes that I had taken at Collin. Now I'm an academic Junior, and am well on my way to my bachelor's degree!

Anyway, what I'm doing in Frisco now is listening to a National Visiting Committee meeting, as they listen to and critique the CTC on their activities, degree programs, alumni (that's me!) and current or future students. The CTC constantly has focus groups and meetings with businesses and National Science Foundation representatives to help direct them and ensure that the students they are teaching get the most out of their education. I am here to share with the NVC my story, and how great Collin, the CTC, and UNT are!