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Something Finally Happened

This week flew by and there was a lot to do. Our group finally met with our sponsor, and the project sounds really interesting. We’re working on a machine learning algorithm that uses a LiDAR camera, capable of sensing distance, to recognize and interpret sign language. This project seems like it will be a challenge since machine learning is not something I’m very familiar with. Learning how to integrate the LiDAR camera into code is also something I’ve never done but I’m excited to experiment with.

The project is very open ended, which is both a good and bad thing. We are given a lot of freedom around where we’d like to take the project. Last year another capstone group started the project and is passing it on to us. If we chose to, we could redesign the project from scratch, using different tensor libraries or languages, move computation to the cloud, or enable it to interpret video information, rather than just stills. The downside being though that the direction and requirements of the project are not very well defined. As a group we’ll have to discuss what we want to accomplish and what we are able to accomplish in our time frame. Estimating how much time it will take to complete a given project, even of much smaller scale, is always a difficult task, so planning out nine months is going to be a challenge.

I think this project is really cool and a fun challenging problem, but I’m a little confused about the actual usefulness or application of the system. It’s supposed to be assistive for people who have difficulty communicating by speech, but it’s primarily deaf people who communicate through sign language… but deaf people can still see, which means they could watch someone signing and understand it, or read. So I’m imagining a deaf person spending over $300 on a LiDAR camera, setting up our project and running the code, signing into the camera, and then reading what they just signed on their computer monitor. I can understand speech recognition because there’s a lot of audio based media and information that’s inaccessible to people with impaired hearing, but I’m struggling to see the use case for this. Doesn’t matter to me though, since I’m not trying to make any money off of it and also not paying for any of the stuff. If someone wants to hand me a fancy camera and teach myself how to do machine learning, I’m all over it.

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Try Not To Get Burned Out

I woke up at 8am yesterday, got dressed, sat down at my desk and got to work. Before I knew it, it was pitch black out 10 o’clock at night and I hadn’t eaten. This is fine.

Spent the bulk of the day working on stats homework, writing a probability calculator in R which I have decided is the worst ‘programming’ language ever invented. Arrays are indexed at 1, member fields and functions of their janky class implementations are accessed with a ‘$’, dots; which usually access member fields, actually are just interpreted as an arbitrary name, builtin functions have no naming convention consistency either; mixing camelCase, smashedtogetherfunctionnames, and their confusing dot.access.names(‘why?’).

Work in October dried up due to my primary client running out of budget for the quarter, sidelining several big upgrades I had in the works; and we were between contracts on another big client I was going to be added to. First week of school, old client pops up out of nowhere, an internal project finally gets some movement, new client starts on-boarding, and I get asked to build some packages for a repo and address some issues on their projects. Cool, but where was this energy last month.

Guess I should talk about the project, since I’m here. Got in touch with my group mates and we met. I’m feeling pretty good about my team. I’m a little scarred from my last nightmare group project I wrote 90% of the code for (confirmed by github analytics). These people seem very smart and proactive, so I’m going to do my best to keep up.

I emailed our sponsor as soon as the contact information was sent out, then again the next day, then my group mates emailed as well; only to wake up to an announcement from our professor saying the class isn’t being proactive enough and it’s unprofessional. Probably not talking about us specifically, but still. Since we haven’t been able to get a hold of our sponsor, and the project page is short and vague; my writing assignment may be a brain dump of speculative nonsense but you work with what you’ve got. Try not to get burned out.

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Hello world! (CS 461)

Welcome to my blog where I’m completely voluntarily and of my own accord going to be  sharing stuff about myself and computers I guess.

I have always been vaguely computer savvy but nothing too fancy, and never learned to code. I originally was going to school to be a pilot but took a CS class and decided that’s what I was going to do instead. I transferred to OSU and am graduating this year plus a term, if all goes well. I joined Linux Users Group and accidentally became the project  manager my first term, joined the OSU Open Source Lab as soon as a position became available, did an internship at Tag1 Consulting last summer and have decided to stay on with them part time as I finish school. I love coding but most of my experience has taken me down a specialty in infrastructure and configuration management. I’m a big fan of Linux and encourage everyone to learn it. There is definitely a learning curve to some aspects, but if you put in the time to learn and configure your environment, you’ll never be able to look at anything else the same.

I’m looking forward to working on a project and getting to know some of you!