UC College of Applied Science Sr. Design Update – 3 of 3

This is it for Senior Design II. We’ve made it through two rounds of presentations, and tonight is the final round. There were some phenomenal presentations tonight. So let’s get right into it.

Emelia Kurek-Becca presented first on her work creating the dynamic web site 50 Years of Computing History with Connections to the University of Cincinnati. Emelia has collaborated with UC Professor McMahon whose sabbatical supports his efforts in this space which culminate in a November all-day symposium on the history. With Emelia’s work, UC gains a great knowledge database with regards to it’s computer history. This database will capture relevant local events for presentation online. The format of the site is fairly straightforward and contains membership functionality as well as public/anonymous user access, registered user access, and admin functionality. Registered users can submit content, participate in forums, and edit profiles. The site, built in ASP.NET 2.0, involved Emelia creating and modifying modules. SQL Server 2005 serves as a back-end. The site will contain multimedia content including audio and video interviews and documentaries. Emelia applied UC branding standards.

Stephen Brown then demonstrated his Dynamic Animation Resource Core. In addition to a creative product, Stephen presented to us from a creative slide deck. The Dynamic Animation Resource Core (DARC) is an open source animation studio that offers up easy enhancements to web or video technologies unencumbered by high-cost licensing and large editing studios. The platform gives users a simple and easy-to-use animation studio. The DARC API allows plug-in development that allow developers to extend the product. Stephen built the framework on the C#.NET/GDI+ platform, and FFMPEG handles video compression. Brown places a heavy focus on usability testing as an animation studio would have to have an easy to use interface. Plug-in’s will require a focused testing effort due to the inherent complexity. A custom CMS allows loading and storing of content as well serving as the media player platform. Out of the gate, proving the API, plug-ins handle filters and rendering as well as future extendability. The demo interface looks good, similar to a studio environment that you would expect. A animation artist creates a canvas area for a new project, imports some images onto a resources menu, and drag-and-drops the images onto the canvas. Frame based animation editing is availabile with a mouse for coarse-grained efforts, or with a keyboard for fine-tuned control. Editing becomes as simple as point and click. A grid overlay system allows finer visual control, shadow overlay allows the user to see the last few frames inserted into the video providing visual editing context. The studio ultimately compresses a number of JPEGs into a video format.

Stephen Fedak presented his open source Social Network Solution next. Bam! Awesome. Out of the box drop-dead easy to setup. Advertising free. Scalable. Theoretically secure, although the solution could probably use a solid audit once it moves to the mainstream. Fedak supports his efforts with a developer site and forum as well as with documentation. The platform is OO PHP and MySQL, with Smarty templates for straightforward theme development. Social Network Solution (SNS) contains an installation script that automatically sets up the database and configuration files for database and global variables. Hmmm…I don’t know if Stephen intended this, but you can find an implementation of the SNS framework at his senior design site. Web-based setup allows easy creation and configuration of SNS similar to setting up WordPress or gallery2. The SNS interface is fairly basic, but good start. Nice separation of functionality allows users to update smaller pieces of information, and not one long large screen that keeps you scrolling until everything is populated. All the expected functionality exists, including profiles searches, friends, and a communications dashboard that lets you know someone is trying to contact you. The platform reminds me of a basic facebook and implements some fairly comprehensive functionality in places, especially around messaging between users and display of conversation threads. When asked in the Q&A what the most challenging part of the implementation was for him, Stephen confirmed that the communications section required the most effort. If college grads in the IT space lack a truly marketable skill, it would be deeper SQL skills. Stephen shows some solid introductory skills with SQL in his communications interface. Great job here! The framework is cross-browser tested and validated against the www3.org standards, the beta site is open to friends and other developers for testing.

The evening just kept getting better. Up next was Corey Gilbert with his Mobile to Mobile Socket Communication framework. This m2m framework consists of three pieces: 1) the MobileComm API that allow real-time internet-based communications for mobile-to-mobile applications, 2) the p2pm.net website to register accounts, configure applications and devices, and report on internet traffic for the applications, and 3) the p2pm.net communications server, which is a Windows service that brokers communications between mobile devices. Using the MobileComm API is as simple as defining and activating a DynamicDevice object which allows a device to communicate over the network. The communications server manages devices connected to the network over ports assigned to accounts. Accounts serve to segment devices that are allowed to communicate with each other, so that only devices assigned to the same account can see each other. Gilbert has setup an acknowledgment process that ensures complete message delivery. Gilbert’s Demo of the framework successfully shows back and forth communications. For testing purposes, Gilbert includes a small WinForms application that implements the MobileComm API for the the Windows service. Heartbeat ensures communications are up and working. Corey then live-demoed his phone connecting to the server. Great job! It worked. Wow, we all understand the risk involved in live demos, and he made it happen. Corey built the framework on top of the .NET 2.0 compact framework. Theoretically Gilbert has secured all communications with a public/private key implementation and encryption both on the mobile device as well as over the air, and an acknowledgement piece ensures successful communication. I’m sold!

Stephen Harvey presented his makeover of the AoC Web Site next. AoC is the Aikido Cincinnati website. The current site is old and not unique, and Harvey used Microsoft VisualStudio ’08 to build a new site. Functionality includes the expected user profiles as well as administration pages. Harvey added a board member layer that includes most admin functionality, but not all. Navigation includes a members area and an anonymous public site. The Aikido specified a front-end “pure in spirit and soft on the eyes” design protocol, which is seen in the light-blue hues and soft images. Functionality includes the new content website, news, perhaps a 3rd party integrated blog, announcements, driving directions and local amenities for out-of-towners, an image and video gallery, class schedule, and “some kind of ecommerce.” Harvey has produced a nice looking site where an interesting slideshow feature displays images generated automatically from the photogallery.

I had to leave at the break this evening. So my last report focuses on Andrew Kasako and his Injector Flow Rate Measuring and Tracking System. My apologies to Andrew as I was not educated on the context of his project, so I was quickly lost in the details of the presentation. The guy is smart, though, and, if I understood the presentation well enough, measured variables generated from a mechanical system using sensors and other real-time data as injectors moved material from one place to another. Heavy on the math, the system focused on communications with the data acquisition system where it buffered data and calculated flow and volume. Kasako had to measure and compensate for variables involving a number of system components. First, the injector selection where variables include injector limitations, the hardware to manage these limitations, and hardware that corresponds to the injector itself. Second, data entry that manages user metadata and system setup. Data collection and calculation is the core here. Third, the data output, tester output, and administrative output where the tester sees a view of the current data and administrators see reports on all points collected as well as historical information. The interface includes a WinForms application

The following presentations happened after the break. I wanted to mention the projects here even though I did not have the opportunity to review them.

Michael Mentzer – Mobile Blog

Brett Rexroat – Teaching Technology with Technology

Brian Krahenbuhl – GroomIx

Sean Cloyd – Children Inc Mobile Front-end Application

Michael Bloodworth – Advance Informational Web Site

Vernon Chamberlain – Redesign of Cincinnati Bell Telephone’s INsideOUT Database

Andy

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~ by Andy on March 22, 2008.

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