Over the past month there have been a ton of happenings. For the most part I’ve been working full time which is great as I’m making bank and I haven’t had a chance to be bored. The first part of the summer entailed working on a Worldviz demo for SIGGRAPH which is a conference for those involved in Computer Graphics and or Virtual Reality. The demo involved Worldviz’s Live Characters which is our solution to real time full body mapping to an avatar. Using the Live Characters I created a physics body to map to the bone structures and created a few interactive objects to demonstrate the use of Live Characters with physics. The objects included a turbine fan which one could spin giving aural feedback corresponding to how fast the fan is spinning. The second involved virtual Weeble punching bag as can be seen one of the videos on the Live Characters page. The third was a virtual form of a standard heavy punching bag, which ended up not too appealing since motion capture doesn’t involve force feedback. The last scenario worth mentioning involved the user being surrounded by crates which they could then knock over and given a little tweaking would enable the user to pick up the objects. There is also a video of this on the Live Characters site.
Once the demo was prepared I took a few days off to see my mom and brother Connor in Nebraska. It was good to see them, and I even got to see Connor ride his bike; he’s a baller.
It was a time for many pictures as it was the first time in about ten years that all of the cousins were together which was eight of us then and nine of us now with Connor. In addition my mom scheduled the five of us (mom and her boys) to get a family photo taken because this too previously occurred over ten years ago and because Connor was upset that he wasn’t in the previous one hanging on the wall. As far as I know it turned out pretty well; my mom loves it.
After Nebraska I returned to see my dad in San Diego and to attend the last day of SIGGRAPH to see my demo in action. I personally wasn’t too impressed by it, as after all I made a significant portion of it, however I got the impression that other people were. Not so much the demo itself but rather what the demo was demonstrating, which is great. Following that I went to see Cheri and Tom, then returned to Santa Barbara for a party the following day; it was a nice little vacation.
Following the vacation I started a project at work which involves reconfiguring our server architecture and moving all of our storage and SVN repositories to a Storage Area Network. Thus far I’ve completed the task of moving the exchange server over and setting up our local SVN repositories with Trac projects as well. This whole process has kept me busy and is quite interesting. Though not relevant to my future area of work, I always enjoy trying and learning new things. The project has reaffirmed my hate for Microsoft products as there is so much bullshit involved such as requiring multiple steps to accomplish something that can be done in one line on a linux machine. For instance adding a forward email to address in exchange requires creating a contact (which shows up in the address book) and then going through about five levels of user interface windows to link the mailbox to that contact. On top of that as far as I know a mailbox can only have one forward to address, and the user cannot set this up their self. On a linux machine I simply need to login as myself and add a file called .forward with the email addresses I wish to forward my mail to. While the two aren’t completely comparable because that disables the storage of the mail on the linux box, it still shows how much simpler things are in a linux environment.
On the education side of things I contacted Ben Zhao (a professor I had in the previous quarter) regarding working on a research project in the fall and further upcoming quarters. He is happy to have me work on something of his and I’m in the process of reading a ton on Networking and Networking protocols so that I’ll be up to speed once the quarter starts allowing me to dive straight into a project. It’s all very exciting and I speculate I’ll get my name on a few research papers. It’s going to be a good year.