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Tag Archive for ‘Odysseus’ at Lightspeed Blog
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Tag Archive for 'Odysseus'

Researchers Are Go

I feel a bit like this at the moment:

…because I’ve started a summer research project in UCD entitled Odysseus/ODCSSS (whichever you prefer). The broad research area for this year is “Technologies for Social Connectedness”, which includes some projects focused on social networking. Mine falls into this category; I’m probably not allowed to discuss it openly (too many eager startups out there who would take underlying concept and turn it into the next bebo or facebook!) but I’m pretty sure I’m being vague enough when I say it involves allowing you to identify which friends you’re neglecting and take steps to get back in contact with them. Hey, look at that - I’m contributing to society and human well-being!

Because the project involves visualisation, I’m currently learning the Processing programming language. I was sceptical at first; rather than a language in its own right, Processing wraps Java to let you get graphical applications up and running without the overhead of learning about JFrames, Canvases and Graphics Contexts. I’ve been burnt by this kind of setup before - I don’t see why I can’t just spent a few hours learning the tedious stuff; then I’ll know it permanently and won’t need to bother with the overhead and restrictions of another language-ette.

Most of these niggling fears were eliminated, though, when I discovered you could type something like this:

size(600, 400);
background(0);
for (int i = 100; i < 200; i+=10) {
  for (int j = 100; j < 200; j+=10) {
    stroke(i + j - 75, i - j + 125, - i + j + 25);
    line(i, j, 300+i, 100+j);
  }
}

and get something like this:

Maybe it doesn’t look like much to the casual observer, but anyone who has dabbled with drawing even primitive graphics in Java will tell you that it’s a significant improvement. Even if I end up rewriting most of what I do in “vanilla” Java, I can see Processing saving me a lot of time just trying things out.

So I’ll be in UCD for the next 12 weeks, working on the above. I’ve been asked to keep a development blog to track my progress; and as much as I the thought of being unfaithful to lightspeed blog it’s a neccessity. However, I don’t think posts about hair dye or photos of me drunk would fit very well alongside research journal entries, so this blog will still serve a useful(?) function…