Fall Semester

Last Edited – January 2, 2011 by Randall Crock
Filed under: Graphic Design, Personal, Programming

This previous semester has been pretty busy for me, but quite fun. I took a lot of interesting courses in computer science as well as some of my electives. A Term I took software security engineering which was really tough, but it was also the best CS course I have taken yet. For our first assignment, we were given a virtual machine running a web based grade book and told to break in and change our grade. That is all the information we got at first. As the assignment progressed, we were given access to the source code to look for holes we could exploit, and after breaking it as many was as we could, we had to fix it. Some of the rest of our assignments were in the same vein but with different languages while others were merely analysis of protocols and procedures such as OAuth and OpenID.

I also took a digital music cours during A term which was a lot of fun, and more of a sound art class than a music class. We worked with non-traditional methods of creating music and sound such as modulating voices or recorded sounds and trying to stay away from strict timing and rhythm in our work. It isn’t something I would do for a living, but it was a really neat class and was a good course to take against some of my harder classes. A term I also took Human Computer Interaction, which was also really cool. As a designer, and more specifically a web designer and programmer, HCI is very important to my work. Making sure people understand the ideas I am trying to get across is key, and can be very difficult. I learned some great ways of analyzing user interactions and designs to help improve them.

In B term I started on my Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) which is designing and running a survey to help WPI’s counseling center to understand why students may or may not be going to the center for help and to assess student’s general knowledge about the center. It has been fun working with the center, and our advisor is one of the best at WPI. B term I also took Webware which was a breeze, but did introduce me to Java Server Pages which are interesting, but really frustrating to work with in the context of the Google App Engine. One day I spent several hours working with my professor to figure out why some JSP pages would run fine on the local implementation, but would not run once they were deployed to the server. Eventually he gave up and just gave me full credit for it since even he couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

Probably the best course I took this previous semester was my Intro to Digital Imaging and Computer Art class. It seems silly to some people that I would take this class, but it is required for my IMGD major, even though I am not really working on the requirements for that anymore. It was a great way for me to finally become comfortable with Photoshop and really push the limits of what I could do with Maya. I finally understand the different blend modes that are available in Photoshop and other programs as well as better ways of doing selections and filling in empty space. As for the work we did in 3D, I have figured out that I suck at building models, but I am really good at lighting scenes and applying textures to surfaces.

This next semester should also be quite interesting since I am taking some interesting CS courses such as Computer Graphics and Computer Animation, which will be really challenging, but really neat. I am also going to be finishing (hopefully) my IQP and looking for more internship opportunities this summer.

I have also been somewhat busy doing design work, and I am building a new site for the design firm I have finally picked a name for: Nuro Design. I am also moving most of my hosting over to a new webhost, Alacrity Host which is run by some friends of mine, and I highly recommend their services. The new site should be up soon, and will feature my portfolio of design work, but some of it will be maintained here under the design section. More of my work will be going up here in the meantime, so look for an update to that effect in the next couple of weeks.

Comments are closed.