Spring Semester Remarks

It’s hard to believe the semester is almost over.  It still feels like it’s just beginning.  If you want the quick version of my semester, “overwhelmed”.  For the long version, read on.

Before we left for last semester, we made a schedule for a release in early February.  So over winter break, I spent a great deal of time working on the UI for the Wine Agent.  While we tried our best to stay on schedule, unexpected complications pushed the project back.

As the semester started, I was quickly drawn away from UI to other aspects of the project, specifically the distributed reasoner.  I began investigating wireless Bluetooth communications.  While I had some initial early success, I ran into many obstacles.  One of the issues was with the phone’s firmware having deprecated Bluetooth functionality.  There is still a bug that I have yet to determine that’s preventing sending communication (I can establish a connected socket but it’s always closed when I try sending or receiving from it).

I believe it was somewhere during this period the article A Semantic Sommelier was eaten by the internet robots (and I’m just adding to it by linking to it now).  The article gives a general overview of the Wine Agent, but it was picked up, linked to, and reposted on several news sites, and hundreds of sites linked to those.  Actually, just today I classified 100 articles.

I was pulled away from Bluetooth to work on translating some of the server communication code.  This began my career in Objective C translation.  It started innocently enough with the CommDelegate classes.  But those classes required the OWL Classes, which was an incredible undertaking.  Translating the OWL Classes was like fighting the Hydra, every class I translated referenced two (or more) classes that needed to be translated.  I’m still working on this, but I hope I’m nearing the end.

Unfortunately for me, Objective C has a steep learning curve.  The syntax of Objective C did not seem intuitive to me.  The really challenging part was translating someone else’s (largely uncommented) code in an unfamiliar language to Java.  There obviously doesn’t exist a 1-1 mapping between Objective C and Java.  This hurdle was overcome with lots and lots of practice and guidance from Evan.

Somewhere in the middle of this translation madness, I got a chance to RDF encode restaurant menus.  This was one of the most interesting parts of this semester.  Every once and a while, Evan would send out an email  for odd jobs like this that needed to be done.

So why did I describe this semester as overwhelming?  Well that’s because there is just so much that needed to be done to catch up the Android Wine Agent to the iOS Wine Agent.  Philip and Yu were both dedicated to just the iOS version and Evan (understandably) has limited time to work on the Wine Agent, so has had to prioritize to work on the iOS version (not that he has ignored the Android version).  Even so, if this was the only thing I had to do this semester, it might not have been so bad but unfortunately this was coupled with what could possibly be described as my most demanding semester.

Overall, it has been a great semester.  I’d like to thank everyone at TWC for being so supportive and providing such a great research experience.

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Filed under Android, Tetherless World Constellation, Wine Agent

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