First Hackathon!

So I attended my first hackathon today! Put off another day’s worth of school work to do learn Android development.

Perhaps this wasn’t in the spirit of a hackathon, but I pitched a redo of Party Tracker, this time called blackoutben.

It’s not completely done yet, but I feel that when it is, this will be the app, finally done right, especially since location data is stored remotely on Google App Engine. Honestly, I feel like I could’ve done this last year too if I had learned about the available services on Internet. It’s really in times like these that I appreciate that I am no longer working in isolation.

I thought it was really neat how much coding up my Windows Phone 8.1 app helped in getting the Android app going. So many things carried over and in so many ways it was the same.

Perhaps the biggest thing is that I’m finally using version control. Saved my ass so many times today. I’m really unsure how Android Studio does Git. Checking out different branches does NOT add/remove files!

Here’s the repo.

Will post updates when it’s all finished.

Fumbling through network programming

Last year I spent a good portion of September figuring out how to get my phones to communicate to each other in that Bluetooth/GPS Windows Phone app I was writing.

I guess what really steered me towards Bluetooth was my aversion to communicating through the web. Bluetooth would help keep things somewhat local and would simplify my application by cutting out the need for a server to forward information to the host phones. I also had bad memories from that one year when my group and I spent the Thanksgiving Holidays implementing our Senior Design project. Somehow I couldn’t get a good grasp on socket programming, so I ended up proposing that we just use libpcap to sniff and inject instead of actually writing a robust routing system.  I suppose our implementation was robust enough in the interim,as a proof of concept, but production would be much different. When things started going South over Thanksgiving, we turned to our friends at the ACM in Siebel Center, only to get a door slammed in our faces, no joke. Oh well, the project worked alright. Even so, I kind of just decided socket programming wasn’t going to be a part of my life after that.

Anyway while doing that Windows Phone app, I spent a ton of time designing a somehow functional communications protocol and even a three way handshake to make sure things were being sent and received. Kind of cool considering I’m finally learning about this stuff at school again. Honestly should’ve picked up a book back then. Probably would’ve saved me a month. This time around everything’s much easier.

Rest in peace (pieces) PartyTracker. The logo and icon were the slickest part of the entire program. 😛