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.

Career Fair

Today I attended the Viterbi Career Fair here at USC. I didn’t have class today so I had the time to spend the whole day there, from start to finish. In that amount of time I saw a total of 5 companies. So at a rate of 1 company/hour, I can’t say this was the most effective use of my time, though the ROI on this if I were to get hired would make it all worth it.

I could’ve applied to all 5 companies online in 10 minutes. Which got me thinking about what it must feel to be on the other side of the table. As a recruiter, the prospect of shaking hundreds of hands and reviewing just as many resumes seems like such an unreasonable task. I wonder how effective these on-campus events are for both companies and students.

Big week!

After finishing that MSFE degree, I thought that there’d be no way in hell I’d go back to school again. Then I promptly forgot how stressful studying for midterms were and wound up back in school a year an a half later. It’s for the best I suppose. Perhaps my interests are finally lining up or I’m just delusional, but this is the first time in a while that I’ve been excited to get to work.

Either way, I believe I passed that algorithms exam with a score = Ω(1). I hope this means what I think it means. Or it could just be very self-incriminating evidence that I don’t know what I’m talking about.


HackSC 2015 is coming up. I’ve signed up and hope to participate in my first hackathon. I’ve got an idea going in already as an “easy” thing to do. In my experience, anything that is “easy” and can be done in X amount of time should actually be expected to be completed in at least quadruple the time. I think I’ll have a crack at retrying my last app. I think I’ll name it after its inspiration this time and call it Blackout Ben.

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. 😛