My final week at UMBC was quite a memorable one. We spent our Monday Fika going over our posters with each other and practicing our presentation for our poster presentation being held at SURF on Wednesday. SURF was really interesting in that most of the presenters researched topics in chemistry and biology. All of our presentations went well and we all went to lunch afterward. I spent the rest of the week working on my research paper and getting things packed and ready to go home.
The weekend before the start of the week I went to Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania, a place where astronomers observe the skies because the area is one of the darkest in America. Unfortunately the conditions weren't ideal for stargazing when I was there, but I was able to look at the moon through a telescope for the first time thanks to the kindness of a stranger. I also saw many shooting stars. When I got back to Baltimore I decided to take a final trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the National Air and Space Museum and the United States Botanic Garden. During the week on Thursday on of my best friends came from Texas to visit and go to a concert in Baltimore with me. We then drove back to Texas in a two day trip starting Saturday morning and made it back home Sunday night!
On Monday I was in New York, so I tuned into the weekly Monday Fika via FaceTime so that I could learn about how creating research posters work. We will be presenting our summer work at the annual SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fest) held at UMBC on August 9th. On Tuesday and Wednesday I worked on my poster with the guidance of Dr. Hurst and Foad. I submitted my poster and continued my work on PINATA. After a meeting with Foad we determined that it would be best to get the new adaptation to work for a single specific website since many websites vary immensely. Doing this will show what the adaption should do for all websites.
This weekend I went to visit Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania, which is one of the darkest places in the United States and thus a hotspot for astronomers. Depending on the sky conditions, one can see countless stars, the Milky Way Galaxy, and other space things extremely well. Unfortunately the conditions weren't great during the time I was there, so I didn't get the full experience. It was still worth the drive because I got to look at the moon through a telescope for the first time in my life and saw many meteors. When I got back to Baltimore on Sunday I decided to take a train to Washington, D.C. to visit the museums I didn't get a chance to see during my first visit. I went to the National Art Gallery and the Air, Space Museum, and the United States Botanic Garden.
Time has gone by so fast and I can't believe I only have one more week left here in Maryland!
.This week I continued to attempt to make manipulating the text of hyperlinks more consistent but to no avail. Foad also tried this and came to the same conclusion, so after meeting with him and Amy, we decided to go about a different route. Instead of manipulating text, we decided it would be better to show a different way of showing the user that an adaptation is available to them. We decided to focus on buttons to test the adaptation. The adaptation that was decided is that a green border will appear around the button when the slip/click bar+ notification is triggered, and that this means that the user can press a hotkey that will take them to the link/press the button. By the end of the week I was able to get the green border to appear around hyperlinks and coded the ability to proceed to a link via a hotkey. I also realized that most buttons aren't actually button elements. The problem right now is that the border does not appear around every hyperlink I intend to (as the case was with the manipulation of text), however I discovered information about inheritance that may help me fix this.
Over the weekend I went to New York City! I got to see Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, NBC recording studio, Central Park, The Metropolitan Art Museum, and walk on Brooklyn/Manhattan Bridge. I was also gone on Monday, so I tuned into the Fika via FaceTime.
Week 7...can you believe it?! Time has flown like mad. This week in lab I got the basic skeleton of the new adaptation constructed. For testing purposes, I used a "onmouseover" event to trigger the new adaptation, which current can grab the element the user is hovered over (if it is a hyperlink), manipulate its text, and ask the user to press the enter key if they'd like to proceed to the link, or to otherwise press escape key if they would not like to proceed to the link. I also learned how the slip/click ratio feature works which is essential to creating a way to detect when the user is having trouble clicking on a link, which should be the real way the new adaptation should be triggered. This part of the project will be worked on next week. I also wrote my abstract for the project and will be submitting it next week to an undergraduate research presentation held at UMBC called SURF.
For fun this weekend, I went to Artscape, America's largest free arts festival. It was a blast. On Friday I got to see the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra where they played the music of Vivaldi, Piazzolla, Beethoven, and surprisingly, Queen. On Saturday I explored the rest of the festival and saw many live music performances and much art. T'was a great time.
On Friday of the previous week, Foad and I met to discuss the new direction Dr. Hurst and him would like me to take with PINATA. Instead of adding new recording metrics to the chrome extension, they explained to me that creating a new adaptation would be more interesting and a great addition to PINATA. The goal for this new adaptation for it to be able to detect with a user if having trouble clicking on a specific link and then offering the user a way to proceed to the link without actually having to click on it. This would mean using a hotkey on the keyboard to proceed. With this general idea in mind, I began to read about HTML attributes so that I could learn to manipulate text. I was able to do this but had trouble figuring out a way to trigger the adaptation. I also need to link the adaptation to a keyboard event.
For fun the weekend going into this week, I stayed in (still very tired from the Canada trip) and read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This past weekend I went to explore Georgetown with my friend (and other DREU student) and her roommate. I also finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I also watched the movie "The Exorcist".
Time really is flying and it's crazy!
This week was a short one since we celebrated Independence Day was in it! In lab, I started/completed a timeout feature to PINATA that essentially stops recording any kind of data after a certain period of inactivity of the mouse movement. Foad and I also met to discuss the new direction he and Amy would like me to take, with PINATA, which is to work on a new adaptation. The idea is that after it is detected that the user if having trouble clicking on a target, the target will be visually changed or highlighted and the user will be able to simply press a key on the keyboard to go to think think they were attempting to click.
As for the weekend, I stayed in and read Harry Potter as I was still very tired from the Canada road trip.
This week we had our Monday all-hands-on-deck meeting where we discuss what we did the previous week, what we're going to work on this week, and mention something cool that we did over the weekend. We also had our usual Fika that day, where the discussion topic was graduate school. Many of the professors/graduate students gave us insight about their graduate experiences, tips on financing school, and explaining the different reasons why they decided to go to graduate school, all while taking our questions. It was very informative and gave me a better look into the topic.
In lab, I finished the toggle recording button in PINATA (not as easy as I thought it'd be) and learned about Chrome Storage along the way. This button simply will not allow data to be recording based on mouse movement if the toggle button is switched to off. I also began to work on a timeout recording feature, which will stop recording data after a certain period of time and inactivity.
This weekend I went to Canada with my friend who is also a DREU student at UMBC and one of my roommates. It was an amazing trip. Right before we arrived to the beautiful Quebec City, we climbed Cascade Mountain which is a part of the Adirondack Mountains in New York. After a night and an afternoon of sightseeing in Quebec City on Canada Day, we drove to Montreal. Our hostel was in Old Montreal, so we did a lot of walking to get to different places since Montreal and Old Montreal are two different places. We met up with a few friends that Francine and I have who happened to also be in Montreal the night we arrived. The next day we went to the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, a jazz festival, and then left toward home with a quick stop in Canada's capitol, Ottawa. For July 4th I marched in a parade with Francine, and my two roommates, one of which is running for state delegate. I got to meet the governor of Maryland and a state senator at the parade! As it seems, this week was very busy, but fun nonetheless.
This week in lab I searched for more bugs in PINATA and started working with the code. I decided to add a reset-per-metric feature to the Notifications Manager or PINATA that resets all values such as for a specific notification, such as color preference, and details on position of the notification. In order to do this, I had to complete an HTML tutorial so that I could understand the code platform a little better. I also did a Google Chrome debugging tutorial that should help me in the future.
For fun this weekend I went to Patapsco State Park to hike! My best friend had an event at University of Pennsylvania on Sunday, so we met up there and I took her to the airport so that she could get back to school.
Some fun things I did this week was going to my first "Fika" that the Human-Computer Interaction Department hosts every Monday at 3pm. Fika is a Swedish tradition that is a coffee break (with sweet treats) introduced to the department by Dr. Mentis. Every Monday the department along with the undergraduate researchers meet in the coffee room to talk about a variety of topics. Since the Fika I went to was the first for many in the room, we introduced ourselves and wrote about our goals for the summer on the whiteboard in the room. The faculty explained that the goals with our names next to it stays there all summer and exists in order to push not only ourselves to achieve these goals, but to push and encourage others as well. After chatting and getting to know each other, we wrote a list of topics labeled "summer wishlist" that we want to discuss at our future Fikas, such as "what is research?", "graduate school", and "culture day".
Everyday after work I usually go to the gym, but I decided that on Thursday I would go hiking at Sugarloaf Mountain, a mountain about an hour away with lots of foresty trails. Checkout some of the pictures in the "my travels" section. Last Sunday I also went to Great Falls Park in Virginia to hike, so check those pictures out as well!
That's it for this week!
I arrived to Maryland by car on Thursday after a very long road trip from Texas! After a bit of exploring over the weekend (checkout the "my travels" section of this website), Francine (DREU- paired student) and I got to meet Dr. Hurst on Monday and had a nice chat over breakfast. I then got to meet the team at the weekly Monday meeting in the PAD Lab. A group of us then took off to the University of Maryland Medical Center to observe and photograph the physical therapy students at work. Their goal was to design a clay model for their patient that would help fix their patient's need when this clay model is 3D-scanned and printed. On Wednesday, Will took us to the Digital Harbor Foundation center to meet with some of the staff there and tour the center. This center is attached to Digital Harbor High School and has many 3D printers and is staffed primarily by high school students trained in this technology. The rest of the week I read many research papers, most of which are co-authored by Dr. Hurst about AUI (adaptive user interface) pointer technology and 3D printing AT (assistive technology) applications. I also learned how to print using a 3D printer called Printrbot using the Cura software, and learned how to create my own 3D design to be printed using tinkercad.