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Weekly Journal

Week One: May 24, 2010 to May 28, 2010

I arrived at UNCC on Sunday May 23 and got all my things moved into my on campus apartment. I was alone until Wednesday when Charlotte arrived. She is working in the HCI lab as well. Then this weekend Caitlin and Yingxu arrived so now we have a full apartment! I was so excited to meet everyone and see what this project is all about!

On Monday I completed IRB training so I would be certifed to interview and survey human subjects in our study. Then I caught up on Dr. Lipford's research by reading a few of her previous papers. The issues of privacy while using social networking sites seems important and relevant, so I enjoyed reading those papers. We spent the rest of the week brainstorming on the design of the study, researching potential applications to use, and working on IRB forms. Next week we plan to work on the design of the implementation of our interfaces.

Week Two: May 31, 2010 to June 4, 2010

We turned in the IRB forms for approval and started to implement. We discussed an icon design, and settled on something similar to a lock. We also decided on the size of the icon. I completed code for creating a consent form in the applications that only appears the first time you use it. On Wednesday I got to meet all of the other CompSci REU students. We did some fun outdoor activities and then did some lab tours. I was elected as the secretary of fun! It was pretty great. Then over the weekend I went to ConCarolinas, a sci-fi and gaming con that happened locally.

Week Three: June 7, 2010 to June 11, 2010

This week we figured out how to implement the privacy setting button over top of other elements of the interface using a frame layout. When you press the button, a dialog comes up where the user can choose which permissions they want to allow using an on/off toggle button. Then we decided on adding a profile page for the game application with several chances to change privacy settings. It consists of a photo, a text box that grabs the identity from the phone, a form to fill out a bit of information about yourself, and a high score display. Of course no real information about the user will be transmitted to our server, but we want to make it as realistic as possible. Next week we are hopeful to finish a full demo of this application.

Week Four: June 14, 2010 to June 18, 2010

This week was quite eventful. Our application is getting very close to being able to demo to a pilot audience. After we can do that we can get to doing some interview user studies which is very exciting. We were having a bug with trying to grab an account email from the phone, but after looking it over we figured out how to fix it. Now that is fixed and I finished off with updating the interface to look and behave more realistically. I added a background and button colors in addition to making the security buttons look like locks. These buttons change depending on what privacy settings the subjects choose to share and not share.

On Thursday several of the other REU students and I sent out to dinner at a place called Thai House. They had really great food and flower flavored tea. We talked about a lot of things and planned future events. Then we came home and spent some time playing video games. It was fun!

Week Five: June 19, 2010 to June 23, 2010

We finished the majority of our game application. I made some changes that my mentor suggested and worked out all the functionality except the server and client code, which we don't need at this point. Also, I started working on our second application. We are making the entire thing from scratch instead of modifying open source. We are calling it "Life Journal" and it will implement voice recording, picture taking from the camera and text notes. I started off implementing some of the functionality, since we are going to worry about what it looks like later.

Also, a new student came into our lab this week. Her name is Millie and she is working on another project with Charlotte. Her father took us out to lunch before he went back home. We also went and saw a rare flower blooming at the greenhouse. It was huge and smelled like rotting flesh.. pretty gross but still interesting. Later in the week, some of the REU students and I went out to get sushi. It was really delicious and we had a good time.

Week Six: June 26, 2010 to July 2, 2010

This week I took off to go home to spend my birthday with my family and friends in Clemson. Because I took this week off, I am staying an extra week late in August to make up for it. Since this time doesn't really have anything to do with being in Charlotte at the REU, all I am going to mention here is that I had a lot of fun. Being 21 makes me feel old, but also excited because I am going to be a college senior and graduating soon. Even though I am planning to go to grad school, which could take from 2-5 years, I am still looking forward to graduation with anticipation. I come back to the REU with an open mind, ready to finish the project and write my final paper.

Week Seven: July 5, 2010 to July 9, 2010

This week I continued working on my applications, and began work on outlining my final paper. I downloaded LaTeX along with an IDE and a compiler, and started to learn how to use it. My paper is going to be presented in the ACM format, so I thought that this would be a good time to download that and learn how to use this type of document formatting. Along with this I wanted to read another algorithms book and learn PHP this summer. On the weekend a few of us went to Carowinds for a fun filled day of riding roller coasters and hanging out. It was hot and muggy but we all had a really good time.

Week Eight: July 12, 2010 to July 16, 2010

My mentor and her grad students in the lab are in a conference in Seattle this week. It is located at Microsoft's campus, which is very nice from what I hear. I added some more implementation on the Life Journal application's interfaces and functionality this whole week. I was pretty much on my own, since the only way I could contact my advisors was through email. I also finished up the outline of my paper and began to write and find references. My roommate and I have become amateur food critics it seems as we have developed a habit of going to try different restaurants in the area. We tried an Italian place called Dino's this time and it was really delicious.

On Friday we celebrated one of my fellow REU member's birthday in downtown Charlotte. It is a beautiful downtown area with so much to do. We had a good dinner at Rock Bottom tavern and then went to some clubs. I'm sure the birthday girl had fun and so did everyone else.

Week Nine: July 19, 2010 to July 23, 2010

This week was focused on getting our applications ready for interview style user studies which we will be doing next week. We worked hard on ironing out all the bugs and making the functionality as good as possible. I have also been continuing to write my paper so I will not be so stressed out my last week here. I am excited to do user studies but I am still apprehensive because they will be sharing their opinions on our programs. We will see what they have to say, I hope it isn't bad for the most part.

Week Ten: July 26, 2010 to July 30, 2010

I had a hectic time this week because I spent most of my time working on a ten minute presentation with my mentor. I did some power point slides and practiced my speech two times for her. The feedback was great, and my presentation would not have been as organized or awesome if she hadn't. I was very sad, however, because all of my friends that I have met during this experience went back home! I will of course stay in contact with them because we had some good times together. Overall this REU was really enriching socially and academically.