I'm really excited about two things. First, I'm excited to be learning about how to configure the WiiSmartBoard set-up in order to create an optimal situation for its usage. It's very interesting to see how the slightest difference in height, distance, or angle of the mount can completely change the degree to which the WiiSmartBoard is usable. Second, I'm excited to be learning some php. For my personal website, I am implementing a stylesheet switcher, which requires that cookies be set by php. While we did cover this basic php earlier in the year, I had forgotten a large amount of it, and am using this opportunity to refresh my memory.
I am very proud of the work that I have done on the WiiSmartBoard. I assisted with the construction of the second pen, the adjustment of the mount, and the testing of the SmartBoard. I am particularly proud with some of my ideas for improving the performance.
I'm very excited about the WiiSmartBoard project. I think we've made very, very exciting progress, and I'm excited to do more with the pen, and to make improvements upon the current version of the project. I'm extremely excited about constructing a permanent mount for the Wiimote. I'm proud of my work on our project. I provided a lot of the research that lead to our design of our pen, and I assisted in the construction of said pen. I am extremely proud that we constructed a working circuit, and that we were able to make the WiiSmartBoard a working reality.
I'm hoping to learn a lot more about electrical circuits. While I've briefly covered them in physics, and had a bit of real-world experience this week, I would like to know much, much more about both how they work and how to effectively construct them. I would like to build more things, and undertake more projects of this ilk.
I'm excited about the actual construction of the IR pen for the WiiWhiteBoard project. During this week, I have done quite a bit of research about the actual methods of construction, and have compiled a document detailing the various approaches we could take. Once we have obtained the proper pushbutton switch, we will be able to actually begin construction. I'm proud of two things that I did this week: the research I did concerning our group project, and my personal website. I have done quite a bit of research concerning our group project (research about IR pens, Wiimote mounts, etc), and have spent quite a bit of time doing it. I have drastically redesigned my personal website, and am very, very happy with my results so far.
I am hoping to learn more about webdesign, as I find it both interesting and complicated. While I am, for the moment, satisfied with my current design, I will most likely be redesigning it at some point in the next six months. I would like for my next design to be better. In order for it to be better, I will need to know more about the theory of webdesign, which is not something that I know a lot about.
I am very excited about some of the CSS techniques that I have learned. I find the idea of creating rounded corners with pure CSS to be very elegant. Previously I had used images to create rounded corners, but that was not nearly so elegant. I had thought that it would be difficult to create rounded corners with just CSS, but the technique turned out to be fairly simple. It was not, however, something I would have been able to fabricate on my own. Another interesting technique that I learned was how to create a horizontal navigation bar with CSS. The navigation bar that I was able to create works as a tabbed navigation bar (with the capacity to support sub-menus), and changes color when hovered over. I am excited to learn more interesting techniques, because I find CSS to be quite interesting.
I am proud of both the progress I have made on our group project and the mock-up I created for my personal website. For our group project, I wrote a large portion of the HLD. Our first draft was approved, unlike many other groups. I am proud of having written an effective and thorough HLD. I am proud of the mock-up I created because it was far more cohesive than many of my past mock-ups. I am also proud of the progress I have made in implementing my new layout, as I have made far more progress than I expected.
Until this year, I would have told you that my aim was to go to medical school and become a doctor. I probably would have also dropped the names of a few good schools to study medicine undergrad, or delved into exactly what I found interesting about medicine. That is, however, no longer what I would like to with my life. From essentially the first day of my physics class, I was fascinated by the entire field. I did outside reading, looked up further information about class topics, and just generally learned anything I could about physics. At that point I still thought I would go into medicine, but my interest had been piqued. A few months later, our class would begin a unit about basic astrophysics. I would never look back; from the very first taste, I knew this was what I wanted to be doing with my life. Every piece of information seemed fascinating, and I was captivated by the idea of understanding the forces and laws that controlled our solar system, galaxy, and even universe.
There would be one more thing that would cement my interest in astrophysics. I would begin taking part in a program called MONS (Mars Outreach for NC Students), which would be the vehicle through which I would learn about modern space exploration, and the burgeoning interest and funding in the study of outer space. Humans are now turning to the stars more than ever, as we become more and more able to explore and understand them. I want to be part of ushering in an age in which our reach extends beyond just Earth. Our survival is dependant on being able to seed our species on as many planets as possible, so that no one disaster can destroy the human race. In the process, the knowledge we gain about the world (both the outside world, and the inside) will expand humanity's horizons beyond anything we can imagine.
For all that I speak romantically, however, I also have a more practical interest in astrophyiscs: I find the concepts fascinating. If that's not enough reason to study it for the rest of my life, then I'm not sure what is. I intend to study physics as an undergraduate (most likely at CalTech, Arizona State, or so forth), and then astrophysics as a graduate student. I hope to eventually be employed by NASA, but I will settle for any job where I can study and work in the field of astrophysics.
Today, in the morning, we worked with Excel to create a simple model. It was very cool to see that you could model in Excel, because I had previously thought it to be useful only for creating spreadsheets. I don't use Excel at home, though, so I'm not very familiar with it. I'm quite interested in seeing where we're going with this, and look forward to learning more. In the afternoon we had a workshop, in which I caught up on some assignments.
NetLogo was, again, the topic of our class. We learned about the program in greater depth, and created a more complicated model with it. Avi and I worked together to create some modifications to the model, and had great fun coming up with ways to make it more complicated. I enjoyed the innovation we had to exercise, and found it somewhat challenging and interesting. Much more so than Agent Sheets!
Today we worked with NetLogo, which is another modeling program. It is quite different than Agent Sheets, and I enjoy NetLogo much more than Agent Sheets. As opposed to creating methods through an image-based 'if then' system, you use coding to create methods the "turtles” (agents) follow. It is somewhat less intuitive, but much more enjoyable (in my personal opinion, at least). I look forward to creating more models with NetLogo, as it's quite enjoyable.
This morning we were scheduled to listen to a presentation, but were thwarted by circumstances. Instead, in the morning, we had a workshop. I worked further on my personal webpage, and created the layout that it's currently using. It is a two-column black and white layout, with a title bar. In the afternoon we did further work with Agent Sheets, which I enjoyed -- although I admit that I enjoyed working on the webpage much more than working with AgentSheets.
Today we worked with Agent Sheets. I've worked with Agent Sheets before during the Saturday Explorations and the Shodor Scholars summer program, and so while I didn't learn very much, because I already knew the basic methods, it was still very fun to become familiar with Agent Sheets again. I still vastly prefer NetLogo for modeling, but Agent Sheets is by no means a bad program -- it just has a different objective, and accomplishes it differently.
Again, we continued our work with CSS. As I previously said, I thoroughly enjoy working with the CSS stylesheets. There's a lot of cool stuff that you can do with them, and you're only limited by your creativity and knowledge of the language. I look forward to learning a lot more CSS, and being able to make even more complicated webpage layouts. An HTML-based layout can't even compare to a CSS-based layout.
CSS and HTML were the focus of our class. I found CSS incredibly interesting, and very fun to work with. External stylesheets offer a lot of design flexibility. It's very cool to see how a page with just text can be transformed into an asthetically attractive page with just a few tags and an external stylsheet. I've spent a lot of time fooling around with my personal webpage, and am very happy with it, although I'm sure that I'll find plenty more to do with it!
Today we learned about GIMPshop and Inkscape. I have previously done things with GIMP 2.0, so GIMPshop was not a difficult transition. Some of the interface was quite different, but most of the functions worked the same way. Inkscape was fun to play with as well, because I've never used it before. In fact, it's the first graphics program that I've used to produce vectors. Exciting stuff!
Science and math experience
My experience with math and science is primarily through school. I have participated on school teams, and am currently taking advanced classes in both math and science.
Math and science teams I have participated on include Science Olympiad and Math Counts. In Science Olympiad you compete in events, either through written tests or activities. The events I participated in included: rocks&minerals, disease detectives, food science, solar system, and meteorology. I took written tests in all of these, except for food science in which we preformed experiments in an allotted period of time. My partner and I won several medals at regionals, and went on to win a third place in disease detectives at state competitions. I did not compete in Math Counts, because the competition date conflicted with Science Olympiad, but I did participate in all practices.
Currently I am taking advanced classes in both science and math. I am taking Advanced Honors Pre-Calculus as a freshman in high school, and am taking both biology (standard) and physics. I took Algebra II over the summer of 2007 in order to be eligible for Pre-Calculus and Physics. I find both classes fascinating, and enjoy them greatly.