Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Break

Today was our last day before the holiday break. We've spent today debugging Internet Explorer errors, and have made progress. The registration page forms no longer moves when the user hits tab. Internet Explorer still has a lot of problems though, especially with anything requiring cookies such as logging in. These pages work in Firefox and Google Chrome, a good alternative to Internet Explorer until we get that working.

We hope to have the website supporting multiple zones for a user. This allows a user to, for example, take readings from different areas around their yard. The Perl team created a script today that can fetch all of the zones that a user has. Once Ajax is implemented, users will be able to choose which zone they want to edit or base search results off of.

In other news, we were looking at a Google Analytics page for our site to see where our viewers are from. We have views in 48 states, and quite a few throughout Europe and the rest of the Americas. Oddly enough, we don't have any views from North Dakota or Mississippi, so tell your friends from those states and get us some views!

Future updates will include information about a homemade interactive whiteboard. Tom will be telling everyone about that at some future date, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Digital Visualization Theater at Notre Dame

This weekend, I was fortunate enough to fly to South Bend, Indiana and visit the University of Notre Dame. Back in October, former InvenTeam member Jeff Pawlick came up with a 'design challenge' for our Engineering Design and Development class. The task was to create a 3-D model on AutoDesk Inventor that could be used for educational purposes in the new planetarium-like theater at Notre Dame.

I decided to demonstrate how speakers work. After building each component of the speaker, I rendered a video in Inventor Studio to help show how the parts interact. Jeff asked me to come to the campus and watch him present the models to his class.

The theater was really neat - reclining chairs let viewers relax while the controller manipulates the screen. Sitting there, one feels like they are "flying" into and around the objects. It was a great experience to see some of the possibilities of techonolgy in action. I also was able to attend a freshman engineering lecture, which was interesting as well.

Here is the video I submitted:

Upcoming Presentations

We plan to be using AJAX in the site soon. The implications of this programming language are very exciting. AJAX allows for behind the scenes communication with databases and servers. This gives users the feel of using software as opposed to being online. The page won't have to reload or redirect for changes to occur, they can happen right away.

In other news, we are preparing for presentations in mid-January. Each team will be presenting on what they have learned and done in getting the website to work to a board of engineers. Andrea Mann from Mann Wireless, who is our gracious sponsor, will be attending this presentation.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Logged In

We are currently backing up our server, so I'm taking this opportunity to update everyone on what we're doing. The 'My Garden Consultant' page is being phased out and combined with the home page. When logged in users go back to the home page, they will see the functions currently contained in the My Garden Consultant page. This will help reduce redundancy in the site. It will also keep logged in users in parts of the site relevant to them.

As for our future plans, the button images will be changed to image maps on the control panel that change color when moused-over. This is something that we have planned for the near future. Re-designing our data entry page and plant matching functions are also goals for the coming weeks.

More updates next week!