Sunday, October 30, 2005

Studying and Halloween

Today I am just getting some studying done for my last Midterm. After that I am going to be done the huge amount of work that I've had lately and should have some good celebration action and relaxing so that rocks. Looking forward to the Halloween Party tomorrow at school, should be pretty fun. I think I am going to dress up as the lead singer from Green Day, I've got good Gel to spike my hair and a good short-sleeved dress shirt and tie along with either black pants or jeans, should be a good costume, hehe. Looking forward to getting some socializing in after I've been hiding away and doing work for the past few weeks. :)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Finally done Networking

Hehe yes I am finally done my assignment!! It was so huge and crazy but man it was satisfying to finish it. I had to figure out some creative ways to solve the problems, that's the nice thing about these assignments - the specification is intentionally quite vague, so a lot of the responsibility of designing and developing the solution is up to you. I learned a lot about Java Collections and brushed up on my Java skills. As usual I developed in Eclipse (awesome development environment for Java) and hooked that up to CVS on the school servers. This is so I had backups essentially of previous editions of my code so in case I had problems, I could always jump back to an old version. I have been developing in this form for a while and I really like using CVS for my own projects now too since they are generally pretty big and require a lot of organization... if something goes wrong in your code it is very comforting to know you can always easily jump back to an old edition of it. Good times!!

I was so excited to finish my assignment tonight that I rewarded myself with some Swiss Chalet (chicken dinner) delivery, man it was tasty. I am really glad to get this assignment done because it is due pretty soon and I have to get studying for another Midterm. For the past 2 weeks I have had tons of work and it has been pretty insane, but I am almost done all of this work, so that rocks. I am looking forward to getting some good relaxation time next week before starting more assignments.

Matt Lausch, my 'ol buddy/friend since I was 6 years old had his birthday yesterday so I called to say Happy Birthday and he sounds like he is having a good time at home!! That is cool and hopefully I can get down to Toronto to see a bunch of friends before the end of the term.

I am probably going to update my website again soon with some old Mp3s of my guitar playing, I should really post that kind of stuff when I get a chance.

Otherwise all is well, just getting everything done and working really super insanely hard. Looking forward to a bit of a chance to relax next week.

Still doing Link State Packet action

Yep it's another late night post from me. Probably worked on Networking today for about another 12 hours.

I started at 3pm and went all the way until dinner, implemented HELLO packets, Link State Packets and completely fixed the errors in my Link Layer for routing. Then I went out for dinner with my roommates which was really fun and we went to East Side Marios for some good pasta and lots of food. Made some nice new friends too.

Then some of my roommates went out somewhere and I stayed home to continue working on my assignment. Now it's 4am, haha. Yeah I am tired. Definitely looking forward to finishing this assignment. I think I must actually be almost done... just have to implement the shortest path calculation tomorrow and then do the write up... so I think I am very close now. Sweeeeet!!

Anyway just another quick post about the only thing I have been thinking about lately, my Networking Assignment. :)

This is pretty good as I think I can now safely add Java skills back to my resume. I haven't done this much Java in a while but man this definitely has powered up my skills. I got a chance to use the new Java Collections containers as well that are present in Java 1.5 (aka Java 5.0), that is pretty important and basically that seems to be like the C++ STL, some standard container classes that you always need for certain data structure oriented actions.

Cool well that is enough programming for today. Gotta get some sleep. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Done Scrubs and continuing on Networking

Hehe well yes another late night post about Scrubs and my Networking Assignment!! :)

Tonight was pretty sweet, working like a madman on my Networking Assignment and it's going super well. I wasn't sure quite how long this section of code would take as it is pretty complicated and there are tons of details. It is also a bit nuts because it is multi threaded programming and I am just learning this now in Concurrency, but we are already expected to know this for the Networking course. It's pretty sweet though and I am really enjoying this assignment. It's massive but ohhh man it is satisfying to develop software that is this challenging. I feel like I am learning a LOT from this. Also old things that I haven't dealt with for a while (like ADT Dictionary stuff like HashMaps, HashTables, etc in Java) I had to refresh myself on those, so this is super useful.

I also get to program Dijkstra's Algorithm for shortest path calculation in Network Routing as I mentioned in a previous post. This is good timing as I think we also need to program Dijkstra's Algorithm next week in my Algorithms class, haha that is awesome. So maybe I can do some "code reuse" here, literally. Sweet.

Just finished Scrubs tonight, I watched all 4 Seasons and MAN it was awesome. I watched Season 3 and Season 4 in probably the last 2 weeks, it has been keeping me sane with all of this work and studying for midterms, hehe. Anyway that's what's happening with me lately, things are going well and I am really enjoying this term. I am working really hard but everything is paying off well, for instance this assignment is another 40 hour (at least) assignment, but the amount of stuff I am learning is massive. This rocks!!

Networking assignment action

This sure is a busy time of year. Now after most of my Midterms are done, I am working full tilt on my Networking Assignment. I finished the first half of it tonight, it was Implicit Routing with a grid-shaped network topology of routers. These "routers" are Java Classes that I wrote which forward datagrams to the next router in the shortest path between the source and destination routers. My job in this first part of the assignment was to calculate the shortest path based on this grid-shaped network topology.

The next half of the assignment is a variation of OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) routing which uses LSPs in a routing table which is in place at each router. For this I need to continually poll the other routers in the network for Link State Packets and update my routing table at each router continually. This is done using Dijkstra's Algorithm which we just learned about in my Networking class and also in my Algorithms class. Fun times!!

This is pretty cool stuff and I am glad that finally I am done the pile of work I had to do up until today, so I can focus on this and get it finished and do a good job.

I wrote a huge parser tonight for the input file for this Java program, calculated the shortest path, made the router links and completely got the first part working. Awesome!!!!

Yes, and after all of this... I watched like 5 episodes of Scrubs. Man that show is awesome!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

3D Assignments reworked

For Assignment 3 in my FINE 328 class we had to re-work assignment 1 and tutorial 2 by adding transparencies to the materials, adding reflectivity, and adding some more intrigue to the scenes without changing the original spatial qualities of the scene.

There are some cool reflections of the shadows in the blue tower object (1st image) and I like how the semi-transparent cutouts turned out in the base of the sundial image (2nd and 3rd image.)

Reworked assignment 1 with reflective shaders and transparent shaders, reflected shadows

Reworked tutorial 2, using Cookie filter and transparencies in Houdini

Same image with different saturation and hue

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Oh man... Scrubs is AWESOME

Well I am definitely hooked on another TV show. I don't have a lot of time at school for TV but I fit in the favourites when I can, The O.C., Arrested Development, The Simpsons, SNL and sometimes some Family Guy and American Dad. But oh man I have been watching Scrubs lately and it is sooooooooo sweet. The characters are really distinct and hilarious and it's got a great way of blending the characters together in each episode to get across a specific message, it's really cool. I think I just might have a new show that I can talk about 24/7. Awesome.

Anyway, tons of homework and studying and the usual stuff at this time of year. I'll have a bit of a break in a week and a bit after this current stack of work is done. Still even though school is pretty busy again this term, I am keeping the stress down so that is good. Taking lots of breaks which helps! :) Thank you to Scrubs, I have the perfect 20-minute device to let my mind wander temporarily away from my work. Ahh, it's SO good.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Houdini Polygon Extrude and Subdivide tutorials

Hi all,

Here's my version of the Houdini Tutorial we did in class today, lots of stuff with transparency on shaders, revolve using CVs on Poly objects, the Poly Extrude filter and the Poly Subdivide filter. This will all lead into an "Ant's Eye View" animation project that is due in a few weeks.

Good times!!

Mortar and Pestle and weird shiny object

Monday, October 17, 2005

First Houdini 3D animation posted

Hi everyone,

I have posted my first ever Houdini 3D Looping Animation to, I hope you like it!

This was our first animation project in Houdini, and we were limited to only spheres, cubes and cylinders. The animation had to be looping (camera starts and stops in the same place) and 300 frames long. There is still some work that I should do at the end of it, it looks like the camera angles at the end are a bit weird and I should do a bit more with the red ball at the end like bounce it off another wall. But otherwise I am pretty happy with my first shot at this.
You can download the movie by clicking here.

Mike :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bill Gates visit to Waterloo today

Today Microsoft founder Bill Gates came to visit and speak at my University. In my opinion, this computer science legend/visionary/genius had a lot of interesting things to say about the future of software and generally the future of Computer Science. It was a very interesting talk and also one where he gave a lot of positive feedback about the students in Computer Science at Waterloo. It was incredibly motivating to have someone of Bill Gates's stature comment so directly on the quality of the education and the degree that I am working so hard to achieve.

In an interview with CTV news, Bill Gates said,
"Waterloo is a special relationship for us. Most years we hire more students out of Waterloo than any university in the world, typically 50 or even more... It's a win-win, and a number of the great advancements Microsoft has made has been people who came to us from Waterloo."
As well as being an incredible motivation, Bill Gates also did some demos of the new XBox 360 and some other pretty awesome new technology that is on the way from Microsoft.

Several times he mentioned that his stop at Waterloo was one of the 6 stops on his trip, and it was his only stop in Canada. It is a huge motivation to me that one of the founders of my entire field of study decided to come to my University and then told us how much our grads have helped shape his company and therefore helped shape a large slice of the Computer Science world. I don't think it gets any more motivating than that. :)

Here's a link to an article about his trip to Waterloo.
CTV News Article and video

Monday, October 10, 2005

Houdini Assignment 2 Animation

I have finished the animation for my Houdini Assignment 2, I am now spinning these ferris wheels and then a red ball hops into the scene and jumps right into one of the spoons on a ferris wheel. The camera zooms in to watch the ball rotate around the wheel and then fly off the end and bounce away.

I'll post the final animation in .avi format to once it is done.

Main scene setup

One of the camera angles after the ferris wheel drops off a ball it is carrying

Friday, October 07, 2005

Houdini Assignment 2 Started

For our Houdini Assignment 2 in my Fine Arts class we have been asked to create a looping animation that is simple and elegant, using only spheres, cubes and tube objects with only the Copy, Merge, Transform and Cookie Houdini filters.

I did the majority of the modeling tonight and it is going pretty well so far. I wanted to create a ferris-wheel style object made out of ice cream scoop-shaped arms. My animation is going to be this wheel rotating, a ball rolling in, and the scoop picking it up and then carrying it along for a ride until dropping it off on the other side of the ferris wheel and maybe the ball rolling down a ramp and off-screen.

I am pretty happy with this modeling so far and then I can move onto the animation soon.

Ice Cream scoop style ferris wheel version 1

Initial setup for looping animation scene

Autodesk's Alias aquisition

A few of my friends at Alias have been talking to me about the recent big news regarding Autodesk purchasing Alias. I don't feel it's appropriate to share personal comments here but I will point anyone interested in this to the following interview website on HighEnd 3D. Pretty good article here describing how Autodesk plans to continue both the 3D Studio MAX and the Maya development efforts rather than combining the two packages into one "super package." This is a relief for a lot of people as the article describes and I think it is a good decision for Autodesk to make since (as the article mentions as well), 3D Studio MAX and Maya serve different purposes in the marketplace at the moment and it doesn't make sense (at least at the moment) to combine them into one product.

Here is another article from the Autodesk website:

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Back to London for the weekend

This past weekend I was in London for the whole weekend getting to see some of my family and lots of friends too so that was pretty fun. Got a few nice pics at the Kitchener Bus Station at sunset, pretty sweet eh!

Sunset at Kitchener bus station

Another cool shot

Sweet bus action

Ducks at Gibbons Park in London

Dad and Norm walking in the park

Me having tea at a fancy hotel

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Lots of busy and interesting homework action

It's been a really busy week! I have been working on my CS 456 Networking Assignment this week for at least 5 hours, sometimes 7 hours per day, for at least 5 or 6 days. Insane!!!!!! Hehe it was actually a pretty sweet assignment and pretty fun too, but wow it took a long time. Glad I started early!!

I had some Concurrency work to finish too, just got that done tonight using some cool "Resume" features of uC++, a language that our teacher wrote. I am learning a lot of new control flow features for programming, some basic stuff like multi-loop and multi-level exit, but also more complicated things like suspending and resuming methods so that local variables are still available when you resume your suspended method. Very powerful stuff!!!!!!!!! It's really pretty interesting and I am sure glad I love this stuff based on the amount of time I spend on it. :)

Got to see some old friends from high school last night, my buddy Tim is back from traveling in New Zealand, China and India and he had a lot of cool stuff to say about his trip. Hung out with my buddy Ans too and that was sweet, Tim, Ans and I played guitar for a while and that is always fun times. I got a cold somehow this weekend, probably because of my insane amount of work and also that all my roommates were coughing all week too. Getting better now and drinking lots of water and sneezing a lot less which is always good!!

Looking forward to finishing off the rest of the work for this week and then relaxing for a few days. I'll post some pics up from my trip to London when I get a chance.