Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Last Day

Not much to do today, but there will be free pizza. After presentations tomorrow, the best part of my summer will be over and I'll get to be buried in college applications and schoolwork for the rest of the year.

Yay!

Tuesday

Gathered a little more data for infrared calibrations.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Last Monday

Last Monday at the CIS. So far, it's not going too ba-
...
I forgot my flash drive with my PowerPoint on it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

on building computers

I've got a big, 1200 word draft saved in here describing everything I've learned about computer architecture, hardware, and assembly since I started my first build about a year ago, but don't have the energy to finish and post it to a blog that only the other interns and those of you supporting this program will be reading. I'd rather set my own site up or do a series of video tutorials on YouTube or something. might get on it once applications are out of the way and all that.

winding down

Set my alarm to wake me 15 minutes earlier than normal today. It backfired, because I just hit the snooze for 30.

Anyway, last Friday at the CIS. Bob K.'s been leaving me time to work on my presentation and stuff, which is good. Pretty much done with my presentation, except for the title, which right now is just "Smith at the CIS." I'm going to talk not just about my research but also about my experience with the internship in general, so I thought a general title would be good, but I guess it wouldn't kill me to come up with something a little more interesting.

Will probably spend most of the day thumbing through the Fiske guide since I've been somewhat neglecting my college search as of late. Wouldn't kill me to knock out a supplement or two either.

(forgive any grammar mistakes or awkwardly-phrased sentences, I don't usually update my blog at 9AM when I'm still half asleep)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

the one thing about this lab

is the single window looking out into the hallway. It's irresistible to people walking by. Always looking in to see what's going on inside. What is even the purpose of a window in the middle of a building? Security? There's no window on the other side of the lab...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Look what I found!


I could store a whole Power Point presentation on this bad boy.
Edit:  I got pretty excited over this. Haven't seen one since I was five. I got so excited that I went on Newegg and ordered myself a box of fifty. Not a clue what I'll do with them, but there's an ancient box sitting in my dad's basement somewhere that's begging to have the floppy drive taken out of it.

August 15

Worked on presentation and a Sudoku algorithm I thought of.

Monday, August 15, 2011

August 12

REU presentations were today. Saw a few, including, of course, Matt's. They were good. Matt's going back to Notre Dame now, and he's the only other guy working in my lab about 90% of the time, so I guess I now have the place to myself . A little quiet around here now, but I get his chair.

August 10 - August 11

Wednesday: There was a cookout near one of the science buildings today. Free food is always good. Beside that, worked on presentation, college essays, and a cool algorithm I thought of to solve Sudoku puzzles with.

Thursday: Field trip to Melles Griot. They're a bit like RPO in that they produce lenses, but they're more specialized. And there was free food after.

Really, if I had to talk to any prospective intern about the perks of this job, I'd be remiss in not mentioning the fact that there's almost always opportunities for free food. I'm typing this on Monday, and right now the lunch box I brought in last Monday is still sitting in a fridge on the second floor.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day ?? (August 9)

I no longer feel like keeping track of days.

Today, went to use the wind tunnel in a building I can't recall the name of to test some sensors Matt worked on for a fire-tracking device (he'll be doing a presentation on this on Friday at 4:15, which, if you're reading this post, is today). Wherever we were, it was cool. After we were done with using the wind tunnel, we explored a bit and people we had never met were excited to let us into their labs and show us what they were working on. Cool day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What else happened on Monday?

Went to the airport with Matt Hart (REU student I work with) and Jason to pick up the WASP. I didn't get to operate it, but I got to carry it. It's heavy. Really cool piece of equipment.

video






Monday, August 8, 2011

The Scientific Method on a Slow Monday

Question:
There's a sensor in the next room. When I pass it, the lights in the room turn on. Is it triggered by changes in light, or sound?

Research:
The Mythbusters tested an alarm system once. It sensed sound, and they were able to get by it by moving slowly or by using certain materials to muffle the noise they made. I figure this thing might work the same way.

Hypothesis:
The sensor is sound-based.

Experiment 1:
I will throw a screw into the room and see if the pinging noise triggers the lights.

video 

Result: The screw did not make a very loud noise. The lights were not triggered. The screw is now lost. I hope it wasn't important.

Experiment 2:
I'll try clapping and making clicking sounds with my tongue to activate the sensor. I hope I can figure this out before the guys who work in there get here...

video

Result: It didn't happen, and I made an idiot of myself. Guessing at this point that my hypothesis is wrong.

New Hypothesis: It's light/motion-based.

Experiment 3: I'll try waving my arm around noiselessly.

video

Result: I approached it quietly and it flipped on before I could even try anything.

Conclusion: Clearly, the thing responds to light, not sound. This is different from the sensor I saw on TV because, of course, that was a sensor meant for security, not energy-efficiency. In this sensor's case, it wouldn't make any sense if it turned on the lights and the AC every time something went bump in the night.
Edit: Bob (my supervisor) told me it's infrared. So it might even react to changes in heat.

Some interesting stuff did actually go on today besides my important experimentation. I'll blog about it later.


Day 23

Field trip to Xerox today. Got to hear about some of the things they're working on (not just printing-related stuff, surprisingly) and see a factory where they make their flagship two-ton printers. I like machines, so that was pretty cool.

Days 21-22

Not a whole lot to do at the moment in wake of the computer project. For now, I'm working with some fire research footage and working on my presentation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 20 (August 2)

A pinch of presentation work, a dash of data recording, a couple of calibrations. About done with the computer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 19 (August 1)

Did some work on my presentation for the end of the month. Need to get a better camera than the one on my phone to take some pictures with.

The Mysterious Solid State Drive (July 29)

I was worried today that the SSD I installed Windows on was too small. I had hardly installed anything but the OS on it but all but a couple of gigabytes of the 64GB drive were occupied. Upon further investigation, I found that Windows itself only takes up about 15GB and nothing else on the drive even exceeded a couple of megabytes, meaning one of two things: the drive was defective, or there were big, invisible files taking up a lot of space.

Fortunately, it was the latter case - a couple of well-hidden files called "hiberfil.sys" and "pagefile.sys" were the culprits. They're both files that vary based on the amount of memory the computer has, so with this machine's 24GB they occupied a good forty or so. pagefile.sys had to be moved to the 7.5TB drive where there was plenty of space for it, and disabling hibernation (something I don't think is often used on desktops anyway) got rid of the other one.

So now the boot drive has plenty of free space.