9.20.2009

Last Post

I felt like I should write one more final post here for the off chance someone reads through all of this.

In the prior post, I showed the working display correction using homographies. We all had stayed up all night because we had our checkoff with the professors at noon. I made the homographies work in a satisfactory way around 10am that morning. The checkoff went OK for me at least -- the professors were somewhat dissatisfied with a couple other parts of the project.

We thought we would polish everything up in the week between checkoffs and our final presentations. Instead, all momentum was lost. That was the first weekend I had taken off for the entire quarter. Prior to that, I came in almost every day and probably averaged 50 hours a week working in lab (and many more sitting there doing homework or reading or something else for myself). Leaving our lab and graduating on July 14th felt very strange to me. During the summer, I made a few return trips to gather my things from the lab that was not ours anymore.

I essentially lived in there during my final quarter, and while it was a satisfying climax for my undergraduate career, it was a grueling experience. In retrospect, it was satisfying overall, I suppose. I wish our project had turned out more complete than it did. I regret that the display correction code occupied most of my time; there were several other parts of the project that I wanted to attack. I did not get around to implementing any of the "to do" ideas from my previous post. I resurrected my older mouse driver toward the end, and almost had it completely working.

At the beginning of summer, I gave Tom (a grad student who inherited our work) a debriefing of everything. The first things he wanted to complete were the parts I had attacked or started: improve the display correction, implement a mouse driver, improve the networking.

After that debriefing, I ended up almost blocking out the project. I almost cringe when I think about large touchscreens now, only because I dumped so much time into that project. At the Penny Arcade Expo this summer, I saw a Microsoft Surface. Amusingly, it looked very familiar: people had pulled up a diagnostic program that showed the raw camera feeds inside the table.

Working on Scimp, and Compiz in particular, made me feel empowered to work on open source projects in my free time. During the summer though, I did not act on that impulse very much. Maybe I was too drained from the quarter, maybe my Florida vacation in July broke me, or maybe I am just fundamentally too lazy (I have been meaning to write this post for a while now..)

I spent most of my summer lounging around in Santa Cruz and trying to find a job. At the end of summer, shortly before I had to move out of my current place, I found a job as a temp worker at Google. On my resume, I had mentioned that we won first place in the senior design contest. The interview for this particular job (I got turned down late in the process interviewing for another Google position) was the first time the project came up in any detail. They seemed impressed.

I'm still in Santa Cruz now, commuting to Mountain View to work at Google for the next 9 months. After that, who knows. I would like to make a try at graduate school I think, but I am not sure how things will play out. I am still trying to get used to a normal 9-5 schedule which also requires me to get up early. I think I want to maintain the university philosophy and lifestyle in myself. I am fortunate to be working at Google, even if it is temporary: they maintain a very university-like environment, the people around me are brilliant, and I get exposure to working in a leading technology company.