Tessel, Again

One of the highlights of my week was being a team leader for this round of the tessel hackathon, helping to bring in another victory for Grace Hopper.

The project, called Stop, Teaf! is designed to help to protect the user against the rampant herbal tea theft in the Grace Hopper kitchen. Simply slip a discrete tessel into one of your tea bags, and the  accelerometer module will sense a thief trying to snatch it. This sets off an alarm on your computer, and you will receive a command line prompt, into which you can type a stern message to the thief. Back in the kitchen, the tessel’s audio module will then robotically shout this message to the thief using text-to-speech technology. And if that’s not enough to scare them, there is also a little flag waving that says “Stop, thief!”

This time I wasn’t doing any of the coding or planning (although the result had some things in common with my first tessel project). Instead, I spent my time running around trying to help my team of four debug and refine the plan to fit the time constraints. We ultimately got the project fully functional about 5 minutes after the judges came by, but nonetheless we took home the “Best Campus Solution” award.

 

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Week 2


Stuff we learned/did 

  • This week we left the friendly and familiar land of JavaScript, which had been starting to feel almost as natural as writing in human English, and entered the murky waters of “The Back End.” In developer speak, this means servers, Internet protocols, and databases (mostly just servers, if you want to get technical, but the other two are deeply involved). JavaScript was originally designed to be a front-end language, but with Node.js, it has become possible to use it for back end tasks as well (and in some ways it is very well-suited for this). Basically everyone and their mother has written some or other library that extends the capabilities of Node.js, and many of them are very useful. What that boils down to is that we have been learning a new technology about every 2.5 hours.

My Favorite Parts 

  • SQL is a programming language designed specifically to work with databases (arguably the programming language for databases). This week we learned SQL in about 24 hours. I went from knowing nothing about it to being quite confident in my ability to use it for normal tasks. That was pretty cool

Code and the City 

  • I’m still trying to like this place. I’m currently mad about the fact that I have to swipe my subway pass about 20 times before it will let me in, which causes me to miss a lot of trains and get a lot of funny looks, but I still have 3 days left on it so what can you do.

Overall Impressions

  • I can no longer complain that this is too easy.

Computer-Generated Haiku

Better watch out. The machines can write poetry now, which means the next step is world domination.

To clarify, the final project from foundations last week was to write a program that randomly generates haiku. I thought I would share some highlights here. Luckily, computers are still pretty bad at poetry, although the first one seems a bit too accurate.

STRANGE INAUDIBLE

MINISUPERCOMPUTER

DISSERVICE THORO

~~~

FRIEND DECOMPRESSION

UNPROFITABLITY

INNOCENT FORK-LIFT

~~~

ENDEAVOR DODSWORTH

PATRONIZES PATIOS

PROLETARIAN

~~~

HATMAKER COWARD

INCONSTANCY INDERAL

IMMEASURABLY

~~~

DERMATOLOGISTS

UNILATERALISM

IRRESPONSIBLE

The program can also find haiku naturally occurring in a text. Here are a few from The Importance of Being Earnest.

ON A SALVER ALGERNON

INSPECTS THEM TAKES TWO AND SITS

DOWN ON THE SOFA

~~~

FURNISHED THE SOUND OF

A PIANO IS HEARD IN

THE ADJOINING ROOM

~~~

BEING EARNEST A

TRIVIAL COMEDY FOR

SERIOUS PEOPLE

And here are two from my senior thesis!

CAT RENOIRS ONLY

MALE NUDE IS AN INTRIGUING

PAINTING YET IT IS

~~~

OVER HIS SHOULDER

IS INSCRUTABLE IS IT

SADDENED DREAMY COY

Let me know if you have a text that you need to find haiku in. If you would like to see the code behind it, I posted my project on GitHub.