train of thought

Not much has been going on these past few days that’s any different than my life as usual. My professors have come to the realization that next week is Thanksgiving and then the week after that is the last week of classes. In fact, when we come back, we don’t even get a full week of classes before exams start. So, time for cramming! This, thankfully, coincides with Sean having to be up in Asheville this week and most likely part of next week. I get the house to myself in the evenings to work on homework until I fall asleep.

I finally got to sit down last night and do a little bit of spinning on my spinning wheel. It’s going to take a lot to get used to it. There’s so much to adjust and tweak on it that I’m expecting my first bobbin of yarn to be near useless. Hopefully, though, I will soon be spinning out lots of yarn to play with and dye to my hearts content. Some, I will most likely twist together so that Amy can try knitting with it. The rest, though, I will save until I can purchase a loom and use it to weave. Perhaps by next Christmas, everyone will be getting various woven products from me.

I’ve gotten everything signed off for my graduation. Provided that I pass my classes this semester and next, I will be walking across the stage in May with a Computer Engineering degree and a minor in mathematics. *phew*

Speaking of graduation, I have to complete my senior design project next semester. I’m trying to think of something that my group can do, but I’m coming up blank on ideas. So, time to turn to my miniscule readership for help. What do you guys think I should do for my senior design project? The main requirement for the project is that it requires both work in the hardware and software side. Suggestions are greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, I’m going to go back to getting this term’s senior design group’s website and documentation finished.

This entry was posted in General.

17 thoughts on “train of thought

  1. Simple: swipe card voting system for House and Senate meetings. Output from the voting must be tied to a DB that can be referenced via the Web.

    You had to ask?

  2. hrm…. That’s actually a good idea. Will discuss with group. And, Geof, it has to be secure so someone doesn’t hack into it easily and mess with the votes.

  3. Just remember that whatever you do, AIM LOW!!! I know that you probably already know this, but I had a professor put it all in perspective for me once.

    "If you think it will take a semester, it’s really a master’s thesis. If you think it will take a few weeks, then it will probably take the full semester and be about right."

    The big thing is to get past the ‘cool’ factor of some possible projects and get into something that your group already has a good understanding of and can do well.

    My project, for example, was a unit that would program a specific 8-bit u-Controller. The hardest part was writing out the state machines for the programming protocols in assembly. What made it doable though is that the maker of the MicroController gave as a virtual UART (so serial COM was up in a day) and they had a very detailed spec on how to program the thing. We were able to spend a good bit of time at the end making everything pretty and focusing on our other classes rather than time-sharing between Senior Design and VLSI lab.

    Ok. I’ll be quiet now and go get ready for work.

  4. Rick makes a good point. Maybe just coming up with a system to record a vote in a DB given a swipe card … and then someone can complete it from there. -shrug-

  5. I suggested the idea to the group and they think it’s got definite potential. It’s certainly doable. I mean, all four of us are good programmers, both in the lower level and the higher level languages, so I think the project is potentially doable. I need to talk to Steve Bruce, though, about getting access to the swipe card system already in place and then it would be a matter of writing the software to tie into the current system. It’s definitely doable.

  6. Yeah, I know, but we can work on that during the semester while we develop the database and the voting system. Then, tie our stuff into the swipe card system.

  7. Also, if this is the same swipe card system that I’ve had demonstrated for me on the copy machines, do it! I can fix the votes all day long then if you do 🙂

    I’d suggest just going for the most basic of systems. If you get that done, then you can present extra features at the end. But if you promise something up front and don’t get it done, they have every right to ding your grade. Anytime you promise a feature, you run the risk that your customer (professor) will zero in on that as THE important aspect of the device when it is really something completely cosmetic (or an impossibility).

    I’ve seen some groups choose and complete some VERY ambitious projects. I’m just glad I didn’t have their social life for that semester.

    Just my thoughts though.

  8. It occurred to me … it might be more expensive to have hardware for something like this, but what about multiple three-button voting stations? It would enforce seating [not a bad idea, if you ask this old SGA hand], but it could work.

    That, or a keypad with a four-digit number to verify the person before they vote, rather than a swipe-card.

    And yes, I thought about this on the way back from Detroit …

  9. Requiring a four-digit number is going to require the student to go out of their way to vote. I think that the swipe-card system will be robust enough to make voting reasonably secure.

  10. Hmmm … I was thinking of this project more as an in-meeting type thing, rather than campus-wide for SGA balloting. Not that you can’t take the other on, but … 😉

  11. hrm… an in-meeting voting system is potential, but I think it would be a better use of our resources to work on a campus-wide voting system.

  12. Mike and I have discussed an electronic voting system for SGA. The simplest type of system would be a module sitting in front of every member with three buttons…yea, nay, abstain. Each module would be assigned to a member. When they voted, each module would send the voter and vote info to a main machine (laptop, etc) that tallied the votes. This is a fairly simple project. It could probably be done in 20-30 man hours and cost less than &#36200 (not including the lap top….unless you use the 486 Chris gave Lilian for Christmas).

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