Archive for the ‘My Projects’ Category

Blue Puddle

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

I know I haven’t written a real entry in a while. Lately, I’ve been working on my two major semester long (at least) projects for school. They are both websites and they both use the Google Maps API. How cool! I’ll explain the first one in this entry, and the second I’ll leave for another entry.

The first is called Blue Puddle. It is a student-initiated research project funded by GROCS. Basically, we want to be sort of like Wayfaring, sort of like Yellow Arrow, sort of like Map Hub but better in our own little unique kind of way. I think there are a few other sites I could list… If you really want to see them click here.

There are four students working on the project: two grad students in the School of Art and Design: Zack Denfeld and Brent Fogt, one grad student in the School of Information: Nika Smith, and me, Kyle Mulka, an undergrad in the College of Engineering.

Here’s the blurb from the proposal that (I think) Zack wrote that makes our project sound pretty interesting and research-like:

“The Blue Puddle software takes advantage of the Internet’s distributed authorship capabilities to create maps that draw on users’ collective memory and subjective experience of a city. These maps foster the emergence of stories about the city that are richer than any single author could create. The virtual digital environment created by Blue Puddle will serve as a catalyst for engaging the real built environment.”

One cool toy we are using is a digital GPS camera. It records latitude and longitude in the actual jpeg when you take the picture. We (well.. the Digital Media Commons really) bought the Ricoh Caplio Pro G3 digital camera from GeoSpatial Experts along with their GPS-Photo Link software. When we tried out the camera with the software for the first time, we realized we didn’t actually need the software at all. In fact, we are re-implementing a portion of their software using Google Maps which makes it 10 times cooler. I’m not a fan of their automatic web page creator. Although it gets the job done of putting a set of GPS photos on maps, its pretty ugly.

So… if you have feedback on the site, let me know via comments on this blog post, or via email. Keep in mind though, its not even close to being done.

Internet Research: Calendaring

Sunday, February 5th, 2006

I just did a bunch of internet research, as I like to call it, on a whole varity of calendaring programs. Clients, Servers, Javascript, AJAX, Outlook, iCal, Mozilla Calendar, Publish/Subscribe, etc. So, if you are into that kind of thing check this list out. The top few are the ones that excited me the most.


DeskNow – mail, instant messaging and collaboration tools
Sharing Microsoft Outlook Calendar and Contacts
Hula Project – Hula
iCal Exchange
iCalShare – Share Your iCalendars!
eventSherpa – iCal for Windows
Web Calendar Software – iCal – Event Calendar
Web Calendar Server – Calcium from Brown Bear Software
nat friedman
Calendar – Standards Based Calendar Client Project
UW Calendar Home Page
Sambar Technologies Home Page
Internet Calendar Server & Calendar Hosting
Sun Java System Calendar Server Publish event schedule on the Web
Building a Simple Calendar Server with Fedora and WebDAV – FedoraNEWS.ORG
iCal Web Calendar Server download and review – web based calendar/scheduler from SnapFiles
CalDAV Projects

Magic Bus

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

UPDATE: This post and Google Map have been deleted because I really shouldn’t have been medling with the bus project in the first place and because someone thought I stole their ideas/project which was not the case… I was just trying to improve upon what they had already worked on. My sincerest appologies to anyone involved especially Mike Bommarito who deserves credit for working on the Magic Bus Google Map and to David Harris for showing us the demo. Awsome stuff!

UPDATE: So, I found out that Mike really isn’t on the team. I went to one of their meetings and they pretty much told me I could work on the project. Awsome. So, keep an eye out for the news.

UPDATE: Finally! Here it is:

Google Maps Presentation Video

Monday, November 28th, 2005

So, after several weeks of waiting, Merit was finally able to upload the webcast of the Google Maps presentation I gave at the Merit Joint Technical Staff Meeting on October 11th, 2005.

Just as a warning, the video is 45 minutes long and my not be the most simulating thing you’ve ever seen before. It is basically, an introduction to the Google Maps API on a very high level. I didn’t go into any code. It lays out what you can and can’t do with the Google Maps API, ho


Thursday, November 17th, 2005

“The space, the social network, thinking tools and the network interface in the same field of view. The boundaries between what is interior and what is exterior intersecting tangibly in front of your eyes.”

If you have interest in continuous computing, location aware devices, social computing, or similar stuff check this out. At least start reading it. I just started, and it is amazing me. It has a lot of good ideas about where we can take the location sensing technology. The PDF is linked to on the left of the main page.

The Headmap Manifesto

Blue Puddle

Sunday, November 13th, 2005

I’m excited that we got funding next semester for a project called Blue Puddle thanks to GROCS. Here’s the vision:

“The Blue Puddle software takes advantage of the Internet’s distributed authorship capabilities to create maps that draw on users’ collective memory and subjective experience of a city. These maps foster the emergence of stories about the city that are richer than any single author could create. The virtual digital environment created by Blue Puddle will serve as a catalyst for engaging the real built environment.”

We have a team of four consisting of students from the schools of Art, Architecture, Information, and Engineering. This should be both interesting and exciting considering we are from a variety of backgounds and I am the only undergrad.

Some of the technologies we are considering using include PHP, MySQL, GIS, and the Google Maps API. Fortunately, I am pretty familiar with them and am excited to be able to use them.

MISchedule Ready for Winter 2006

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

UPDATE: (3/29/06) and the auto schedule generator have been fused together into one site.

More info

MISchedule, the University of Michigan automatic schedule generator, is ready for Winter 2006 scheduling. (and now Fall too)

I just loaded up the database the other day and it appears to be working. Let me know if you have any problems.

Along the same lines, I’ve switched Mshedule‘s (without the I) default term to Winter 2006, so it is ready too. I haven’t taken the time yet to merge these two websites yet, but you can save your MIschedule to Mschedule.

The Other Road Ahead

Friday, November 4th, 2005

Paul Graham rocks! If you are at all interested in software startups, check this out. It’s dated 2001, and I think still applies for the most part.

The Other Road Ahead

Summer 2006 Internship or Startup

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

UPDATE: I’m employed this summer… yey! Here’s the old post:

I’ve gotten several emails from people at Microsoft and Google asking me if I’m looking for work. No, they haven’t offered me a job yet, but have seen the blog and wanted to know if I had applied. I’d like to let you all know, that, yes, indeed I am looking for an internship. Summer 2006 is currently free, so that would be a good time for me to pick up an internship.

I’m interested in web services, service oriented architectures, object oriented design, social software, agile software development, developer friendly APIs, location based services, geographic information systems, machine learning, and open source software. There’s probably stuff I didn’t list, but that covers most of it.

You can check out my resume in various formats here.

On the flip side, I am also interested in starting my own business or teaming up with some people to start one or continue on an idea related to my interests. I have several posible ideas which could be very exciting to implement and see people use.

So, if you are a web software company, large or just getting started, contact me if you are interested in working with me.

If you are an individual looking for an exciting opportunity to make a difference on the web and have the technical expertise to make it happen, contact me. Let’s see what we can work out.

Web-Based Data Entry and Retrieval System

Friday, October 21st, 2005

This is a little thing I wrote for a job application, and I figured that other people might be interested in what I did this summer, so I copied it over to my blog here:

This summer at the Great Lakes Commission in Ann Arbor, another intern and I, along with a designer created a web-based data entry, retrieval, and search system for volunteer organizations to record water quality data that they had collected in the field. The site utilized the object oriented features of PHP in order to abstract the details of the data and operations on the data.

Our system included an authentication mechanism using sessions and cookies. Water quality monitoring organizations would register for a username and password in order to update their own data. Data was only visible on the site for searching and browsing after staff at the commission had confirmed it.

We utilized both client-side (Javascript) and server-side (PHP) user data validation so that errors were caught quickly by the system and reflected immediately back to the user.

Data was stored in a MySQL database in about 15 different tables. Data coming from the web text boxes, dropdown lists, multi-select lists, radio buttons, and checkboxes had to be massaged to fit within the data types of MySQL. Timestamps, username, and other status information was stored along with each record when it was created and modified.

To search through the data we allowed the user to filter by lake, watershed, or county as well as date range and type of data to display. The user could get the results formatted for the web or in an excel spreadsheet.

For the browsing section we set up a hierarchy of of the data so that if the user didn’t know exactly what they wanted, but wanted to see what was available instead, they could.