Plans For The Fall

I am currently taking my last co-op term off (Fall 2015) mostly due to personal burnout – I can’t believe I haven’t had a break longer than two weeks since I started university four years ago! While it sucks that I have to dip into my savings to pay for tuition next term, I think it’ll be worth it for my mental health in the long run.

After spending the past four weeks playing games and sleeping in, I guess it’s finally time for me to start planning what I’ll be doing for the next four months. I have to admit, Diablo 3 and League of Legends can get boring and repeative really fast after a few weeks of non-stop gaming. On top of just helping my parents around the house, I’ve laid out 4 main tasks that I want to accomplish this term.

Continue to work on our FYDP

I’m currently working with Josh, Connor, and Fasih on a medical document editor called Sana Protocol Builder for our FYDP (Fourth Year Design Project). This project is sometimes called a “capstone project”; it is the cumulative application of our four years of engineering education. As such, this is a very imporant project that I want to do well in because we have real-world clients from MIT depending on us and we can make a real difference in the world. Plus, being marked by project success in 4B during symposium is also a good motivator!

Right now, our project is a bit behind our initial development schedule. It’s mostly due graphics taking up most of my time in 4A and the Ember framework. We’ve constantly hit weird bugs due to either Ember’s weird programming paradigms, unstable updates, or poor documentation. It seems that these hip JavaScript frameworks are only good for are building simple ToDo lists; as soon as we want to deviate from the basic CRUD operations, we hit a brick wall. As a result, we’ve decided to port our entire frontend over to Backbone because it’s a simple and stable framework. Even though we have to do a lot more heavy lifting, it’s still better than trying to wrestle with a monolithic framework.

For now, I’m hoping to at least finish porting the frontend by the end of September. Afterwards, we will need to re-evaluate our roadmap. In any case, I want to be functionally-complete by the end of this term. When we return to campus in January, we can begin user testing and iterate on our UX.

Fix up my broken side projects

Oh boy, I don’t know what’s worse: having 10 useless side projects that nobody cares about (e.g. simple calculators) or having 1-2 side projects that barely or don’t work. My GitHub is currently littered with partially working projects. If I have some free time, I really want to fix them and bring their documentation up-to-date.

Extend my ray tracer

I hate to admit it but my ray tracer sucks compared to my classmates’ last term. After spending 150 development hours on it, my final scene was rather lackluster. I probably would have a better scene if I didn’t spend so much time trying to debug my refractions and architecturing my ray tracer. I don’t even want to count how much time I’ve spent refactoring and re-architecturing my ray tracer. With all this free-time this term, I want to implement the features that I didn’t have time for last term:

In the end, I doubt I will have enough time this term to implement all of these features because of my other commitments and the inherit difficulty of debugging floating-point applications. But it would be nice to at least implement photon-mapping before I apply to animation studios for full-time.

Find a full-time job

Not much to say here… With my savings emptied due to lack of income this term, I can’t take a graudation trip with my classmates. Thus when I graduate in than 8 months from now, I got nothing else to do besides full-time. Unfortunately, I don’t exactly have a plan on where I would like to work or what career path to take.

For now, I’m just going to keep a spreadsheet of companies that I’m interested in, their locations, and salaries. I probably won’t be sending out my resume until late November or early December.