March 14, 2007

Release Date

Things are slowly beginning to happen on the development side of things. I have got an object-oriented style implemented, all the data stored in a database, and a working commenting system. With that being said, I have set myself a goal for a release date of April 1st.

Things I have to finish for that date are:

  • Finish organizing and re-designing the new look
  • Add my new about/contact pages
  • Fix all the bugs I currently have

If anyone has any last ideas they would like to see in the new look let me know ASAP.

Jason Smith
February 12, 2007

One Year In The Books

Taking a look back, my first post was on February 11, 2006. Ok, so I am only averaging one post a month, but hey, that's not bad for my first year. I am slowly beginning to think of some new ideas and am going to wait until I get my commenting system up to share so I can get some of your feedback on my ideas. I am also curious as to who really even reads my site, so this should give me a better idea, providing that I write enough quality content to inspire your thoughts and opinions.

The outlook for my second year sure looks more promising, I can guarantee that.

Jason Smith
February 6, 2007

Site Updates Coming Soon

Many things have been on the "To Do" list for a very long time. This term in my spare time I plan to get most of these things done. First and foremost I am currently working on re-coding my entire site. The main changes include:

  • Re-coding the site using an object-oriented design
  • Creating a database to store all the content
  • Implementing a commenting system to get your feedback
  • Adding a contact/about me page
  • Designing a new site layout

These are the main things that I want to get done, but I am sure I will think of more once I get going.

Jason Smith
September 21, 2006

Memories

My new roomate has just decided to get out her old Super Nintendo. This has now resulted in the past two days of everyone in the house playing Super Mario, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, and other great classics. It brings back all the great memories of the childhood years and everyone still knows all the secrets to all the games. We have already managed to beat Super Mario but will still keep playing until all the secrets have been found. I have a feeling that if I start to go downhill in school that this will be the number one cause of it all. I am going to count on Terrill for this one to make sure that does not happen.

Jason Smith
August 28, 2006

Survey Data Analysis

I came up with my own idea for a project to do at work again this term. This time I noticed that the surveys that were being used on our department's website could use a little work. With that in mind I thought of how I could fix it and brought my ideas to my boss. Shortly after that I got the ok and was on my way implementing my ideas.

The way the survey results were being analyzed before was terrible. All of the results were being stored in an excel spreadsheet that was ridiculously difficult to interpret anything let alone find something specific to look at. So my first task was to recode the actual surveys using PHP to interact with a MySQL database to store the results. With the results being stored in a database, analyzing the data had numerous possibilites.

I implemented an AJAX application to view the results of the surveys. The application includes many unique features that make it stand out, including NiftyCube and DLCalendar. The results from each question are displayed in a table as text followed by a corresponding graphical representation. The graphs are created using a combination of PHP and CSS to calculate and display the information. Another unique feature of the graphs is that each bar is colour-coded with respect to percentage.

The options panel includes a drop down menu to select a survey, another drop down menu to select a question corresponding to the survey selected, and an option to view results in a specified date range. The date range option is where the DLCalendar comes into play, allowing for an easy selection tool to change the date. The option panel also features a toggle button to allow it to hide, generating a larger viewing area for the data results.

The AJAX comes into effect whenever an option is changed within the options panel. Any change made sends out an XMLHttpRequest allowing the data to be updated without the page reloading. After optimizing the code, any changes made looks almost instant and thus resulting in a fast, clean, user-friendly application.

Jason Smith
August 21, 2006

Google Update

If you have been keeping an eye out on my ranking in Google you might have noticed a very large jump. If you now search for "Jason Smith", you will find my site ranked 8th when searching for pages in Canada and 15th when searching the entire web. The algorithm Google uses to rank pages is still a mystery to me, although I'm begining to think that the domain name is one of the larger factors, if not the largest. My new goal is to have both rankings appear in the top 5 results, and eventually become number 1.

Jason Smith
August 14, 2006

Summer is Nearly Gone

The school term is now officially over and so is me ever having to take another calculus class (as long as I passed this one). The summer has been a hot one so I have tried to stay away from the computer outside of work as much as possible. So that meant more time for...I don't know. It seems I haven't really even done much of anything. So that only means I have done what I do every summer...be lazy. I haven't even put anytime into developing my site further let alone posting anything to it. You might notice that the last post was from over 2 months ago...

Work has been interesting this term. I have been 'slowly' working on a cool web survey application for the last couple of months in any spare time that I get (which isn't much). I will be posting more details about this very soon...and no I don't mean in another 2 months.

Things I've gone away and done this summer can be counted on 1 hand; went out on a cruise, went back to Bancroft twice (both long weekends), went to wonderland once, and went out golfing once. I am, however, looking forward to going camping this weekend at Silent Lake, so I can add that to the list after this weekend.

I am hoping now that calculus is done and over with that I will have some more time after work each day to do something productive. I have been thinking about developing a new application and if I ever end up in the right mood one night it will be on the go. I will also be updating the site more frequently (less then bi-monthly). If you have any ideas for the site let me know, I always like to get other people's opinions.

Jay
June 4, 2006

Cruisin'

So today I got to go out on a cruise on Miss Toronto and it was the best day of the summer so far. The boat looks so much better in real life than a website can ever reveal. The whole crew and the atmosphere was so enjoyable, the DJ was excellent, the food was great, and the weather turned out to be nice too! Taking a cruise around the Toronto islands and the harbour gives a whole new perspective to the Toronto area. If I get another chance to go out again I will in a heartbeat.

Jason Smith
May 27, 2006

A Little Bit of Everything

Life

The school term is now long gone and I'm right back into the co-op job. Working for the Arts Computing Office at the University of Waterloo again gave me the option to take a class if I wanted. So I decided this would be a good idea to catch up on things and take MATH 138 (calculus 2). Calculus and me just don't get along but we will fight for yet another term.

It's finally stopped raining so I've enjoyed the nice weather we've had for the last couple of days. I've gone out and played basketball in the park and Terrill got me out on the tennis courts this morning. I have also tried to make a habbit of going to the gym every day. It has been going pretty good thus far in the term. I'm starting to get excited for summer.

Skype

No need for long distance plans anymore. Now with Skype you can make free long distance calls from your computer to landline/cell phones to anywhere in North America. This service will continue to be free for the rest of the year and hopefully even longer.

With it being the summer term this release couldn't have had better timing. We actually had increased our long distance plan and we were making many more long distance calls. Now I don't even have to wait to use the phone since I can call from my computer and it is never tied up.

Microsoft's New Software

Microsoft is now working on a big line of software releases. This includes a new OS (Windows Vista), messenger client (Windows Live Messenger), media player (Windows Media Player 11), and another version of the Office suite. I have now got my hands on a beta version of all of these new products except for Windows Vista. If anyone knows where I can find a download for this please let me know.

The new version of Office has a completely new redesigned UI. It is supposed to make things easier to access and so far I have no complaints. The biggest new feature is what they call "the ribbon". This is similar to a toolbar but much more effective. For people who are accustomed to the previous versions of Office this is going to take some getting used to.

Downloads

Here are the links to the latest software downloads:

You will need a product key for Office 2007. Here it is: MTP6Q-D868F-448FG-B6MG7-3DBKT. Don't worry this is the same one given to everyone when downloading it so I'm just saving you some time.

Jason Smith
March 20, 2006

jasonsmith.ca - Making It's Way Up

I have been recently trying to see how high I can get my site to appear in google when searching for the phrase "Jason Smith". Unfortunately for me this is quite a popular name. A couple of weeks ago I tried this and my site didn't even make the top 85 pages (850 sites). So again I tried today but first tried searching only pages from Canada. Of the 1,000,000 plus pages I currently sit on page 6 ranking me at #52 for pages in Canada. I then tried the same thing again but for the web (not just Canada) and this time I have appeared...but only on page 49 ranking me at #488 out of over 35,000,000. If you put that into relative terms then I am doing better on the whole web than for just in Canada.

My goal is to have my site make the top 10 on the web when searching for "Jason Smith". With my site being relatively new I think this is a realistic goal. The school term is almost over now which should give me some more spare time to play around with the site. For now it will be slow coming and most of my time will be spent on studying for finals.

Jason Smith
March 5, 2006

More Styles and an RSS Feed

I have added a new style sheet option that allows you to change the style of the site. I will be working on making more styles to choose from. The cool part about this is that when you choose a new style it sets a cookie to remember what style you viewed the page with last so when you come back to it later it will default to the style you were last using. No need to change it each time you view the page!

I aslo added an RSS feed to the site. You can subscribe to it if you like. I recommend using Google's personalized homepage and simply subscribe to it there, or if you have your hands on IE 7 already it has a nice RSS reader built in.

Jason Smith
February 20, 2006

Winter 2006 Final Exam Schedule

The term is about half over now and the final exam schedule is now posted. Lectures end on March 29 for MATH and ENG students. For the rest of UW students, lectures will end on April 3. Exams will begin on April 6 and end on April 22. Here is what my schedule looks like:

Exam Date Time Location
CS 251 Thursday April 6 12:30 - 3:00 PAC 11,12
CS 241 Friday April 7 9:00 - 11:30 RCH 305,306,307
STAT 230 Saturday April 8 7:30 - 10:00 PAC 4,5,6
ECON 102 Wednesday April 19 7:30 - 10:00 PAC 1,2,3,4,5

Notice the 11 day gap between the last two exams. I definately will be going home for about a week for a bit of a break and then come back to finish that last exam.

Jason Smith
February 13, 2006

Slow start but pulled off yet another win

Game number five of the season and yet again we put our perfect record on the line. We started out really cold as a team and thanks to Ahmed for draining most of his shots in the first half to keep us in the game. First half ended really close with a one point difference in our favour. We decided that we had to come out more aggressive in the second half to seal the deal. So we did just that. We got the other team into early foul trouble to put us in the bonus early on which was key. The other key factor was ripping apart the opponents zone defence. With a quick first step on my defender I got right through the middle of the zone defence at will and went in for an easy layup or a trip to the line. I felt unstoppable as every time I drove to the basket I either drew a foul or had an easy shot from the paint. Clearly the second half was a better play on our part finishing the game with a 20 point spread. One game left of the regular season and is scheduled for March 5th. Will we be able to hold on to our perfect record?

Jason Smith
February 11, 2006

jasonsmith.ca up and running

I finally got around to getting my own domain set up. I didn't think I would be able to get jasonsmith.ca but fortunately it was available so I took it. I don't have too much time to work on stuff right now as it is midterm season and school terms take up most of my time for the full four months. I will write a better style sheet as soon as I get time for it. For now it will be really simple.

Jason Smith