It’s been well over a year since my last update. I apologize for that but in between school, life, and some really fun projects, I have some really promising progress to share.
On my last update for the Kinect, I left off with some LabView code that allows anyone to interface with the Kinect. In the time since it was released I have received lots of positive feedback from everyone, so I must first start out by thanking everyone and I hope it will continue to be of good use.
Since that time I worked furiously to develop an image processing algorithm to detect open doors/pathways enabling artificial intelligence pathway planning.
The only issue is in order to actually run the software on the iRobot create I bought to test it on, i had to either tether or set my entire laptop on the iRobot create. That isn’t an optimal solution especially for debugging purposes. Hence, the next step would be to design my own circuitry to resolve the problem.
Now, approximately 6 months ago, my good friend Gytis Baranauskas and myself bought ourselves a DIY CNC machine. While we have had many ideas and goals for the CNC machine, our primary goal was to create printed circuit boards. This would enable us to offload the USB host controller, the iRobot communication and the image processing into separate microprocessors and achieve a much smaller, lighter, cheaper solution then using a full-blown computer and all the complexities that come with dealing with supporting 10 different operating systems.
Our first experiments are consisting of creating PCB breakout boards for the USB host controller and a microprocessor in order to connect them to a breadboard and begin testing them and the functionality to use them.
We are making progress rapidly, and I will keep this site informed as our progress continues. If you would like to see more of our work, the gallery below features many of the things we have been able to do in the past year.
As a few have noticed, Ryan Gordon, the lead developer of MyBB has parted ways with us. A message from Ryan is below.
All of us here at the MyBB Group wish Ryan well in his future endeavours, and I personally am extremely grateful for the role that Ryan has been able to step up and fulfil over the past few years whilst I’ve not been able to dedicate much personal time toward the project. Ryan’s dedication and passion for everything he did, as well as bringing us some of the greatest MyBB releases to date, will be missed.
What does this mean for MyBB?
The most important thing to keep in mind is whilst this is a big change for us, you can still look forward to exceptional releases of your favourite forum software. Work is underway planning out MyBB 2.0, and from our top-secret prototypes, it’s already looking great.
We’ll have more to announce shortly, but again thank you for your continued support.
A message from Ryan to all…
It is with time that with every profession, interest and passion fade and something new comes along to take over it’s place. It is with this in mind, among other things, that I have decided to enlist my resignation from the MyBB Team.
Over the past 5 years I’ve had the unique experience of journying with this team and working on this product that has taught me so much. Together we have built hundreds of thousands of communities and I know that this will continue for a long time into the future.
I wish the MyBB team and the community best of luck in the future, as I open up this new chapter in my life.
Preface: Firstly I want to note that I will not be revealing any information that isn’t already public. Secondly, what I have to say here is merely a summary of the “main” events. There are countless smaller details that I could spend hours and hours writing on, but distract from the point. Finally, I want to say that MyBB is and always will be a great piece of software and it will continue to get better. The effort put behind the scenes for MyBB was and always has been amazing. To do all of this, to pour time, sweat, blood, and energy into this project for not one cent from thousands of people across the globe unofficially and officially, has always been an amazing concept to be. In fact some might say that those of us who do this for free are part crazy and they are probably right.
The first part of this story begins 5 years 2 months ago when I first joined the MyBB community. Over the next 7 months I went on to create a couple very prominent plugins and also add some content to the wiki, when it first opened. 7 months later I was asked to join the team as Wiki Maintainers along with Justin S. Now I didn’t particularly care for maintaining the wiki forever, but I was new to this game and I wanted to participate in the development of MyBB, so if this was my way in then there was no way I would turn this down.
The next 6 months consisted of aiding MyBB 1.2 Testing and bug fixing in which during this time I was offered development access. On the 7th month, I was promoted to the Project Manager of the new MyBB Merge System. At this point I had submersed myself in learning PHP (at the time) to it’s maximum capabilities and 4 months later the first version of the MyBB Merge System was opened up for beta testing. Following this the next year and a half I started helping out by fixing MyBB 1.2′s bugs and preparing their releases as well as continuing work on the MyBB Merge System and MyBB 1.4. This was probably the most intensive period of my time at MyBB not only because of the large amount of work but because Chris Boulton’s time was now much more limited due to his full time job. At some point during that time I was promoted to Lead Developer of MyBB as a whole and a few months later, Chris officially announced stepping down from day-to-day manager and Dennis took over these day-to-day operations.
From here I lead development on MyBB 1.6 and the planning phase for MyBB 2.0 begun, for the next year and a half. Over the next year my interest in MyBB’s development began to lessen over time as the necessity for time to be dedicated to school and other activities increased. I talked about this several times over various conversations between management staff members and thus began the activity of a recruiting campaign to bring on the next wave of developers and staff members to fully take over all the necessary operations of MyBB and it’s development that I would be leaving behind. This eventually lead to, over a few months, Dennis stepping down as product manager with Tim B. stepping up. A couple months later we had successfully brought on several new staff members to help. Now I had the MyBB staff and more specifically, the development team, in a stable position. The last thing that needed to happen was my resignation, but that wouldn’t happen for a little while longer.
A couple days ago I was having a discussion with Chris Boulton on MyBB 2.0 and this is when I truly realized the different paths we were both now on. The decision to resign was simple at this point and that’s where I am today. I have come out with a new chapter in my life opening and I am excited to put my talents to use on new projects and to see where this different path takes me.
Thanks to everyone who has read this – I wanted to make sure that the right story was out there and to clarify that the terms for resignation weren’t because of, or left on, any bad notes.
It’s been 7 months since I’ve last updated this blog and so much in my life has happened since then. Currently I am writing this blog post at my laptop computer as my roommate slurps some soup and outside rain steadily pours. Even with the somewhat gloomy weather, the environment feels ecstatic as the university event center prepares to host some major political figures in a few hours time.
I am now attending San Jose State University, aiming for a Computer Engineering degree in 5 years and a masters in another semester. Moving out and away has been one of the best things that I ever could have done for my life. It’s really allowed me to become my own person and give me the freedom I’ve ever so needed. Course work and all of the side activities such as clubs and sports has been keeping me very busy but I still enjoy my schedule and the socializing that I get to have in my free time.
I participated on the Evergreen Valley High School Robotics team for the previous two years and I am now mentoring the new EVHS Robotics team, helping them stand on their feet again as a completely new team. I hope they will be able to have the same amazing experiences and build the same life-long relationships that I was able to once forge with teammates during my years on the robotics team. These new group of kids are very motivated and I wish them the best of luck over the next few years as they learn how to take over the world.
It’s been hard keeping up with development with everything going on, especially while I worked regular hours during my internship at ActiveVideo Networks, over the summer. Even with this impediment, the team was still able to successfully release the MyBB 1.6 series, which I would argue to be the most successful release in all of MyBB history. A lot of staffing restructuring, community changes, and development shifts have happened behind the scenes over the past several months. It’s been a surprising roller coaster ride to see how much the MyBB Group and the community that sounds us has fundamentally changed. We are continuing to roll out new ideas and changes to continue to ensure that MyBB is heading in the right direction. This has been a slow process, but as we all know, good happens when we consider patience as a virtue.
MyBB 2.0 is also still baking slowly in development. The new MyBB 2.0 theme has been coming together very nicely and we continue to refine it and reconsider our design as we realize when and how we can make it better. The MyBB 2.0 framework itself is coming together as a result of almost a year of research and conceptualizing and prototyping. We have taken a look at dozens of frameworks and designs and our result will be – hopefully – a straight-forward yet intuitive framework system.
Apart from what I have listed above there’s much more that’s been going on, some of which I am not able to talk about. Almost all of my previous friends have moved out and away to fulfill their own paths on this road of life. It’s sad to see them move away but I certainly wish them all the best. To friends those that are still around, I find to be slowly moving on their own paths as well. Personally, I have now a clear vision of my future and I am certainly looking forward to the future and to how I will be able to exercise my strengths for the better.
What a past 6 months it has been. Who would have ever known senior life was going to be this crazy? It seems just yesterday I was seemingly making my way through the passing crowds in between classes junior year and yet here we are again, senior year, except it has been a roller coaster ride from the start.
Between classes, homework, studying, college apps, personal statements, SATs, robotics club, MyBB, NCAAbbs and client’s websites, this blog was pushed to the back burner. Tonight I find myself, for what seems like the first time in a lifetime, with time to simply reflect on the past 6 months.
Ending Junior year, I started my summer job at ActiveVideo Networks again as the SQA Intern which was definately a really good experience. I also managed to visit Washington D.C., for my first time ever, twice. The first time being with my robotics team, attending the Global Conference on Educational Robotics (GCER) and the second time with my family for a short vacation and then a wedding down in North Carolina (a very beautiful state, btw!).
As always, I continued my development work with MyBB and IT functions for NCAAbbs. In fact, we made some significant changes, including opening up our development servers and source code to the public. As always we kept up with security and maintenance releases, and I even have some tidbits to share further down in this post. But back to the story first:
Senior year opened with a bumpy start. The AP Computer Science class I was going to take was canceled because they couldn’t find a replacement teacher (the old one had to take a leave of absence for the year). It practically ruined my chance for attending one of the UC’s (University of California), as I wouldn’t have an AP class under my belt, and in turn neither the extra GPA points nor the AP test. That dampened my mood quite a bit. Second off, my counselors (whom are hard enough to work with in the first place) changed my schedule 3 times consecutively, making me run around at lunches and breaks to find a teacher whom I could TA for and wasn’t already taken. I ended up as the Drama department’s TA, ironically enough, which was the last place I was expecting my academic life to turn towards. Surprisingly it has ended up being, thus far, a very intriguing experience; there are definately very interesting things to learn from a drama class.
Just as I was settling into my senior classes and classmates, SATs, college apps, and robotics club hit me like a 2 ton Honda Pilot. The next 4 months consisted of 19 hour days, frantic studying, club co-managing, eye-tearing 4 hour test taking and answer bubbling. Fortunately, I was able to get through most of it early. As for my friends, well, they are all freaking out right about now, realizing all the work they need to finish quickly. Fortunately I am able to help them out with answering their application submission questions, editing their personal statements, etc. I still have one last single SAT 2 test in December, but once that is done I am never touching an SAT test again in my entire life.
More significantly, in between all this, my robotics team participated at a competition called CalGames where we placed 1st in the end. Doubled with one of our team member’s birthdays it ended on an awesome note. (We are the teal shirts below)
(A closeup of our team during a competition game. Go! Go! Go!)
(I’m unfortunately hidden behind another team member)
The robot in action:
Now that you’ve seen all that, let me momentarily show off some of my work. As I became the lead programmer of the robotics team, I was given the opportunity to learn a completely new coding language, one which is called LabView. It’s an industry standard program that is primarily used in the programming of robotics or being able to control mechanical or electrical parts.
There is too much code to show and explain all, so I won’t even try. However, let me give you a general overview. This is the Robot Main.vi code which is the highest level of the robot and the central interface to all of the robots functions and executions. Following the flow of the code hierarchy, will be lower level functions. Each “Block” you see in the code is basically a “function” in programmer layman terms. The difference between this language and most others is this is by default a highly multi-threaded language.
So as you can see, the robot may only do a few things, but a lot of work goes into making it do those few things extremely well.
All in all I have had a terrific time on the robotics team, but in these dwindling economic teams we have had trouble sustaining the club. This year we are faced again with the challenge of keeping our club open and running. Our robotics club is by nature very expensive in comparison to many of the other clubs, but in contrast it provides an extremely rich experience that prepares the students much more for the real world experience in their various relating industries than any book or test can do. Our expenses for the club are around $19,000 annually (http://evhsrobotics.com/files/2009-2010/Sponsor%20Packet%2009-10.pdf – page 6). Most of the costs are for materials or registration fees to compete in competitions. If you can provide assistance or know of a company or someone else who can, please feel free to leave a comment below or visit our club’s website at http://evhsrobotics.com/ and we will get in contact with you! We also accept in-kind donations and negotiate with companies for competitive prices for various materials. We could definitely use every bit of help we can possibly get.
On a different subject, we are nearing feature-completion of MyBB 1.6. This means that within the next month we should see MyBB 1.6 in public beta and out soon after that. First though, we are going to make a maintenance release for the MyBB 1.4 series within the next couple of weeks. MyBB 1.4.10 will be the last release of the MyBB series, excluding any security vulnerability releases.
As I have reiterated over the past year, MyBB 1.6 won’t be as drastic of a change as MyBB 1.4 was. As MyBB 2.0 will be a complete rewrite, we are aiming MyBB 1.6 to have much less “behind-the-scene” changes than MyBB 1.4 had. This means that most of your plugins will still work with very little change (most simply the version compatibility indicator), and themes should be easily upgradable too. This will allow us to aim the of end the MyBB 1.x series on a great note and put it to rest in an honorable way.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to post any comments, questions, suggestions or concerns.