Blog #1: Getting Started

Hi everyone! It’s been two weeks interning with McEachern Labs, and I can say it’s been so much fun learning and exploring topics related to our project! However, before I talk more about the work I’ve done in the last two weeks, I also want to talk briefly about what’s going on the world right now. 

I’m sure all of you have heard about George Floyd and the ongoing protests and civil unrest going on. However, the death of George Floyd barely scratches the surface on the racial injustices black people face everyday. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and going back to Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and as Michelle Obama said, “It just goes on, and on, and on.” I can’t even begin to understand the struggles black folx go through and their pain, fears, sorrows, and anger, especially experienced on a daily basis, but we have a duty and responsibility to stand with them, support them, and fight with them to the best of our abilities. If you want to learn more about this, there are great resources online that you can educate yourself with. Learn more on ways you can help, (even sharing posts on social media can help educate others!) sign petitions, contact local representatives, register and remember to vote, support black businesses, donate to organizations, join (and stay safe in) protests, and remember those who have needlessly died. Also, having conversations about racism and with people around you, such as with friends and family, is super important, especially if they become uncomfortable and difficult to have. Discussing these issues can help inform yourself, hear different perspectives, and help share your perspectives and educate others. Keep supporting and fighting to make changes, and keep the momentum going into a long-term movement.

Now, as of what I’ve been working on during my internship with Alex McEachern: these past two weeks have been a huge learning experience for me. As I said in my last blog, I don’t come from a strong computer science background, so learning about web development was and still is a new and exciting experience. I took some crash course lessons on html, css, and javascript and have completed a few basic tasks as outlined by Alex. So far, this is what my website looks like: 

The white drawing goes between an "x" and a "+", and the animation speed is controlled by the slider at the bottom where the value will show the speed of the animation (and will also change with the slider). In addition, the drawing can be dragged anywhere in the black rectangle as well as having the ability to get larger/thicker or smaller depending on the browser window size. The light display changes color based on if the user is dragging the slider as well, making it more intuitive for the user. One big hurdle that I had to overcome was the ability for this website to work across all browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, Opera, and Edge. IE11 sometimes doesn’t have the same functionality as the other browsers, so some of the Javascript and CSS code had to be adapted in order for the website to work in it. Some browsers have different default looks that I had to override in order for the website to look similar across all of them. I love that I can have full reign over this website and customize it to my liking. Through CSS, I was able to customize the slider thumb and the slider track such as adding color, shadows, and a rounded radius. It’s super fun to learn about front end development, and I look forward to the next few weeks as I will start to work with power simulations. 

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to sharing more about my experiences soon!