All posts by Aaron Cook

Osaka Photonics Center: Final Week

This was the last week of my internship and it was definitely also the busiest week of my internship. The week was split between finishing both websites and getting prepared to leave. I had the chance to see the websites come to life this week by filling the templates I created with finished content. There were also a lot of things I needed to do because this was my last week. I had a few meetings to discuss how we will update and maintenance the websites in the future. I also had a few meetings where we discussed my growth, my work and my internship as a whole. I spent a lot of the week cleaning up my projects to make updating and maintenance easier. I also completed documentation for both websites for further help. There was a lot of work that needed to be finished by the end of my last day. There were times when I didn’t think it would be possible. I ended up completing everything with only minutes to spear and it made me feel really accomplished. I am glad that I was able to work with such great people at the Osaka University’s Education Center in Asia. My Co-Workers ended up getting my a cake to celebrate my last day. I am also happy to know that I was able to make such a big impact this summer. The Osaka Photonics Initiative and Core 2 Core Program will provide teachers the resources to teach Photonics and students the resources to learn about science.

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Osaka Photonics Center: Optimization and Documentation

Today marks the end of the 7th week of my internship. This week I’ve had a pretty light work load because most of my tasks have already been completed. I spent a lot of the week in meetings to discuss final modifications to the Osaka Photonics Initiative and Core to Core Websites. I also spent a lot of time finishing the documentation for both websites. Both websites will be updated over the next 5 years so I need to leave behind sufficient documentation to explain how to do that. I am also helping to create resources for both sites during the remainder of my stay. This includes writing articles and video recording and editing I will be doing for interviews next week. The projects I am working on still have a lot of behind the scenes polishing work that needs to be done. Towards the end of the week we uploaded both projects to the center’s server. I’ll be spending time optimizing the website for different devices in order to speed up load time and control the content that is displayed. This includes selectively showing different resolution images, content, font size and padding. I’m am feeling pretty confident going into my last week. I think I will be able to be able to get to a good stopping point by the time I finish my internship. This internship is turning out to be a great experience for me. I have been able to network with many individuals in the Science Industry and get a lot of experience in the field.

Osaka Photonics Center: Sprints and Reflection

This is my 6th week at Osaka Photonics Center and at what I think is the difficult part of the Internship. I have a lot of projects lined up and I need them all to be complete by the time I leave. This high amount of work and stress I think is helping me to work faster and gain a lot of experience in a short amount of time. I have tackled these projects by arranging my tasks into sprints. A sprint is a list of tasks that I plan on completing in one or two days. Once I finish with the sprint, I have a meeting with my supervisor to discuss so if the objectives of the sprint were completed to satisfaction. If changes needed to be made I made changes but if everything was acceptable I would move on to the next sprint. With this method I was able to complete a lot of the functionality of both Core 2 Core and Osaka Photonics Initiative in this past week. Moving into the final two weeks of my internship, I really need to focus on getting content from my co-workers. I also need to set some time aside to create the registration form for the Core 2 Core conference. I’ve really enjoyed my time at the Osaka Photonics Center. It has been really exciting to see my work come to life and enable communities. I am really surprised with the quality of work I was able to make. When I come back to the United States, I want to revisit some of my older web projects and improve them.

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Osaka Photonics Center: Creating the Draft Core2Core Website

This was the 5th week of my internship.  I decided to prioritize my tasks based on their deadlines. My article for the newsletter and the draft of the Core2Core website need to be complete by the end of my 6th week and the Core2Core Website and Osaka Photonics Initiative website need to be finished with documentation by the end of my 8th week. I spent all of my 5th week working on the draft of the Core2Core website. When I began the draft of the Core2Core website I was only given the content and very little direction on what to do for a design. I wanted to make a homepage that was able to catch the attention of users who visited it by effectively conveying how interesting the importance and size of the event. My experience from owning a business and my minor in Entrepreneurship really helped me to create a effective marketing strategy. I decided to create sections on the homepage that contain interesting facts about the program. These attention grabbers then prompt the user to access other sections of the website. The design for the website were pretty straight forward. Because I am creating a website that is representing the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, I had to follow extremely strict guidelines so I don’t harm their brand. I ended up getting the approval to modify the logo for the program so I hope I did a satisfactory job. I made a lot of progress on the draft this week. I plan on splitting my time next week between writing my article for the newsletter and finalizing a draft of the Core2Core Website. The 7th and 8th week will be used for documenting and creating content for both Core2Core and Osaka Photonics Initiative.

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Osaka Photonics Center: Balancing Jobs and The Beginning of Core2Core Website

This week I continued the web design work for the Osaka Photonics Initiative and the writing to create the articles for the website. I was able to complete the framework for the full site and all we need now is to complete the content. I wrote the articles “Photonics: An Enabling Technology”, “Photonics in Education”,  “Photonics: A Growing Field of Study”, “What is Photonics?” and “Photonics: The Pro Environment Science.” The remaining articles will be written by a co-worker in the near future while I do other web development and design work.

My supervisor Iwasaki Sensei was impressed by the quality and the pace of my work. After finishing the articles and framework for the Osaka Photonics initiative, he assigned me to work on two new projects. My assignments were to create a website for one of OPC’s conferences and create a blog post about my experience for the monthly newsletter. The conference I am creating a website for is called Core2Core. It is an event where students from universities from all around the world come to Osaka University in order to learn about photonics and share ideas with fellow students. Individuals from over 10 countries will be viewing the site so I need to create an intuitive design that will allow users to easily register, obtain information or become a sponsor of the conference. Moving into my 5th week, I need to figure out how to balance my time between adding content to Osaka Photonics Initiative, creating the website for Core2Core and writing the article for the monthly newsletter.

Osaka Photonics Center: Still Learning And Starting New Projects

It’s now the third week of my internship at Osaka University’s Photonics Center and I’m starting to feel at home here. We had another meeting to discuss my work and how I could best help the Photonics Center to the best of my ability. The two topics we discussed were my involvement with The Osaka Photonics initiative and also my future involvement in the revitalization of the Osaka Photonics Center’s main website. For the Osaka Photonics Initiative, we discussed the approach I should take while developing the other pages for the website. We also made a working list of some of the articles need to be created for the site. I was put in charge of creating most of these article so I’ll need to look over some information and think of a way to create easy to understand explanations for photonics concepts that can be understood by individuals in the community. We also spent a lot of time talking about the revitalization of the Osaka Photonics Center’s main website. We have a group of developers doing the backend- development for new website. I’ll be one of two developers that will be doing design work for the front-end. We still do not know when the back-end development will be completed so I will be focusing my time between writing articles for the Osaka Photonics initiative and designing the other web pages. Another task we have is the linkage of the Osaka Photonics Initiative to the Osaka Photonics Centers main homepage. We still need to decide how we are going to link the two together.

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Osaka Photonics Initiative: Developing a Vision

By the end of the second week of my internship I think I’ve started to get a little used to being in Japan. The previously bizarre customs and formalities due to the cultural shock of being in japan have started to become more familiar occurrences for me. My uptake of the language has also been going great. I’ve learned so much in the time  since my arrival because very few people speak English. This week, I continued doing work on the Osaka Photonics Initiative. This week was crucial for the entire movement because we need to figure out exactly what we hope to accomplish with the initiative so we can focus our efforts. After a few meetings and discussions, we decided that the movement would focus on Teachers, Students, Community and Industry. As a resource for teachers it would give them the tools to teach photonics in their classroom and inform them on the importance of photonics. As a resource for students, we want it to teach them about the growing field of photonics and give them the opportunity to get involved through photonic projects, events or OSA/SPIE student chapters. As a resource for community, we want to let government and citizens now about what photonics is and how it is both ecofriendly and creating a lot of jobs. As a resource for Industry, we hope to educate companies that using photonics is a great idea because it is a cheap and ecofriendly alternative to a lot of more harmful sciences. These ideas have become the foundation for the project.

I used my experience in Illustrator and Photoshop in order to develop some possible logos for the movement but in the end we decided that we were just going to use the school’s crest because we decided that we wanted the school to benefit from the traffic that will frequent the website. I began creating the template for the website. The template included the navigation bar, the body, the head banner and the site map at the bottom. I created the template by utilizing my knowledge of Bootstrap’s grid system. Bootstrap was my tool of choice for the project because it is extremely modern and compatible with mobile devices. In order to make the web page even more robust and professional, I spent a lot of time learning and implementing media queries that will detect the screen size and then show exclusive content for different devices. After I finished the initial version of the template, I had to spend a lot of time on bug fixes and small adjustments to padding and margins. Once the first version of the template was done I meet with my supervisors to go over the template and changes. After receiving feedback, I went ahead and made the necessary changes. Once a finalized version of the template was created, I started the development of the homepage. I wanted the home page to be great for a few reasons. The first one is that the homepage is page that will receive the highest amount of traffic. The second part is the homepage is the most important page for user retention. If the homepage is strong the user will stay and if it’s weak the user is more likely to leave. I decided to go with a block design where each block is a featured article. I thought this design would be hip and cool because the HD images would make the site look futuristic and high end. In order to implement the block system I had to spend a lot of time learning and working with Image manipulation. I got a good version of the homepage working but it still needs some more time to be prepared for launch.

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The Beginning of The Osaka Photonics Initiative

This was the first week of my internship at Osaka University’s Photonics Center. I flew into Tokyo on Monday around 3 and I made it to Osaka around midnight.  I got to experience sunlight for 48 hours during my travel to Osaka as a result of how time zones and the sun’s rotation work. Once I arrived at my housing, went to bed because I was exhausted from the trip. The next day was the first day of my internship. I was told to arrive for my first day at around 10:30. When I arrived, everyone at the office was having their weekly tea time which they have every Tuesday at 10:30. I had the opportunity to talk to everyone at the center and I also had the opportunity to try a lot of different Japanese snacks. During my first day on the job, I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of the staff and students and learn about their involvement at Osaka University and the surrounding community. Notably I was interested by their yearly program called “child science super light school” where they teach children grades 4-6th about light and photonics through hands on projects. For the remainder of Monday, I was asked to help out with some graphics design work and a meeting was arranged for Tuesday to discuss the project that they planned for me to lead during my time here. On Tuesday I learned that the project I would be leading is The Osaka Photonics Initiative; A project that will enable members of the community to learn about photonics and how it is used in everyday life. It will also give teachers the resources to easily teach photonics concepts to their students through hands on learning projects. To start the process of creating this online resource, there was an initial interview where we discussed the vision and objectives for the initiative. Once the meeting was finished I took the list of objectives and designed a few mock site with these ideas in mind. They included PDF layouts, color schemes and page organization documents. Once these were created, I had another meeting with my supervisors where we decided on which format we wanted to move forward with. After we decided on one I went ahead and started to create the homepage for the website using BootStrap, CSS, HTML and Dreamweaver. My first week was extremely busy but I was able to accomplish a lot.

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