Professor develops new iPod app

By Carleen Boyer

Contributing Writer

A new University iPhone, iPod, and iPad application was released on Jan. 19 by associate professor of computer science Richard Zaccone. The application includes resources for University students such as maps of the campus, dining menus, people search, campus news and courses offered to students.

Zaccone worked with Aurimas Liutikas ’12, a computer science and engineering student, on the original program that had begun in one of his fall semester classes, but tweaked many of the original program’s features.

The project “started as a class and Aurimas and I took what the class did as a starting point. We rewrote almost everything,” Zaccone said. Though many changes were made to the project, Zaccone still notes the significance of the class’s work on the project. “There’s a lot of utility in making a stab at it and failing.”

The application has collected nearly 400 downloads from the iTunes store, with the greatest number of downloads coming from the U.S., and the second-highest number of downloads coming from China.

The program was first released in beta form, and feedback from the students was incorporated into changes made in the programming. Many current students suggested that the application should contain the dining menus from across campus, and Liutikas and Zaccone incorporated this suggestion.

In addition, they decided to fix deficiencies in current programming and on the University’s website. The people search feature that functions as a directory was changed to incorporate automatic feedback. Aside from these changes made to the directory, the campus map on the application is much more detailed, containing pictures of each building on campus with information about the buildings.

One feature particularly useful to prospective students is the locator on the map, which allows the person holding an iTouch, iPhone, or iPad to locate him- or herself on the map. It also includes a feature which allows the map to rotate depending on which direction the person is facing.

“The map portion is very useful. You can get a list of all the buildings on campus, click on them and know where you are. You’ll never get lost,” Liz Ziebarth ’14 said.

Constantly changing technology had to be considered through the development of this application. “The biggest change for us was the iPad. We had to restructure a lot of our software when the iPad came out,” Zaccone said. Despite this slight setback, Zaccone and Liutikas still managed to make the application compatible for Apple devices.

Zaccone hopes to expand his horizons to products such as various versions of Android, but after that he wants it to be “what they call a universal app, so it runs on all devices.”

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