During Holy Week, the Student Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), aka the University of Dallas computer club, released what they hope is the answer, a public beta version of their latest project: CALvin (Captive Auto-Login and Verification of Identity for Networks).
The result of a project that began in mid-February, CALvin takes login usernames and passwords from devices once, and from then on will automatically log the laptop onto UDair.
“Back in my freshman year I wrote a tiny program to automatically log me in to UDair,” senior and club president Brian McCutcheon said. “Our ACM Student Chapter has been trying to hold hackathons to give students experience with large collaborative software projects, and I thought it would be a good idea to make a better version of my little program for our next hackathon.”
The name was inspired by Bill Watterson’s famous comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes.”
The process is simple: download the public beta from UDComputerClub.github.io/calvin, double-click calvin.jar to run the program and and enter your username and password.
The site states that the software is currently in public beta.
“CALvin is not considered stable yet,” McCutcheon said. “I’ve been using it for a while, though, and it seems to rarely fail. We may change a lot before we make the final release.”
He asks that anyone who tries out the program report any bugs he finds to firstname.lastname@example.org so the computer club can fix the issue.
The computer club’s hackathons have been its most successful events.
They started last semester, when sophomore Ted Morin organized a team to build a web application. In all, around 15 students majoring in computer science, math, physics and even art came together over Labor Day weekend to build EvolveYoself.com, a Pokemon-inspired app that allows you to evolve one picture into another.
“The goal of the Labor Day web app was to get a website up and running and to give people the experience of setting up a websitet o show them what it takes to get a website up and running,” Morin said.
EvolveYoself.com still lacks many of the features initially intended for the project, but the journey toward building the website was the real goal. CALvin shares this primary goal: to give students practice in building real-world applications using current technologies.
“Working on CALvin really helped me in computer science,” sophomore Peter Lieblang said. “Not in the theoretical classwork way, but by giving me practical coding experience.”
Lieblang is one of the top contributors to CALvin, with over 3,600 lines of code to his name.
CALvin currently runs on Windows and macOS, but the developers promise an Ubuntu/Linux Mint version soon. iPhones and Androids may have to wait a bit longer, though, depending on the amount of interest.
“Apple charges $99 a year to develop for iPhone,” McCutcheon said. “And it is uncertain whether Google and Apple … would accept such a specific app, which is unlikely to be of interest to anyone outside of the UD community. Moreover, it would be a lot more work.”
Despite the issues with mobile, McCutcheon and the club are excited about CALvin’s progress, and they look forward to the campus community using the software.
“I see two purposes for CALvin: to make people’s lives easier, and, like all of our hackathons and most of our events, to teach students about programming,” McCutcheon said.