What a weight off my shoulders!

 

I haven’t posted in a long time. I’ve been busy with the final part of my Open University studies – TM470 (The Computing and IT Project). But I submitted it in the early hours of this morning!

My project was an Android application, the development of which I have enjoyed. Over the next few months I intend to develop another application and post here on the process.

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Final push

TM470 Tutor Marked Assessment results are out. With 73, 75 and 81% there is weighting to consider – 5% for the first and 10% for the others. That gives a total score of 19.25%. The pass mark is 40%, with at least that much in the End of Module Assessment.
 
I’m also in a funny position. Given my scores on other modules no matter the result of this module (assuming I pass), then I get a 2:1. There’s another thing – I’ve taken this qualification over about eight years. That rules out British Computer Society accreditation as that requires qualification over six.
 
So I can’t say that I have the best motivation – I want it over. There are a pile of books, games, movies and TV shows waiting. I’m tired of planning my life around study. It feels like a chore now.
 
Learning is something to enjoy – studying is not.
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Making time

I picked up Happiness by design, The Organised Mind, Birth of a Theorem, and Periodic Tales a few months ago. To make time I have started getting up an hour earlier.

For the most part its been great (with the exception of Tuesday when I run with a friend). Its working well. Having read Happiness by Design, now I’m half way through The Organised Mind. The latter has taught me that I need to focus on one thing at a time – our brains not being designed to multitask.

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Some thoughts on Wireless charging

I bought an Anker PowerPort Qi 10 inductive charger from Amazon (£13.99). I’ve seen a few people online complaining that it isn’t “wireless charging” because it’s still “plugged in” – a farcical complaint akin to suggesting that the device draw current from the ether.

Without doubt one of the most convenient devices I’ve used – put your phone on it and off it goes. The only things that are worth bearing in mind are that you need to use a fast charger if you want it to fast charge.

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Where to start

Like many students I imagine, I’d no idea where to start with my final project. Having read the preparatory material I had some idea of what was expected but didn’t understand how to write a proposal.

The book How to Write Dissertations & Project Reports (McMillan and Weyers) has been invaluable. While the first tutor marked assessment is the proposal itself, I needed somewhere to start and the chapter on writing a proposal is clear and concise.

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Tutor allocation

The university allocated my tutor this weekend. Seems quite real now – going to be busy for the next six months!

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Student deregistration

An oversubscribed TM470 has seen the Open University de-register students. It seems the University was unable to recruit enough tutors. I was fortunate to secure a place but can only imagine the frustration of those who didn’t.

I would make an educated guess that there are two reasons for the increased volume. First the introduction of tuition fees. Five years after their introduction, transitional arrangements end this year. Second, B62 degree is being removed (of which this is a compulsory module). I would have thought extending this degree for a further year would be a solution.

This doesn’t show the University in its best light.

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Secure Android Development, project preparation, a cold and a new year

It’s been a mixed start to the new year. Watching what I eat for the rest of January, damn you Christmas. Back at work after three weeks off, achieved nothing and left by eleven. My ego got the better of me and I went for a run despite having a cold, so am now suffering. Need to shift it with the first cross country league race on Wednesday. I can’t help wondering why generic medicines are so much cheaper than brand names.

Finally got around to ordering a replacement Acer V3-112P screen. Replacement was straight forward. Like most avionics technicians, I breathed a sigh of relief when the LED panel lit up proving the fault. The old girl is now sitting running a million updates courtesy of Microsoft.

While many Linux advocates eschew Microsoft, I prefer Office (Home Use Program). Like current, I take the path of least resistance and I use Word and Excel so often I know them inside out. Linux is an outstanding development platform, I’m using it for TM470.

TM470 project preparation continues, reviewing both TM353 and TM354. FutureLearn is a fantastic resource with a course on Secure Android Development. Delivered by the University of Southampton, it started last week. I haven’t decided the tool chain yet, particularly versioning. I have used SVN and Bazaar, which I prefer as it integrates well with Launch Pad. I won’t be using LP though so should investigate Mercurial and Git.

Read Original Sin too – best Marvel I’ve read in ages. Like Murder She Wrote in space. A real page turner, I read it in one sitting.

Something that didn’t grip me was the Assassin’s Creed movie. It starts off quite well, with a similar story to the games. It suffers the same problem as earlier games though – the present interrupts more interesting stories in the past. What I don’t get though is why option a game as a property then try not to appeal to that market?

What I haven’t made time for though is the Nintendo Classic Mini. I played a little Ghosts ‘n Goblins – damn I forgot how hard games were then. I always thought as a kid that I’d somehow be better at them as an adult but I guess I didn’t factor in reactions.

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Feedback

I got an email from the TM470 Chair this evening:

I would like to remind you that in order for us to allocate you a tutor you need to complete the Project Registration Form, a link to which can be found on the TM470 Study Planner.  This project registration form needs to be completed asap.

I did this weeks ago, so I figured this is a generic email. In turn it seems to have caused a minor outcry in the project preparation forum. But if you look at the bottom of the registration form:

“Feedback” is a concept the relates to visibility, it makes clear what was achieved (M150 Block 3 Unit 12, page 20). Funny how the university doesn’t always take its own advice.

It has reminded me to revisit design principles though.

 

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[Insert project title here]

An Android fitness tracker application. Feedback from the preparation forum was positive, there is enough scope to expand or contract the project as needed. Importantly, it is “substantially within the sphere of information technology”.

Taking approaches from IT Systems Planning for Success (TM353) and an Agile approach from Software Engineering (TM354) meets the requirements. There is a substantial part of the application that needs synchronise with a server, utilising another level 3 module Developing Concurrent Distributed Systems (M362).

What I haven’t decided is the title!

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