Graduation and the future

Booked a graduation ceremony at last. Trying to find a suitable location, that fits in around work and family is a bit of a Travelling Salesman Problem.

I’m still not sure where to go next.

My current contract employs me until the end of 2021. Looking at an MSc with the OU, the Information Security and Forensics specialism looks fascinating and will no doubt continue to be an important area of the industry. To complete the qualification by 2021, I would need to register on Digital Forensics (M812) to start in May.

That means I could have started an MSc before my BSc graduation ceremony!


The torturous wait for TM470 results and the associated degree classification is finally over. BSc (Hons) in Computing and Information Technology with upper second-class honours!

Glad it’s over, happy with the result. No idea what I’m doing next.

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.

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.

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.


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.


[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!

Install Android Studio on Ubuntu


Android Studio is a great development environment and is available on Ubuntu. I’m using Ubuntu Mate 16.10 “Yakkety Yak”.
First install a Java Development Kit (JDK). OpenJDK is pre-installed or you can use Oracle Java 8 (there is a great guide here). I don’t wish to argue over your choice – I need to use the latter (my tutor does). Download Android Studio here. – I extracted it to /opt; ran the installer; and used my home folder for the SDK. If you are using 64 bit, you need the 32 bit GNU standard C++ library:
sudo apt install lib32stdc++6

For Arch you need to enable “multilib” repository:

<code><span class="pln">sudo pacman </span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="typ">Syu</span> <span class="pun">&amp;&amp;</span><span class="pln"> sudo pacman </span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="pln">S multilib</span><span class="pun">/</span><span class="pln">lib32</span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="pln">libstdc</span><span class="pun">++</span><span class="lit">5</span><span class="pln"> multilib</span><span class="pun">/</span><span class="pln">lib32</span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="pln">zlib</span></code>

Virtualisation support is interesting. I read two tutorial and Google’s guide. The former makes reference to command line options not in version 2.2.2. These posts suggest this is a bug, but it may now be default behaviour. First enable that virtualisation in BIOS (check if enabled using “kvm-ok”).

sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm libvirt-bin ubuntu-vm-builder bridge-utils
sudo adduser dougie kvm
sudo adduser dougie libvirtd

This results in an error.

Using the system version of works. Add the following to /etc/environment:


It seems snappy but with no feedback I’m unsure if accelerated.

So I now have a development environment set up for my project. The next hurdle is to choose a title. So far it is a: development project; distributed application; and uses Android.