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.

[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!

TM470

After a false start when The Open University opened the TM470 module site, we got back on track on Wednesday. Although the module doesn’t start until February, I need to decide a project to assign a tutor.
 
I read the study guide and project choice pages. Self development is key, by being a reflective practitioner.
 
My project can be research, development or evaluation. It should develop knowledge acquired at level three, where I took:
  • Developing Concurrent Distributed Systems (M362),
  • IT Systems Planning for Success (TM353) and
  • Software Engineering (TM354).
I also want to use:
  • Algorithms Data Structures and Computability (M269) as I enjoyed the subject and
  • Web Technologies (TT284) as I enjoyed mobile application development and gained a distinction.
Developing a mobile application with a software engineering approach makes sense. There are techniques and approaches from TM353 that help. For TT284 I used MIT’s AppInventor but would like to use Google’s Android Studio. I worked through the tutorials and it offers a comprehensive suite of tools and runs on Ubuntu.
 
The trick is to be find an achievable solution to a defined problem. I have ideas but have lots of research ahead of me. I am writing down ideas in a notebook as I get them and aim to decide in the next few weeks.
 
Throughout I am going to blog, more for myself than anything else. I’ve noticed students reaching out for support on Twitter. While being careful about plagiarism, thought’s trigger conversations we wouldn’t otherwise have.

Exam time again!

I did the TM353 and TM354 exams this week. The former was a nightmare memory test of trivia and the latter a lot clearer.

TM353 is typical of a number of exams I have sat with the Open University – it’s as if the exam was an afterthought. In all honesty the module can be more accurately assessed using continuos assessment (which it already has). This sort of exam isn’t testing understanding or further reading – simply the ability to memorize small details. As anyone who knows me knows – my memory is bordering on hilarious.

TM354 was much better in what it was testing but again, asks the question why not rely on continuous assessment? Am I likely to remember OCL syntax this time next year? Of course not but I’ll be able to look it up.

Anyway, hopefully I did OK and I’m just left with the Computing and IT  Project (TM470). That starts in January and until then I plan on training BJJ, running, reading and watching a bunch of Netflix!

Progress

Well I haven’t posted in ages but I’m down to a single TMA and two exams before I start the computing and IT project (TM470).

I’ve got what I think is a sound idea that builds on TT284, M362, TM353 and TM354 so fingers crossed. Its an integrated system developing an Android app, web app and a hardware solution that utilises near field communication (NFC) and is built on a Raspberry Pi B+.

So far my main issue has been getting back on top of Python. I haven’t used it since M269.