Sunday, 15 January 2012

1970s Style Laptop - My new project logbook

I couldn't resist it, I needed a log book for my TM470 project and saw this in a stationary shop called scribbler today and had to buy it.

It's approximately one hundred pages with ruling on one side and the other side being plain, which should accommodate sketching and capturing of information as I work through my project. I'll eventually have to digitise a lot of the information but it will be a useful thing to have a round.

At £6.99 it's certainly the cheapest laptop I have ever bought... and it will never crash!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

TM470 and my new keyboard

Here it is, the MK520 logitech keyboard! So after a late night of frustration trying to work up a CENTOS 6 installation with JBOSS in Virtual Box I realised that a Mac Keyboard being used in a Linux OS via Windows 7 really wasn't working. I had been trying to get an example instance set up of the Virtual Private Server that I am going to use to host my project application on but the keyboard mappings for Mac keyboards were appalling. 

I decided to go down to PC WORLD this morning and hunt for a keyboard that I could comfortably code on late into the night and would map smoothly onto the Linux operating system and my current setup. After playing around with various keyboards I settled on the MK520 which is pictured below, after 5 hours coding I'd definitely recommend it!
As for the project, I've been working up the project idea in the course forums and it seems to be going well. Without going into too much detail at the moment I am working on an idea for a Java based web application for a corporate service. I've registered my domain name and started to work up my ideas, I'll be keeping a separate project blog but will try to incorporate some of the information as I progress into this blog so that those of you who are interested, or future TM470 students can get an idea of whats involved.

As an overview of what the course has gone like so far (its not even started formally!) once I got around to being able to access the web forums there are two major forums, a project choice forum and a general discussion forum. The project choice forum is a place for all students to post ideas and contribute comments to each others ideas, providing feedback and suggestions where appropriate. For those people who are yet to identify a project, students have been posting the courses that they have previously studied and topic areas with other students trying to help provide suggestions. The course team are also very active posting responses to project ideas and help to try and focus ideas where they are too broad, or widen ideas that are far too focused. The general discussion forum is there to provide a place for discussions around other topics such as "which IDE should I use?".

So far we have had to submit a tutor assignment form, where you list the courses that you have studied in the past or are currently studying and rank the two topics that you wish to base your project upon in priority order. For me this is M362 Concurrent and Distributed Systems and M359 Relational Database Theory and Practice. 

I am expecting to be allocated to a tutor towards the end of the month and will post anything else of relevance that comes up as the course continues.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Back from Christmas and the M359 Results and TM470 registration

Ok, lets go.... Final module of my BSc (Hons) in computing is about to begin, Christmas has been and gone and it seems like a blink of the eye ago that I sat my Exams.

The M359 result came in over the Christmas break and I scored a disappointing Pass 3 with an OCAS score of 81% and an OES of 58%. Whilst it was a disappointing result and the poorest result I have had with the OU to date, reading my blog posts back it was quite obvious that I didn't have the usual enthusiasm for this course and ultimately my final grade reflects that.

It is frustrating because if I had pulled my finger out a little more I know I could have done a lot better but hindsight truly is a wonderful thing and when life and work is already on top of you its easy to reprioritise your M359 efforts.

Whilst the grade is what it is I am still looking for a strong 2:1 degree if TM470 goes well and I am quite excited about getting started on it. I parted with the £735.00 a few days ago, which to be honest seems steep for a 30 point module which is likely to have far less support than any module I have studied. I can't help feel that its the final milking of the Student before they graduate, and when it's your own money you've saved up it makes you that bit more conscious of how you spend it. I'll be interested to see if I still feel this way come completion.

I've got an idea for a project and after all my thoughts around carrying out a project on AI based work, over the Christmas break I have come up with a new idea for a concurrent distributed system. It will be a big piece of work and I will probably only have time to do some basic work on it during this project, but if it does go well it is something that could be developed and commercialised so it gives me that bit of extra drive to make it work. More on that to come once it has been approved, for now I wait with baited breath for the course module information to become available so I can get on with the project.

I'm intending on running a project log through a blog but I'll post all that information up once it has been created. I've been looking at project management tools and I think I'm going to take run the management through BaseCamp which is a basic project management facility allowing milestone setting, document storage and note making facilities. You can host one project for free at BaseCamp by visiting this link. I've also been looking at source control hosting and have been debating between Google Code and Git Hub  I'll post up once I've decided on which to go with.

Until then good luck with the 2012 study!