Thursday, 25 March 2010

Week Four, Month one complete.

Week Four started off with a Monday, of course.

Everyone clambered into the Studio for another week of "intense' programming. We were told this week we would be mainly focusing on our preparations for the Cambridgeshire Premier Business Fair that we will attend on thursday, 22nd of April. We managed all our tasks we needed to complete into an order of priority onto the whiteboard. For the On-coming days the whiteboard would be the focus point of most of our work. We needed to contact suppliers about banners, post it notes, business cards, leaflets and shirts. We went about this by searching each necessary criteria on the FSB (Federation of Small Business's) directory, and filled in our white board table.

Tuesday took a turn for the worst for a certain Apprentice, when an ill-advised Facebook status led to the inevitable bombardment of innuendo's and witty remarks as soon as he stepped foot inside the studio. This soon blew over as our first task was set. We were told we had to focus on the banner design for the Business Fair, which entailed a lot of deliberating about what would catch a customers eye and what information we wanted to say about the company. After lunch Mel asked us to assist him with fixing some software he had that required a UTC timezone, it would crash if it was not changed before daylight savings, Sunday... the pressure was on.

Wednesday came quickly, we already had some preset tasks that still needed completion and we cracked onto it straight away. We eventually had our table near to completion with a list of suppliers, prices and contact details, all that was left was to pick and choose the best one which suited our needs. Finally we had three banner designs, the designs were rough, but we had them :).

Thursday.. Pay Day!
We all piled into the studio for our last day, to finish off a whole month, of being SrumiT Apprentice's. Our table was finally complete, we had a wider range of suppliers and a clearer idea of which one's we were going to choose. Also we stumbled across a few solutions for the UTC time zone issue and towards the end of the day, we started on it.

Lunch Menu, Week Four:

Monday: Enchilada's
Tuesday: Pie and Chips
Wednesday: Pasta Bake
Thursday: Subway

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Week three finished

A new week ahead and we were given yet more new challenges. On Monday we all arrived to find Linux Computers in place of the Macs. This was because of the new project that we had been asked to complete. Mel believed that the successful completion of this project would help us to learn and have a better understanding of python. The program was 'Guido van Robot' or GvR. Tasked with doing 18 lessons, each of which increased in difficulty, to teach us the different ways to direct the application and control the program with a series of coded instructions. The aim of the lessons was to input the correct instructions to control the movement and direction of a robot named Guido. The lessons provided a scenario and a pre-determined path which our instructions had to follow. Guido was represented on screen as an arrow on a grid enclosed by impenetrable walls. This project was designed to help us understand how the programming language python works as GvR involves using the same statements as the afore mentioned language. On the first day we completed all the basic lessons, and understood the different concepts of the program. We all got to the stage where we could link the different instructions, and we were using the if, else, elif and while instructions.

On Tuesday, we carried on where we left off, then progressed to doing GvR lessons which were far more complex. These new tasks involved more thought, and also involved using many loop instructions. For the latter part of the lessons we had to think about the many different problems that came up. We found the solutions to these problems involved successfully linking the different instructions together to create algorithms. As the projects got larger, we faced another problem with the monitor screen size. This was an issue as we could not see all of what was happening in the programs so we were not always sure that they were successful!

By Wednesday we had all got to the final stages of the lessons, both personally, and as a team. Although we did each lesson singularly, any time a problem arouse we each suggested ideas as possible solutions. Fairly early on in the day we all finished and talked about the different ways we had completed the lessons. With these lessons we started to get an understanding of what would be required in writing programs in python, and the issues that we would have to think about. Even though this was challenging it was interesting and the fact we had successfully created these programs gave us a small sense of real achievement. While we were finishing this, Mel had invited Andrew to check on our progress and we all had a meeting with the both of them so they could check how we were doing with the work.

After checking that everything was fine for everyone on the team, Mel set us another task. The Huntingdon Business Fair 2010 takes place in the near future and we had to start thinking now about what will be needed. We proceeded to brainstorm and chart on the white-board about all the different things that would be needed in order to ensure the successful promotion and advertising of ScrumIT.

Thursday was a little uncomfortable for some of us. We had to take the next step by contacting local businesses and obtaining prices on all the different items we need for the fair - and this is still ongoing. However, we had to call a halt to this in the afternoon because of a visit by Jo Hinson from the regional college. This occupied the rest of the afternoon - signing papers, and checking forms so that we can start our course in the near future (end of April or start of May).

This weeks lunches:
Monday- Made our own pizza
Tuesday- Beans on Toast and a fried egg
Wednesday- Subway :-)
Thursday- Spag Bol

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Second week

Quote of the week: "I'm not gay"- Ben Chaffe

On Monday we came to work ready to continue with our barcode idea. We attempted to install the Android Scripting Environment, but came up with many problems. We then proceeded to do another CRC session where we recapped what we had talked about in the previous week. In the Afternoon two leather sofa's were delivered and we had an awkward time trying to get the large one up the stairs.
Tuesday started on a more successful note as we finally got the software installed after one of the apprentices found the solution at home on Monday night. In the afternoon three men turned up with photography gear. We felt awkward. We were forced into action poses that were very unnatural and uncomfortable. The main photographer couldn't remember our names so he gave us nicknames:
Superman- Phil
Old Navy- Ben
... - Lewis
Emma- Emma
Guy In Blue- Carl
White Tie - Louis
You- Tom
After a few photos, Mel was brought into the shots. A natural. After several dozen action shots we were taken outside for a team photo, and got into superhero positions. It was just about to rain and was very cold. Wet.
Then wednesday came, and we tried to find the code for our new application that would allow us to use an external video source on the emulator. After lunch we watched youtube videos including "Charlie the Unicorn" and the remix of "Charlie Bit Me" this lightened our moods and we sat around and worked together on using the emulator.
Today- Thursday, Mel went to collect Dave, our wages and also our lunch. We were left alone for a good part of 3 hours. Work was done.
During the week we discussed a team building day. We created a poll on Facebook which we could vote for our preferred activity. Unfortunately, it was a public poll and people that we don't know voted on it anonymously as if they thought they were part of the team. We have now decided that a poll on the whiteboard would be easier after finding out the hard way.

This weeks lunches:
Monday- We had a Swedish breakfast which consisted of Sausages, Bacon, Rösti, Beans, Tomato and Mushrooms and coke.
Tuesday- Stir fry.
Wednesday- Chicken Pie and Chips
Thursday- Subway.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

First Week up to now

Quote of the Week: Tusk Tusk Tusk - courtesy of Phils dad!

Nervous and excited, just some of the emotions felt upon arrival at our informal interview which quickly dispersed after meeting the rest of the team. We soon settled down and felt comfortable in our surroundings...too comfortable some might say. Our first day consisted of a group discussion in which we introduced ourselves.

Our first voyage into the world of programming was to design a phone application. The goal of this application was to utilise a camera to scan a barcode to find the price of an item. We all took on the role of an object which would allow the programme to work. We then proceeded to design the software based on our user cases. At first we found roleplaying slightly awkward, but soon got into the flow and within an hour and a half we had designed our first piece of software. The process of roleplaying not only helped us achieve our goal, but also to feel comfortable speaking in front of the rest of the team.

The next day, slightly bleary eyed but enthusiastic (so much so that half the team showed up thirty minutes early!) we planned the days events. This entailed designing and producing a widget application for our desktop (Snow Leopard OS) in Javascript. As we were given a task with no further instructions, we decided to research the process which would allow us to download and install the software needed to create them. Following a Youtube tutorial, we each created a widget application which ranged from a Google search application, to a Widget that showed the current BBC news headlines. We found this task enjoyable and were pleased with the end result. End of day two, first piece of software!

On day three, with strict instructions to not turn up until 10 a.m, we gathered out the front and discussed the previous days events. The conclusion of this discussion was that to date it had been a relaxed and enjoyable learning process. At 9:59 we proceeded into the building, which was surprisingly tidy after Mels cleaning spree. However, we were greeted by a piece of paper blu-tacked to the studio door, telling us to download "Eclipse" and "Android SDK". This wasn't as easy as expected due to our experience, or lack thereof, of using Apple Macs. We soon found that downloading three sets of the same files was a slow and unnecessary process (not to be repeated!. Once installed and running (About 3 hours later!) we used Eclipse to view source code of sample applications which we then ran in an emulated version of Android (LunarLander, the worlds WORST game). Although slightly daunting at first we realised the capabilities of the software and look forward to learning more and creating an Android application.

Today we have been concentrating on improving our surroundings. This has included the installation of whiteboards and general maintenance of the building. We were made aware of the "Huntingdonshire Business Fair" which we will be attending on Thursday the 22nd of April. As this will be the first time that the majority of us have attended a business fair we look forward to the experience and the opportunity to promote the company. The one negative of today would be the god-awful photo shoot in which it became apparent that a few of us are very uncomfortable with having a camera within a 20 yard proximity.

In conclusion, the week has been a funny, eventful and sometimes hectic welcoming to our careers as programmers. Something we did not expect, however, was the courtesy at Mels lunchtime restaurant. Our fine dining experience has included: Bacon and tofu sausage sandwiches on day one, Chicken Super-Noodles on day two, A subway lunch on day three and finally Chicken Fajitas today.