Friday, October 20, 2017

Weekly Learning Journal Post - Week 91

You can. You Did. The End.

Well, here we are. I went back and looked at the first post on this blog.

January 5, 2016.
They also say the greatest adventure begins with a step. Day one of a journey I promised to take 40 years ago. Let's see where it goes...

I can see everything I have done. Pro seminar, Multimedia Design, Internet Programming, Intro to Database Systems, Ethics in Comms and Tech, Software Design, Service Learning, Algorithms, Software Engineering, Computer Architecture and the Directed Capstone. When you look at it, it is something to be proud of.

I am glad the project is done. Everything is submitted. Project is turned in. And while I am not done, the end is near. I look forward to hearing all of my fellow students projects.

As I end this journal, I would like to thank the CSUMB staff for their help. I would like to thank Dr Tao for his help and leadership. I would like to thank each of the professors. I learned something from each and every one of you.

Finally, I would like to thank my classmate Joe Sarabia. Throughout my courses here and my frustration and confusion and every other issue I had, he always offered to help. When I didn't understand something, he was always willing to spend the extra time to get me up to speed. When we had group projects together, he helped lead the way. And when I struggled with concepts, he helped me understand. If there was ever someone who didn't need to go to school, who went to college because they needed a piece of paper to prove what they already knew - it's Joe. Joe, when you are a famous entrepreneur and need a tech janitor - remember me!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Weekly Learning Journal Post - Week 90

The light at the end of the tunnel, is it a oncoming train??

So we reach the end of week 7. Most of the courses here at CSUMB have been marathons. You need to pace yourself to reach the end. But not CST-499. No sir, this class is a full-on sprint.

In the matter of a week I have produced a 35 page paper - okay, only the last 17 pages. But still.

I have produced a 14 minute video, cut down to a 11 minute video, down to a 9 minute video.

I have produced a ILP web page with all of my projects from the last two years.

I took a crazy test in which my panic was only second to my feeling of like I lived in Russia. And in mother Russia, test takes YOU!

And I discovered a major flaw in my software project in which only revealed itself in real world devices, not the emulated kind used in production. Fortunately, I was able to recover and proceed but not without the loss of a few hairs from my head (which I could ill afford to lose), a few tears that almost fell and many nights of truncated sleep. But here we are.

But overall, I have a sense of satisfaction. I know that I have done my best on all of these. CSUMB got the best I had to give. And I guess, that's all anyone can do - their best.

I find it weird that I am feeling a sense of sadness at the end of the program, even though it has been the most stressful and simultaneously rewarding experiences of my life.

One more week to go, let the countdown begin!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Weekly Learning Journal Post - Week 89

Hey, can you take a look at this?

This week as been eventful. Not eventful in a good way, but more along the lines of the Chinese proverb/curse "May you live in interesting times."

I have pretty severe test anxiety. I will be taking the ETS test this week, but I am not feeling comfortable. In my 25+ years of IT, not once have I been in a situation where I had to figure something out, on one try, without having access to materials to assist. It is a reason I chose the field. And I appreciate Cassandra reaching out to me, trying to alleviate my fears. Still, I am very nervous.

Then there is the app of ultimate frustration....The gradle that was running my application crashed a second time. Fortunately, I made a backup of the entire project at Cassandra's behest. I was able to just abandon the crashed project and reload. However, I had lost about 3-4 hours of progress on the modifier function within the app.

In the middle of the project, I kept on getting an error when trying to produce the .apk file. It kept telling me that it couldn't find one of the art images used in the home screen. However when I run it in the virtual gradle of the Android studio. Finally, converting an old Android into a developer device and allowing Android studio to run the app directly to the phone I was able to get it to run. Okay, so the error has something to do with the Android studio and not the actual project. I finally was able to create an 'unsecure' apk and send it off to my test users in San Diego. Also, I was able to sideload the apk onto the dev phone I have.

On the final faculty/team meeting, I went into a state of panic when I received a message that I had missed the meeting. Scouring my calendar and e-mails trying to figure out HOW I had. Fortunately, I had not missed the meeting - it was an erroneous message. However in my panic, I forgot to prep my Android Studio to demonstrate the project. No problem, I will just reload it... Except, once more, I had a gradle crash. In the middle of the meeting ... With my two professors and my TA ... With a 10 minute window to resolve the issue. I don't know if my desire to throw up was apparent to the other people in the meeting, but I felt a little ill.

Fortunately, again because of Cassandra's backup warning. I had a backup of the app. I was able to load the backup and make a demonstration of the work to date. Still, I feel like I missed something from Dr Tao and Professor Robertson that should have been shared because I was in troubleshooting mode throughout the project.

And finally, because of my delay in getting the apk out, I haven't received many of my responses from my application testers. I told them I needed it by Tuesday night. I probably needed it by Monday night, but didn't make that leap in logic. And I suspect I will get some tonight. However I sent the picture above to all my testers, in jest of course.

Have I told you that I will be glad to be done with this project but feel melancholy that the journey is almost done? I will miss the structure that this course has provided for me. Not only in my personal life, but my professional life as well.

Also, my mind is starting to process the next step. Grad school. Apparently, I am a glutton for punishment. :)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Weekly Learning Journal Post - Week 88

Well, here goes something...

So, we approach the end of the class. My project is not coming along as well as I would have expected. But, it is coming along.

A classmate and I were discussing that there seems to be a lot of busy work associated with the class. I know that Dr. Tao and Cassandra talked about needing to document work with the project.


As we end the projects and need time to finalize the projects doing work on these things seem to be counter-productive. Especially for the members of the Cohort who are already professionals.

In fact, I got called to my office last week asking if everything was okay. I told them yes, and asked why they would ask. It was because I posted my resume' on LinkedIn and updated a bunch of information. I had to reassure them that it was because my schooling asked me to. They asked me what that had to do with my final project - that took a little more explaining.

Perhaps, in future cohorts, you have two tracks? One for those who aren't already professionals in the field and those who don't?

Also, I am suffering major anxiety over the ETS Computer Science field test. If anyone reading this finds study materials not already listed, I would love to hear/see what you have found.

Finally, I look forward to working with the staff next week in the final project interview.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Weekly Learning Journal Post - Week 87

Nice Resume Mr. Hendrix. But, are you experienced??

When I started this week and looked at the coursework, I was a little dismayed. I mean, I have a job in tech. A job I enjoy (for the most part). I have nearly 25 years in the field, so why would I have to work on employment skills?

Then, after doing the work, I realized that it was more than that. The ILP website gave me time to reflect on everything I have accomplished in the program to date. Working on interview abilities gave me time to reflect on the skills I have accomplished over said 25 years. Overall, it was actually nice to reflect and even give myself an nice mental pat on the back.

As for this week. I have the framework done for the app. GUI is complete, sound and menu are working. Dice roll is working, although I am still using the standard math.random function until I can work out the details on secure.random. The project is coming along.

On the other side, I am having issues on how to display a multiple die roll. I can easily do it within the application, but how do I do it graphically.  Is it even really necessary to do so? I will spend the next week making those decisions.

Also, I need to work out how the modifier is entered. Should I have the user enter a number? Do I use a slider? Do I limit the modifier? Again, I will spend the next week solving the problem.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Weekly Learning Journal Post - Week 86

Can you tell me, where I am going to?

This week as been interesting as I have had the opportunity to look at other people's skill sets and job experiences. It has been eye opening to say the least.

First off, when I started Algorithms, Dr Byun made the observation that our cohort had the reputation of being high-achievers. And while I don't know whether we were in that class, I can tell from the job histories of work and education experiences of the group that we may have earned that reputation.

We have Amazon and Google software engineers. IT staffers for Amazon and Boeing. And people with years and years of experience. I am very impressed with our group and am humbled to be called their classmate.

As for the project this week, the homework really ate into my overall planned time. I had a gradle crash that required a rebuild of the project in Android Studio. But, as always, YouTube came to the rescue and I learned how to recover from the error.

I have sound and graphics built and a rudimentary random number engine employed on the app. I have made modifications to use the Secure.Math function within Java 7 but I am running into some implementation issues.

On a side note, still waiting to hear back on the STEM conference. Hoping to get to go. However, I have other grad schools in mind and have sent out feelers to them. In either case, keep your fingers crossed for me!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Weekly Learning Journal Post - Week 85

Me, Myself and my Resume...

So this week was interesting. After the meeting and getting my feedback from Dr. Tao and Professor Robertson I locked into what needed to be done and started writing code.

Going to use Nougat instead of Marshmallow as Nougat is projected to be used my more devices than Marshmallow by November. So I have started programming in a Nougat gradle.

And by doing so I can use the function. This solved two of my problems regarding number generation and UI segmenting.

This week I have started to construct the screens and the functions of the random number generation. I am also learning some advanced concepts within the android and java environments. I am learning how to store cached data for the application and how to retrieve it. I am also dabbling in some animations. Although I may not follow up on this as it wasn't in my initial planning and I don't want to go down a rabbit hole that I cannot complete.

The following week I am hoping to complete a single random dice generation for the primary die 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 sided dice with the screen and sound effects. After that, I hope to implement the multiple die, modifiers and saved configurations. This is going to be a little more challenging that I expected, but I think I can do it.

Regarding the meeting for last week. I think it went well. I did initiate some of the items outlined in the reading. For example, the meeting was necessary - per Dr Tao. :)

Seriously though, I made sure to make use of pre-work as I had a list of the things I had done the week before in preparation for the project, I had a list of items to bring up, I listened to the feedback given to me and I had questions for everyone involved regarding the project. I found the reading useful in making a successful meeting.