Farewell Semester 7

Agile wall

Smells like progress!

Today marks the end of my seventh semester of university, having finished my last exam. Hooray! What happened?

First of all, exams went very well! Not much more to say there.

‘Twas a good semester of subjects, with some fundamental theory but unfortunately very little coding. Linear Algebra was surprisingly engaging, and Software Requirements Analysis and IT Project Management were about what you’d expect: valuable but fairly dry. Looking forward to some dirtier hands next semester.

Our year-long software project has been pretty exciting! Working with the Nossal Institute, we’re developing an agent-oriented medical platform with applications for diagnosis, treatment and drug dosage calculations. After a lengthy requirements engineering period we’re now digging into the code, which is almost all Prolog (I know!). Watch out for us at Endeavour, and in future posts right here! I’ve been learning a lot about agent-oriented software engineering, and it’s more than a little fascinating. I look forward to exploring it further.

It was also my first semester of tutoring first/second year students which was an experience. It really provides a fascinating perspective on the education process. Kids these days… Actually it was fantastic, I had two great classes full of (mostly) enthusiastic students that I tried to encourage as much as possible. It’s very rewarding work. I probably won’t tackle it next semester however due to time constraints, due in large part to…

MUtopia! MUtopia is a university research program I’ve been working on as project manager and software engineer for the past few months, and it appears to have a very bright future lined up. In a sentence, it’s a sustainable urban design, simulation and 3D visualisation web application. It can be used to model planned urban developments, run cutting-edge research simulations and analyse the outputs under custom scenarios to perform cost-benefit analyses. Check out the brochure in the link for some more details.

This is most exciting because come the end of July, we’ll have doubled our development team from two to four, and I’m going to be running it as an Agile project. Yes, that means we’ll have our own Agile wall! I’m looking forward to the challenge of managing a real project with the freedom to experiment. We’ll be having retrospectives every week, so hopefully I’ll have some reflection to post up here.


So now I have about a month of holidays, but I won’t be getting a moment’s rest. Not only is MUtopia being kicked up to roughly full-time work over the break, but I’ve got a bundle of side projects lined up to attack in any time I have left over. How people manage to be bored in this day and age is beyond me. I’ll try to keep this blog updated with what I’m up to as I go. I know I keep promising that, but hey, n’th time lucky?


Photo courtesy of http://www.gerrykirk.net/options-for-team-task-board-when-one-team-member-remote/

Hello Again, World!

Done! Exams are done! University is done! It’s all over! I’m FREE!

Now I can finally get to work. There’s so much to do! I suspect I’ll be a little bit giddy around here for a week or so, since I’ve been looking forward to fixing this place up for some time now. So welcome everyone, and if it looks like a bit of a ghost town, look again in a week. Below is a list of the things I’ve got planned for the next few months:

  • Write some more posts about things!
  • Fix outstanding pim2smsbr bugs (especially the character conversion errors/warnings)
  • Move piemaster.net from WordPress to Drupal, and go nuts with customisation
  • Particularly get a support forum integrated with the site. WordPress kinda sucks at this. The default Drupal forum is a bit ugly, but Drupal is a programmer’s framework. It gets the job done right.
  • Clean up all the site content
  • Release the new version of Forgbook that my team and I developed as a university project (then extend it to the moon)
  • Write up some more detailed information about the other projects I have lined up
  • Actually start on some of those projects!
  • Revisit Jario and clean it up a bit (related to one such unannounced project)
  • Just mess around and experiment with things!

My future is currently undecided. Whatever I choose to do I have a few months off now to play around with proper, focused software development, and after that I will either find my way back to uni to take a Masters of Software Engineering, or take a bit of a break and keep exploring the wonderful world of software.

I kind of want to build a startup out of one of these ideas, just for the experience. I don’t expect to become a millionaire overnight, or even a thousandaire over a year, but developers live to have their work seen and used by others, and for that to happen that work has to be a tight, focused application that solves a problem and solves it well. I know I can do that given enough time, and I can only imagine what the journey will bring with it.

First however I will get out of bed and have a shower, then diagnose which part of my PC exploded (literally) a couple of weeks ago. Thank you all for your support, whether or not it was deliberate, but even just having people view the site definitely keeps me going. There’s so much to do, and I’m going to make it happen. I hope you can get some value out of what is to come. Cheers, and Happy World Toilet Day!