About September's silence

Posted on Thu 18 October 2012 in work

You may have noticed a certain lack of posts during September. I was kind of occupied, spreading my attention between a little preparation for the next term at university, a lot of media consumption and working on the statistics part of the tagstore project.

Being part of the tagstore team for a short time was a completely new experience for me. Not only was I to work with real software, someone placed trust in me to finish something important on time. My contribution would make a difference. Also it was my first ‘real’ coding job.

Disclaimer: I was paid in ECTS, not in cold cash.
I was interested and although I started work quite late (since I basically had most of the summer holidays as a timeframe) everything worked out fine from my perspective. Yes, I admit that we’ve had some repercussions during the preparation phase for the field test of our software, but we should be able to make the most of the data we collected.

My contribution consisted of a rework and expansion of the Python script we use to parse tags and items from the logfiles written by tagstore. I specifically had to calculate some data and create boxplots for the results.
Furthermore I helped testing the environments using three VMs containing installations of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. I had quite some fun with those. I’m joking, I had absolutely no fun handling the installs since my installation DVDs/ISOs were extremely outdated. Updating them took a little more than a day due to various complications (read: me being sloppy and not considering the Winfuture Update Packages (German site)).

I want to take a few moments to point out how much I hate the Windows Update approach in which updates are almost never bundled (“combo update”) and depend on each other. A lot. The result of this is that you will:

  1. Click ‘check for updates’
  2. Wait for them to be downloaded
  3. Install
  4. Reboot
  5. Repeat

In my case - although I have myself to blame for only having outdated install media - the XP machine took 9 of those cycles and only started them after manually installing Service Pack 1-3, otherwise it wouldn’t even automatically download them. The 7 machine took 8 cycles. Considering how angry I was when setting up the Vista machine it’s probably for the best that I can’t remember how many cycles of that dreaded process that took.
I have hopes that Microsoft will be able to work on that using the Windows Store built into Windows 8.

In case you want to see the results of my work check out the github repository.