It's been a long time since I've written one of these updates, we've seen Christmas and New Year, another lockdown and lots of coursework and life milestones. Not to mention a lot of other incredible events in the world, some good others not so good or helpful. It seems to me that if one were to watch the news, believe social media or indeed many of the algorithms across the internet, all that is happeneing across the world is doom and gloom; but that of course isn't the case.
In that spirit, I thought I'd kick this Progress Update off in a bit of a different style. I'd like to name 4 things I'm grateful for in life and 4 things I need to improve before going on to talk about what I've acheived in the time since the last update.
What I'm grateful for:
- All the bad stuff in my life - I know, that might seem weird. Why would I be grateful for bad things? That's true - most people shy away from bad or negative things and that's perfectly fine; but the bad stuff has helped shape who I am today. Whether it was getting into trouble at school, being diagnosed with Epilepsy, being arrested, self-litigating at court or facing debt, food poverty, CCJs or the death of relatives, parental separation or having children young; all of that stuff has been character building and I can reflect on those experiences to inform decisions moving forward - normally seeing hurdles or obstacles others without that experience cannot.
- My support circle - They know who they are and whilst it's a relatively small number of people compared to others, my circle is close and trustworthy. Quality over quantity as one might say.
- Books - I absolutely love reading, prior to the COVID times, I might often have been found in the University of Hull library reading a book with a coffee. The most recent book I bought contains outlines and explanations of computer science papers from famous computer scientists like Alan Turing, though my favourite book at the moment is Secrets and Lies by Bruce Schneier, which incredibly predicted many of the security problems faced in the world today back in the 1990s.
- Being British - To me, being British means upholding key principles of democracy and fairness, such as the rule of law. One might debate on the details of that and specific actions of the nation, but on balance, I believe Britain does uphold, and in some cases, export, these values and that is something to be proud and grateful for considering other places are ruled by violence.
What I need to improve:
- Time Management - A very long running joke since secondary school days I'm afraid is that I'm bad at time management, and that's true, but as many will attest, if it's important, I will turn up on time and if I'm late, I do put the extra effort in to make sure I deliver; but I could do with refining my methods and perhaps put together a fixed schedule of events around which I could plan work/social stuff.
- Exercise - I've been putting this off for a while, but I need to make a conscious effort to get a bike ride, run or gym session in every day. I think it'll help with clarity of mind as well as overall health. The temptation of course is to say "well, I can't do that because I need to work!" but if I do exercise regularly, the mind might not be as clouded.
- Cooking - To coincide with exercise, I should really improve the types of meals I cook, although that doesn't mean I'm eating entirely unhealthily, but take for instance the fact I had steak with homemade blue cheese + cream sauce twice in a row, and the side was roast potato... it's probably worth trying to include a bit fresh veg etc.
- Switching my devices off - One thing I've really enjoyed is getting rid of the majority of my social media. I'm happier, focused and have less FOMO going on; to be fair, I generally give less of a damn about what the tossers on social media think at all. The next step is going completely dark for perhaps a few hours to a day. Another thing I want to improve on is leaving devices out of the bedroom, so I'm not tempted to keep working or watch videos... or blog, like I'm doing now - doh.
What I've achieved:
So, it's been a fair while since the last update. But here goes:
- I've started working seriously on Parentulls Code Base and have a working Android App which connects to a NoSQL database. I've still got a bit of work to do with views, authentication and data structures, and there are issues which I've been tracking across Github but I should have good alpha version. I've code-named the alpha WhiteMocha because I've been drinking so many of them whilst coding it.
- I've begun working on my dissertation which centers around Parentull and suggests how technology can improve many aspects of family management, including for authorities. One might be tempted to look at TuServ as inspiration for level of integration I suggst Parentull satelitte apps might have with authorities in order to safeguard children and families.
- I've submitted and recieved the grade back for the Data Mining Coursework, unfortunately, I wasn't able to submit the Embedded Systems Coursework within extension but did get approved for mitigating circumstances so that will be submitted at the end of may.
- I've begun working on the Distributed Systems Coursework and have completed most of the coding aspects. It's an interesting piece of coursework which focuses on implementing an API Server with client, including authentication and encryption method requests.
- I've started planning the Computer Systems Infrastructure coursework, which will involve configuring an Arch Linux virtual machine to a given standard and speccing out network infrastructure for an enterprise level network, accomodating around 500 clients connected via ethernet, not to mention wireless.
- I've secured the very first ever Computer Science bursary and placement with Compass Hospitality in partnership with the University of Hull, and I'm waiting to hear back about various job applications.
- I've made over 300 contributions on Github in the last year.
- I've continued to push Freeside forwards with more contributors, stars and commits on the student resource list and hoodies, which arrived today. These hoodies, some of which are customised, some of which are not, will add to Freesides ability to make itself more visible across campus and in the public domain; hopefully increasing membership. The hoodies, where not paid for by members themselves, were funded by Starbeamrainbowlabs & I owing to no funding being available from the University. I'll add a few pictures below.