Observations from the Coach Tablet Intern Team


| August 16, 2012 | in

As the summer begins to wind down for our intern teams, we asked that each one write about what their team worked on, what they learned, and how this experience will affect the remainder of their formal education. This post is from the Coach Tablet team embedded with EliteForm. Team members are Jed Dumire, Dalton Dick and Nate Watley.

We had quite the experience working at Don’t Panic Labs this summer. Our job as part of the Coach Tablet team was to develop a tablet-based application that would allow coaches to sync up with the EliteForm PowerTracker units to view current workout data, watch replays, update lifting maximums, and record performance results.

Things got a little tough half way through the summer when we lost one of our teammates to a study abroad opportunity in England, but we managed to carry on. We are proud to say that our greatest accomplishments include presenting a product to our clients (who loved the idea and can’t wait to start using it), maintaining architectural standards that we developed at the start of the summer, and building team camaraderie through weekly outings and gaming sessions.

It was not always easy though (not enough wenches in the gaming session really stresses the team). We started dealing with WCF, configuration, and network errors early on in the project that still affect us today. In addition, maintaining service and data contracts between the three solutions that we are dealing with is at the very least irritating. These challenges allowed us to form better opinions on how we like to work and what we enjoy doing. For example, we plan on buying Android tablets because usability on the Windows tablets is terrible. There’s quite a bit of a learning curve to WCF so, since we weren’t very familiar with it, we could share some real horror stories about getting things to work the way we wanted. For now I don’t think we want to deal with WCF for a while (especially since we got spoiled by having access to the Don’t Panic Helpers). Fortunately, we learned just how awesome we are at Photoshop when we created our team propaganda poster.

Coach Tablet team

DPL has been extremely helpful throughout the whole summer. For one, they gave us Ben (Origas) to terrorize with all of our issues. Everyone’s willingness to help us was incredible, even when our errors were simply oversights on our part. Bauerwulf’s setup allowed us to perform stress tests that would have been impossible to do otherwise, and we were always able to stay alert with on-hand food and caffeine. Our only real wish would to have had more experience with WCF coming into the project; it would have saved us a bunch of time early on. It took so much of our time early in the summer that we were unable to accomplish more features. Having SSDs, even of minimal size, would have been nice to reduce build times.

We don’t think that this internship will affect our up-and-coming school year, but will instead benefit our careers more than schooling ever could. School is pretty irrelevant when it comes to learning what we need to learn. Process is fine, algorithms teach you to think differently, but it’s not really useful. Ninety percent of what we have done we either learned on the job or learned from other projects because of how outdated teaching practices and topics are.

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