My internship: the experience and achievements

In this last post of the summer, which also marks the end of my summer internship, I would like to write a bit about my experience working for FlingOS™. Also, I would like to give you a summary of what has been achieved in the last nine weeks.

The experience

The internship has been a great experience. I have learnt a great deal about the x86 and MIPS32 processor architectures. Learning about these two very different designs alongside each other was truly valuable in recognising the merits of each approach and in learning about low-level development in general. Working on the IL to assembly conversion was fairly challenging but nevertheless fun. I also had a chance at writing and debugging substantial amounts of assembly code, which definitely worth the effort. Using Visual Studio and C# has given me a valuable experience in using the .NET framework as well. The internship provided me with skills I wouldn’t have learnt on my undergraduate course because most of the topics we covered during the summer are either not included or not discussed in such detail. So overall the experience with FlingOS™ has been a great addition to my studies. Although I was slightly intimidated by the amount of new information at the start, I think I managed to do well, with thanks to Ed for his patience and good teaching skills.

Achievements

During my internship, I helped to produce the resources for the upcoming tutorials, we achieved compiler support for MIPS and an extensive verification kernel has been created. The new kernel turned out to be very useful as we uncovered some errors from earlier implementations that caused problems in the compiler. The testing kernel, on which we have been working the last three weeks, has been a supreme success. It was great to see that the implementations worked as intended and also to detect a few corner-case bugs. To sum up, we not only have achieved what we have set out to do at the beginning but were also able to produce the verification kernel, which will definitely help future developments and improve the stability of FlingOS™.

Future plans

This week, my summer internship has come to an end, however, this does not mean farewell. Our plan is that I will continue to work for the project, during the coming academic year, as much as possible. I will also try and post here frequently to keep you up-to-date on what is happening here at FlingOS™, so you will definitely be seeing me around in the future.

Thank you for your interest in the project and thank you FlingOS™ for the great experience, it has been a great summer.

See you soon…

Roland

Apply now for a sneak-preview of the tutorials…

The tutorial scripts are written and the resources are coming along nicely! FlingOS is about to enter the recording stage for its upcoming tutorial video series but if you’re excited to learn OS dev today, you can apply for a sneak-preview of the scripts! All we ask in return is that you provide some useful feedback on style, content coverage and perhaps the odd grammatical error too. Apply today by commenting below or emailing flingos@outlook.com or post on our Facebook page.

MIPS / CI20 Custom OS

Want to write your own OS for Imagination Technologies® CI20? Or just want to investigate making a custom OS for MIPS? I’ve found a blog that has some great, practical content: Lardcave.net’s CI20 Bare-metal articles

The articles are written for people using Mac OSX but there’s sufficient information, when combined with the CI20 Wiki, for Linux and Windows users to get the project working. It also helpfully includes links to eBay for USB to Serial boards connecting wires.

Will we ever see FlingOS running on the CI20? Maybe but not for a little while yet. If anyone fancies having a go at porting FlingOS, by all means head over to the Join page!

Project Planning with MS Project

With the summer fast approaching, Fling OS needed some serious planning. Not just planning out ideas in a spider diagram and doodles on a napkin but proper planning. For this I searched around for project management and planning software and discovered I could get Microsoft Project free through Dreamspark with the University of Bristol. So I settled for it and the results are pretty good.

What on earth is MS Project?

MS Project is project management software from Microsoft. Here’s what Microsoft have to say about it:

Make project management easy and collaborate from virtually anywhere with the right tools for project managers, project teams and decision makers.

Click on the video to play. If it says “try again later”, try clicking again and waiting a second. 

From my perspective, it was just what I needed to produce a gantt chart for planning out my time this summer. It allowed me to easily create tasks in categories and subcategories and link dependent items. The overall result is a complete graph from overview to full breakdown of my time this summer and which tasks need to overlap.

My Experience

When I first started MS Project it was daunting. Like all Microsoft software, it’s a big package full of plenty of things I’ve never heard of. The selection of templates is great, in that it’s vast but terrible, because it’s impossible to decide which one is best for your situation.Eventually I plumped for one simply called “Project management plan”.

When you first open the template it comes pre-filled with lots of empty tasks and standard project management stuff but crucially for me it started everything pre-configured for creating a gantt chart. I removed all the existing content as it didn’t match my requirements at all. This was frustrating, however, as the delete button doesn’t do what you expect. It only delete the content of the cell which you are highlighting not the complete row. This is essentially the same as Excel but makes adding/deleting tasks a little slow. You have to right click and select “Delete task”. After pinning the ribbon down, adding tasks was much easier (just the Add task button on the right) but you have to remember to select the row below where you want the new task to end up.

Creating categories was easy – simply use the indent / outdent buttons on the ribbon to shift tasks in/out of being subtasks respectively. With Automatic scheduling turned on, parent tasks (i.e. categories) automatically update their duration, start and end times according to subtask durations. By adding links between tasks and turning on Automatic scheduling you can get tasks to follow each other on the gantt chart, with their start time calculated from earlier tasks and end date from the duration. All the buttons for doing this can be found in the Tasks tab of the ribbon menu.

Summer 2015 Gantt Chart

Summer 2015 Gantt Chart

I made use of one final feature. The first was changing the working hours. This can be done by going to the Project tab in the ribbon bar and clicking Change Working Time. The window you are presented with is frustrating and unintuitive at best, so I will endeavour to explain. However, please take note that changing the working hours will cause Project to automatically re-calculate any durations that you have already entered into tasks. I couldn’t find a way to stop this (though I expect one probably exists). Anyway, the window you are presented with shows you the current working hours. You can select from various templates to best match your needs or create your own template. Once you click the Create your own button you will asked to select a template to clone or start from blank. Then, you will be represented with the same window as before. This was frustrating for me as nothing seemed editable.

MS Project - Change working times window

Change working times window

To edit the working hours and days you need to edit two things commande viagra sans ordonnance. For general options, select the correct template then click the Options button at the bottom of the window. This will allow you to edit things like the day the week starts on, number of hours per week etc. After editing this, you may also want to edit which days people will be working on. For this, select the correct template in the Change working times window and then change the tab to Work Weeks. Then select Default (or another from the list) and click the Details button. This will let you later which days of the week people work on.

The last step in updating your Project’s working hours is to select your new calendar template as the calendar for your current project. Close the Change working times window and (from the same section of the Ribbon bar) click on Project Information. In the window that appears,.select your calendar template from the Calendar drop-down on the right.

Overall

Good software, lots of potential.

While I may not have used many of the packages features and only produced relatively simply plans, I can the potential. The learning curve isn’t too steep and with a bit of research I could get to grips better with this pretty quickly. Ultimately, I’m satisfied and it did the job I needed. That said, I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for it….