My Apprenticeship - Monday, June 28, 2004

28 Jun 2004

In the summer of 2009 I revisited my 2004 summer apprenticeship at Object Mentor. What follows is the original 2004 post and then some 2009 commentary.

In the morning I installed 40 meg or so of windows ‘critical security updates’ and after lunch I installed MS Visual Studio. Then I went home.

But seriously folks, that was a fair chunk of my day (2.5 hours alone to install MSVS). Paul and I paired on the OMwiki conversion (to FitNesse) project. I can’t say that I’m understanding much. We had this big problem were we couldn’t use the ‘get’ and ‘set’ methods, but I’m still not sure how we solved it. We did manage to get the conversion program to move all the files to the FitNesse wiki and emulate the FitNesse file structure. But we didn’t actually convert the individual pages to FitNesse wiki text yet. I’m so out of it that, when I saw the program run and the files appearing, I thought somehow Paul had finished the conversion right under my nose. I’ve really got to stop him more often. He understands soooo much more than me I just can’t keep up. Micah made a large scale drawing of the program on the whiteboard, but I’m having trouble applying that UML diagram (which I mostly understand, despite my lack of UML training) to the code we are producing. Tomorrow I need to look stupider and feel better about it. This staying quiet and trying guess what’s going on isn’t working so well.

The funny thing is that, as a teacher, I know that students must take an active role in learning. Which is quite hard if they’re way behind. I’ve seen it before – when a student gets lost in a class (maybe they missed a few weeks or just took a mental vacation) they tend to shut down instead of asking a lot of stupid questions. Maybe I should drive the keyboard for a while. That ought to be seriously embarrassing.

This is one of about 10 posts where I say something like: “What the hell happened today – I need to ask more questions.” Part of my role at Obtiva is to say this to our apprentices: “Yes I know you feel like a complete idiot and it seems like you can’t take one more day of not knowing what the hell is going on, but believe me that I’ve been there and it will come. Don’t be afraid to look stupid early instead of confessing at the end of a week/month/year that you have no idea.” Easy to say, but hard to do.

Also the computer I was using was this Dell Inspiron laptop which was about 2 years old at the time and very slow. Installing Microsoft Visual Studio nearly killed it. I think I actually still have it in the other room - I keep meaning to throw it out but it’s hard to let go of tech stuff.