Summaries of The AMOS Projects Winter 2018/19

I just helped finish three AMOS projects, all with IAV Engineering, at TU Berlin (Prof. Schieferdecker). Below, please find the project summaries for the projects:

  1. FlyInn (a multi-modal app to manage a large array of embedded devices),
  2. Corridor Navigation (an app to provide multi-path navigation suggestions), and
  3. Adrenaline (an app for the motorbiking community to connect and share.


Project name FlyInn
Project mission FlyInn aims at providing an improved multi-modal experience by enabling users to control their smartphone from an embedded device. The project’s final product should be an MVP, showing people how the technology works so that potential users or companies might be interested in the product. FlyInn should cover 95% of all devices (Android) and all different display types. The MVP should run on a common device, 2 other and in the best case on 4 other devices.
Industry partner IAV Engineering
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Project summary For the FlyInn AMOS project, our team of 9 students worked together with the IAV Digital Lab to create the FlyInn app. It allows for the remote control of a user’s smartphone through the screen of an embedded device, to be deployed on bicycles or e-bikes. We were able to overcome our inexperience with the Android stack and related technologies and achieve a steady and productive work rhythm as a team, in large part thanks to the SCRUM approach which was followed rigorously. All main envisaged features were implemented successfully and the finished product attracted highly positive reactions at the AMOS demo day.
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Corridor Navigation

Project name Corridor Navigation
Project mission Our mission is to develop a working basic navigation application that features route coloring and real-time route calculation for every single point of choice. The developed app is stable and performant and calculates the shortest three routes from an arbitrary point of choice to the destination. It may be extended with more features (e.g. calculation of route depending on traffic) in the future.
Industry partner IAV Engineering
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Project summary To solve the problem that is stated in our project mission, an Android application is built on the Mapbox SDK. By taking this approach, two challenges had to be solved: how to draw alternative routes on this map and how to calculate alternative routes? Mapbox provides an ​ API service​ for calculating routes, which is limited to 50k free requests per month. By calculating alternative routes at every intersection, this becomes costly. In order to solve this, a self managed routing server using ​ OSRM​ (Open Streetmap Routing Machine) is set up to make the project independent from the commercial Mapbox routing service […]
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Project name Adrenaline
Project mission The mission of this project is to achieve a functional product that has the core features implemented. Simple users/bikers should be able to create a profile to be able interact with other users through chats, to share and attend events and to create routes. Business customers should have a platform to promote their services.
Industry partner IAV Engineering
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Project summary Our team, composed out of 9 members, all with different technical backgrounds, got together to develop an app meant to bring the motorbiking community closer by designing a space that would allow members to share their interests with other fellow bikers. The app allows the creation of 2 user types, basic users and business customers, thus giving businesses an opportunity to connect with the community. After 4 months of hard work, our team managed to successfully implement all the core features of the product. The current version of app looks promising, allowing space for further development and feature addition.
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Too Many Points of Failure (at Theranos)

I just finished reading John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood, which presents the story of the rise and fall of one-time Silicon Valley unicorn Theranos through his eyes as the journalist who broke the story. In case you missed it: Theranos was a healthcare company promising to sell a machine that could perform quickly and reliably a large number of blood tests needed by medical doctors to aid their patient care. The hitch: The technology never worked and Theranos managed to hide this from investors and the public for a long time.

Continue reading “Too Many Points of Failure (at Theranos)”

Why Open Source is Good for Your Economy

Today, at FOSSC 2019 in Muscat, Oman, I gave a talk about the benefits of sponsoring open source software development to about anyone who isn’t the software vendor whose product is getting replaced by that open source software. These are the slides. I will be repeating the same message at the German Forschungsgipfel in March. Also, here is a slideshare version:

It Does Exist!

During a trip to Porto’s Ceija I was able to confirm that one of the professorial caste’s most cherished yet elusive objects does exist: The conceptual machine.

In this case, it is a 3D metal printer, and it printed this piece of hardware (and many others); this one took about 12h to finish.

Stock Options Case in Software Product Management Course at @UniFAU

Software product management by case is a college-level course that I created for teaching product management to computer science students. Using the case method, it helps students understand complex real-life situations in product management as well as the strategies and methods used to deal with them.

Some cases are not about product management, though. An example is our case about stock options. Using the IPO situation of one of the dotcom bubble darlings, Caldera Systems Inc, the case helps students understand employee incentive systems and stock options. We were fortunate enough this time to have Stefan Probst in class, who ran Caldera’s German subsidiary.

Stefan answered students’ questions after we finished the case analysis and shared war stories of the dotcom bubble days. Thank you, Stefan, for teaching us!

The Innovations of Open Source Kolloquium Talk at University of Hamburg

Update 2019-01-30: The talk slides and a video recording (local copy) are available now.

I got invited and will be presenting a talk in the colloquium of the computer science department at the University of Hamburg tomorrow, January 28th, 2019, at 17:00 Uhr. The talk topic are the innovations of open source and I will present a broad-brush account of open source as well as the industry problems and research challenges it poses. The talk is open to the public. Hope to see you there!

When @GLS_Ireland Lost my Parcel

When? Well: Right after picking it up. The only funny thing is that it took GLS two months to pick it up in the first place.

In a nutshell, I ordered pick-up of a parcel at a warehouse in Ireland and shipment to Germany. However, GLS was unable to pick-up the parcel. I got various inexplicable explanations always followed by a “next time it will work”. They finally succeeded, two months after I had put in and paid the order.

Only to tell me that they lost the parcel right away.

I’m now in the second phase of being ridiculed, where I ask them to find my parcel. When asking, I get the promise they’ll go find it right away, only to never hear from them again. I provided instructions on how the parcel looks like, but the search parties always seem to go missing in action themselves.

I am at a loss of words for this incompetence. Sadly, I also don’t know how to finally get my parcel. I’d appreciate hearing any ideas about what to do about it!