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Wednesday 31 March 2010 - RapidFTR CodeJam

On Saturday (27th March) I went to a RapidFTR CodeJam.  RapidFTR is Rapid Family Tracing and Reunification.  It has been created in order to help rescue agencies looking after kids in disaster areas.  It'll store personal and medical details which will help children get proper medical attention and reunite them with their family but also just as importantly help keep them safe from human traffickers.  
It’s a good cause and if you can spare some of your time then please have a look for more details here: http://wwww.rapidftr.com.

I was of course late and so missed the meet n greet but it was a pretty good turn out which is great.  It must have been 20(ish) people in London and a couple of guys in New York with who we were video conferencing.

For a lot of people the majority of the day was spent on environment setup.  I had real trouble getting it setup on my Ubuntu netbook and it in fact took all day.

Lessons learnt from the environment setup:

1. If you are tired don't leave it until 12:30am to setup your environment then stop halfway through because the setup guide is not quite working for your version of Linux.

2. If you are going to a CodeJam the next day do not install a theme on your netbook at 1am, get it half working then go to bed.  It'll cause you performance issues the next day.

3. Prepare a VM to use for your environment setup; it'll make life much easier.

4. Just because there is a guide for a Linux environment setup don't assume it's been tried with different versions of Linux.

5. Keep a note of the steps you tried during the setup so that when you do get it working you can write a guide for other people.

Silly things really, I should have known better.

The Devs worked in pairs working in 25min increments, took a 5min break then worked another 25 then a 5 min break, it seemed to work well.

Although the environment setup was tricky it was good to hear different people, strangers really, working together in pairs on their stories.  A few stories were actually completed which is great.

I was absolutely useless that day as it took me forever to get up and running.  I aim to be able to add some value as the project progresses though by brushing up on my Ruby so I can help with the code and with testing.

The idea of the testers/QAs floating about helping people with their tests was put forward but I felt this might distract if the Devs were in flow.

Details about development are here: http://www.rapidftr.com/developer

I aim to knock up a setup guide for Ubuntu over the next few days to make the process quicker.

It's a good way (as cheesy as this sounds) to help make the world a better place, brush up on your skillset and meet and work with new people.  

So please help if you can.




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