October 20, 2009
Let’s get down into what I did at each of my internship:
1. Rackham Graduate school – they hired me to redo all their PDF forms which were used by more than 7000 graduate students. But believe this is not all what I did. When I got into working there initially they gave me all the forms and asked me to evaluate what was wrong with each form and what could be done to improve them. I got down on the task a developed a visual report of what the forms contained and what was redundant and what could be improved. We met with all the departments in Rackham (yes they have departments in there too), like OARD (Office of Academic Records and Dissertations), Financial Aid, Admissions, etc. and presented our findings and their inputs on the forms. I used the feedback and started developing the new forms, but was faced by a new hurdle. Rackham had come up with a new logo and that had to go onto the new forms, but was yet to be approved by the dean. So this project was put on hold till then.
Meanwhile I was helped my colleagues with another project which was university wide signage system, but Rackham had the two pilot kiosks. We got these two 52” humongous kiosks in our office, but we didn’t have the software yet to deploy content on them. We built a few small flash applets and had fun with the touch screens for a while but then this project was also waiting on the company which was to provide the software for the touch screen kiosks.
Since the Rackham logo was approved, I finally completed the PDF forms and got them reviewed from each of the departments and launched them on the Rackham site. You can view them on the Rackham site. Then the kiosks also got quickly deployed after the software came through and we got over a few housekeeping issues with the mac mini’s running the kiosk. These kiosks are now placed in the Rackham Lobby.
At the end it was time to say goodbye, which has always been the hardest part for me, but had to, since school was starting.
2. HiperLogic – HiperLogic is a local start-up, whose co-founder is a U-M grad, Rodney Mach. Rod was more like an elder brother than a supervisor. I got to learn a lot from him. The first few meetings went by in setting up my paperwork, which Rod helped me out a lot with. Rod is a very active person, always on the move and has so much of interesting things to share. My first task was redesigning the interface of HiperLogic Activation Filter (HAF) – an app developed by Rod in C#. It took me a while to understand the code and start working on it. I came up with a lot of high-fi and lo-fi prototypes and Rod and I brainstormed together as to what his clients wanted in-terms of the interface. This was an ongoing project, along with this Rod used to take me a lot to his client locations, where I got to see him present and promote the products which Rod provided. I got to visit Lansing where I was in a meeting room full of high-flying executives, making decisions whether to buy this stuff for their server room or not.
Besides these Rod had another project for me, where one of our partner firms AndersonDataOnline wanted a redesign of their website. The website was pretty old and they wanted me to completely revamp it in terms of looks and also functionality. I was working on this and HAF simultaneously. Rod and I together organized a number of AAVUG (Ann Arbor Virtualization User Group) meets as well, where we invited a number of executives from various energy firms, car companies, etc.
Rod provided a lot of advice about the lifestyle in United States as well as, technical advice about how to do stuff. At the end I completed both my projects, one of them can be viewed at www.andersondataonline.com and the other interfaces of HAF would soon be posted on my portfolio online. Saying goodbye was the hardest part again, but it was the best goodbye ever – Rod and his wife took us to fine Indian restaurant for dinner and we really enjoyed ourselves there.
3. eDirect Impact – eDirect Impact has a number of big clients like KPMG, Honeywell, Pizza Hut and they provide Software as a Service to these clients, like data storage, data extraction, etc. This work was more modular in the sense that I was handed a module at a time and when I got that done then I moved to the next one. eDirect wanted me to work mostly on their SharePoint environment, so my modules were mostly related to that.
My first module required me to get the disk usage for each of their clients on a particular server. This was really difficult since an application in SharePoint is generally not given this information, so I had to learn how to impersonate a user account and get this information, which turned out to be harder than it sounds. Finally when I got around it and presented this module to my team they were super-impressed and that helped affirm their confidence in my skills. They gave me more modules one of which required me to integrate SharePoint with another application called IPRO, which they thought was not possible, but when I did it (partly because SharePoint is so flexible) they felt that as if I had done magic. At the end they offered me to continue my position into the fall term and I did.
Some of the issues with this internship were because of the remote work. Since all the meetings taking place were over the phone or the internet, it sometimes caused a bit of a problem to work around a problem, but I’d say that the team was so accommodating that we made it through.
You will notice that I describe very less about my last two internships, that is partly because this is the only amount of information I can reveal legally ;-)
Posted by malhar at October 20, 2009 08:19 AM