TOM PRESTON’S SENIOR PROJECT ICT 435 - SPRING 2013. MMX-III. MMX-III. A Brief introduction. mmx-iiI. What is the MMX-III ? The MMX-III is a Linux based server designed and built as a Senior Project in ICT 435. Why build an MMX-III for a senior project ?
What is theMMX-III?
The MMX-III is a Linux based server designed and built as a Senior Project in ICT 435.
Why build anMMX-III fora senior project?
The MMX-III combines several of the ideas generated while brainstorming on what to do for a senior project. The project involves creating a website, building a computer, working with servers, networking, and programming. A big factor in the decision was how the project supports my long term interests in multimedia and web development.
What does MMX-III mean?
While looking for a code name for the project, I came up with the idea to see what the year 2013 was in roman numerals. It turned out it was MMXIII. I liked it as a code name and soon the roman numerals with a hyphen in the middle became the official name for the project. The pronunciation is “M-M-X-3”.
MMX-III Running Ubuntu Server 12.04.2 LTS
The ICT 435 Senior Project
Apply some of the skills acquired during time spent in the ICT program to a real world situation.
The possibilities of what to do are practically endless and it’s up to the student to choose and make a proposal on what to do for their own semester long project.
In addition to the project, a website is developed and maintained to convey information and updates about the project.
My Senior Project
The Project and Why It Was Chosen
I realized several of these ideas could be combined into one that might make a good senior project and leave me with something useful.
The decision was made to go with a server based project, that included designing and building the server, installing server software, setting up the networking, and then demonstrating the server’s capabilities. Thus the MMX-III was born.
The project would complete a goal of mine of building a computer, fuel my long term interest in web development, and hopefully meet the expectations of a senior project.
Unfortunately for new students coming into the program, selecting this project meant there would not be a Survival/Help Guide created for them.
The project’s first requirement
Build a website
The website would be the vehicle for delivering
The project idea proposal
The detailed outline for the approved project
The project’s timeline and milestones
The project’s tasks
The bi-weekly reports
The links to presentation materials and other project information
The website would not only provide a way to get the project started, but would also be used for regular progress reports, and to help keep the project on track.
The site was built using a cascading style sheet to provide a consistent flow from page to page, while still allowing each page to have its own specific content.
Grey header w/text
Project logo image
16 Bi-weekly written reports spread across the term
Reports discuss the project and progress
Posted on the website
Value of the reports
The reports helped keep the project on track. After two weeks in a row of writing about how my video related issues stalled the project, I was highly motivated to stay on schedule and avoid having to write about my short comings again.
The reports were also a good way to beat your chest after a major accomplishment.
The MMX-III Project Timeline
MMX-III Test Build
Presentation version with no embedded video
Click to view video
During the Ubuntu install a user name and password are created, so when the install is complete, the system is immediately ready for use.
Example of Accessing the MMX-III Using PuTTY
This is an example of the issues with using a dynamic IP address for the server.
It shows how the dynamic IP address supplied by my ISP changes over time. All 3 of the hosts had matching IP Addresses prior to a power failure.
This project turned out kind of like I thought it would. It had it’s highs and lows and obstacles to overcome, but in the end everything seemed to work out.
In a lot of ways, it was very similar to the projects I’ve been involved with through work, just on a smaller scale. This time though, I was the project’s entire staff and it’s financier. The bottom line is, the project’s success or failure depended solely on me.
I believe the website was a huge success and it’s something I’m proud of.
4 out of the 6 project milestones were hit.
- MS 1 was missed by a day and MS 2 by a week
Each phase of the project was completed, along with all tasks and subtasks.
The system functions as designed and meets the goals of the project.
- It’s not optimum, but could be with a little bit of effort and money.
Highlights, Lowlights & Key Learning's
Only $13.46 over budget, $313.46 actual cost vs. target cost of $300.00
Successful boot ups during the test builds and after the build was completed
Successful software loading
Resolving networking issues with dynamic IP address
Successful demonstration of server web hosting and PHP/MySQL functions
Video issues that delayed project
Case was damaged in shipping, not realizing it for 2 weeks
Networking issues - ongoing issues and troubles after a power failure
CPU cooler/Ram heat sink - height issues, just because they say it will fit…
Networking - Lot’s of practice with static/dynamic IP addresses, troubleshooting
Server - Setting up a server is not as exciting as it once sounded
Video - is my green kryptonite
My Thoughts On The Project
Was it successful?
Yes. Overall, I thought the project was a success. Is it perfect? No, but I believe it was a good first effort.
Would I do it again?
Yes, but I might change some things. I really enjoyed designing and building the computer, but I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed after loading the server software and watching it boot up. After a few hundred dollars and weeks of work, I guess I was expecting to see more on the screen than this.
Server software, at least at my level, doesn’t seem to offer much pizzazz visually.
Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS mmxiii tty1
More Thoughts On The Project
What would I change?
I believe I might still build a computer, but would probably go with Ubuntu Desktop. If a server was included in the project, I’d probably try to create it on a virtual machine. Honestly though, I enjoyed working on the website as much as any other part of the project, so if I had it to do over again, I might consider a web development project.
What happens next?
Well, my wife gets the kitchen counter back that the MMX-III has occupied for the past 6 weeks and the MMX-III goes into semi-retirement while I graduate and begin my sabbatical from work. Long term, I believe the MMX-III has a future in my organization as a combination server/home media computer.