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Category Archives: Andrei’s Adventure At Azeus

Wow it’s over. What started as a personal challenge turned into a seven-week Android adventure. Oh what fun.

My Azeus Work Log

We were only required to do 180 or 240 hours (one of those, I'm not really sure). But I clocked in around1 281:52.....YEEEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Flashback to last school year’s first semester, I did plan to take a summer internship but I didn’t really plan to take it at Azeus. Come to think of it, I never really had any plans on where I’ll take my internship. A joke we had around then was to take our internship at UPD’s CRS so that we can (illegally) tweak chances to our favor. When I took Azeus’ first exam, it was more like a personal challenge than anything internship-related. “Let’s take the exam,” I urged my friends, “so that we’ll know how entrance-job exams go.”

And so we did and I managed to take my internship at Azeus.

I don’t know how finished a product did we make out of our project. From my point of view, I’d give it at around 70%. Of the two features left assigned to me, I only managed to finish one 100%. Some misadventures with base codes and networking delayed me but finish it, I did, albeit untested thoroughly. The other one I’d give at around 60%. It had two bugs that really bugged me: a one-shot-big-shot dropping action key listener and a networking function that is a little too responsive for my liking.

I’m happy with how my internship turned out. Throughout my seven-week stay at Azeus, I managed to apply lessons which I thought I won’t be able to use after passing the courses concerned. I designed a (scrapped) statistical ranking system and had some (geeky) fun with percentiles and normal distributions.  I debugged a lot of networking/threading issues that cropped up in my code, applying concepts from my OS and Computer Networks class in the process. I have further proved that learning through experience, in a real-world context, beats textbooks all the time.

(And least people start saying “See? Theory courses (algorithms class, ahem) don’t really play much in the industry. So why bother?”: During our group technical interview—part 2 of Azeus’ three-stage selection process—I used dynamic programming to solve the problem they gave us. In our batch, I was the only one who managed to solve the given problem *wink*)

We ended our internship with Build 6, if I remember correctly, which is more or less everything we managed to code sans the show-stopper non-working functions.

And party.

Ha! Pizza + Ice Cream. Shame that I was too busy getting more pizza than anyone else socializing to take pictures. But anyway, they gave certificates…

My Azeus Certificate

And we had some pictures taken…

Azeus Internship 2011

I was in a hurry when I snapped this shot so it turned out blurred :C

And so it ends. It was a fun seven weeks. Surely, I wasn’t exaggerating at the title I gave for this post.

And now, to enjoy my break…

~ The Chad Estioco, logging-out for the last time (this summer, at least).

Jolly Me

This is probably the happiest picture snapped this summer. What's funny about this is the fact that we just ate at McDonald's moments before this photo was taken. One of us was even holding a Coke Float!


  1. I say around because we log-in using a biometric fingerprint scanner while we log-out using a computer terminal. I noticed that the time in the fingerprint scanner and in the computer is out-synced by around 2-3 minutes. []

Slowly, the red-filled rows in our schedule table crept down, indicating more and more (critically) delayed deadlines for builds. We haven’t stopped coding ever since code started rolling and deadlines have been moved a few times already to boot. But, sadly, we just kept missing build deadlines.

However, before I continue with my story-telling, I really just need to relate some news to you…

It seems that The Social Network has finally been beaten for the title of “Best Geek Flick”. Received with much geek acclaim, the competing movie was screened the night of 25 May, 2011, a tonight-not-again type of screening. The movie is entitled Sir Zhen* vs. The Server. Shame I missed it.

Some reviews,

…Unexpectedly, there are no logic errors found. We asked help from our mentor kuya P of what is happening. Sir Zhen approached us and asked if there are any problems and we told him of what is happening. Sir Zhen debugged the server… In a way that I cannot comprehend. We commonly debug our puny logic for hours but Sir Zhen only took about 30 min or so and the level of the logic is too high for us to handle. I cannot put into words of how I see it, the nearest I can think of is Pure Awesomeness…

~Luigi Mari Tenerife. Co-intern from UPLB. Emphasis added.


Lahat ng narinig mo sa isang sem ng Operating Systems class maririnig mo sa loob ng thirty minutes!

~John Patrick Albacea. Co-intern from UPLB. Words are not verbatim.


Hindi tumitingin si Sir Zhen sa code. Dun lang siya sa dump log! At nahanap niya!

~Luigi Mari Tenerife (again). Co-intern from UPLB. Words are not verbatim.

Certified must watch! (If only it wasn’t a one-time big-time show)

And now, to proceed…

So, we had four build deadlines last Monday. Three of them went dead-up to “Critically delayed” but we eventually managed to build two. Builds 3 and 4 were eventually reslated for the next day.

I really find it hard working with untested base code. My responsibilities build mostly upon them and so for the past few days I found myself a self-styled discoverer of bugs. Some bugs are subtle, others not so. Some are just effects of snippets unupdated to reflect recent changes in the architecture while some are due more to carelessness than other factors.

And of course, after I’ve hunted the bugs in the base code, I would have to hunt down those that would appear in mine—my code built on the debugged base code. My life, in short, has recently been an endless cycle of test and debug. I feel as if my wish of becoming part of the API Team was fulfilled, albeit being in a debugging role; I work on the base classes but I never really author one. You won’t find a base class signed with “@author The Chad Estioco“.

Working with the base classes means that, for the past few days, I’ve been trying to do acrobatics with Java keywords such as implements, extends, protected, abstract, and synchronized like never before. For some reason I can’t explain, our module always seem to be a special case when dealing with the base code. Just like today, when I had to send tokens in response to a tap action from the user—ours seem to be the only module that needs to do that so I had to put in some extra effort and ask for some extra help to make our code fit the base architecture.

Fan as I am of System.out.println in debugging, I admit that I wouldn’t have been able to get past all those bugs without a tool like the Eclipse debugger. Woot. I guess I have a new friend.

That’s all for now. Stay bug-free and see you soon. ~ The Chad Estioco

*In case you missed it from my first post, Sir Zhen is the person in charge with Azeus’ summer internship program. A bit of trivia: Azeus is using an internal tool for browsing the databases involved in their projects. I poked around this tool a bit and it turns out that this internal tool was created by year 2003 interns**. Sir Zhen was already the person in charge with the internship that time.

**Funnily, one of the 2003 interns’ had a surname of Estioko.

“Six weeks? We don’t do projects in six weeks. We usually do them in six months.”

~Mr. Lee, CEO of Azeus, during his meeting with us interns. Words are not verbatim.

Aaaaaannndddd we’re on the final week. We coded last week away and I expect we’ll do the same for our final week. My fingers are now packed with awesome strength, honed from hours of coding. My body, on the other hand, is starting to display symptoms of coffee dependence, as coffee is my mental stimulant during those sleepy hours after lunch break.

Our project is nowhere near finished yet, sadly. And we already scrapped some features at that. Among the casualties in the clean-up was my statistical ranking system. I’m not really disappointed that it got scrapped as I still have two challenging features to implement. And besides, I don’t think I’ve managed to perfect that system to behave exactly as we expect it to; after realizing that Python’s randint returns a uniform distribution I stopped thinking about it but I bet I have a few test cases in which it will break.

To manage all the project’s files, we are using SVN. This is the first time I ever coded with such a large team and I admit that it can be quite overwhelming. The most number of co-developers I ever had before this was 4, making-up a team of five, including me, and we didn’t use SVN that time. The first (and, prior to my internship, only) time I ever used SVN was, ironically, in a pair-programming project.

This is also the first time I ever used a framework that’s being coded as we work, and being coded by co developers at that. The pros:

  1. If there is a function you need but is currently not in the framework, all you have to do is talk to the person responsible for that type of function and you’ll have it at your next SVN checkout. No more awkward workarounds or (worse) waiting for months for the release of the next version.
  2. If there is a bug, or something you don’t understand, do the same as above. No more waiting for forum answers that may never come at all.
  3. It is a learning experience. I don’t really work with frameworks a lot but for those few times I did, I always wondered how they did things* (my current fascination, by the way, is CodeIgniter’s URLs, which are actually class/function names). Since my co developers (with our mentors) made the framework, I can see the code and learn how they did it. While I don’t understand everything about the framework (the jwebsocket-based framework still stumps me), I sure have picked-up some nifty programming tricks.

And the cons:

  1. Since we’re running on a tight deadline, and since framework development runs parallel with project development, some parts of the framework tend to be buggy, especially those made by request (see #1 above). It changes rapidly too: the jwebsocket-based framework has been through a number of deprecations already.
  2. Again, maybe due to the tight deadline, the framework isn’t well-documented, if at all. Though I can ask the person responsible directly, it gets a little embarrassing after a few rounds especially when that person is also working on something for his module—something that is always the case, without fail.

So there. I hope I can finish everything under my responsibility this coming (final) week. I’ll really work hard and smart to beat that!

*Maybe, my hesitation to work with frameworks is because I don’t understand how they do what they do. They’re like magic.

Biggest. Hurdle. Yet.

The base code I was waiting for came finally this week. They seem to have resolved it last Friday, after I went home. However, I spent the better part of Monday improving on a more stable feature trying to beat an afternoon deadline for a demo build. I only started looking at the base code around noon.

The instructions were pretty simple. Extend and override the methods of class Foo and then call method bar() of class FooBar. Sounds easy right?

Well it is supposed to be easy. Unfortunately, things went a bit more complicated for me in this episode of my adventure.

At this point, I am unwilling to continue my story using the optimistic-man voice I am hoping I have sounded like so far. It wouldn’t do the frustration involved any justice. Instead, I’ll be taking a leaf out of the books of those genii-going-madman from the movies and tell my story…

…event-log style (cf. Darren Aronofsky’s Pi)

Monday, 9/16/2011, sometime after lunch. Carefully read through resources and emails for instructions on how to work with the framework we are using. I coded what I’ve understood so far. Right. This should work. Hit “run”.

Monday, 9/16/2011, around 4PM. How many times have I hit run and I still don’t see a single map tile on my AVD? I already encountered this problem when I first worked with Google Maps but I don’t remember how to resolve it. They say it boils down to my API key, which is already there, copy-pasted from the layout xmls of my previous Google Maps work.

And it doesn’t help that AVD3 takes a lifetime to load or that, every now and then, connection to it times out and you can’t test your code on it anymore and the only solution is to close the AVD and wait for another lifetime.

Tuesday, 9/17/2011, morning. A beginner’s mind is a fresh place to come from, Zen says. So, this morning, I tried to address the issue of Google Maps not showing on my AVD. I perused StackOverflow, Android Dev Notes, Ubuntu Programming Talk forums, hell and high water but nothing seems to work for me. I even tried to regenerate my API key! After a few failed attempts at getting Google Maps to show, my beginner’s mind isn’t so fresh anymore.

Tuesday, 9/17/2011, after about an hour. I decided to test my previous guaranteed-working Google Maps code. They didn’t work. Tried to run them on an AVD in another computer. They worked. What?!

Tuesday, 9/17/2011, after a few minutes. Explained the developments in the issue to my mentor. Turns out that I hadn’t set the proper port and proxy. That’s funny since I don’t remember tinkering with the AVD’s settings since the last time I worked with Google Maps. While I appreciate the art in classic cartography, I never thought the sight of a map can make me this ecstatic.

Right. Whatever. Must. Code. Now.

Tuesday, 9/17/2011, around lunch. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. I followed every instruction—extended every class they told me to extend, overrode every method they told me to override—and it still won’t work. I’m caught up in a cycle of read-code-run-ask. I’m starting to feel embarrassed as I repeatedly go to the same person for help. He seems to be the only one who understands what’s happening in the code and I seem to be the only person in need of his assistance. Perfect combination.

(If it’s any consolation, I’m the only one working with his code.)

It won’t work even after I showed him my codes and he nodded telling me it should work. Should.

Tuesday, 9/17/2011, an hour or so after lunch. I decided to run the sample code instead of just studying it and trying to get the pattern. It works flawlessly. What I can’t understand is why it doesn’t work for me. My bad. This code hates me.

Tuesday, 9/17/2011, after about 30 min from last log. Breakthrough. He pointed out that he didn’t really extend and override the methods of class Foo himself. There were already pre-made classes in the framework which did that for us. All I have to do is add my own code, should I need some more functionality/processing.

Wow. I didn’t know that.

Wednesday, 9/18/2011. (At this point, logs will have precise time stamps as it is this day that I thought up of this whole scheme.)

Wednesday, 9/18/2011, 9:18 AM. Succeeded in disabling the sample code. That’s intentional, the rationale being, if I can break it I understand it…

Non sequitur. Turns out rationale isn’t really very rational as I still can’t do what I want to do with the code.

Wednesday, 9/18/2011, 9:42:56 AM. (Time stamp from Android’s console at Eclipse. That’s accurate!) Modified the code some more and then hit run. Console greeted me with the following message: “Installation error: INSTALL_FAILED_INSUFFICIENT_STORAGE”. My bad. How big has our project become!

Wednesday, 9/18/2011, 10:06 AM. I thought I got it but still no. Hmppfff.

Wednesday, 9/18/2011, 10:32 AM. SUCCESS AT LAST!!! Must document how I did it so I can modify further! YEAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! I’m happy again!

<(‘-‘<) ^(‘-‘)^ (>’-‘)>

So. There you go. A story of my descent to madness then rise to happiness for the past few days.

Stay happy. Till next time ~ The Andrei Estioco

The good part of the day:

  • I’ve started coding the third out of my three responsibilities for Module GundamX.
  • I’ve managed to make my app connect to the server. Prior to Friday it kept throwing an exception. As I expected, I just overlooked some steps.
  • I have integrated my SQLite database (read: the local DB system of Android) to Project GuitarHero’s SQLite framework.

The not-so-good part of the day:

  • The base class I need for item #1 above doesn’t look too finished yet. Either that or I, again, have overlooked a few things. But the code didn’t have much useful comments and was still littered with TODOs. Hence I’ve only started with item #1 but I haven’t really made a lot of progress.

The best part of the day, told in pictures:

So, we went up to the 29th floor (Azeus is at the 28th, but they own a unit in the 29th)…

Amazing view from the 29th floor...

Is that a helicopter pad at San Miguel's rooftop?! (Reflected is the flashy shirt I wore for the occassion)




My co-interns: Wow we're at the 29th floor! WOW IS THAT A HELICOPTER PAD AT SAN MIGUEL'S ROOFTOP?!

To meet the man behind the company, Mr. Lee



"Is that intern taking my picture?"

He looks grumpy in my picture above but he is very far from that. Mr Lee has a gentle voice with an accented English (but hey, we probably sounded accented to him too) laughing a hearty laugh. We asked him one question each, and he answered sportly to questions such as,

Why Philippines? (Verbatim words; in context, the question meant “Why did you choose to have an Azeus branch at the Philippines?”)

How many of your employees do you know?

If Azeus grows further, do you plan to buy the whole (PSE) building?

(You won’t find my question among those three. Those questions came from my module mates. Don’t they ask the most amazing/funny of questions?)



...and here he looks zoning out but he is actually answering a question from one of us.

I didn’t manage to catch all his words maybe because I’m unused to his accent but it was an inspiring two hours nonetheless. He kind of reminds me of my impression of Professor Quiwa and Professor Muriel (links to my personal blog).

Best lesson I’ve learned from our meeting with Mr Lee: don’t be afraid to think about the long term; you may be making an investment.

Hope you’ve had a Friday the 13th as inspiring as mine ~ The Chad Estioco