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Apprentice learns how to use the Raspberry PI

The learning experience was exhilarating and I was really happy that everything worked out in the end.

Remo Misteli

At school I learned that you can do many things with a Raspberry Pi and had decided to buy one. The only problem was that I had no experience with Linux-based operating systems and therefore couldn’t do much with my Raspberry Pi.

When I had to prepare a project for the new trainee who would be coming to the office for 2 weeks, I had the idea of programming a chatroom with him. When I was thinking about where we could host it, I came up with the idea of using a Raspberry Pi. But since I didn’t know how to host anything on it, it was a great opportunity to learn how to use it.

It was great to learn how to use the Raspberry PI. In Fluance, I was able to get help from software developers who had more experience using this device. This helped me a lot because I learn best face to face when someone explains something to me and I can ask questions directly.

The learning experience was exhilarating and I was really happy that everything worked out in the end. I’m using my Raspberry PI as a web server at the moment. It’s brilliant to have such a device. Because when I have an idea to program something, I have a place where I can host, try out and test my creative ideas.

I think a Raspberry PI is something brilliant and a perfect project for apprentices. There are many different ways it can be used and all of them are good learning experiences.

Advantages for FrontEnd by using Azure

Luis Becken (Software Developer)

I think that today any software developer or engineer should have this skill under their belt because a Cloud platform like Azure is what supports how the digital world works today.

Luis Becken

As a developer in general, I think that Azure provides the services and infrastructure necessary to create any type of software project: from small to very very large; from simple to very complex. And the options go from ready-to-use with minimal configuration to fully customizable. 

Azure supports open standards, like Docker and Kubernetes, directly or under the hood, and this makes it easier to switch from one Cloud platform to another. They all provide a large set of varied technologies supported by a very dynamic (virtual) infrastructure, from simple and small to very sophisticated and very large. Today companies from small (eg an online shop, a startup) to the very large (eg Netflix), use and rely on a Cloud-based solution to provide their services worldwide. And so I think that today any software developer or engineer should have this skill under their belt because a Cloud platform like Azure is what supports how the digital world works today.

By using Azure:

  • it enables access and management of all the resources of a project and it’s different deployed environments from anywhere.
  • it’s easy and fast to create and delete any type of new (virtual) resources, and test new types of solutions

We have different environments to deploy our applications, and each environment has some different requirements in how it should be deployed. For example, our Integration environment should be automatically built and deployed whenever there is a new commit. On the other hand, our Staging environment should get a new deployment only when there is a new release to deploy. And our Production environment should have deployed only releases that passed QA in Staging. We have implemented those processes in Azure for Frontend, and it makes creating a new release much quicker and simpler once we have all the pieces in place and working together.

The best example is our Integration environment, where we test together all the different parts of the application. As a Frontend developer, all you need to do to add a change to this environment is to commit that change in a specific Git branch and push it to the server. That will trigger Azure to automatically re-build and re-deploy the application with that new change included. This automation is a great value, and very simple for the developer. 

Another example is with our Staging environment, which is more controlled and should be less automatic. There, we manually “promote” a set of changes to a new release, commit those changes to a different branch which is specific for new releases, and then we can manually trigger in Azure the processes/steps to create and deploy this new release candidate.  

And again, once we have created and tested those processes/steps in Azure, afterwards it becomes very simple to run them again and again. And from anywhere; at the office or at home.

There is some time involved in learning how to start using and managing a Cloud platform, it’s a continuous learning process because of the amount of different types of available and new services, but I think the investment is well worth it.

Getting to know our colleagues

We asked our partners from inpeek in Valencia (ES) 7 questions.

How does your average working day looks like?

Manuel: I usually wake up at 07:30, then I have breakfast and then I go to work. I start working at 8:30 until I join the daily meeting at 09:30. Then, I resume working and I have something to eat at approximately at 10:30. I take an hour break at 14:00 to have lunch, until 15:00 when I join the catch-up meeting. And then I resume working again until 17:30. During these days of lockdown I try to do some activities like running or going out for a walk in my spare time.

Alex: My working day always starts with a big coffee and commuting to the office usually. Later every day is different. There aren’t two days equal!

Juan: I like to have a routine. The first thing is to greet colleagues and have a coffee. Then I organize my day and try to stick to the goals I have set myself. I find the „Pomodoro Methodology“* very useful.

Mario: It starts early in the morning reading and answering emails over a good cup of coffee, then comes the follow-up meetings and from there the concentration time, where I can make the most progress on my tasks.

Simón: It always seems very different since the tasks I have to complete are not the same. The good part ist hat I always learn new things.

* Wikipedia: The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. The system uses a short-time alarm clock to divide work into 25-minute sections – called pomodori – and break times.

How often do you work from home?

Juan: Unless circumstances require it, I prefer to work in the office. At home, I sometimes don’t have the same level of concentration as I do in the office.

Manuel: Due to the pandemic, I work from home most of the days in the week now. But I usually go to the office on days when I have no language classes. These weeks we have three language classes per week, so I theoretically should be twice a week in the office for work.

Alex: My first time working from home was during the lockdown. Now I know that I can work from home without problem and I’ll try to do it once a week, when the situation becomes normal.

Simón: Now I’m working everyday at home because oft he situation. Maybe soon we could gather together once we get the vaccine…

Mario: Due to the current situation I work from home 100%, although I think 60% office and 40% home would be the best combination.

What are the biggest challenges for you?

Mario: In this profession the main challenge is the time for continuous training, the market changes very quickly and you run the risk of being left out if you don’t make an effort.

Simón: My biggest challenge nowadays is to improve as a web developer and learn how to use the tools I need in order to become a better professional.

Juan: Continuing to improve my job skills. Team management and knowledge of technologies are always in my focus.

Manuel: A big challenge for me could be any task in my daily work that may require a kind of knowledge that I need to get. This is hard, especially in situations when I can’t get it from my teammates and when it’s difficult to find on the internet. In my opinion, learning something new is always a challenging issue.

Alex: I would say, regarding the work, the challenge is to maintain the contact and the good feeling between the team due to the distance. Other challenge is to keep myself updated in the newest cloud computing technologies

What kind of work do you like the most?

Alex: Well, the architectural work is the one I like the most. I feel so comfortable coding.

Juan: Applying acquired knowledge. Learning is something that excites me but being able to create things with that study is a great personal and job satisfaction.

Simón: Normally I like to fix bugs and create new parts of the web. Maybe in future I will have new favorite things to do as I learn new things!

Manuel: I have tried many jobs before starting to study my degree in computing. Messing around with the computer is something that I liked to do since I was a child. Now I work as a developer, I am a lucky person because I can do what I liked since my childhood. My degree was more focused on system’s administration, but I do not have any preference in the kind of tasks, if it’s related to computing.

Mario: Team and project management, although I still enjoy pure development tasks, especially the complicated ones.

What’s the programming language you like the most? Why?

Simón: Now that I’m working with angular and typescript I suppose that could be my favorite way to program, for now…

Mario: If I have to choose one, it would be Java, as it is the one I have used the most throughout my career, and the one that has given me the opportunity to grow as a professional.

Juan: I have two choices: Java and Python. Java is a language that has been modernised whenever necessary and I like to create things with it. It has almost everything and what it does not have, you can create yourself. Python is a mathematical language. Easy to understand for those of us who love to solve problems.

Manuel: Java is the first programming language that I started to learn when I was studying my degree, and it was used in many subjects that I had there. So, this is maybe the one that I know the best, so I would choose Java for this reason.

Alex: Simple answer for me: Java. The most important reason is that I have been working with this language for more than 15 years. But even though it’s a time-honored language, new technologies based on it are still popping up.

Do you have a dream which you are pursuing? Tell us more!

Alex: Related to my profession, I can call myself a good architect-consultant. Concerning my personal live, to see my daughter grow up.

Manuel: I am not a dreamer in person, I just try to make a living doing what I love to do. So, I don’t have any special dream, I only wish I could take advantage of good opportunities that may arise in my life.

Juan: I hope I can continue to enjoy the pleasure I get from reading. A dream? To have my own house for my family and myself. And to return as soon as possible to visit the Asturian mountains.

Mario: I have a personal project related to cars that involves manual work, mechanical and electrical knowledge and programming skills, maybe one day I will have the time to get it going and see if I am able to put all the pieces together.

Simón: My dream is to be rich! I wish I could complete my dream soon…

What do you think about Europeans which have meal at 12 o’clock?

Mario: I think they are crazy, hehe. Now without joking, it’s very difficult for people in Spain to change their eating habits. We are not big breakfast eaters, so we eat something in the middle of the morning (10:30-11h) and this means that we are not hungry until at least 14h. I remember trying to adapt to the meal schedule on my first trip to Switzerland and at 16 o’clock I had to go down to the supermarket to buy something because I was starving and couldn’t concentrate.

Alex: Which time will they have dinner? Do they have something before it? I ask myself this questions because my common dinner time is as late as that of other Europeans. In my opinion eating at 13:00 o’clock would be acceptable for me.

Manuel: In my opinion it has more to do with the quantity of sunny hours per day. In general, southern European countries have lunch later than the northern ones. That is simply physical science.

Simón: I think they are very hungry, I couldn’t have the lunch at that time, I’ve just had the breakfast!

Juan: Before I travelled for the first time outside Spain it seemed strange to me. But by visiting countries like Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria or Switzerland, I have learned to understand the rhythm of life in the Europe that doesn’t touch the Mediterranean. Eating at 12 o’clock is now something logical for me there.

Thank you guys for this nice interview!

Juan Cremades
Alex Martínez
Mario Celda
Manuel Marco

Setting up Azure – the role of the developer

How would you describe MS Azure Cloud? What is it for?

Microsoft Azure Cloud (Azure) is a technical solution to move the entire deployment and release infrastructure to an external service. In other words, all the servers that we might have in our offices for databases, applications, etc. are available on Microsoft servers that are managed and maintained by Microsoft staff.

This means that we can work from anywhere with an internet connection and delegate the work of maintaining that infrastructure to an external service. At the same time, the availability of all our services is guaranteed practically 24/7.

How do you proceed by setting up Azure?

Azure is like a shop window where you are offered almost all the services you may need to support and deploy a project in the best conditions. A solid and well-connected structure. We could say that, in essence, Azure is not configured, but rather we are offered products that we already know with a simplified interface, and these are what is really configured. This allows us to save time and dedicate it to the customer’s needs.

Are there some difficulties or peculiarities you have to keep in mind?

Azure is a huge platform. It has a lot of resources and you must be careful about which ones you choose and how you work with them.

In our work environment, it is not efficient to know every single aspect of Azure, but it is efficient  (and mandatory) to know how to configure and work correctly with the tools we need. Another important part, derived from this knowledge, is the optimization of the resources we are using to achieve real savings compared to having the same resource structure on our own servers and avoid surprises in our bills.

What are the biggest challenges?

The learning curve is initially difficult. The biggest challenge is to know how to take the most out of what it offers us, to take advantage of the real benefits of Cloud Computing. No tool is efficient if it is not used correctly.

Getting the most efficient environment possible, to be able to run our projects and facilitate the work of all our colleagues is perhaps the biggest challenge that Azure offers us, as well as other cloud development platforms such as Amazon or Google.

What is the best thing on Azure?

The acceptance it has had in the software community. The vast majority of the tools and technologies we have been using in Fluance have been adapted for use in Azure, and developments and improvements continue.

Once we have overcome the learning curve, we have a user-friendly environment that allows us to answer many questions in a short time.

Thank you for this interview, Juan!

Juan Cremades

Software developer of inpeek in Valencia, Spain. Juan and his team support Fluance in programming.
He is our interviewpartner.

Progress report: How to get virtually into a new team and project

We asked Simón Andrés how it was get virtually into a team during the corona pandemic and the lockdown in Spain. Here’s what he told us.

Hello folks

I have already spent 6 months with the Fluance team and it seemed like it was the last week when I joined.

At the begining, there were a lot of things that I didn’t know about my new job, the programming languages I had to use or how to proceed with it. I have just finished my grade about web development. But then I realized that I had a lot of new things to learn in order to be able to complete the new and exciting tasks Fluance had for me. This was the moment I started to enjoy spending time with my teammates and developing in the frontend area.

I’m looking forward to becoming a professional developer and this is going to get real thanks to Fluance’s project.

We are living in tough times with corona and sometimes the “home office” is inevitable, but I hope we can meet face to face soon and share some beers in the real world.

Simón Andrés

He belongs to our partner’s team inpeek in Valencia, Spain. He got his job during the lockdown in 2020.

Behind the scenes

Two apprentices – two experiences

Remo Misteli, Apprentice in the 3rd year of computer science, application development

For me it was the first time I had to teach someone something new. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but I figured out that I liked it.

The most difficult part was to estimate how long different tasks would take, because I didn’t know how good Metodij would understand the things I had to show him. But it was rewarding, seeing how fast he learned and how fun he had learning and applying new knowledge.

Personally, I could benefit from these two weeks: It was motivating to recognize how much I have learned in the past years. I got experience in planning a project and I recognized that I really enjoyed teaching someone new things. Maybe I’d like to work with apprentices once in my future.

Metodij Krshkov, Apprentice in the 1st year of computer science, application development

I’m happy to be a member of Fluance AG. In my first week I was able to step in a challenge which motivated me.

It was cool having Remo as an attendant. I was able to learn a lot with him, he was anytime open for helping me with the project.

The best thing was that I was more on myself. In my opinion it’s the best way to learn something. I learned a lot about coding and now I could even start a little project on my own. 

I can see me in the future integrated in the Fluance Team and be able working without any problems, because in this week I saw that this passionates me.

Apprentice’s project

Our two apprentices had only 2 weeks of time to bring something to life. A project has had to be found and realized in order to teach our newbe the most important skills at Fluance.

Remo Misteli, 3rd year in apprenticeship:

The main goal was to create a project for Metodij he will enjoy and that would work in the end. Because we only had 2 weeks time to set it up, we couldn’t go to deep into details.

Before giving the tasks to Metodij, I checked them all first by myself, just to be sure where problems could accur. Afterwards, I could explain him what I expected.

After the project is finished, Metodij is able to work on it at home, if he wants to tighten his new skills. I liked to help him every time he asked me to. And I enjoyed working on this joint project more than I ever expected.

About the project: We set up a chatroom. Feel free to try it out. 

Metodij Krshkov, 1st year in apprenticeship

Our project was to build a chatroom. We had a goal to finish this project and upload it.

I was working together with Remo but not at the same level. While Remo did more the difficult job, I was busy with beginner stuff because I’m a newcomer in the coding world.

As already mentioned, I had Remo behind me all the time in case of questions.

The start was kind of hard with coding, but over the time I came slowly into it and was able to improve my skills and knowledge.

From my site I’m ready to work again on the chatroom the next time I’m in the office. I’m really happy with our final product because it’s something I can see anytime show to anyone. It’s a cool project.

8 questions to…

Michael Salom
Head of Digital Transformation at AEVIS VICTORIA SA

1. Since when does Clinique de Génolier (CDG) has had the need to get a better overview for the planning of surgeries?
Since forever, we have many usecases/business processes requiring optimization, it just took a while to be able to prioritize this one.

2. What caused the need for change?
When Fluance had access to all the appropriate data to produce the Whiteboard we decided it was time to do the last 20% of the effort and deliver this data to the clinics in an appropriate and ergonomic way.

3. How did the «Surgery Board» affect the work of physicians and nursing staff?
They now have an instant access to the surgery planning, they don’t need to call or walk every time they need an information. They also can better prepare their workday with one consolidated overview and save a lot of time by just knowing when an operation is delayed. For management, we are now able to see the overall activity of surgery and understand factually what creates delays and bottlenecks in the surgery processes.

4. How was the collaboration with Fluance AG from your point of view?
Excellent, they were able to efficiently provide us with a first version which was then iterated very quickly. They understood the need well from the beginning on.

5. If you could decide again to realise the “Surgery Board” with Fluance – would you do it again?
Yes, definitely.

6. What would you advise other clinics to do, who struggle with same kind of problems as CDG did before “Surgery Board” was available?
Buy a big screen with a computing stick, put the Whiteboard on it. You won’t regret it.

7. What is the added value of having a middleware ecosystem supporting a project like this? Why not go with the usual softwares?
I believe there is no future without a middleware, legacy architecture are hard to scale and maintain. It always seems like a quick win at the beginning but never on the long run. For us, who invested in the middleware before this project, it was an no brainer. Surgery planning solution (like many other software) are not personalized enough for our need, cannot be distributed (fat client) as efficiently as the Whiteboard (web).

8. Last but not least: How do you feel now after it’s done? Did you celebrate with your team? 
Well, for us it’s not over yet, we have not yet rolled it out in every business unit, hopefully we will celebrate it before 2020 ends.

Michael Salom, thank you for this interview!

Surgery Board powered by Fluance

Team event: Guided city tour through Solothurn

Friday, 24.01.2020 was a cold and foggy day. We left the office about 16:30 and headed for the St. Ursen church in Solothurn. There we met a retired and passionate city guide. She initiated us into the secrets of the number 11, which can be found everywhere in the city (steps, fountains, towers, etc.).

1.5 hours later the interesting tour was finished and we were freezing. To warm up, we visited the nearby restaurant “Sternen” (means “stars”), which is famous for its delicious pizzas. The evening was very convivial and officially ended at about 10 pm.

If you feel inspired by the photos, you should definitely enjoy a city tour through Solothurn. Various themes are available. I’m sure there’s something for everyone. https://www.solothurn-city.ch/en/discover-solothurn/guided-city-tours

Digital Days in Zurich

In Olten I was looking for my teammate Kurt in the second wagon in row of the crammed ICN. I almost thought we had missed each other somehow. But then I discovered him. He had already reserved a place for me. We spent the half hour to Zurich with a little bit small talk.

Our booth was at the same place as last year. As usual we first greeted our co-exhibitors from Helsana and Medgate as well as Swiss Medical Network, under whose name we finally appeared there. A group photo was taken and shared on social media.

Kurt and I each had an iPhone and iPad with us. We presented our apps and software solutions, which came from our company, to interested visitors. Some were in development, others in the pilot phase, and still others already integrated into clinical everyday life. While some booth visitors showed interest in our work, others were on the hunt for “give-aways”. How convenient that Swiss Medical Network had to hand out small cans with the logo and “Fisherman’s Friend” sweets.

Also celebrities were present. I didn’t see all of them, but I was able to photograph Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer and Einstein presenter Tobias Müller myself from a distance and secretly. 😉

The long standing around was laborious, above all if one was not used to it. The back protested. Walking around the stands, looking at other things, listening to the speakers for a moment… just stretching the legs – yes, that was good.

At 19.00 o’clock it was finally over. I hurried to the train – after all I wanted to be home in time. Stupidly enough that I ran onto the wrong track in a hurry and caught the wrong train. Well, the way home with the detour via Bern took a correspondingly long time.

Team Event Wolfisberg

Practice makes perfect.

Once again there was a “secret mission” organized by our “Event Team”…

The way led us this time from Solothurn with the Bipperlisi train to Oberbipp. We hiked uphill towards Wolfisberg, above us the cloudy sky. At the forest our wilderness guide Daniel Kamber was already waiting for us. After a short introduction he explained to us that Apaches were the best trackers of all time. They could read about 5000 information from traces of a living being. Fascinating!

After Daniel Kamber showed us the traces of last night’s game change, he led us to a huge badger’s burrow and told us some interesting facts about wildlife. On the way to the next station we passed some tracks of wild boar in the maize field.

The next stop led us to the house of the Kambers, where they run a wilderness day-care center for children in the garden and also offer various wilderness courses. There we spent the rest of the day. The children there are always outside, except on extremely cold winter days. They have plenty of space to play and unfold. A fire was already burning in a shelter next door. Coffee and snacks were served after the steep ascent. We are just not all sporting aces. 😉

Before we were divided into groups, Daniel Kamber explained how intuitive archery works. Shooting with bow and arrow is dangerous and so we were informed about the safety measures so that nobody gets hurt. As a curative teacher and survival trainer, Daniel knows exactly what he is talking about.

After we were divided into three groups, the first group started with shooting exercises. Hit the target or the fox or the owl? May the best and the most accurate win! At some point, the apple got its chance, as it did with Wilhelm Tell, and we had to hit this small target. Some few even succeeded! Was that just a coincidence? 😊

The second group learned how to make a rope out of grass. It wasn’t difficult, but with time I got cramps in my fingers. Typing on the keyboard is not the same as doing fine work with the hands.

The third group was allowed to start carving a wooden spoon. First the contours are drawn on a piece of wood, then the hollow is burned out with hot coal and sanded. The hard part came last: carving the spoon shape. Those who had a good sack knife with them could be happy. The rest struggled with blunt knives, saws, and axes. Very few were able to take home their finished product ready for use. Unfortunately, most of them were not finished. I also count myself among them.

Between the rotations of the posts we formed rolls from a finished dough and placed them on the grill. The served Chili con/sin carne was very tasty.

A demonstration of how to make a fire without a lighter or matches was very interesting. Although I don’t think I’ll ever need this knowledge, I’m glad I’ve seen it before.

The weather cleared up, it slowly got warmer.

After the officially finished part cookies were served. The fingers wounded by the eternally long wood carving reached for it almost hastily. While some had gotten to the taste of archery and were still shooting around, our “Event Team” prepared the aperitif. The small talk was replaced by a easy conversation.

In smaller groups for fast or slow walkers, we went down again from Wolfisberg to Oberbipp, where the Bipperlisi brought us back to Solothurn. The event pleased everyone.

I don’t know how everyone else had fared, but I could have fallen asleep on the sofa around 6 pm, because somehow I was quite exhausted. Since I didn’t want to smell like a smoked sausage, I enjoyed a warm shower and was happy not to have to search for water in the wilderness to treat myself to this luxury.

Many thanks to Kurt and Jonas for this special experience!

Curious? Information only in German under www.dakawo.ch.