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 Professional & Commercial projects

On 01 Feb 2012, I started to document a list of the professional and commercial projects I have worked on over the years, roughly in chronological order.

The list is in NO WAY complete. There is probably close to 100 projects to add here at some stage.

Elystan Capital Advisors - Office move - Munich
URL: elystan.com
Credits: Kyle Milnes, Simon S, Hans L and various others
Time scale: A few weeks
Maintenance: NA
Technology: Windows Server, APC UPC, Netgear WiFi, Cisco ASA Firewall, DTAG VDSL & ISDN, DECT

An IT facilities management customer asked me to assist with the IT aspects of their up-and-coming office move. 6 people, and related IT infrastructure.

After studying the usage of the LAN and phones at the existing office, a wireless technology package was put together with our solution partner.
Enterprise Netgear WiFi for the LAN and DECT phones. So far the infrastructure is running without fault.

  • I made a solution partner proposal for the phone and Internet systems. Overall it proved to be good choice.
  • I planned and executed the migration of the existing IT infrastructure and oversaw procurement of new hardware as required for the new office.
  • I created and maintained the IT move checklist.
  • I personally transported the server and key infrastructure between offices.
  • I provided triage and contingency plans for IT and move related problems.
  • I planned the configurations, so all I had to do in the new office was reconnect everything, things just worked without configuration changes on the day.
  • I reestablished hardware set ups for the users at the new office.
  • I coordinated migration of DNS/E-Mail filtering and delivery from one static IP to another.
  • Based on measured LAN throughput at the old office, we chose WiFi as the primary network at the new office, only laying cables for the Xerox work center, reception phone and DECT & WiFi AP's. A big cost saving and performance is ample.
  • We used DECT to make the phones system Wireless too.
  • I set up and intalled Xerox services (network print and scan) for all users at the new office.
  • I oversaw the solution providers installation
  • All related IT knowledge was documented on a secure company MediaWiki
web-cashier - mobile
URL: NA
Credits: Kyle Milnes, and various others
Time scale: A few months
Maintenance: constant
Technology: LAMP, BASH, RUBY, CSS, SOAP, .NET, HTML

The Full Tilt Poker gaming operation had taken the natural step on to the mobile platform with a free-to-play game variant.

The business was keen to turn on pay-to-play gaming and I was tasked, along with numerous other specialist, to look at the feasibility of various web-cashier mobile solutions.
We looked at the existing technology and how it could be adapted and reused on a mobile platform.

Research was done on technology and device compatibility and a technical brief was draw up by the people involved to outline a number of solutions. Once the decision was made on which direction to take, I continued to provide technical consultation as required.

web-cashier - single click
URL: NA
Credits: Kyle Milnes, Martin M, Máté M and various others
Time scale: A few months
Maintenance: constant
Technology: LAMP, jQuery, CSS, HTML

The Full Tilt Poker gaming operation wanted to improve player experience when depositing by offering a Single Click solution for approved deposit methods.

Single Click gave players the ability to reload their Full Tilt accounts with ease. Naturally the player would have to pre-configure their settings.

At the time, the team was 2 strong and our 3rd was hired during the project. It was a very ambitious project schedule and we managed to pull of a quality result on time. It was a major success for the business.

The team worked with the business stake holders to finalise the spec and wire frames, architected a web solution, worked with the client team on the integration, scrubbed the bugs and got it into production. It operated without maintenance or bugs for years.

web-cashier - tools
URL: NA
Credits: Kyle Milnes, Mark F, Máté M, Vilius Z, Cormac T
Time scale: Expanded and maintained over 3-4 years
Maintenance: Constant
Technology: LAMP, BASH, RUBY, CSS, HTML

This toolset was started by me during my time at Full Tilt Poker.

There were many tools in the set; the main tools were automation of deployment tasks and various maintenance tasks. The tool set adopted the principle of Don't Repeat Yourself (DRY). Generally speaking if the team did something complex in BASH or PHP to get a certain result, someone in the team would build it in to the tool set.

The tools had various reporting scripts, to give the team daily internal stats on the health of the production systems. There were also tools for interrogating and configuring production.

The toolset included a micro site, which provided a web interface to some of the tools, and some documentation etc.

Later on in 2011 the deployment toolset was used or triggered by an automated release management system.

web-cashier
URL: NA
Credits: Kyle Milnes, Mark F, Máté M, Vilius Z, Cormac T, Anthoney K, Rafał G, André F, Martin M, David O, Stefan N, Jeremy D, Carl M, Łukasz K, and various others.
Time scale: Expanded and maintained over 3-4 years
Maintenance: Constant
Technology: LAMP, BASH, RUBY, CSS, HTML, Squid, Memcached,

At its peak, the operation had 100,000's of concurrent players connected (poker client). Players self-service financial operations were performed in a game client window, which was a web object container.

In Casino terms, the web-cashier acted as a virtual teller, where players could exchange real world currency for virtual poker chips and vice versa. The web-cashier also provided players with facilities such as inter-player transfers.
This wasn't always the case, originally, the game client software had a native cashier feature, but this approach was phased out and changed to the web approach. This change was primarily due of the lack of agility in the game client development cycle. web-cashier releases were not dependant on a game client release and could be immediate, reactive to the current business demands, whereas the game client development cycle normally took months.

When I got involved with the project, the web-cashier was a live component in the game systems, but had just been born. It ran on a stable but non redundant set of systems.
One of my first tasks was to take the bespoke web-cashier software and migrate it, swapping out the custom framework, with the internal bespoke PHP5 framework, which most web applications and sites ran on. This migration provided a stable, well maintained framework with CMS features and localisation support.

After the software migration was complete and the localisation projects kicked off, I then focused on eliminating single points of failure from the web-cashier infrastructure, alongside adding financial features, such as new transfers methods and usability improvements.

The workload quickly became too much for one person, not to mention the human single point of failure. So we hired a number 2 :) Welcome Martin M, a seasoned web guru.
Once Martin was up to speed, he took charge of the day-to-day stuff and the web-cashier software improvement strategy. I continued to focus on infrastructure and new project planning.

About a year in to the project, the corporate landscape was changing, a dedicated payments division was being set up and it made sense to migrate the web-cashier team out of the web division and into the payments division. By all accounts the migration was fairly smooth.

A few desk moves later, and a big project landed, dubbed Single Click, see the project details above. We hijacked an office and went about dismantling the specification and figuring out how to build Single Click.
We were neck deep in the project and needed help badly, after a fairly short search we found Máté M, he was fresh of the boat from Hungary and hungry to help! He really helped us out and took the pressure off and helped us get Single Click over the line.

A few months passed and its was time to hire again as the project backlog grows and the business is chomping at the bit for more output. Welcome Cormac T, Rafał G, Anthony K and André F. Now we were 7.

Once the new guys got up to speed, compared to before, we really had a lot of bandwidth in the team. We were delivering projects in a matter of weeks or days. Using a bespoke agile methodology promoted by David O.
Multi-currency was a big project, in terms of internal visibility and also potential revenue multiplier. By all accounts, the uses cases implemented worked very well for the players and business.

There was a big push from the business to make the web-cashier as fast as possible and act closer to the native game client experience. We created a umbrella project called one second web-cashier. We started to collected initiatives internally and from other teams we depended on.
Some of the ideas were small and simple, others would require multi-team projects and have a big impact. Given the business sector, vendor selection was sometimes not an easy task and choice could be really limited, this could be down to licence or conformity restrictions for either side.