Archive for July, 2010

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Balisage bound

See all you markup extremists in Montreal. Look me up. -m

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Microsoft’s new slogan

I wanted to say something snarky about Microsoft’s new slogan, but the comments on the linked article did a pretty good job already. Ahh snark, the unthinking-man’s eloquence. -m

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Meade Classe August 7

Join me for another Meade Classe at the Los Altos MoreFlavor brew shop.

Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010 2:00 – 4:00 pm

MoreFlavor 991 N. San Antonio Road

Los Altos, CA 94022

We will taste some meads, focusing on sensory evaluation, then walk through the steps of brewing up a batch. As usual, seating is limited, so email me to reserve a spot. To help the brew shop recover the costs of the honey, yeast, and light snacks available, a $10 donation will help make sure these events can continue.

On a personal note, I’ll be traveling back from a conference in Montreal the day before, so I might be a little jet lagged. Could get interesting. :-) -m

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

VP XIV bound

Thrilled, THRILLED to announce that I’ve been accepted to the 2010 Viable Paradise workshop. I sent in the first 8000 words of a manuscript that about half of the 7 readers of this blog have looked at. You know, the one that is Science Fiction–literally, fiction about science. So I’ll be spending some time in early October at Martha’s Vineyard studying at the feet of published authors and honing my craft.

Class size is limited, so I’ve been actively psyching myself down for the last month, not getting my hopes up too high. Then when the acceptance came, I had computer down time, and nearly exploded from holding the news in for 3 days. :-)

Ahhhh. I should say more, but I believe I may still be in shock. -m

P. S. OK, how about 25 great opening lines.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Hard drive failing

My personal machine is ailing. It freezes up for 30 seconds at a time–even iTunes stops playing. FireFox crashes before it’s done launching. I’m scared to reboot for fear the machine won’t come back up.  SMARTReporter lists an operating age of 15k hours, a suspicious Power-Off_Retract_Count of over 25 billion–whatever this represents, it’s happened an impressive average of several hundred times per second for the life of the drive. Also a Load_Cycle_Count of over 866k (where typical lifespan is 300-600k). New HDD ordered.

Changing to a new hard drive is the digital equivalent of moving. Disruptive to your routine, and you’re living out of boxes for months afterward. Not much fun, but also an opportunity to reorganize a few things, to start fresh. -m

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Grokking Selenium

As the world of web apps gets more framework-y, I need to get up to speed on contemporary automation testing tools. One of the most popular ones right now is the open source Selenium project. From the look of it, that project is going through an awkward adolescent phase. For example:

  • Selenium IDE lets you record tests in a number of languages, but only HTML ones can be played back. For someone using only Selenium IDE, it’s a confusing array of choices for no apparent reason.
  • Selenium RC has bindings for lots of different languages but not for the HTML tests that are most useful in Selenium IDE. (Why not include the ability to simply play through an entire recorded script in one call, instead of fine grained commands like selenium.key_press(input_id, 110), etc.?)
  • The list of projects prominently mentions Selenium Core (a JavaScript implementation), but when you click through to the documentation, it’s not mentioned. Elsewhere on the site it’s spoken of in deprecating terms.
  • If you look at the developer wiki, all the recent attention is on Web Drivers, a new architecture for remote-controlling browsers, but those aren’t mentioned in the docs (yet) either.

So yeah, right now it’s awkward and confusing. The underlying architecture of the project is undergoing a tectonic shift, something that would never see public light of day in a proprietary project. In the end it will come out leaner and meaner. What the project needs in the short term is more help from fresh outsiders who can visualize the desirable end state and help the ramped and productive developers on the project get there.

By the way, if this kind of problem seems interesting to you, let me know. We’re hiring. If you have any tips for getting up to speed in Selenium, comment below.