Quotidian Quest

Where have I been?

Category: personal
#misc

Ok, it is time to get back into writing on my blog. I think I'm going to track my progress with learning swift 3 and my other tutorials that I come across.

Mussing about christian music

Category: personal
#music

One of my favorite things about Christian music is that it is encouraging with a lot of popular music, you only hear about:

Today, I was listening and I head a song that asked a simple question

Are you happy where your life is?

I don't hear that question on other stations.

An accomplishment

Category: personal
#journal #accomplishments #keyboard maestro

I've had a little idea going on in the back of my head for the last couple of months about a simple application that would pop up after a given keyboard shortcut. It's a simple idea and never got around to doing it because I didn't sit down and do it. Even on the days, where I thought "Hey,If I had an easy way to keep track of all the good things that I've done, I'd feel better about myself". Normally, I just look at the todo item that I had in OmniFocus and just push it back a couple days or weeks because of priorities.

But today, I sat down and decided that if I wanted to really follow my own words about controlling my life I've got to make good on the commitments that I make to myself big or small.

So I sat down behind my laptop opened up my AppleScript 1-2-31 and started searching the internet after not seeing a solution to my problems on the first page.

set theSumm to text returned of (display dialog "Latest Accomplishment" buttons "OK" default answer "A step forward" default button "OK")

tell application "Calendar"
    make todo at end of todos of calendar "Accomplishments" with properties {summary:theSumm, completion date:current date}
end tell

At first, I was just going to put this in a script file and then run it from a service, but I decided that the easiest way of doing this was to use Keyboard Maestro. It was really cool that I got to move the entire script into the application so I didn't have to move between the different applications.

A copy of my first keyboard maestro attempt to make a short cut to log my accomplishments

This is what I had originally envisioned, but I started to think about the limitations of keeping all of this in reminders. All the applications that use the system built task management tools have a focus on what needs to be done and if I want to have way to look at this stuff quickly and I wasn't sure how to look at accomplishments that were marked as completed a month ago.

I took a look at what I was doing on a daily basis and saw that I've been doing more and more journaling using Day One2.

I didn't want to make the Day One application open up every time that I finished something new so I looked at the command line interface and came up with this.

Screenshot of my keyboard maestro macro to log accomplishments quickly using the command line interface for Day One

So far, the only downside is that I have to go into Day One to make all the hashtags turn into tags and I have to do a search for that tag if I want to see all my accomplishments in a given time.

I think for the next iteration, I might set up GeekTool to show my latest accomplishment on my desktop, but I'm just happy that I finished this initial task.


  1. I bought this book almost a year ago so that I could start teaching myself to do more automation on my computer. Turns out, I just needed to take the time and focus on something that I really wanted to create. It felt good and I think I'll actually get through it... when I get the time. 

  2. I'd already had a specific keyboard shortcut for opening up the menubar pop up for quick writing of thoughts and feelings, but I didn't want to add a textexpander snippet to add an accomplishment tag. 

QA Questions

Category: personal
#QA #employment

I was recently asked to write a little something about my thoughts on doing QA and some questions about my experience. I was told to only write two sentences but I made three so that I could delete a paragraph later. I thought it would be ok to post them on my site. I hope that you get something out of reading it.


I'm a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my work. I find myself agonizing over details and often have multiple drafts and versions of emails, code examples and tutorials that I'm going to publish right after I change that one or two critical things that will make my point. This has been one of the reasons that I've been in Quality Assurance for as long as I have; I don't want people to run into problems.

When I first started working, I was put in charge of creating and automating test suites for an application development tool. The mission was to simulate how a user would create a smaller application using the different components and options available. I quickly learned that automation is only good if you have a clear goal of what you want to accomplish. When the automation breaks, something should happen other than changing the automation. Since then, I've worked with a variety of systems that reported an issue when something goes wrong, either a problem in the build system or a change in functionality. 

A lot of companies are attempting to be agile and it is important that a QA engineer keep up to date with where the company wants to go with the product and have an idea for how people are actually going to be using it. I've been in a couple of situations where companies have been so focused on the features of the product, that they loose track of how everything is supposed to come together for the user. There can be difficulty in communicating (development in remote parts of the world or just don't see it the same way), but I feel that I've learned a lot of different ways of getting my point across (detailed bug reports, screenshots and videos) and understanding where other people are coming from.

In your current role, what is the end product? How do you test it?

In my current role, I test two products. One is a web portal that I test using selenium for regressions and manual testing following test plans that I've developed. The other is an IDE based off of eclipse which creates smaller applications that I do manual testing using test plans that I've created.

Do you have experience with imbedded software? Please describe?

No, the closest I've come to a truly imbedded system is when I was working at Intel and I had to run data through a simulation of the graphics chip.

What is your experience with programming?  Languages? Years of experience? What have you programmed for?

I've always been active in keeping my skills up. I've been doing java for about 8 years now and use it mainly for creating examples for customers and components within my test plans. I've used objective-c for 4 years and use it for my own personal applications. I've been getting more and more into python for the last 2 years as a way to automate my mac, generate test data and small web services. 

Have you been a member of a SCRUM team? Describe your sprints

Yes, most of them are related to creating and merging a major feature into the software. The team had to design and implement new features that could make the software unstable, I was in charge of merge conflicts and regression testing.

What is your experience with defect tracking systems. Where did you do this and what was the project?

I can't imagine a world where there isn't some kind of defect tracking system! I've used RedMine, Jira, Salesforce and a couple built by the the company (Intel and Apple). At Unify, we used Salesforce to track customer issues and information. If there was a real bug or enhancement, we'd put it into Jira or a terminal based bug tracker and each person was told to make sure that all the information needed for a bug was completely documented and were to place test artifacts. At Intel and Apple, we used a custom built solution that required us to put the examples and test artifacts on a shared drive. At Intel, we also had to schedule time on simulator in order to reproduce and debug problems. At Starview, we use RedMine to document and prioritize issues as they come up.

Describe your experience with source control systems

I've used CVS, RCS, Subversion, git and mercurial. At intel, we used subversion to branch and merge bug features and bug fixes. It was my primary duty to handle these merges. The most difficult merge had to do with over 25 files and thousands of lines of code. At Starview, they use mercurial and I use the command line to interact with that. I use git to check out source control from Github. 

Describe your experience with automated testing tools. What have you used? Where? For how long? In what context.

The first tool that used was SilkTest as Unify, I used it for 2 years. At Intel, they had a system called Tambor that ran tests in an emulator (not to be confused with the simulator from earlier) part of the regression testing was running Tambor. Currently, I've been using Jenkins to start automated tasks when there is a change in source code. Jenkins kicks off tasks such as selenium to test how the application respond to user input.

What is your experience with integration test planning approaches and related experience with:

regression testing

Usually, we add a test to the automated suite based off the the severity of the bug and all critical issues are added to the test plan for manual testing. Usually, this is broken down as use cases and there is a lot of over lap. For example, a new feature might be introduced (i.e when users click and hold a button a different event is triggered) and we have to make sure that the new functionality doesn't change how it used to work unexpectedly. I've had to write the plans that describe how it is supposed to be used and the code that would actually do it.

acceptance testing

At my current position, we noticed a problem where things started to feel slower when using the application. We didn't have any real data on how to see if there was a problem other than noticing that our automation suite was taking longer to run. I took it upon myself to learn and implement jmeter and look at serval plugins for jenkins so that we can look at the performance of different test from one build to the other.

risk based testing?

I usually see this as part of regression testing because of time and resource limitations. If you are able to grow your suite of tests, you can focus on making sure that new features and bug fixes get higher priority for test creation. That being said, the new stuff is usually tested manually so that I can get a feel for what it is doing versus the documented requirements.  

N-Word

Category: personal
#misc

Well, it seems like even Paula Deen has said it too. And it looks like a lot of people have a strong reaction to this. Her sponsor has dropped her and even the food network has severed her ties with her. "People" -I use the term loosely- are going back on forth on forums about how it's unfair to do this to her because some of the best selling rappers use the word like a particle of speech.

Personally, I think the outrage is too much. Doing this isn't helping race relations.

History?

I'm not going to give you a history lesson on the N-word. Most people in America already know what it means. If you don't know what it means, take some time and watch Roots or Django Unchained.

All I can think about are my own experiences.

My experiences

People yelling it out of cars

Most of the times that I've heard the N-word shouted at me was when I had someone drive past me and yell the word from a moving vehicle. I've had people throw things at me as they were doing it.

One instance was when our neighbor's boyfriend had yelled it at me after I had threatened to call the cops on him for yelling at his girlfriend.

None of these people knew anything about me other than I was black.

Children Yelling at Each Other

Sometimes, when I take my kids to the park I hear some of the younger kids say it to each other. Sometime to intimidate and anger each other and other times as a general insult.

I sometimes see how some of the children will gang up on the other and use it in hopes that the one being teased (usually a smaller kid and never the largest) will fight back.

I wonder if the kids are mimicking TV or just there life at home and feel sad for them that this is what they do when their parents are around.

Entertainment

I enjoy a lot of things, like music and movies. One of my favorite things to do is to watch a movie or listen to some stand up. In fact, some of my favorite comedians are Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle.

All three of them have had jokes that can be considered derogatory1.

When it comes to movies, a lot of the "black films" that I've seen in recent years have had the phrase "Nigga, please" or some kind of derivative.

I remember a couple times, when I've had "discussions" with my parents about how I don't "talk black".

Conference

Honestly, the most memorable use of the N-word that I've heard happened when I was at a NSBE conference back in 2003.

The speaker had painted an image of how a group of runaway slaves had been captured by some kind of bounty hunters and how some of them were going to be killed as an example. One of the runaways had just given birth and was pleading to be spared.

The slaver shot her dead.

Then stomped the baby.

And said "Nigger".

As if it was less than trash.

This was a powerful image, because it hit me that the N-word is the same word people would use to kill as to chide.

That makes no sense to me.

Do other races see it that bad

I don't know if other races, think about words used for them. And honestly, I've only know a couple. Most notably mexicans.

What are we going to do?

Well, we can all jump to arms and point fingers, but I doubt that is going to help anyone out in this situation.

Don't hide it

I feel we all need to be a little more open to the fact that people are going to say things that we don't like.

And honestly, there are people out there that even the worst words are too good for them.

It is up to all of us to be a little understanding and let people express themselves2 to a degree.

Otherwise, how are they going to learn? And how are we going to know?

Conclusion

We have a long way to go in race relations. I consider myself very lucky to be in America and even more lucky to be in California. I know we've made huge strides in equality and learning to live with other ethnic groups.

Still, there is more to this case than just the N-word. The lawsuit that brought this to light talks about other forms of harassment and I think that as human beings we should focus on that in regards to Paula Deen.


  1. I think this might actually be why Eddie Murphy doesn't do stand up any more. I went back and listened to some of his earlier stuff and shook my head to hear how many "faggot" jokes he used to say. 

  2. Don't be that guy who went to his child custody appearance dressed as Hitler

Morning musings

Category: personal
#misc

I wanted to write something today. That's the whole reason for this post. My mind is kind of wandering and I wanted to put some of those thoughts someplace where I can look at them again.

The Dog Smells

We've had our dog, Puddles, for almost a year and the first thing that comes to mind when I think about him is that he smells. He really, really smells.

From the very first moment that we had him, we noticed that he had a certain odor about him.

We had hoped that it was only because he was being rescued, but despite the regular bathing, the special shampoos and changes in diet…

He still smells.

Night wrap up

Category: personal
#misc

Tomorrow, I’m going to be leading the parents of my daughter’s kindergarten class in our first and only fundraiser.

The (in)famous pancake breakfast.

This was an activity that they told us about at the very beginning of the school year (6 months ago) and I’ve honestly have been kind of dreading that this day would come.

It’s not so much volunteering to do it as it is getting the parents to help out. Although our school has a policy where every parent is required to volunteer 40 hours over the entire school year or donate 20 bucks per hour, I feel that not everyone is able to jump on board and help support us with this.

I’m not angry and I understand that not everyone can help this week, but since I’m the one who is responsible for this if it fails...

I’m just happy that the class that my daughter is in has a lot of top notch parents who really want this to succeed and understand that even the little bit of help can go a long way.

Especially if you tell me about it so I don’t go crazy thinking about what could go wrong.

One thing of personal note is that all the stress of the pancake breakfast has gotten me back in front of the computer to write again. There have been a number of moments that I’ve been wishing for my journal and tonight is one of them.

Passion for the wife

Category: personal
#marriage

I don’t think society OKs me saying this but I love making passionate love to my wife.

She’s good at it and I love doing it with her.

When it’s great.: Which is actually turning into a question because we’ve been having a couple of issues in the bedroom. Sometime it great and sometime both of us are left laying there unsatisfied.

I know I’m not the only one this has happened to. A multimillion dollar industry is aimed at couples, women and men trying to improve what they have in the bed room or at the very least make something happen.

We’ve done a couple things like read books, play games and even watch a movie or two, but I’m coming to the conclusion that we are missing that little spark that used to set us off. Sure, we have are little sessions here and there but I feel that we’ve drifted apart in some ways and it doesn’t feel like we are making love to each other but only attempting to satisfy our desires.

But how do we do that? How do I take the woman who nurtures my kids and kisses there owies and do all the little things I wanted to do when we were dating?

Is it me? Am I the one who is having trouble identifying that woman I married as the same woman who I couldn’t get the clothes off fast enough?

Part of it is that I can’t get my mind on all the thoughts about being in adequate and into the moment where it is just two people trying to connect.

Before the kids wake up.

Just when it gets good…

Category: personal
#relationships #marriage

It seems like everything things get good between my wife and I things seem to fall apart. I don't know what it is but it feels like the problem I'm having with my mom. I.E. things go well and then GRRRRRR we're silently fighting.

I'm afraid that I married my mom in that regard. I've married someone who's default behavior is something akin to a wild animal. Even when you think she's pretty tamed, she'll rear back and swipe at you.

And that isn't even the worst part about it.

The worst part is that there are very rarely moments where I feel that she even notices it herself or feels that she maybe in the wrong. When we talk about it. I usually hear "you do it too" as if makes it right and a brush off that the argument is over.

It's not over.

I feel blooded and scared over it.

I've been thinking about the story of the scorpion and the frog:

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "Its my nature..."

Maybe it is our nature, maybe it is something being blown out of proportion.

But if you felt your relationship was sinking, what would you do?

Loosing touch

Category: personal
#children

Today, I really feel like I'm loosing touch with my daughters. Part of me thinks that I maybe overthinking the fact that I've been a little sick and out of it the last couple of days, but another part is worried about the health of the communication between me and my 4 year old daughter.

As soon as I wrote that I thought to myself, 'How can any one unstand the mind of a 4 year old?'. Well, there are books on it so maybe something is there?

Using your big girl words

Recently, it feels that our daughters are both not communicating in the best possible way. Both of them seem to yell and whine more than they used to and I find myself thinking that this might be my fault since they are home more. The last couple of weeks have seen the family move into a pattern where things aren't really moving as in a healthy way.

Maybe it's the lack of sleep or the fact that mommy and daddy have had more and more conflict where we aren't talking to each other in a respectful way and the children sometimes hear us.

Maybe it's the fact that our dog died and this is part of the grieving process.

Whatever it is, we have to figure it out and find a way for us as a family to move forward.

The alternative diffinitely won't make anyone happy.