Quotidian Quest

Shadowslayer: Dawn of the Lightforge

Category: review
#games

When I saw this in the app store, I thought this was an alright game. It had a fairly high rating, but I think that the developers must have gamed the rating system because anyone who has gotten passed the initial tutorial would be quickly bored by the tedious amount of grinding and the amount of in-app purchases that you get hammered with every time you want to do something.

The game has two different kinds of currency: One that proves pointless after 20 minutes and a true currency that you can only get by paying with real money.

Listen, if you're looking for a game that you only play once a day without paying $2-3, then this is it.

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. 

Messing around with Sublime Text

Category: tech
#software #sublime text

Honestly, a lot of people that I respect are talking about it. I think I'm going to have to step through the tutorial again. But honestly, I'd like to think about what I want to do with it.

I already have a couple text editors but I love messing around with the tools more than doing the job sometimes.

The only reason that I don't use sublime text is because of the price. The "free" demo allows you to use it as long as you want but you see a pop up reminding you that it hasn't been purchased yet. I'm not at a point where I can justify the price and being someone who works in the industry, I want to encourage people to pay for software.

I've talked to some other people and it seems like they are proud of the being able to mentally blockout the popup and dismiss it without missing a beat.

To me, that just seems wrong on so many levels.

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.  

Excited about beta

Category: tech
#mmd #beta

I'm pretty excited about the latest changes in MultiMarkdown Composer!

It's going to have some things like:

some perl code

and

x^2 or x^2^

as well as

y~z or y~z~

It looks like it is showing the changes now.

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.

Bully, bully

Category: parenting
#bullying

Tonight, my wife told me that our daughter has an exclusive girl club in her kindergarten class that she isn't allowed to be in. This club has one particular girl in it that is being mean to my daughter. She doesn't like being there 1.

It's something that no parent wants to hear, but should listen to now more than ever. The suicide rate for girls has increased to an alarming level with articles and news clips talking about how girls are being ambushed and beaten by their peers. Then, to add more humiliation, someone records it and puts it on the internet.

Some would say that it's just girls being mean, but I've been bullied and I know how these things can affect you. I only pray that I can help my daughter find the strength that she needs in order to get past this.


  1. It also makes since to why I see her playing by herself when I come into her class and why she's been acting up when she's at home. 

I almost bought BusyCal 2

Category: productivity
#calendar #apps

I've been making little changes with my life in order to get more done instead of just talking about it. One of the changes that I've done is to become more committed to the things that I put into my calendar after hearing a couple great quotes from Merlin Mann's Back to Work podcast.

"A calendar is a map of your time." - Merlin Mann

"Don't let a calendar run your life, use a calendar to help you run your life." - Merlin Mann

It seemed like perfect timing that at the same time that I'm putting more effort into getting things together, one of flagship calendar applications - BusyCal - came out with a new version.

Getting Organized

In the effort to become more organized, I decided that it would be easier on me to start off by placing recurring events and events that I know that I will certainly be attending. The only problem being that I need to review my calendar to make sure that it is up to date and that all the activities on my computer are reflected on the family calendar hanging on the wall of the kitchen. I'm slowly building up the habit of making sure that the two are in sync and in a way this works as a little review of what is going on in my life for the purpose of time management. Another benefit is that I don't commit to a lot of different things because of the hassle it would take to make sure that I'm available at a certain time1.

In a way, this has improved how I function in my day to day life because I don't have as much stress about missing appointments. The stress I do have is generated because of my desire to do more things at once. The problem is that I'm getting a better idea of what I want/should be doing and it is kind of scary to see all the different things that are vying for my attention. I've been using OmniFocus to help me manage all the projects and I think I've moved a little bit past just pushing things around and doing busy work. I'm learning where things are getting lost and I think thats one of the key things you need to find if you really want to improve your life.

Ultimately, this has really shown me that there isn't a silver bullet to being productive and getting things done. It's a bunch of little bullets being fired from the gun called willpower2. And I am starting to trust in myself to follow the plan that I have set out. I'm still working on making sure that I do some kind of as often as possible and get things out of my inbox.

But that leads us back to the main point of this post.

Why did/didn't buy BusyCal 2?

Honestly, I'm on a budget. When you're constantly checking your balance to make sure that you have enough for food/rent/kids/spouse, it is hard to justify $303.

The other reason is that I already have the first version of BusyCal and fantastical. Both of these products provide me with all the calendar information that I need at this point. For the current date and to add things, I use fantastical4. When it comes to a wider view, BusyCal does that way better that iCal in the sense that it isn't a nightmare to look at.

If I had the money, I'd buy the new version as it looks really nice and company is focused on bringing a great mac experience.


  1. For a while, I would stress out about meeting people up at a given time. I wanted my word to mean something when it came to not being late. If I said 8AM, I meant 8AM. In my mind, I would chant "Punctual is not being on time, it's being respectful of other peoples time". I still think that, but I don't stress about it. 

  2. That has to be one of the corniest things I've written in the last couple of weeks.  

  3. It's currently on sale until the end of the month.  

  4. Although, I do have a problem adding repeating events. I'm going to give the software the benefit of the doubt for not being able to read me… Maybe next release. 

What do I want in an email client?

Category: productivity
#email

I've been thinking about email a lot more than I would like to during the last couple of days due to my latest attempt to have a GTD based workflow and eliminate some of the friction1 in my life.

I know for a fact that email is not really the problem when it comes to managing my life and the thoughts about how to handle the incoming maybe just my minds way of just "moving the food around on my plate".

BUT

This has been a problem for me every time that I get organized. I've been blessed to have two computers and it seems like a lot of trouble trying to get the two to have the same set up because I share one with the rest of the family and the other is my "work" computer that has all the latest do dads and what nots in it.

Right now, I'm at a crossroads when it comes to my feelings about Mail.app and email/Gmail. I have multiple account (3 gmail accounts and 1 iCloud/me.com/MobileMe2). I feel that if I can't control this kind of input into my life than I'm not going to be able to trust any kind of system that I set up. So made a little wish list of all the things that I need from an email client.

So where does this put me? Do I take the time to find that "Perfect" email client? Do I go back to Mail.app attempt to make it fit my imaginary workflow?

After writing all this, I think I'm just wasting my time with a first world problem.


  1. More like distractions. I don't think I had a problem focusing on things until I had was able to get on the internet for longer than two hours in a row. 

  2. For the longest time, it seemed like the service was constantly going down for hours or days at a time. I haven't heard of any problems in a while, but that could just mean that people don't care anymore. 

  3. It is hard to beat free. Although I'm paying for it by being a small aggregated blip on some data profile, I'm having trouble fighting "the good fight" and yes, I know that all the third party apps are using IMAP to connect to gmail.