It’s meant to be funny #6

I feel like adding an explanation would be over doing it. This picture has the power to brighten any day and improve any activity.

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Google Docs vs. MS Office

So, I’ve already made up my mind but (not) surprisingly not everyone agrees with me.

Microsoft Office

  • It’s been around for ages
  • It has tons of features
  • It is your one stop shop for all things corporate. Spreadsheets, documents, presentation and everything else that will make you fall asleep
  • You only use 20 of those features though
  • You install it on your computer
  • You have to handle synchronization of documents on your own
  • It costs you about 1.5 kidneys
  • New version every few years (with the additional cost of a kidney or two)
Google Docs
  • It’s pretty new compared to Office
  • It has way less features
  • It has the features you actually want, need and use
  • It is your one stop shop for all things corporate.
  • It runs on any computer that can go online
  • It will allow you to effortlessly share and synchronize with others
  • It’s free for everyone. If you want to, you can pay for a corporate license and they will take care of you a little better.
  • Is continuously updated and maintained.
Why you should convince your management to stop paying for Office, Outlook and all that:
  • Google will handle your backup needs. Just like that.
  • No more patching or installing of software. It runs in your browser.
  • No more issues with obscure settings to setup e-mail or calendar. You are up and running from moment 1.
  • It even works on your smartphone, just like that. Super easy.
  • You can collaborate on the same document, no matter where you are. No more e-mailing of .docs back and forth.
  • It’s cheap! $50 per user and year. I mean. Come on!
  • It saves time! No more searching for that feature you want. It’s right there.
    No more iterating through lists for that file you want, Google will search for you.
Reasons to stick with Office:
  • Powerpoint as slightly fancier boxes and effects for your presentations.
So okay. Give everyone Google Apps and then that one person who insists that fancy boxes are important can have a Powerpoint license.

It’s meant to be funny #4

“It lopped a few points of his I.Q but he still has a bright future in QA”
– Dilbert

See, it’s funny because it’s considered to be true.
I know some people I would classify as clever. The vast majority of them are engineers of different disciplines and one of the brightest shining lights among these is one of my first colleges. We were both in QA. Then again, imagine how great he would have been if he hadn’t had that drink of industrial sludge that one time 😉

Like another college keeps telling me, this is great. All the more work and money for the two of us while the code slaves churn their C and C++.

Whatever happen to the team? You know, this collection of disciplines that are combined in a group of people who pull together to reach a common goal?

The next time you see your local QA person, look at him or her as your helpful friend who makes you look good but not allowing you to release broken software. This person should be your best friend. Your greatest ally.

 

 

 

Time really is money

People have been telling me this for years but it only recently started to make sense.

A while back I ordered a few things from an online electronics retailer. Just a few small items, a USB-hub, a HDMI cable and something else. Being true to my nature and well enforced students ways I automatically picked the cheapest possible shipping. Hit OK and sat down to wait for the deliver notice to be delivered by text. The text came (three days later) and it told me where to pick my things up from. It was a store a few clicks away from work. No big deal, I’ll just take care of it during lunch.

And so I did. Walk to the tram (5 minutes), wait for the tram (5 more minutes), ride the tram (15 minutes but since we are talking public transportation here, it felt like 30 minutes thanks to the gentlemen who also chose to ride that tram that day), walk from the tram (2 minutes), wait in line (20 minutes(!)) and then back again. When this was over and done with, I had spent more than one hour just retrieving my package. Time I could have spent at work, billing my customer.

Next time you have the option of paying a little bit more to save some time and still arrive at the same destination. At least consider paying a few bucks extra. Provided your ability to put food on the table doesn’t depend on it, it might be well worth it to pay a little more.

Like, if you are travelling, don’t get a dirt cheap motel an eternity away from the attractions you are there to enjoy. You’ll spend time and money on going back and forth, time any money that could be spent enjoying the attractions. (I once got a motel room about 45-60 minutes away from Yosemite, it was cheap but it also made me not do Half Dome)

The “trick”, figure out how much money you make in 5 minutes. If you ever can pay less than that to save at least 5 minutes. Take the deal.

Peace of mind does have a price and sometimes it isn’t even expensive.

TAS, published.

The guidelines for creating a successful open source project is to release code often. The project needs to be and look alive. Well, this far, I haven’t really been honouring that guideline. That is, until today!

TAS, The Automation System (soon to be part of TTS, The Testing System) is published. It is in no way stable or feature rich enough to deserve a version number but there is some code in the GIT repository.

I have a pretty heavy sprint planned from today to the middle of November so expect this code base to grow quite a bit during the next few weeks.

Ohh, also, it’s currently GPLv2.

Self healing systems

At first I thought it was a bit of a stretch to call it a self healing system but honestly, it’s not. As long as you only deal with software failure, it can be fixed with software. Hardware is harder to fix like that (thus the option to finally escalate to a human admin at the end of the chain).
A guy (Patrick) at Facebook found himself doing the same things over and over again and started writing scripts that did these things for him. The number of scripts grew. The complexity of the scripts increased and after a while the entire team found them useful. At this point it is a pretty obvious step to turn this into a full fledged system and they did just that. Thus creating FBAR, Facebook Auto-Remediation.

The article doesn’t really go into the details but that’s okay. The thinking, and the methods used here are solid. The first stumbling steps of FBAR wasn’t the workings of a complete enterprise level tool. It was a few lines of code that helped eliminate time consuming and probably mind numbing manual tasks. It looks like it is polling at the moment, an event driven approach would have been cooler but hey, as long as this Gets It Done it doesn’t really matter. Besides, there will have to be an insanely big server farm for the polling to be an issue.

Right on Facebook. The last time we spoke, you didn’t have any QA but it does give me some comfort that you are in fact doing some of these clever things. Who knows, maybe the step to automating some sort of high level tests for your services isn’t that alien after all?

On a related subject, I’ve been working on TAS (The Automation System), which is now part of TTS (The Testing System). It’s bare metal, it’s light, it gets the job done. I need to make it good enough for dog fooding before I release the first drop. Any day now. Or, before Christmas =)