007 Unlicensed to Test

Day 2

The only thing it depends on is money

First session - tough choice again… I went to Scott Barbers session
“The only thing it depends on is money”
Great choice for me, great speaker (also some tips on speaking I got from Scott - it felt like he was talking to me through the whole session - although he wasn’t)

His session was based on the fact that everything leads back to money. It seems obvious, but I’m not sure I actually considered testing properly in monetary terms before. He also mentioned the fact that testers do much more than test execution, it ignited a spark in me that as my first article on testing ever was ‘I’m not just a tester, I’m more than that’. It got me thinking, it got me wanting to write about testing, it got me wanting to change my original article and extend it, and try and relate it make to money.

Some brilliant take aways for me, I really wanted to talk to Scott after the session, however I had to prepare for my next facilitation session with Rob Bowyer on ‘I’m not a programmer but I know how to lead one’

Fortunately the nature of the conference is based around lots of conferring, unfortunately this meant I didn’t manage to catch up with Scott again. Perhaps I’ll write that article and then we can discuss. :)

I’m not a programmer but I know how to lead one

Next Rob Bowyers  session ‘I’m not a programmer but I know how to lead one’

Lots of insight, an experiential talk..
I was especially interested in hiring programmers when you are not a programmer.
Rob mentioned how listening can help, and if programmers can't explain things to non-programmers there might be a problem.
He also mentioned how he can help people look at the big picture, and enable problem solving through coaching.

I think we agreed that I should attempt to come to CAST, but I hope to see Rob back at Let’s Test next year.

Time to Think - Transforming the way you listen and Think

The next session was a close decision:
‘Time to Think - Transforming the way you listen and Think’ - Louise Perold or ‘Transpection Tuesday’ - Helena Jeret-Mäe / Erik Bakarp

Here was my thinking, I though that Helena Jeret-Mäe/ Erik Bakarp were approachable people (most if not everyone is actually) and that I could talk to them about their session at another time during the conference - so I went for ‘Time to Think - Transforming the way you listen and Think’ - Louise Perold

For me that was a very good choice.

We had to form a circle, we had to get into pairs. Thinking partner pairs.

We tried out some techniques as a thinker and a listener. My partner was Andreas.

Listening was harder than I thought, in fact I had to really stop myself from interrupting Andreas when he was talking about one of his problems.

I had 2 problems, both Andreas and I tried thinking and listening techniques. Andreas did indeed help me find my own solutions to my own problems. It was pretty amazing for me and made me realised I need that ‘time to think’

Shortly after the conference but unrelated to it Helena Jeret-Mäe tweeted the following, it seemed relevant for me after attending Louise's session.

What I got from this session wasn't a skill in patience or listening, I gained techniques that I can use to help me.

I was very open with discussing my problems in this session, this re-iterates the atmosphere and informal nature of the conference.

My Sketchnote from the session:

Tinkering with Arduino and Python

I was pretty exhausted at this point and decided to take some timeout from the conference, skipped some sessions ready to take on ‘Tinkering with Arduino and Python’

I sort of gatecrashed Christopher Lebond and Andreas Cederholm table (I got the impression that there were conspiring to do great things with the Arduino - but as a pair!)
Anyway someone else joined and he and I started with the Arduino.

We started with an arduino and the arduino ide. You plug the usb cable from arduino to your laptop and start, it is that easy. We picked up one of the scripts to blink the led. So easy!! At this point I think we aroused Christopher and Andreas attention.

What to do after the LED script? Lets try the ultrasound sensor! Sure enough, after connecting the sensor to the arduino via 2 cables and a default script from the Arduino IDE, the ultrasound sensor was working….woah!

We sort of oohed and ahhed when we changed the script to write to the console the distance of a detected object on the sensor.

Time to test! Lots of hand waving in front of the sensor, and yes someone (I’m pretty sure it was Andreas) who seemed to crash our script - nice test. How did he do that? What did you do Andreas?

Well my hand was quite close to the sensor…
Can I find a test heuristic for that? that I can use my projects when I get home (that might actually be a false use of heuristics though)

  • Don’t get too close to the thing you are building?
  • Don’t get too close to anything while hand waving?
  • Bring in Andreas when you want something to crash.

In comes the facilitator:

‘Guys what are you going to do next?’ Why don’t you make sound when the sensor detects something?
At this point I was getting a lot tired.
The next problems to solve, grab the distance that the sensor detects and convert to a sound frequency.
This is where I was a bit out of my comfort zone, frequency conversions and frequency ranges. The other guys were on it.
We then could print out a frequency based on the distance that the sensor identified as an interruption.
We also converted our script from the arduino IDE to python.
Christopher took on the task of finding some way of playing a sound on the laptop.

Deadlines! It was getting quite late, I was floundering a bit, but we as a group were quite determined to do this. Christopher, announced the deadline, it’s getting late, lets finish at half past!!!

Christopher found the code we needed, take a frequency as an input (we already had that) and play a sound on the laptop. One slight problem, my laptop was a mac and the library that Christopher had found was for windows. Arghhh!

Luckily, Christopher recreated everything on his laptop , Winmac (don’t ask) and sounds did occur when we interrupted the sensor - Not as reliable as we had liked - but a win!!

I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was very much like a mini software project.

Everything going smoothly, some crashes, great ideas, teamwork,tiredness, mini disaster at the end but something workable. Not something I was expecting I would take out of the session.