May 6th, 2008

Sea dragon

End of day three in Orlando and day one of the conference

NOTE: I am tired and re-reading this, I note it sounds a bit incoherent.

Well, the maid(s) came by while I was gone today and tidied. I have all fresh towels and the bed is made, and they were nice and washed my bowl and spoon, bless their hearts.

It is 9:30 PM plus a bit in Orlando and I am exhausted. I have been hard pressed to keep awake since about 7 PM tonight. Catching a bus after the conference was another joke; I saw the trolley go by as I was about to cross the street, then the #8 didn't see the guy waving it down until it was too far away to pull over. Cue a thirty minute wait for the next trolley - which was too full to accept more people. In the meantime, a group of five people from the conference were convinced by me to take a taxi to their destination as it was almost less than the trolley. Yes, they were going out to eat together, and I was going to eat by myself, and even though they were going to the cheesy Greek joint (Opa!), I envied them as they packed into the cab. I'd decided against the movie as it was at 7:45, and before I started waiting for the bus I'd been unwilling to put in nearly two hours to have the movie start (ah, the irony). I was also jealous of all of the people I passed sitting in the lobby of the giant "Rosen Center" hotel chatting with each other as I headed out for the day. Most of them were, I think, around for some other big conference that's happening right now (the one with 15000 people and its own bus service) - I think it's Oracle software of some sort. But I had no one to talk to at all. I've found myself a little desperate, striking up conversations with bellhops and bus drivers - just anyone who'll talk. I assume I'm not creeping folks out too much, but who knows.

I hate eating by myself. At least I've been making a game of it, the "find the really good Mexican joint" game, this time the one I passed on my way into town on the bus, which seemed extremely promising. Given that I wound up almost an hour north of the convention center, I'm glad I was doing it for fun and not because I relished getting nauseated in a bus again (and disoriented to boot, the jet lag was just killing me - I was almost hallucinatory). At any rate, Jalapenos was the real thing, run by a Mexican family, home made flour tortillas, flan for dessert (I didn't have any due to tummy issues), and ooooohhhhhh good salsa and chips of the right density. My combination plate was deelish and I'm only sorry I didn't have room for more (okay, I'm not sorry, I felt not particularly good, but at least I ate my meal and I did like it). shadowdaddy was texting me on my phone during dinner and I pretended I had company instead of just a sad little cell phone making "ping" noises at me. When he finally went to bed, I read my Charlaine Harris book (which I knew I'd find engrossing) and then caught the 8:20 #8 home. Yep, that's right, I'm learning the Orlando bus system. How sad am I?

Tomorrow: after the conference, confer with the guy whose talk I attended this morning to see how to improve my paper, back to my hotel for some swimming, then rewrite my presentation until I'm satisfied with it. Dinner will likely be Pizza Hut - which is too sad for words, really.

I feel lonely but my heart isn't breaking. It could be much worse. Shower now then bed.
Sea dragon

I have so rarely wanted a car so much

Fail, fail, fail. I got up earlier today so I could grab some breakfast at the conference this morning and then _got on the wrong bus_. And it was an epic wrong - the bus that gets on the freeway almost right after my stop and then goes into downtown Orlando _on the freeway all the way_, no stops. Half an hour of watching the time tick away, the conference starting, the talk by my hero starting, stuck on the freeway while we pass exit after exit, and in rush hour traffic to boot. Nothing to do but stay on the bus as it gets ready to head back and start the conference an hour late, and when we get back I will need to pay for a taxi, too, because I don't want to lose any more time of this talk I've paid rather too much to attend. And of course now I have to pee on top of everything else.

StarEAST day 2: morning session

I'm in an all-day session today on how to write good test cases, led by Lee Copeland (who didn't hassle me about being an hour late, thank God). I'm short on time to write but a useful lesson from this morning's session is that if you do a diagram of business rules, a graph, you will frequently find that there are cases which are not addressed in the spec or the code (I'll demonstrate later).

I also talked to the guy who led yesterday morning's estimation talk and he recommended I cut my slide set down to about 20. It'll mean I miss stuff, but it will also mean I will not run out of time in the middle. He said to put other stuff in "bonus sections" at the end that I can use if I have extra time. I think that's a great idea!

Right, session starting now, and we're covering some kind of test analysis technique I've never heard of before and thus can't say the name of now. Will check in later around 5:30 or so.

StarEAST day 2: afternoon session

I've only got ten minutes so ... we spent a lot of time covering "all pairs" testing today. Basically the idea is that if you have say X number of areas to test and each with Y, M, Q number of different possible options (imagine browser versions and video cards and types of network connections) that you can seriously reduce the number of cases you need to execute by just testing that you have each PAIR tested together rather than every single options. This can reduce say 300 test cases down to 30 or something much more reasonable. Per an examination of failures on pacemakers caused by software, testing for just PAIRS of possible failures caught 90% of bugs - you didn't even need to move on to testing A (condition1) B (condition2) C (condition1), just make sure to get each version of A+B and each version of A+C and each version of B+C. There are lovely tables called "orthoganal arrays" that explain it all, but I can't really do it justice in the time I have.

I actually have a "bonus session" starting in six minutes on how to give a good talk, so I'm going to run off and do that. Miss you all, even though it is really nice and warm here and I finally found a good place for Mexican food.