ABCs & Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?



I just realized that the ABC rhythym is the same as the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Actually, I didn't realize. I had to be told it.

Omigod. I am so clueless.

Questions to ask Interviewers

Book page

Candidates: Ask Questions of Your Interviewers

I spoke with a colleague this morning, who's considering taking on a test management position. He wanted to take advantage of his time to ask questions of his interviewers, because the previous two managers were not successful in the position. Here are the questions he's decided to ask:

  • What is your management style? (When he listens for this, he'll listen for acknowledgement that his future manager has thought about management styles. This is a hypothetical question, unless he checks the answers with a peer manager.)
  • How will I be judged/evaluated? (If your hiring manager hasn't analyzed the job and developed concrete actions for you to take as a new hire, this is a great way to start the conversation.)
  • How do you organize the work? (Everyone organizes. Some people have opaque organizations, some have transparent organizations :-)
  • What are your expectations? (Especially for a test manager or a support manager, understanding the expectations of your manager is a Very Good Idea. Are you supposed to find all the defects? (Impossible.) Are you supposed to close each incident within 24 hours? (Impossible.)
  • Tell me about a time when there was a disagreement between you and your staff (one or many). What happened? (Here's a chance to hear how interventionist your manager is and if there's a lot of conflict among the staff. Some managers bury conflict: "We have no conflict." Some resolve it all themselves, the managers look like a bunch of 3-year-olds. Some encourage discussion and then everyone's supposed to have the same public face. Discover what causes conflict, and how it's handled.
  • What do you think the differences are between managing a testing group and managing a programming group? (Especially if the test manager reports to a manager who's from the development arena, this is a critical question. If the manager says, "I haven't thought about it," you have an opportunity to learn from each other. If the manager says, "No difference," I would run away.
  • What do you do when a bug is found? (Some managers go directly to blame instead of fixing and considering corrective action.)
  • When is the last time you wanted to change something in your group. What happened? (Frequently, test managers are supposed to drive change, but no one else thinks they need to change. Oops. Use this question to see what else has changed and how.)
  • Has there been anything you have wanted to drive change about? What happened? (Managers need to change things every so often, to be effective. This is a check to make sure your potential manager is intentional about changing things.)

Take the time to think of questions that make sense for your role and the context of the organization. Make sure you ask your questions in a behavior-description way, wherever possible. Whatever you do, make sure you avoid leading questions ("You give regular feedback to your employees, right?") Leading questions tell the person how to answer the question, and you want to know what the manager really does and doesn't do.

Open source publishing


John Bartlett owns and operates Bartlett Publishing,
which puts out approximately four titles per year in programming,
business, and ... religion. Huh? Those don't go together, do
they? This is the strength of small publishing, to bring together the
disparate genres that make up a particular publisher's passion.

Bartlett is a true believer, in God and Linux. He chose open
source tools because he "believes in free information." He uses the
DocBook DTD,
running the manuscript through OpenJade with a heavily
customized version of Norman Walsh's
. "Using OpenJade and Norman Walsh's stylesheets to
typeset gives me a huge advantage in both costs to produce a book and
time to market. In particular, with DocBook, an index is amazingly
easy to produce," says Bartlett. Post-processing of the PDF is done
with Perl's Text::PDF module
and Adobe
for complex work. A professional graphic artist produces
the cover and Bartlett does post-processing with the GIMP. Finally he uploads the finished
materials to CafePress or LightningSource.

Bartlett's recommendation of the open source tools he uses is
unequivocating. "DocBook makes your book look professional with very
little effort. The combination of DocBook and a good cover artist
gives you very professional results with a minimum of time and money."

John Culleton of Able
Typesetters and Indexers
provides services for small- and
self-publishers with a completely Linux-based workflow using variants
of TeX. First, he keys in and
corrects the source text in Gvim.
Culleton compiles the text to PDF with ConTeXt or pdfTeX and views
the output in Xpdf. He
also uses various other bits and pieces: grep; the Ghostscript ps2ascii

translator; pfaedit (FontForge); PSUtils
for brochures, makeindex
for indices, and some custom macros and scripts. He does image
processing in the GIMP and has recently begun using Scribus for book covers because it
can handle ICC profiles and
produce CMYK output.

Culleton makes two points about the strengths of open source
software. First, "All of these tools are supported by active email
lists. I don't have to call an underpaid clerk.... I
get superior support from users and maintainers of the software." (Ask
any XPress user about Quark's customer support. It's infamous.)
Second, when Donald Knuth backed away from TeX, others picked up the
torch. Development continued and TeX is still going strong.
Meanwhile, in the proprietary world, PageMaker is dying a slow and
painful death and is no longer the behemoth of book production;
FrameMaker has been losing ground as well. Adobe now pushes InDesign.
QuarkXpress went years between updates on the Mac, still
the dominant desktop publishing platform. With proprietary software,
Culleton says, "[You] face the potential discontinuance of the
product, just like users of the once excellent WordPerfect have found
their own purgatory -- the Curse of Corel."

Posted by klsh

Last July Session of ASA's MVP class


Yay! Lisa joined us! She's signed up for the class, so we'll be seeing her twice a week. Whoo!

Today's workout focused on arms. Not in a workout sense, but in a movement sense: quick arms propelling quick feet. I was also working on moving my arms forward and backward, and not across my chest.

I also asked G about intensity level. Should I be going all out, all the time, or should I try to pace myself. G was actually surprised. He thought I was already going all out. Essentially, he was reducing the recovery time each time, to adjust for our improved performance. Whoops. My bad.

I started early with my ladders, with G giving me direct feedback about moving my arms. I tend to chicken-wing my arms, keeping them away from my body and often crossing my chest when they come forward. It really helped to have G give immediate feedback.

  • twisting from the outside: L foot on the right side, twist to put R foot inside, L outside left side, R next to L, twist to put L foot inside, R outside right side, L next to R, etc.
  • Outside L-in
  • Outside, R-in
  • Outside, R, outside, L, outside, together
  • Ali shuffle
  • probably more

We started off with the I of pain and square drill. Kris and Lisa worked the I-of-pain, while I worked the square drill. My first time was about 11.6, with the subsequent three being about 10.5. I think I cheated a little on those three. The last one was 10.9, which was around the time all my runs should have been. Not cheating on that one.

We switched, and I ran the I-of-pain, while Kris and Lisa ran the square drill. I ran the I-of-pain as hard as I could. I needed longer than the 30 second rest. My legs felt spent at the end of the drill.

Next, we had the equivalent of running ice-skaters. Instead of side-to-side ice skaters, we shuffled forward. We were working on quick feet. It was a little difficult for me, more so I think for Lisa. Kris, with his fast feet, had no problem. The cones were about 3 feet apart, width-wise, and 2 feet forward-wise. The goal was to shuffle through the cones, around the outside, facing forward. Shuffling forward. We ran 5+ of these runs. We then faced sideways, instead of forward, and quick-feet ran around the cones. We went through this way a good number of times, too. It was difficult to get the arms moving quickly and correctly in synch.

The star-shuffle came next. It was a small circle: only one step between the middle cone and the outside cone. It made, once again, for quick feet and fast arms. We couldn't get a full shuffle in, so we had to move quickly. We went counterclockwise twice, then clockwise twice.

Kris offered a suggestion to G to modify the exercise. Instead of shuffling from cone to cone, G walked around the circle, adjusting his distance from the center cone. We shuffled from the center cone to G, as he walked around the circle.

Wall ball came next. Kris and Lisa started out playing wall ball against each other with the 8# ball. They threw from their hips, playing twice for a minute each round. G and I played next, with the 6#. When it came time to play throwing overhead, using abs, of course, G had Lisa play wall ball with me, instead, with the lighter ball. 8# was 2# too heavy.

Abs, of course, were last. The first set was a three exercise round: ab pull downs with the weight machine, bicycles, and big ball balance (where we balanced in a plank position with elbows and forearms on the ball, then back up, with just hands on the ball, butt in the air). We each rotated through the three exercises. Next were cross-over V-ups, similar to Lisa's cross-over bicycles from the workout she developed for us. There was another few ab exercises.

The last ab exercise was 6" leg holds, for only 30 seconds. No problem.

Special K sprint workout

Update: changes made for the SCU women's team, with more explanations.

Derived from an article I read about the US National Women's Soccer team, the Special K workout builds sprinting stamina. It was modified by Kris for Special K, which is no longer a team. The season this was written for was a shortened season, with coed playing in July and open/women playing in fall. As of this moment, it was the last year a player could play in more than one division in a season.

For reference, a stinker is:

Sprint 50 yards out and back 3 times in a row for a total of
300 yards.  If you are feeling really ambitious, do this in
under 1 minute.  Rest one and a half minutes afterwards.
A stinkette is:
Sprint 25 yards out and back 6 times in a row for a total of 300
yards.  If you are feeling really ambitious, do this in under
1 minute 5 seconds.  Rest one and a half minutes afterwards.
And a suicide is:
Run 5 yards out and back then increase to running 10, 15,
20, and 25 yards out and back.  Rest 25 seconds afterwards.

That said, the workout is:
Ultimate Workouts  4/3/00 - 7/6/00

4/3/00 Monday
   7x20, 5x40, 3x50, 3x90

4/6/00 Thursday
   1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 3 suicides

4/10/00 Monday
   7x20, 5x40, 3x50, 3x90

4/13/00 Thursday
   1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 3 suicides

4/17/00 Monday
   7x20, 5x40, 4x50, 4x90

4/20/00 Thursday
   1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 4 suicides

4/24/00 Monday
   8x20, 6x40, 4x50, 4x90

4/27/00 Thursday
   1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 4 suicides

5/1/00 Monday
   8x20, 6x40, 4x50, 4x90

5/4/00 Thursday
   1 stinker, 2 stinkettes, 4 suicides

5/8/00 Monday
   8x20, 6x40, 4x50, 4x90

5/11/00 Thursday
   1 stinker, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

5/15/00 Monday
   9x20, 7x40, 5x50, 5x90

5/18/00 Thursday
   1 stinker, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

5/22/00 Monday
   9x20, 7x40, 5x50, 5x90

5/25/00 Thursday
   1 stinker, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

5/29/00 Monday
   10x20, 8x40, 5x50, 5x90

6/1/00 Thursday
   1.5 stinkers, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

6/5/00 Monday
   10x20, 8x40, 6x50, 6x90

6/8/00 Thursday
   1.5 stinkers, 3 stinkettes, 5 suicides

6/12/00 Monday
   12x20, 8x40, 6x50, 6x90

6/15/00 Thursday
   1.5 stinkers, 3 stinkettes, 6 suicides

6/19/00 Monday
   14x20, 9x40, 7x50, 7x90

6/22/00 Thursday
   2 stinkers, 4 stinkettes, 6 suicides

6/26/00 Monday
   14x20, 9x40, 7x50, 7x90

6/29/00 Thursday
   2 stinkers, 4 stinkettes, 7 suicides

7/3/00 Monday
   16x20, 10x40, 8x50, 8x90

7/6/00 Thursday
   2 stinkers, 4 stinkettes, 7 suicides
I believe it is worth noting that although we do these various "workouts" on different days, the US National World Soccer team did both the weekly workouts on the same day. They are some amazing athletes, those women.


This one is from Dom, though I think he received it from Byers

4 pounds pickling cucumbers, cut into 1/2inch thick rounds
1/4 cup chopped garlic
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

4 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
6 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 heaping tbsp pickling spice
2 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp black peppercorns

Combine in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  
Remove from heat and cool for a couple of minutes.  Pour over
other ingredients.

Cool to room temperature, cover, and put in the fridge for a week.

Dom's comments: I find that it makes less brine than is necessary,
so you can increase the brine proportions, decrease the cucumber
amount, or just shake the jar around each morning (which is what i usually do) to make sure all of them are getting pickled