October 19, 2008

A Fall Walk Around Walden Pond

It was a beautiful fall day in New England yesterday.

Sunny, cool, no wind, great foliage.

So once we got our to-do list done for the day, we drove to Concord, and took a walk around Walden Pond.

(Walden Pond. October 18th, 2008)

What a great way to spend a fall afternoon.

October 7, 2008

Game Night at the Office

In my company, we've recently started a Game Night.

We take turns bringing in games.  After hours, we grab a conference room, and play for an hour or so. It's been lots of fun so far, and helps create a nice bit of teamwork.

The games
  • need to be able to accomodate around 5-10 players at a time (so checkers, chess are out)
  • need to be quick to learn
  • need to be accessible for teammates who are not native English speakers (so complex word or idiom-based games are out)
  • can't take more than 1-2 hours to play
Here are some we have played so far...


"A trick-taking card game where the object is to empty your hand. The twist is the player who plays the lowest card in a trick sits out the next round."

Hit or Miss

"Sharpen your pencils - and your intuition - for this quick playing "think-in-sync" party game. Draw a category card and in 45 seconds, list as many related words that come to mind. When the timer runs out, roll the die - if it lands on HIT, pick a word that you think everyone wrote; if it lands on MISS, pick one that only you wrote. Choose wisely and score big points. The player with the highest score wins. Hit or Miss - the can't MISS game that will turn your next party into a HIT!"

Category 5

"There are 104 cards numbered from 1 to 104. Every card has at least 1 small flag on it, which will score against you. The deck is shuffled and players are dealt 10 cards each. 4 more are dealt up on the table to form the start of 4 rows.
When each player has chosen a card from their hand, these are revealed and put on the ends of the rows according to simple rules.
As the rows get longer, a row with 5 cards in it is full. If your card is to be the 6th, you pick up the 5 cards in the row, and your 6th card goes to the front to restart the row. The cards you pick up do not go into your hand, but sit in front of you to score against you at the end of the round. Play rounds until someone hits 74 (the minimum speed of a hurricane) and the lowest score wins."



"The deck contains 6 kinds of cards. On each turn a player will take a stack of 3 cards (1 hidden and 2 visible) and keep one hidden and one visible card. The second visible card will be given to another player. At the end of the round, the player with the largest stack of cards in each color will not score points for those cards, while all other players will score points for those cards."

Wyatt Earp

"The aim of the game is for each player to earn the most money from capturing famous outlaws. 2 to 4 players take up the roles of Sheriffs who are hot on the outlaws’ tails, trying to capture the outlaws with most rewards on their heads."

Trans America

"A very simple railway game. Each player has a set of 5 cities strung across the US that need to be connected by rail. Players place either 1 or 2 rails each turn. The player who can make the best use of the other players' networks is generally victorious."


"As card games go, this one is quite revolutionary. Perhaps its oddest feature is that you cannot rearrange your hand, as you need to play the cards in the order that you draw them. The cards are colorful depictions of beans in various descriptive poses, and the object is to make coins by planting fields (sets) of these beans and then harvesting them. To help players match their cards up, the game features extensive trading and deal making."


"Tock is a board game, similar to Ludo or Sorry!, in which players race their four tokens around the game board from start to finish—the objective being to be the first to take all of one's tokens "home". Like Sorry!, it is played with cards rather than dice."

Uno Spin

"The UNO classic card game goes revolutionary! When a spin card is played, someone must spin the wheel. Will luck be on your side? Will players get to discard cards, be forced to pick up more cards, or even exchange hands? In a single turn, everything can change! Players can come from behind and suddenly take the lead. It's fast-paced fun that'll make your head spin! Includes one UNO Spin? wheel and 112 UNO Spin cards and instructions."


October 1, 2008

Optimistic Developers, Pessimistic Testers

In my experience, developers tend to be optimistic folks, while testers tend to be more pessimistic.
  • Developers are creators, with a natural optimism about making new things and solving difficult problems.
  • Testers are fault finders, with a necessary skepticism and doubt.
  • If developers are the yin, testers are the yang.
I believe this is a good thing, a sort of checks-and-balances tension that makes for better software.

But it does lead to some interesting contrasts...

Optimistic Developer: The glass is half full
Pessimistic Tester: The glass is twice as big as required

Optimistic Developer: This code hasn't yet been tested. It's not known if it has any bugs
Pessimistic Tester: This code hasn't yet been tested. It's not known if it actually works

Optimistic Developer: We are 90% done
Pessimistic Tester: We don't know when we'll be done, if ever

Optimistic Developer: We will refactor the code to make it better
Pessimistic Tester: They are throwing out the working code and replacing it with an unknown quantity

Optimistic Developer: I only changed one line of code
Pessimistic Tester: The entire system must be retested

Optimistic Developer: The code is the design
Pessimistic Tester: There is no design

Optimistic Developer: We'll fix those bugs later, when we have time
Pessimistic Tester: We never have enough time to fix the bugs

Optimistic Developer: This build is feature complete
Pessimistic Tester: The features exist; some are completely broken

Optimistic Developer: Anything is possible, given enough time
Pessimistic Tester: Everything has flaws, and given enough time I can prove it

Optimistic Developer: Of course it will work
Pessimistic Tester: It might work, but probably won't

Optimistic Developer: One last bug fix, and we can ship tomorrow
Pessimistic Tester: Fixing this one bug will likely lead to two more

Optimistic Developer: Stop finding bugs, or we'll never be done
Pessimistic Tester: Stop creating bugs, so I can find them all

Optimistic Developer: There's no need for more tests
Pessimistic Tester: Let's just run a few more tests to be sure

Optimistic Developer: There is no I in TEAM
Pessimistic Tester: We can't spell BUGS without U copyrightjoestrazzere

Optimistic Developer: That's an "undocumented feature"
Pessimistic Tester: That's a bug

Optimistic Developer: I like to build things
Pessimistic Tester: I like to break things

Optimistic Developer: Sure, we can use the Beta version of this component in Production
Pessimistic Tester: We should wait until version 2.1

Optimistic Developer: Willing to bet that there are no more bugs
Pessimistic Tester: Willing to take that bet

Optimistic Developer: Let's slip these changes in now, because I'm starting my vacation tomorrow
Pessimistic Tester: Let's not

Optimistic Developer: That will never happen in Production
Pessimistic Tester: Never is a long time

Optimistic Developer: It works on my machine
Pessimistic Tester: Perhaps your machine is the only one where it works?

Optimistic Developer: The sun'll come out, tomorrow...
Pessimistic Tester: Raindrops keep fallin' on my head...

Optimistic Developer: I'm a Realist
Pessimistic Tester: I'm a Realist

And here's a slideshow version, in case you need it: