Monday, December 31, 2018

And You May Find Yourself

I just realized that this is the ninth installment of this little year-end feature for my blog. I started writing it early in 2010, so that means that it is nearly a decade old. Much has changed and I've done and learned a lot in that time over the past almost nine years. However, I still manage to find a way to come back to this joke and see if the lyrics to Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime" will line up to my life's experience. Hence the title this go around.

It's that time again, the end of another year. With it a chance to reflect on some of what I've learned, where I've been, what I could do better and what I hope to do going forward.

Some may notice that the blog entries have been fewer here this year. There are a variety of reasons for that, but specifically, I've been writing guest blog posts over at the Test Rail Blog. Thus, I've "found myself" stepping into broader topics, many of them related to software testing and software delivery, accessibility, inclusive design, and automation techniques. One of my most recent entries is here:

Let the Shell Be Your Pal

The Testing Show had an interesting year. While we have scaled back to monthly shows, we have had a variety of interesting topics and broad discussions on software testing, software delivery and quite a bit of coverage of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. In fact, that was the topic of our latest show, so I'd encourage anyone interested to drop in and have a listen:

The Testing Show: Testing with AI and Machine Learning

Last year, I talked about my transition to being a 100% remote worker. This is the first full year that I worked remotely. My verdict? It's mixed to be truthful. On the plus side, I never have to leave my house. On the negative side, that is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. While I was working in Palo Alto having that daily ritual of traveling to a train station, walking and exploring around Palo Alto was a great way to break up my day. Now that I'm at home full time, I really have to remind myself to make those diversions and get up and get out.

This year, in our family, my daughter accepted a full-time mission call for our church. She has been in Sao Paulo, Brazil since early May and she will be returning back home in early November of 2019. Our weekly emails have been a very bright spot and something I look forward to. My son is still in Los Angeles, working with a recording studio and doing a number of site management details so he can live there (seriously, just think about that, how cool is it that my son literally lives in a multi-track recording studio ;) ). He's doing a lot of photographic and graphic artwork for a variety of performers so he's "living the dream". How lucratively? That's always up to interpretation and as you might guess, he's not telling me much (LOL!). Not that I blame him. I remember full well how it felt to be a performer almost thirty years ago. Creatively, I was on cloud nine. Financially, I struggled. I still wouldn't have changed any of those years and I'm pretty sure he feels the same.

On the speaking front, I'm still focusing on Accessibility and Inclusive Design. I've also expanded into developing a workshop devoted to building a testing framework from scratch. Well, building a framework from available parts and connecting them to each other is a more appropriate description. This is an initiative I've worked with my friend Bill Opsal to put together. The feedback from presenting this workshop has been great and I've appreciated the feedback I've received to make it better. I presented it at the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference back in October an I will present it again in April at the Software Test Professionals Conference (STPCon). I should also mention that the materials I used to put this workshop together have also been rolled out as a new framework approach at my company. It's neat when my speaking engagements and workshop presentations can filter back into my day to day work :).

If the following looks a little verbatim to last year, it's because the sentiment is the same. My thanks to everyone who has worked with me, interacted with me, been part of The Testing Show podcast as a regular contributor and as a guest, shared a meal with me at a conference, come out to hear me speak, shown support to the Bay Area Software Testers meetup, and otherwise given me a place to bounce ideas, think things through, and be a shoulder to cry on or to just hear me out when I feel like I'm talking crazy. Regardless if you have done that just a little bit or a whole lot, I thank you all.

Here's wishing everyone a wonderful 2019.