Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Closing out a Decade of TESTHEAD (Almost :) )

I realized as I started this post today that it has been a while since I've posted anything. Part of that is the fact that I have been spending the past several weeks involved in two things that are little related to testing.

The first is that my daughter came home from her mission in Sao Paulo, Brazil and I have been spending as much time as possible getting to hear from her and all that she experienced for the 18 months that she was there. It's a challenging thing to encourage your daughter to go halfway around the world for a year and a half, with limited communication, and to give of herself totally to acts of service. I frequently told her I would be interested in seeing the person she was when she came back. Fluent in Portuguese, yes, but much more fluent in many things, including empathy, steadfastness, courage, determination, and drive to do things that matter. This Dad is happy to have her back and happy to see who she has grown into. Still, his little girl and yet not at the same time.

These past two months have also seen me diving into something that has consumed my weekends completely and that is The Great Dickens Christmas Faire in San Francisco. This is an interesting event in that it is filled with shops, performers, and other aspects that encourage you to feel like you are in London in 1843 (the time setting for Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol"). This has been an event I've participated in as a patron for many years, have cosplayed for, and have longed to get in on the action. This year, I was able to do that thanks to the kind folks at "The Paddy West School of Seamanship" where we produce "The Best Seamen In London" ;). I was able to sing with them, work with the school, participate in setup and teardown, and a quality control process for character development and immersion that would be an excellent broader story for a testing blog. More on that another time but suffice it to say that it takes a lot out of a person when they have to give up weekends entirely for two months. Catch up time is non-existent. you have to do things in the here and now when they first strike you or they just don't get done. This blog, for instance :/.

On an oft-talked about areas of this blog that I didn't talk about this year was a decision I made at the beginning of the year. As I had to move to new health insurance and a new framework for it, I decided to try something I hadn't in a while. I decide to go off of Concerta. For those wondering, Concerta is a medication used to help with symptoms of ADHD. After several years of being on it (and actually, the longest continuous period of my life being on ADHD medication) I decided I wanted to try a year without it, just to see if the differences were as pronounced or if I was still in need of it. I'm not 100% convinced I need it to function but I'm also not 100% convinced I do not need to have it. As I had said in previous posts, Concerta doesn't fix ADHD, it just mellows out the pendulum swings. This year, I dealt with a few more pendulum swings but on the whole, I still felt pretty good. For the near term, I'm sticking with my decision to not be taking them, at least a little bit longer. As of right now, I am taking zero medications for anything and I really want to enjoy that.

Closing out the decade, I have been with Socialtext/PeopleFluent/LTG now for seven years. This makes Socialtext my second-longest tenured job in my working career (Cisco Systems still holds the top spot at ten years). It's been an interesting adjustment this year as I've given up my MacBookPro to go back to working on a PC. I'm also spending time learning about C# and .NET Core as well as Visual Studio and interacting with code in that environment after a decade away. It's been interesting, to say the least.

I've also enjoyed the experiences of writing about and working with a variety of publishers regarding various software testing topics. I also want to say thank you to TestBash for giving me the opportunity to attend the San Francisco conference and Live Blogging about it. I'm also thankful to STP-CON and PNSQC for asking me to participate with them again this year on topics related to automation accessibility, inclusive design, and testability.

A good chunk of time was spent editing podcasts for Qualitest and The Testing Show. I think we put out som good episodes this year and I have learned a fair amount about a variety of topics and areas I intend to put more time and attention to in 2020.

As in life, sometimes we have setbacks, too. My band Ensign Red is currently looking for a guitarist. Granted, this would need to be someone local to the Bay Area to participate so if you are, or know someone who is, feel free to give them my contact info. We are looking to get out and perform in 2020 and complete an EP we have been working on but we need to fill the guitar lot before we can do that, of course :).

So there it is. Another wild year, lots of learning, lots of seeing, lots of doing, and a capstone of this blog being an active thing for close to ten years (it's official ten year birthday will be March 10, 2020). For those who have been here from the beginning, I'm impressed you are still here and I hope I have been worth the time. For those who are new, I have a lot of past entries and I'm hoping something will be of interest. Also, as good a string as it has been, I really couldn't fit a fresh line of "Once in a Lifetime" to describe this year accurately, so I am officially going to end this tradition.  Hey, I did it for nine years, that's pretty good :). Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year, a new decade, and new opportunities for all. Be excellent to each other :)!!!

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