Chris Sepulveda has also been working on setting up a new blog lately. I’ve spent time with Chris at the Austin Workshop on Test Automation last February and more recently at Agile Fusion. He’s the coach on an XP team that’s in a different location from where he is most of the time, which gives him a different perspective on XP. I’ve been impressed with his thinking whenever he and I have talked, and I’m looking forward to reading his thoughts on his blog. I actually am planning on responding to an entry he’s got posted on integrating testers into XP, but that entry hasn’t quite finished simmering in my head yet (nor have any of the post-Agile Fusion things I’ve thought about, for those waiting for them).

Chris’ blog is at http://www.christiansepulveda.com/blog

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My wife now has a blog of her own — Thoughts on Pragmatic Software Quality (at http://blackbox.cs.fit.edu/blog/heather).

She and I have similar interests, but where I’ll in general turn a discussion towards the more technical side of things, she’ll lean more towards the business and management side. I’m looking forward to reading what she has to say, and I believe that those who find my blog interesting may also share an interest in hers as well.

I’ve been helping her get her style sheet and rss feeds set up correctly.

Day #1 Wrap Up

June 13, 2003

First, I want to apologize for the last AF post (not the RSS feed one — the one before that). It’s chaotic and disjointed. Maybe I’ll edit it, though I think I have enough to do staying on top of the current stuff. The conversation that I was blogging was the hardest part of the day for me to blog. Part of the problem was I didn’t think about group dynamics and laptop power dynamics, so I was effectively sitting outside the circle of the group. There were also lots of comments back and forth and it was hard to summarize them. I’ll have to try something different for tomorrow’s wrap up session.

Second, Erik posted a couple of comments on the posts earlier today, and I figured I’d just address them in a new post (since I was doing one anyhow). His first comment is about FIT and the feasibility of holding off on it. I’m probably not the best person to talk about this, since I missed this evening’s discussion of FIT. I do know that at dinner, Cem said that he didn’t see how FIT would help them for the RubLog project, but that the vet stuff should be able to get some benefit from it. I imagine that I’ll pick up some more of what my team will do with FIT tomorrow.

Erik’s second comment asked whether we had already split into groups or we were doing the spikes as one group. We’ve already split. The RubLog stuff already has some mechanism for serving pages associated with it, so they didn’t need the spikes we did today. I think the teams are supposed to remain fairly set, though I don’t recall anything being said either way, so this is just my opinion. I think even after just one day, a person switching teams would have a large learning curve to climb to get up to speed and that’s only going to increase. Things like pair programming can help with that, and it might be an interesting experiment to try in a few days. I don’t know.

Third, the vet stuff is accessible from outside. I was going to put the URL here, but I don’t remember it at the moment. I’ll get it tomorrow (and leave this point in as a reminder to do so).

Fourth, Bret told me that he had put the stories for the RubLog project on the Agile Fusion Wiki. The stuff he’s putting up there is at http://www.testing.com/cgi-bin/agile-fusion?RubLogProject

Finally, some thoughts on blogging a live event. In my reading of others’ blogs, I’ve seen talk recently about live blogging (at some of the recent blogging conferences in particular). They warned that one of the dangers associated with live blogging was not participating as deeply. I think that was to some extent present for me today. Tomorrow, I may try posting a little less and summarizing a little more, but I wasn’t consciously trying to get everything today either, so I don’t know for sure how the entries will be different from today’s.

I did find, however, that the act of creating entries on the fly helped in my processing the information – it was clearer to me (particularly when I was trying to summarize people’s comments mentally) and it feels like it has “stuck” better than other similar types of events I’ve been in. Tying that into the more usual content of this blog (no, not my ongoing obsession with RSS feeds), it seems like I’m much more an active learner than I thought. I’m learning stuff better by creating the posts. At the same time, it could be argued that I’m doing both active and reflective learning (which does in fact correspond to my test results — I’m fairly close to the middle on most scales). The active part is in the explaining what I’m learning and what’s going on here to others (all of you reading this), while the reflective part comes from the summarizing and editorializing I do around the other stuff.

I guess it hadn’t hit me before how blogging could address both sides of a learning styles pair like this. Maybe that’s why I like it so much — it lets me exercise skills in both areas.

I’ll have to ponder that more. Anyhow, it’s off to bed now — stay tuned tomorrow for more Agile Fusion news (and the occasional other random thought should I have time for them 🙂

RSS Feeds

June 13, 2003

I just found mention of a new website, BlogStreet (http://www.blogstreet.com). It has a beta service where you put in the URL of a blog and it generates an RSS feed for it! (via Elwyn Jenkins)

Oh happy day! Happy day!

More Ruby RSS ideas

May 23, 2003

It occurred to me while I was writing the previous entry that there may be a way I could help with the information filtering part of things. I don’t want to turn this blog into entries with lots of links. There’ll be links, but I want the point to remain my thoughts (with links to sources for what triggered the thoughts or supporting elements) rather than an aggregation.

BUT, since I’m already in the process of writing Ruby scripts to generate RSS feeds, and given that my aggregator (SharpReader) allows me to lock entries to save them (and stores everything in easily accessible XML caches), I could write a script that generates an RSS file of the entries that I’ve locked. These entries will always be a post that I want to remember for some reason — I might have seen connections, found the entry fascinating, or simply wanted to come back to it.

If I were to make an RSS feed available of my locked posts (which would be the best of the 158 feeds (and growing) that I read, at least in my opinion), would this be a helpful thing? I don’t plan to be systematic about it, or categorize things, or even add my own thoughts about them (though I intend to do that in entries here). All the feed would offer would be an aggregation of my idea of the interesting bits of the feeds as I receive them, with one addition — the name of the originating blog prepended to the text.

Would anyone be offended at seeing their blog entry in such a feed? All the links and everything would be as taken from their original feed.

Another thing Johanna mentioned in her blog was that I was working on a tool for generating RSS files for web sites that don’t already have them. This description perhaps oversells what I have by a bit. What I’ve got is a collection of Ruby scripts, scheduled to run nightly. Each script generates an RSS page for a single web page or site. This page contains links to the publicly available feeds that I provide. At the moment, there are two – the front page of stickyminds.com and the recent changes page of the Context-Driven Testing Wiki. There is a list of pages that I intend to scrape however, and so more will be added as time allows.

I’ve got a few more feeds planned as well in addition to web scrapings. The first one I’ll be developing is a deadline reminder feed. The plan for it is to have a Ruby script that pulls records out of Outlook and puts them in feeds so that I get reminders of the dates. Watch the RSS Feeds page for more details.