Tag Archives: Sydney

Do the obvious thing, excellently

1 Feb

So, I have just finished contract for a complex commissions system upgrade with Fuji Xerox, in Sydney and I thought I would share a thought or two.

When people talk of software testing, immediately most people think of Automation tools, like Selenium and Test Management tools like Quality Centre, which are of course great.

But what if you are working on a project that does not have those capabilities or budgets?

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Well, you just have to be resourceful and do the best you can, with what you have, what’s interesting with contracting is you get to experience many different industries, locations and approaches to working.

What impressed me was while a lot of people think tools, one of the best tools as a tester as far as I can see, is Microsoft Excel

While exploring the many functions excel has to offer, while doing data analysis, I was impressed how much more it does and how non testers, namely business people I would not normally sit next to use it, its applications, redefining what you think its capabilities are.

Tools can only do so much

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I’ve heard of how come actuary calculations take hours to compete and i also know the inventors of excel Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston in 1979 never cashed in on their idea

I remember reading of a call center that used HP Quality Center to manage their call center business and why not? It can be configured any way you like, all it takes is for someone to get the idea, and sometimes that’s all you need, Bear Grylls says all you need to survive is a good penknife and a water bottle, but that’s another story

Apparently, It comes in handy?

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It occurred while I have been learning automation testing, there is so much more I can learn, with existing applications, while configuring style sheet on a word document for a test plan, I saw how more complicated Microsoft word in fact is and it’s important to know these functions and to be able to do them properly.

But it’s interesting how often having good excel skills gets overlooked, you never see ‘Excellent excel data analysis’ in a job description, but when you are preparing data for a complex system, having good Excel skills comes in handy, ‘Trez important’ as the French would say!

How to drive traffic to your site, the easy way

3 Dec

The Walker Art centre digital media team

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Last week, i went to a presentation by Nate Solas, he is a senior media developer (he’s the guy in the middle, sitting down) for the award winning Walker Art Center, you see i’ve been attending quite a few lectures, meet ups, technology events, after all, i’m in Sydney and there is quite a bit going on, all you have to do is look.

I will share some of the interesting points i learnt from his excellent presentation

To get people to your site, all you have to do is write good content, so if you write something, make it good, people will come back to read more time and again, you can see this through the ‘Long tail’ of your site, i highly recommend this article by Chris Anderson, from Wired to get a deeper understanding of the long tail

Chris says:

Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.

A longtail states that there is more value in the sum of things that get small demands than on the big demand things.

It’s taking statistics to a new level, there is the longtail of travel

What a long tail looks like

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Its the bottom line going across the bottom is what your aiming for. For the
Walker art centre started investigating the long tail, more specifically who these people were and what they were doing, they got to understand their business in a different way.

Whats interesting is recently Facebook changed their algorithm, the Internet has some new laws too, it favours stories that are based on good content, people will keep coming back and find content through search tools, good content doesn’t have to be on the sidebar, people will dig around for it are we in the era of digital archaeologists?

Nate talked of a ‘Long tail’, some might be forgiven for thinking it had something to do with cats, and it did to a degree, interested?

I watched a talk by Ken Robinson, in case you dont know who he is, Ken Robinson is a education reformer, one of the most interesting people you will listen to, he is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere

Ken Robinson

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His TedX presentation has been viewed more than 4 million times (at the time), he said that his son showed him a youtube video of someone playing with a cat, it had 8 million hits, which was funny, but also true

What works in driving audiences to your site are, special interest groups. The Walker arts centre, launched the new site, it got a lot of traffic, they held a big rock concert, they got huge traffic, they held a cat movie festival, called ‘The nine lives of the Internet cat’, the graph went off the scale.

C is for….Cat

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Continuing, Nate mentioned a few rules when you attract special interest groups, that he likes to adhere to

  • When you attract a special interest group, don’t make them look at other stuff, if they come for cat videos, give them cat videos
  • You need to Measure more and guess less
  • Stop inventing and start iterating
  • Do the obvious thing excellently
  • Give the user a sense of community, for the Walker Centre, they put the weather temperature on the front page and it’s been a huge success, people like knowing that it’s ‘Cloudy and 46 Fahrenheit’ around the centre
  • The Walker centre is happy to have links to other sites, it gives them credability too, people appreciate it and that brings people back

You can watch the entire festival cat videos here

This funny cat video has had nearly 49 million views, enjoy!!

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