May 26, 2013

new job- week one

Here's where I go to work each morning.

Per Wikipedia:  The Cleveland Play House facility, built in 1927, housed the Brooks Theatre and the Drury Theatre. Cleveland Play House purchased the Sears building and the world-renown architect Philip Johnson designed significant additions for the complex, including the Bolton Theatre. With the 1927 buildings, the Sears building and the Johnson buildings taken together, the complex for CPH became the largest regional theatre complex in the country.

The building house the MOCA (my friend Mark worked there for years!).  In 2009 it was purchased by the Cleveland Clinic.  There were fears it would be torn down, but instead they moved my company Explorys into the building.

The 3rd floor is abandoned with some broken windows and bird.  Yuk!

I climbed the spiral staircase & gave myself an anxiety attack, but it's a nice quiet loft at the top, perfect place to hide.

Here's my desk.  I use a MPB with 2 monitors and "Dr. Dre Beats" headphones.   These headphones are SWEET!

I'm totally going to try and ride one of these Razors! 

The Cleveland SWAT Team meets here to train. 

I'm reunited with goofy QA friend Joe, as well as 2 other guys from Within3.  Nice to be around old friends.  And my spinning instructor is there, and we're going to be travelling together sometime this summer.

The ice machine has a beautiful blue glow.

There's a shark balloon hanging around.

Ok, so more about the job.

The company:  from our website, "Explorys was founded in 2009 as an innovation spinoff from Cleveland Clinic. Explorys addresses the national imperative to leverage big data in healthcare for the improvement of medicine and delivery of care."  What does that mean?  It means we have access to billions of medical records, and we have found ways to take that information, and ethically use to to improve people's lives.  To give doctors and hospitals ways to track health trends, to see what patients need help before they get too sick.

My job:  My title is Exploratory Tester II.  I am on a team with 3 guys doing Test Automation.  My job is to test the system from a human aspect.  To understand how end users in the real world use our systems.  I'll get to observe client training in the next few months, to see what real people do with the software.  I'm also going to see where we can improve things.  I get to be creative and use my intuition!

My boss:  My boss is amazing.  He hired me to do the work I love to do, and supports me in anything I want to try.  He's also pushing me to learn about automation, so that I can see what our team is covering and what they're missing.  He's also funny, driven, and a juggler.

The culture:  There are close to 100 employees.  Almost all work onsite when they aren't travelling to work with customers.  We have 60 people on the development team.  Mostly guys.  A handful of women.  They provide us lunch 3 days a week, have fridges stocked with water, juice and snacks.  It's a young company.  People are passionate about the work.  And they know how to have fun.  There are scooters around for anyone to try.  Guitars and drums set up in a corner.  There's a lot of laughing.

Watch this video!  (It explains how big data works for real people.)

And this one!  (You can see our office and some people I sit with)

Here's an article if you don't want to watch videos.

There are also some cool old buildings in the neighborhood, so expect more pictures like this...

I wore my lucky wedding shoes for the first day, and they did the trick.  I'm loving this job and I'm feeling very lucky to have found myself doing the work I love with some amazing people.

May 16, 2013


there's a story in the news about this painting.  read about it here.

i really like this painting.  it's lovely.  and real.

but here's what i find silly: the today show ran the story and showed the painting with the nipples blurred out.  why?  why are nipples so controversial?  and who decided you could show the boob but not the nipple?  it seems so antiquated and arbitrary.

a news group posted the story on facebook and they were promptly banned by facebook.  because of nipples.

it just seems that, as a culture, we need to grow up.  the human body is normal and natural, and nothing to fear.  

May 13, 2013



i got a chance to photograph an old train station in madison.  i love these old, decaying buildings.  so much history there.  but really, i just find them beautiful.

here's a link to all the photos i took.

May 7, 2013

vary your approach...

i'm reading about "exploratory testing", to prepare for the new job.  if i had to sum it up in one sentence, i'd say that exploratory testing is all about varying your approach.

an example:  i am testing a website that allows users to run background checks.  i start by making sure the website is accessible in all supported browsers.  then i check the basics, what the business person tells me should work.  can i run a check?  can i get results?  are the results correct?

i don't have time to test every single possibility, so i vary my approach.  i start testing on a windows machine.  i observe.  things are looking good so i switch to a mac.  more observing.  i try different browsers on different machines.  i keep track of the results.  i notice that IE8 has the most display issues, so i make that browser my main one to test with.

once i've checked the basics, what should work is working, then i move on to the fun part.  i try to break things.  i had a set of tools (in my brain.)  let's see what happens if i search for someone with a hyphen in their name.  what about someone with a really long name?  are there character limits?

the big word for this is heuristics.  the tools & techniques i use to learn about what i'm testing, to discover possible problems, etc...

Heuristic (pron.: /hjʉˈrɪstɨk/; or /hyoo-ris-tik/; Greek: "Εὑρίσκω", "find" or "discover") refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Where the exhaustive search is impractical, heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution via mental shortcuts to ease the cognitive load of making a decision. Examples of this method include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense.

i love this word.  i didn't know the word existed until a few months ago.  finding the word to describe how i do the work i love, it was mind blowing.

i've noticed that besides how i work, it's how i live my life.  when i go to the gym, i never do the same workout.  i do different kinds of water aerobics at different speeds.  i try to do fast sprints, randomly.  then yoga stretches or kick-boarding.  they say that if you vary your workouts, you have "muscle confusion" and you lose more weight.

same thing with what i eat.  i try to eat mostly healthy food, but i also try to vary what i eat.  today is was a bowl of fresh blackberries for breakfast, yesterday it was eggs.  they say that if you eat the same healthy foods every day, your body starts to adjust and weight loss slows down.

so i guess this all fits into my life philosophy.  live in the moment, pay attention to details, observe, try new things, be creative, and always vary your approach.

May 3, 2013

16 days...

Today is my last day at work.  Then I'm off for 2 weeks before I start the new job.  I have plans for my time off.  My main focus will be studying.  I have 3 books on Exploratory Testing that I want to get through.  I'm going to set aside 2 hours a day for this.

My other goal is to get to the gym 5-6 days a week.  I'd like to be in the best physical shape when I start the new job.  It would be nice to lose a few pounds, so that I can wear my old jeans again.

Finally, I want to relax.  This is the sauna where I sit after I swim.  It's my 15 minutes of meditation and sweating.  I love it.  Besides the sauna, I want to take time to just hang out with Dan and the dogs.  Go for walks.  Chill.

This new job is going to be hard work.  A friend who works there described as "the most fun he's had working his butt off."  People are passionate about things.  My new boss expects me to be creative, to try new things and take risks.  To be innovative.

Here's a link to an article about Explorys, my new company.  Here's a link to see pics of the new digs.

Oh, I'm also forcing myself to use caps when I write emails or blog.  No more e.e. cummings for me!

May 2, 2013

May 1, 2013

charlie is a lunatic...

this is what happens when we get home from work.  i like to call it "release the kraken!!!"