Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sushi, Testies, UI/UX

Best quote today - "What do you call a bunch of testers?...TESTIES!"

It's been a couple weeks now at my current project in New York with a major financial industry client. Aside from eating sushi every day with Sam, I've definitely been getting the hang of this QA work. A lot of the manual testing has added up to a point where I've come to have a good understanding of what much of the web application does. Soon I will get to start on doing some automated testing and actually writing some code. w00t! 

I feel like as a QA, you really get to become the expert on the application as a whole, which definitely shows how interchangeable the QA and BA roles are. And with a little addition of UI/UX skills, you're ready to be the superman of all consultants. Recently I've begun to see ThoughtWorks goal of having employees that can develop cross disciplinary skillsets really come into fruition. It seems to me that the more I know about testing and automation, the better I will be at working with clients and developers as a BA, which in turn will help me be a better UI/UX designer. I'm definitely excited about the humongous opportunities here, just in being able to branch out into these three different roles. My ultimate goal is to get good at all three and become the best consultant EVER.

I'm pretty excited because they recently brought on Mike Long to our project. He is 1 of about 5 official UI/UX people that ThoughtWorks has in the U.S. So this means I get 20% of ThoughtWorks UI/UX resources to latch onto and suck all the brain power out of. I definitely believe that this is a role our company needs to expand on and I hope I can make an impact in this area. I will try to make updates in the future about my UI/UX learnings, as well as some QA/BA learnings.

Well time for bed. This little baby's called a Mexican Bulldog put me to sleep for the night :) Yes folks, it's a margarita topped with jager and an upside down bottle of corona.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Checking out my blogger droid app

Smartphones amaze me. Just a few years ago I wouldn't have dreamed of writing a blog post from punching on a teeny keyboard on my phone.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Unique New York

Hello from New York!

This has been the first week of my first big client project at ThoughtWorks. It has been quite "interesting" and "educational" to use vague terms. Since we are not allowed to discuss anything about our project, I will give you a frame of reference. It feels a bit like this at the moment:

Project work has been challenging in learning about the massive candy mountain application we are building. When I say massive, I mean lose your kidney kind of massive.  Well, at least compared to Chronicles at TWU.

But it's not really that bad, I've definitely had a much harder time with doing my laundry compared to this project. And I'm not exaggerating. Here were the steps I took today to do laundry:

1) Buy detergent and acquire quarters, because well I assume when you do laundry you need quarters.
2) Bring pile of clothes down to the basement of my building.
3) Find a washing machine to put said acquired quarters in.
4) Realize you cannot put quarters into these machines. However, there is a slot for a card and instructions for inserting debit card.
5) Run upstairs to get debit card.
6) Come back downstairs and try inserting debit card and fail.
7) Realize that washing machines do not take debit card and that there is a machine where you can buy a special card to be used in the washing machines.
8) Realize that this machine does not take card, only cash.
9) Realize I have no cash and run to the ATM to get cash.
10) Come back to the apartment, drop off cash and bring $10 bill with me.
11) Go to the laundry room to insert cash into the machine.
12) The machine tells me it does not want $10 bill, only $5 bill.
13) Run upstairs to get $5 bill.
14) Come back to the laundry room and insert $5 into machine. Finally get my card \o/
15) Load laundry into washing machine, try to insert card, washing machine rejects card because there is $0 on the card.
16) Realize that $5 only bought the card, not actually put $5 on the card.
17) Go to the machine and put $10 on the card.
18) Come back to the washing machine and insert the card, finally starting the load of laundry.

Lesson learned, do not do laundry in NYC.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Home Sweet Home

What a crazy week, I'm home in Chicago. I'm currently writing this as jetlag kills my sleep schedule. I haven't been able to update my blog with so much that's happened, but here's a recap.

Teaching kids about continuous integration and collaboration.

Last thursday a bunch of us went to Sukrupa to visit the children at the school. Sukrupa is a NPO that helps towns find sustainability by providing disadvantaged children with free schooling and their mothers with training and jobs at Sukrupa Creations. We went to spend some time with the kids and do some activities with them. 

First, Kao and I split up the kids into two groups and each of us taught one group how to make an origami crane. One kid surprised me by making the entire crane by himself while I was only on step 3 of the process. It was a bit difficult to teach a group of children that constantly yell "Auntie Auntie I'm done Auntie look Auntie is this right?"

Then we played the Continuous Integration Animal game with them, the same one we got to play the first week of our training. This game is basically having each person draw a body part of an animal as part of a group but without being allowed to talk to the rest of the group. They had a ton of fun putting their mismatched animal parts together and we taught them the importance of communication and collaboration. We also had some kids work in pairs so we could teach them the effectiveness of pair programming in agile software development.

In Johnathan's words "Ok you have to deploy your animal into this QA environment"

Overall it was an amazing and humbling experience...

TW Chronicles Project Release, aka AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

This past week was our last iteration before a planned release and showcase for our client. Needless to say it was hectic. We pulled some late night hours and scrambled up to the last minute before the showcase to commit code. I left work 2 hours before my flight to Chicago and had about an hour to pack up everything. It was hard saying goodbye to everyone but boy am I glad to be back home.

Overall, TWU has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

My next project is in NYC...I'm leaving Monday night! Such is the life of a consultant.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Feeling like tourists for the first time in India - Part 2


Sunday morning was epic, like Lord of the Rings epic. First we woke up at 4:30am to catch our 6:30 am train to Agra. We get to the station at about 5:30 and we have the receipt for the tickets we bought online in our hands. We looked  completely clueless as we had no idea how to get tickets, find our train, or even where to go. This slick looking Indian guy (I'm going to call him Smeagol) comes up to us and tells us we have to go to the IRCTC office that’s a 5 minute walk from the train station. 

It was a little suspicious as Smeagol was a little too helpful and insistent on taking us to this foreigners office to confirm our train tickets. But since we didn’t know any better, we followed him.

Once we get there, the guy behind the counter tells us that our tickets automatically expire unless we call 24 hours ahead of time and confirm them. Really? They will just automatically cancel our tickets if we don't actively call and re-confirm them? Even though we paid for the tickets? He will be named Sauron. 

We ask Sauron to call and confirm for us, since he works at the IRCTC, so he begrudgingly calls in, and then tells us that our Delhi to Agra tickets are confirmed, but our Agra to Delhi tickets have been cancelled and that we need to buy new ones. He is definitely just evil. I later called our travel agency helpline and they confirmed that the tickets had not been cancelled. The guy at the travel agency will be Gandolf.

So we run back to the train station and get through the line. Then we are confronted with our next problem - which platform is this train located? There's about 16 platforms in total separated by long stretches of walking. After running around, someone points us to platform 1 for a train to Agra. With a huge feeling of relief we get on the train to find our seats, except when we do find them, other people are occupying the seats. Tom pulls out our train ticket receipts and a train worker informs us that we are on the wrong train (/facepalm). In the end, we get on our train with 6 minutes to spare.

When we arrive at the train station in Agra, we are greeted by a swarm of taxi drivers. "Taxi? Taxi? TAXI?? YOU NEED TAXI???!!!!11" Luckily, we discovered the farther Damon and I stood away from Tom, who is pale and freckly, the less we got bothered because, well Damon is black and I'm chinese. (The minorities get their revenge! :D) We finally settle on a cab that would take us around Agra for a day at a reasonable price (not including tip). 

And SURPRISE! we get our very own tour guide! He turned out to be quite useless, a waste of money on tip, and we started tuning out most of what he was saying throughout the trip. I would advise against getting a tour guide for anyone who plans to visit Agra, because let's face it, if you're on a budget, you do not want to spend any money on unnecessary things. Nice guy though overall.

We drive around Agra and arrive at the Taj Mahal. This is my attempt at giving you, dear reader, the experience of seeing the Taj Mahal - through pictures.

Oh cool it's the West Gate

Oooo cool it's the Taj Mahal!

Let me take a tourist picture! :D

Ok getting closer....




Ok go inside, please don't take pictures! Ok we wont...*click click click click click*

After coming out, we just stared at the Taj Mahal for a while. It was quite an unbelievable sight...

We saw some other stuff in Agra but they weren't really worth mentioning compared to the Taj :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Feeling like tourists for the first time in India - Part 1

Ironically, it was only this past weekend that I really felt like a tourist in India. Perhaps it was because Damon, Tom, and I were on our own in completely new cities, perhaps it was because we didn’t have any local Indian ThoughtWorkers with us, and probably because we were going to see THE most touristy attraction in India, the Taj Mahal (amongst other sites). We managed to get by inb Delhi and Agra on our four weeks of Bangalore experience, which mostly translated to having a basic grasp of Indian cuisine, haggling skills, and the head wobble.


Early Friday morning, Damon and I grabbed a 2 hour flight to Delhi. Sam and Nolan were suppose to join us Friday night and Tom on Saturday morning. The plane ride consisted of me inhaling the airplane food and passing out.  We had booked rooms at the Ajanta Hotel in Paharganj, one of the most crowded areas of New Delhi. The hotel was nice enough to send us a free cab pick up for only 140 rupees. Damon and I settled in our room and then went to explore the surrounding area. 

We found a nice restaurant that had great cheap food, and below it was a bakery where I bought super cute pastries that tasted like sandlewood perfume. I'm still not sure how I feel about that.

Saturday morning, Tom managed to find his way to the hotel. By this time we had found out that Sam and Nolan had missed their flight and were not coming to Delhi at all. So Tom, Damon and I got a private cab and driver to drive us around Delhi and see all the major tourist attractions. I won’t go into details about them, but here are some pictures.

The best moment came when we saw the India gate. Daaaaaaaamn it was big.

Afterwards, we got dropped off at Caughnaught Place. We stumbled across an actual Mexican restaurant. (see that flag on my torta? Now that’s authentic!) 

Here, Tom and I got our drink on while Damon was just boring and ate food. If you’re reading this Damon, I’m just kidding, you’re only boring sometimes. Eating food is not boring. ;) The DJ there played some mean 80’s music (Sweet Dreams) and we took half shots of spicy tequila with the waiters. Now when I say spicy, I mean spicy that burns your throat and mouth for 10 minutes after the shot’s gone done.  However, this spicy was not as spicy as the vegetable side dish spicy that made me cry.

In my next post I will write about our trip to Agra and the Taj Mahal.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why Nan is Awesome

We went shopping yesterday and I bought some handmade paper. Today I'm having a creative day with origami :D

I think I will probably start selling these in my etsy store for weddings and gifts and such. Shameless plug if you want to order some for your girlfriend/wife ;)