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Showing posts from February, 2015

The Rule of Three and Me

You can find Weinberg's famous Rule of Three in a variety of formulations. Here's a couple that showed up when I went looking just now ( 1 , 2 ): If you can't think of at least three things that might be wrong with your understanding of the problem, you don't understand the problem.  If I can’t think of at least three different interpretations of what I received, I haven’t thought enough about what it might mean.  At work I challenge  myself to come up with ideas in threes and, to keep that facility oiled , when I'm not testing I challenge myself to turn the crap joke I've just thought of into a triad.  By providing constraints on the problem I find the intellectual joking challenge usefully similar to the intellectual testing challenge. Here's an example from last week where, after I happened onto the first one, I constrained the structure of the others to be the same and restricted the subject matter to animals: If I had three pet lions I wo

Why that Way?

Most working days I go for a walk round the block after I've eaten my dinner. As I leave our office I've got two primary choices: lift or stairs. I say primary because there's obviously many things I could do at that point (although I have promised my wife that naked star jumps will not feature in my daily exercise regimen ... again). In any case I go for the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs I have two more choices: left or right. Each takes me to a different exit from the building but both open onto the circuit that I stroll round, and if I leave by one of them I will naturally arrive back at the other so there's (again, to the level of granularity that I care about) no significant difference between them. I can't go straight on at the bottom of the stairs because the lift is there and a u-turn sends me back into work so every day I am forced to make the choice - left or right.  And every day until recently I've been making that choice without any con

Haiku Like You?

Early yesterday morning I was setting up a bunch of scripts to run a bunch of requests against a bunch of servers in a bunch of permutations over the course of a few days. Bitter experience has taught me that this kind of thing rarely works right the first time so if I can, I find a way to start with a small version of the setup.  Here, that meant choosing a sensible subset of the requests, letting things run for a few minutes, keeping an eye on progress (files created in the right place, servers generating the kind of messages, execution times reasonable, CPU load and number of processes in the right ballpark and so on) and then inspecting logs at the end. As I worked the bugs out of the configuration I had a little time to kill on each iteration. But what to do? I'd stumbled across a couple of haiku I'd enjoyed just the day before and I'd been pondering something  Chris George  had said about factory testers during  Cambridge Lean Coffee  last week. So, a missio