I sold my soul to the IEEE

Many moons ago when the issue of fibre networking standards (now replayed with WiFi of course) was boiling away nicely, I remember a colleague remarking: “Ah standards, if you don’t like one you can always choose another”. This has been on my mind of late, as the product I am validating at the moment is part of an Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). After years of avoiding it I’ve been plunged deep in to MS SharePoint2007. However, the real jungle is e-learning standards.

In theory it would be nice if all content/software/hardware was compatible with each other – hence standards. But who decides? We mainly have to think about SCORM – there are a number of different standards bodies fighting it out, including the US Defense Department, before you even think about all various interested parties in the industry. My friend Andrew chairs and industry software standard committee and I really feel for him. I need to understand this stuff to test if our products are compliant, but as no-one has yet agreed what they have to be complaint with, it’s all a bit Kafkaesque.

In the meantime I’ll listen to the nice CD I was given as a late birthday present and devise tests to make sure students can’t do evil things to each others avatars.

Note to self: Don’t listen to Johnny Cash singing ‘One’ at work – audible sobbing tends to spook your colleagues.

News from the Asylum

So – day 3 with the Test Team and I feel as if I am being drawn into a strange religious cult. The team seems to live in a state of perpetual anticipation – rather like a tuba player in an orchestra or the characters in Waiting for Godot. They wait and they wait and then suddenly, tonnes of code comes down from the heavens. And of course the code is always late, and because it’s late the test window is squeezed.

As a result the entire team is completely bonkers – the machine room with all the testing kit in it isn’t called The Asylum for nothing!

However, I’ve had more fun in the last few days than I’ve had in ages, wiggling cables; troubleshooting networks; baiting engineers and doing more registry editing than I’ve done in a lifetime! I think I’m going to like it here.

PS If you want to know more about Moby the duckling, like Lorna, he has his own blog.

Season of Mists…

This is the garden at approx. 07:30 this morning. And no, I have no idea what I was doing up at that hour. The mist was quite lovely, and I half expected to see some spectral figure emerge (an evening with Dr Bones does that to a girl).

The mellow fruitfulnes is being provided by our lemon tree. Just as the gin and tonic season is ending! [If you want to read the Keats poem I’m alluding to, you can find it here, and it’s worth it]

Otherwise, I was down in Kent this weekend. As you can see, ‘that creature Desmond’ doesn’t think much of that reading lark.
Once I got back it was the usual weekend stuff – supper with friends, washing the cat and a lovely, long phone call from Huw and Anastasia. I now have to gird my loins, and get ready for a couple of weeks breaking things. I’m tempted to turn up wearing my nice, leopard skin (fake!), pointy boots. Just to start as I mean to go on…