Tuesday, 27 May 2008

run run run!

Went for a training run on Sunday in prep for this Sunday's Race For Life.
Did just under 4km in 30 mins, which I'm pretty proud of, as I'm not a runner at all!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

race for life 2008

I'm running in the Race for Life again this year, to raise money for Cancer Research UK on June 1st around the City of London. Would be great if anyone wants to sponsor me!

It's only 5km, but I am NOT a road runner at all, so I always find it quite challenging. Did the last one in just under 40 minutes and am looking to beat that this year. Time to get training!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Metadata for video

Now we are watching video on our telly via UPnP media server, it's rather annoying the server can't do any kind of sorting/grouping/filtering on video, similar to what it can do on audio files.

On audio files, I guess it's reading the embedded ID3 metadata to pull Album Names and Artists and allow filtering by those attributes. Images have EXIF and IPTC metadata formats. However, video files don't seem to have a corresponding metadata format. Why? Is it because the concept of a digital video library is relativley new?

An extension of the existing MP3 ID3 tags would probably work (ID4? IDvid?), tagging:
- Title (movie or episode name)
- Episode Num (if a series)
- Series Num/Name
- Director
- Genre (Sci Fi, Drama etc)
- Year Released
- Production Company (? Might be good for grouping up BBC stuff for instance)
- Language (for people that have multiple language stuff)
- Disk Num (ie for ripped DVD's or series?)

Or have I missed something that's already out there? Google couldn't really help me :(


It seems every different agency I work for has different rules on invoicing - some like the contractor to invoice per calendar month ie 1st Jan to 31st Jan), whereas others like us to invoice up to and including last Friday of calendar month (so based on weeks).

I would much rather invoice on a calendar month, as it's pretty easy to remember where you invoiced up to last month. On a 'weekly' type system, always have to check the previous invoice, and make sure there is no overlap. Argh! Come on agencies, contractors are providing YOU with our services, not the other way around! You're making a cut on everything we invoice, and all you have to do is sort the inital contract and interview, and get me my money each month. If the IT industry in London wasn't so fixated on using agencies, there would be no cut for the agency, so how about you accept invoices in whatever format the contrator prefers huh?

(wow... first rant i've posted for ages!)

Monday, 19 May 2008

now we're streamin with gas....

thanks to mediatomb, we are now able to serve up video (and photos and mp3s) off our NAS device to the new big TV, via a bit of a round about route -- mediatomb lives on our server, and serves data off the NAS device, then the PS3 has a UPnP client which plays the media on the tv. (yeah... it is confusing!). Will be interesting to see how much the network freaks out...

k had to mess about a bit to get divx working (some transcoding thing that has to happen on the mediatomb server), and there are a few more tweaks we want to try, but it was pretty painless in the end. I'll see if k will post a howto (for gentoo of course!). Now we're watching stuff on 40" tho, it's not looking so flash! Time to start getting higher res cuts of stuff (and blow out our storage space!).

Thursday, 15 May 2008

first impressions

the new tv turned up on sunday, exactly on schedule. it's rather large... and we need to arrange the whole apartment to fit it in still, but I'm very happy.

of course, purchasing a HD tv means we had to get a PS3, which lead to GTA4 and Guitar Hero III :) Need to take the stickers off still...

The beast
(terrible pic taken with my iPhone)

feed me

I find it weird that none of the stock photography sites I contribute to provide either daily digest emails of sales, or rss feeds to track sales.

K has written me a html scraper in ruby that spits out a rss feed for shutterstock, but I don't think I'll ask him to go through the pain of doing any more sites! Can't see why this would be such a big problem for the sites to implement.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The new TV is in the mail...

I love ordering online, when things go smoothly. When you don't own a car, online ordering and delivery are great. Just ordered a new TV to replace our very aging old 20" Sony CRT telly. We've gone for a 40" Samsung LE40A656, which is getting really good reviews. Can't wait for it to arrive now!

Have ordered through Comet, who say it will be delivered tomorrow between 10am and 2pm. Tune in tomorrow to see if it arrives or not!

40" might be a bit overkill in our teeny lounge, and there will have to be some serious rearranging of gear to fit it in :) Will have to pick up a PS3 now to go with it, coupla games and some blueray movies. mmmmm

As for the old telly, we'll probably be nice and send it to a new home via our local freecycle group, hopefully someone will want it!

Image from mr.rich's flickr photostream, under creative commons licence

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Who tests the testers?

Got an interesting situation at my current contract. The application I'm working on sources data via various ETL (extract, transform and load) processes, via various datamarts, and into our application database.

In the application, there are various calculations that drive off the data in the database. Some of these calculations can get rather hairy. As a tester, we have to prove the calculations on the UI are correct, based on what's in the database (as we can't go any further back to enter/source data), so we write rather large, ugly SQL scripts, that possibly make incorrect assumptions, or may be just plain wrong.

As the test lead, I need to come up with a method to minimise mistakes made by the testers, so we're not creating too much 'noise' in the defect list. I have some possible solutions, none of which are perfect, but should suffice in the short term. It will be interesting too see if the development team have made the same assumptions or conclusions re how to derive the answers, based on the same Use Cases as we have.

I guess this is a bit of a questions of 'who tests the testers' - how far down the line of testing the test scripts do we want to go? Should it be a case of the project team just biting the bullet, and sucking up the extra analysis time needed from all involved on the first few times these queries are run, to get them correct based on the requirements documentation?

Image courtesy of post406's photostream (creative commons licence)

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

I am Ironman

Just got back from seeing Ironman (IMDB link) at the cinema. Reviews were good, and I have to concur! Really good movie, and they did leave it just open enough for a sequel.

Friday, 2 May 2008


Originally uploaded by rachaelr

self portrait I took tonight. It's OK, bit of a blue tinge to it tho