Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2012

Q&A #1 with the QAE

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Okay, I have no idea when to start these kinds of things but I'd like to make a habit of being available for questions here. So here's a Q&A request. If you have any topics you'd like to see addressed, if there are any posts I've made so far that got you thinking, or if you just want to know more about me, please reply in the comments section or email me directly at:

I'll reply in a follow-up post if the topic bears broadcast and more directly if you have personal questions you'd like kept to a smaller audience. Feel free to add comments too. Don't worry about my ego, I grew up with freckles and glasses. I'm bulletproof now.

My Evil Plan to Make Everyone Eat My Dog Food

"There are professional taste testers at the dog food companies that eat dog food all day. If you can afford dry dog food, see if u can afford a box of oatmeal and half a dozen eggs for protein. You are much better off eating human food."
~in response to "Is dog food safe to eat?" via Yahoo! Answers
Imagine you're at a board meeting for a major dog food brand. Now imagine that the CEO begin the meeting by picking up a fork and cracking open a can of grey, slime-doused kibbles and taking a large, oddly enthusiastic bite. According to Wikipedia, this is the origin story for the phrase "eating your own dog food" from which the practice of dogfooding derived its name. While the image above may be literally quite unpalatable, the ideals behind it are sound in this author's humble opinion. Why ask your clients to accept something you yourself haven't vetted outside the team of those who built it?

So how do you empower a large crowd of people to tes…

Lies, Damn Lies, and Android Non-Rooted Device Code Coverage

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."
~Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens In a previous post I mentioned rather blithely that we were collecting code coverage data from live devices using Emma. If you're unfamiliar with Android's use of Emma, which comes with the Android SDK tools when you install them, the documentation won't do you much good. It isn't to say that the Android developer portals' "Testing from Other IDEs" section isn't helpful or that the online documentation for the SDK's InstrumentationTestRunner isn't either. Far from it. But if that's all you read, you may find yourself getting confused shortly after getting started.

Let's say for example, that you begin your deployment of code coverage tracking via the robust set of Ant commands included in the default build.xml. You may notice from the Testing from Other IDEs section above that there is a simple command you can run that allows yo…

Deploying Android Automation in Parallel

So here we go, right off the deep end.

One of the things that has bugged me about Android since I first started with it 18 months ago is the half-complete features and tools supporting on-device automation at any kind of enterprise scale (as opposed to just a few developers and devices in some garage somewhere). So much of the platform just integrates so beautifully with other scalable components of a build and test system that it felt like a hack when we managed to get parallelization up and running in our device lab. Hey, at least the platform is open and flexible enough to do so in the first place, right? A startup in Portland is currently building their business model off this functionality (holla, AppThwack, go on with your bad selves!).

So it is there for the clever. I just wish it didn't take being clever to manage running and monitoring multiple, simultaneous jobs on actual, live devices. Why? Well because my cleverness is not nearly as strong as my laziness (one enables t…

Everybody tests, sometimes on purpose.

If you think about it, everybody tests.
Infants test your ability to operate normally while sleep deprived. Toddlers and young children test their boundaries. Teenagers test the rules. There is a natural balance to our contention with and affinity for rules. Without exception, we all test the world around us. The healthy ones use this skill in their youth to build their comfort zones and navigate life with safety and confidence. For the average ones, at some point the curiosity wears off and the urge to test everything wanes so much that a child's openness is unrecognizable against the common cynical post-modern adult-onset conformity. For the truly cursed, testing everything becomes a compulsion or worse yet, a profession. I am in that third group. 
My name is Russell and this is my digital pensieve for all the things I'm curious about, all the stuff I work on professionally, and even some extra-curricular shenanigans. Don't expect too much in terms of religion or politic…