One of the first session highlights was to show how Julian Harty has been gathering and purchasing Kindles for schools in Kenya. He has shown how, but using second hand and refurbished materials (3G wifi hotspots, solar panel packs, power cable distributions, etc., and they are distributed to a number of schools, so that gift vouchers, free books, etc. can be distributed to the Kindles, and the ability to change the world is being achieved, one school and one student at a time.
Minecraft is a game that has been developed in Stockholm, Sweden, and have about 30 million users worldwide. Though it’s several years old now, they still sell tends of thousands of copies each day. What is the cultural impact? You can see it in a variety of game magazines, it’s shown up in South Park, and various late night television shows. It’s used as an education tool in about 1300 schools. It’s used to teach geography, geology, history, math, architecture, programming, etc. It’s been said that it may be the only tool to be used in all education levels (primary through university). This game has become a game changer to go beyond just schools, but also is being used with world development initiatives like blockbyblock.org and UN-Habitat. The idea behind Minecraft is that it is meant to teach children how to create, rather than the typical option of games that focus on blowing things up.
My talk was next, and this time, I attempted to do a live demo of Socialtext wikiQTests and how we interact with them, use them, and how they fit into my overall talk which is leveraging concepts of ATDD, GUI Automation and Exploratory Testing. I say attempted to because, with me in Sweden, and our test servers being in California, the execution delay was just too great, and it would have resulted in too much dead air. I did, however, do some screen captures and restructured the presentation, so I now have a Prezi presentation that shows the newly revised version. For those who want to see the presentation as it currently stands, go here :).
After my presentation, I sat down with Scott Barber to be interviewed for “Geek Speak”, which is a video program for Smartbear. We talked about my being invited to Øredev, and the idea that our messages were being well received and quite popular sessions. I also talked a bit about the BBST courses offered by AST and the SummerQAmp program and what they are about. If we got a good recording, I think it should be posted in the next few weeks, so when it is, I’ll let you all know :).
I hopped into Anne-Marie Charrett’s “Coaching for Testers” talk, which was augmented and made even more fun by the fact that her two subjects (James Bach and Michael Bolton) were both in the session and offering color commentary on the examples and the intended actions and takeaways. I’ve seen variations of this talk before, but I like to see how she tailors this talk for different audiences. Good fun, and lunch time. I’m hungry, so I’ll see you all later :).
|Another benefit to being “out of session”…
seeing Iris Classon walking on a tightrope
(tight belt ;)? ).
I had a chance to sit down with James Bach in between sessions, and what had started as a casual conversation turned into something much deeper, and something I need to do a blog post all by itself for, but suffice it to say James gave me some excellent food for thought towards something I’d been wondering about for a long time, and am getting closer to wrapping proper vocabulary around it.
I missed the sessions during that time, but this brings home the fact that, sometimes, the most valuable interaction and lessons learned may come not inside of a session, but instead between peers and friends chatting at a table in the hallway. This counts as one of those times.
We now come down to the final talk of the night, and of the event. Linus Willeij is a long time and core committer to the Linux kernel, so it’s a pretty good bet that, if you do anything in the world of computing, you are running his code. The Fairlight movement was formed out of the West Coast Crackers movement, and was named after the synthesizer used by Jean Michel Jarre. Linus’ talk was a restrospective of 25 years of the pirate group and what they accomplished (some may have conflicting opinions as to what that record is, of course).
Linus was more focused on discussing “The Scene” that developed in the early 80’s around computers, games, and ways to crack systems and gain access to them. Each community had a computer scene that was, in ways, analogous to music scenes in different communities and countries. In the early days, the scenes were predominantly middle class, white males. It was a self selecting group. There was no organization to join, no management to reign in people, your participation was determined by your participation.
We joke about people being called “elite” hackers today, but once upon a time, you actually had a real way of gating people. Elite hackers were really just those who had access to or owned fast modems. If you had a 28.8K modem in the late 80s/early 90s, you were pretty elite, you had something rare! There were many roles in the scenes, Suppliers, crackers, swappers, spreaders, phreakers, fixers, people who “carded”. Additionally there were people who started making their own games and demos.
Why did this group get so big in Sweden? the first reason was that people were bored, and they wanted something to do. There was no game industry in Sweden, so people with interest in making games turned to cracking to fill the need. Linus has provided a retrospective on the techniques used by hackers in the run up from then until today, which has made for a very interesting historical tour.
With that, it’s time to bid adieu (or “farväl” to keep in the Svensk 😉 ), and I wish to give my thanks to everyone who made it possible for me to be here. To Maria Kedemo for inviting me, to Emily Holweck for making my travel arrangements and helping me to be as prepared for everything as possible, and to old and new friends. Thanks for making my time in Sweden so memorable.
Tack och vi ses snart!