The last Cambridge Tester Meetup was a Show and Tell: “Bring whatever you found valuable or interesting recently in your testing.” I imagine Karo will blog about it in detail, so I’ll just briefly mention the couple of things I took with me.

I showed my Kindle and that it’s currently got Jerry Weinberg’s Tester’s Library and Laurent Bossavit’s Leprechauns of Software Engineering on it. I described how much I enjoy Weinberg’s writing and how much I get from it. I talked about how Bossavit’s book is both a deconstruction of some factoids around software development and a guide to critical thinking. I said that I now read more software-related material than I do anything else, and I enjoy it for the most part. But I stop reading anything I’m not enjoying. I read to learn, to make connections, to expose myself to new ideas. I concentrate on the content because it’s research and I want to try to understand and retain it.

I showed my phone and pointed out the bunch of podcasts on it, including Analysis, Inside ScienceMore or Less, Radiolab, TED Radio Hour, The Comedian’s Comedian (from which came Oh Kay!) and Testing in the Pub. I choose some podcasts just because they’ll cover material I wouldn’t encounter any other way – magazine shows are great for that. I noted that I consume these podcasts very differently to the way I consume the books on my Kindle. I listen to them when I walk to and from work and when I’m strolling round the block at dinner time and when I’m washing up after tea. But I don’t concentrate on the content much at all.

I let the podcasts wash over me. I mind-wander, I half-listen, I drop in and out, I leave myself open for information but don’t seek it. I miss things, I kinda-hear things, I misunderstand things, I don’t catch all of things and I rewind things … from time to time. And yet I still learn, I still make connections and I still expose myself to new ideas. Different stuff, differently.

I showed both because I like both and I get great value from both. And so I wanted to tell you about both.