Horizon School

Check out Horizon school situated in Mahavilachchiya
in the Anuradhapura district. It is a small informal IT school which is taking giant
leaps and bringing out stories into the open. I hope these kids could one day be able
to have their own blogs so that we in Sri Lanka know how each other live and help
make changes in people’s lives.

Horizon School

A Sri Lankan Portal owned by you and me?

I just got an idea reading this piece on
Wired News on how Howard Dean was able to use the power of social networks to build
his campaign for the presidency. My idea is to build a portal that all Sri Lankan’s
can visit, one that is vibrant and appealing to the masses, but also one that is contributed
and maintained by the masses.

Confused? Let me explain. I want to build a basic framework for a portal and then
delegate various sections (Entertainment, Politics, Music, Drama, Theatre, etc) to
anyone willing to contribute. We could have a News section where anyone can post news
articles once it grows big news could be localized by city and the latest news would
be on our site because we’ll have the power of the people.

Now I’ll need to get started I need to think of a name, register a domain, decide
where to host? If we do this right we’re going to have a big impact on the media
in Sri Lanka!

A Sri Lankan Portal owned by you and me?

Back from Vacation / Driver’s License Exam

Merry X’ Mas everybody! I’ve been at home in the Majestic city of Kandy
during the past few days. I didn’t get to enjoy much though after having caught
a bad flu and being in bed for three days. Anyways I’m back at work and right
now I’m studying for my Driver’s License exam tomorrow (it’s the
written on The Highway Code).

I’m pretty much using the book that my brother had bought and he has highlighted
a bunch of places and asked me to study just those for the exam. I’ve taken
this test lightly since I figured they couldn’t be as hard as the Microsoft
ones. Anyway tomorrow we’ll know. And if there isn’t a nondisclosure clause
on the exam (like what Microsoft has) then I’ll be free to blog whatever questions
I can remember. I tried searching online on Google for any past papers, sample questions
but couldn’t find any.

Back from Vacation / Driver’s License Exam

England Vs Sri Lanka

Hareendra (Pala) and I went to watch the final England Vs Sri Lanka Test match at
SSC on the last two days. Shasheendra joined us after lunch on the last day and we
had a blast watching Sri Lanka give England a good beating. There was never a dull
moment with the Barmy Army keeping us entertained. And we got to see something (not
cricket) that you guys who weren’t there missed (check out Manjeeva’s
site
under comments to get a clue).

Kudos to Murali for his Man of the Series performance and getting ever closer towards
breaking Courtney Walsh’s record of most test wickets.

England Vs Sri Lanka

Buy Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004… and help save the world

Seattlepi.com has
an interesting series of articles on the work that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
is doing on improving world health. I know it’s easy to be cynical about Gates’ investments
in such things, but the sheer scope and numbers are quite dizzying. For example:

  • he is pumping $800 million a year into his global health initiative
    — nearly matching the entire World Health Organization budget.
  • Gates’ immunization efforts have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

One of my colleagues pointed out how working for Microsoft (and being a customer of
Microsoft) we contribute in some small way to this ingoing work.


[WebLogs @ ASP.NET]

Buy Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004… and help save the world

APICTA Awards

I know I promised to write about the APICTA awards, basically all I can say that it
was a real waste of time. The final result was that none of the Sri Lankan contingent
won any awards even though I and a lot other thought that some of them like the Interblocks,
Emprise IT products (to name a few) deserved to win in their categories.

All I can say is that the judging, which was carried out by 2-3 judges from each member
country, were not fair or balanced with some of them blatantly giving high score for
competitors from their own country.

APICTA Awards

Got Longhorn!

Got my Longhorn PDC DVD’s delivered today through DHL. I didn’t expect to receive
this for two reasons 1. This was free and 2. I’m in Sri Lanka so Microsoft needs to
spend a lot to ship this to me. But it looks like Microsoft is really determined to
get everyone hacking out code for Longhorn.

The pack consisted of two Longhorn dicsc and one for Whidbey.
Since I don’t have a DVD drive I’ll need to borrow the DVD notebook from Dr. Alles
and try to setup Longhorn on that. I’ll have about four days of Christmas vacation,
hope I can play with this stuff during that time.

Got Longhorn!

I love software testing

KC Lemson a Microsoft PM and a former Tester.

Franci pointed
out
 an
article about the future of software testing
. The
article has some good points, although as Franci mentions, Microsoft’s testers already
have accomplished some of the future goals he outlines (working in tandem with developers,
spec reviewing, etc), and others are underway.

While in college
majoring in computer science, I discovered (much to my dismay) that I didn’t really
enjoy programming, and I wasn’t particularly good at it either (catch 22: I wasn’t
good at it, so I didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy it, so I wasn’t motivated to improve).
I wanted to be involved in technology in some way, but I didn’t know what my options
were; I started out in MIS but later moved to CS after realizing that my school’s
idea of technology in the MIS track was learning how to use Access. So I asked on
one of my school’s newsgroups what I could do with a CS degree other than code, and
I was told “You could ask people if they want fries with that?” I very clearly remember
taking this at face value, I was bummed that my career opportunities were so limited.
Little did I know…

Several months later,
I sent my resume to Microsoft, and landed a phone interview for a tester job on the
Outlook team. I didn’t really know what testers did (and I’d never heard of Outlook,
although I was quite familiar with email and the relevant protocols), but the troubleshooting
skills I’d learned on my previous jobs (as a sysadmin) really helped me out, and I
came in for a full day of interviews. One interviewer gave me problems like “a
user says they can’t connect to the network” and asked how I would figure
out what was wrong. I ran through the various possibilities, outlining which
I would investigate in which order – after all, this was cake, every-day stuff
to a sysadmin. At the end he nodded his head and told me that the “narrowing
down“ was a huge part of testing. I got the offer, accepted it and spent a wonderful
two and a half years as a tester in the Outlook team.

I absolutely loved
testing (and still do to this day), but as a tester I ran into several of the problems
that Harry alludes to in this article. Some people (inside and outside of the company)
don’t respect the profession. I worked with many testers who were as passionate about
the job as I was, but I also worked with some folks who only saw testing as a
necessary evil on their path towards being a developer. Automation improvements are
great and will help us find bugs, fix them and verify the fixes faster and earlier.
But I still have a big soft spot in my heart for ad-hoc testing, and I hope that the
movement towards more test tools, automation and modeling still leaves room for sitting
in front of the machine and going to town, trying to break it. Some of the best bugs
I ever found were found that way.

Full disclosure:
My interests changed and I left testing in September 2000 and moved to a program management
role on the Exchange team. One of the first big mistakes I made as a new PM was that
I didn’t give my testers enough respect (after all, I’d been disrespected myself).
I was schooled on that mistake quickly by one of my experienced long-term testers,
and hopefully made up for that mistake over the next couple of years in my PM role.
Since then, I’ve been approached several times by testers who are interested in program
management to find out how/why I made the switch, and I always bring up this learning
experience.


[WebLogs @ ASP.NET]

I love software testing

Murali Rhyme

Dammika, my BCS and MSc batch-mate wanted me to post this here.

“Throw, throw, throw the ball, gently down the seam
Murali, Murali, Murali, Murali, chucks it like a dream
Bowl, bowl, bowl the ball, gently through the air
Murali, Murali, Murali, Murali, here comes Darrell Hair … No Ball!”

Murali Rhyme

The Uncanny Disappearing Window

How do you programmatically close a browser window when you didn’t open it? Of course,
everybody knows you can’t. If they don’t know that, they’re novice developers and
some seasoned veteran will set them straight… gently or otherwise.

Well, this week one of my clients — whose intranet app opens in a specially formatted
window — told me they didn’t want two windows just to start one application. I had
very little success removing the toolbars from an existing window, and my vast web
development experience told me that I had no other option. Rather, I didn’t until
a suggestion from a fellow member of the LaTech JavaScript list altered my perspective
and resulted in the script I’m about to show you.

All you need to start the magic is to assign a window to the opener property of the
current window. If this attribute is not set, the browser will realize that the current
window is not open to your manipulation and nothing will happen.

      <SCRIPT
LANGUAGE=”JavaScript”>
            window.opener =
top;
      </SCRIPT>

[Read more]

The Uncanny Disappearing Window