About

Disclaimer: This is a personal journal documenting my thoughts on testing, design, life, personal and professional development. All writing is from my perspective bias and not representative of my employer or anyone else. If you'd like to chat about anything I've raised, feel free to email me.

2016 In Review

Jan 15, 2017


Last I wrote I was adventuring into food education. 2016 wasn't the greatest year for many reasons. We lost a lot of legends... Those that particularly moved me was the loss of David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher. There was the conclusion of a highly charged American Election. And other things...


Unfortunately in June 2016 I had a triggering health event which saw me end up with daily chest pain. There was quite a few trips to the Emergency Department. A week long stay in the hospital. And many many tests later, we finally found something that didn't come back as "normal".


On December 15 I had Laparoscopic Partial Fundoplication surgery, which is the medical name for a procedure to prevent reflux of stomach acid up the esophagus. A month on and I'm recovering nicely. The surgery was a successful, and seems to have dealt with the main chest pain, which is fantastic.


This of course meant that my website took a back seat as I focused on my health, and I didn't get my illustration gallery updated as I'd intended.


Along the way, I finished my Elimination diet and discovered I don't tolerate foods with high fructose. This was wonderful progress as it has not only grown my understanding of what's in my food, but given me more control, so I can successfully manage my digestive health!


Overall, while 2016 was rocky, I had lots of support from friends and family, and I have higher hopes for 2017. I have also been able to expand my horizons, finding out what I'm really capable of under extreme circumstances.

Recent Challenges

May 27, 2016


So apparently my regular blogging resolution ended with the end of last year. I think it's because I didn't reset the reminder in my phone after the Christmas holidays. Ah well, life has obviously been choca block full of other things to keep my attention. One of those things has been...


Doing a FODMAP Elimination diet. This is like a science experiment, for when the doctors think that you might have a food intolerance. You need to reset your body, to test what exactly you might be having a reaction to. I am currently 4 weeks in to the elimination phase, there is another 4 weeks of living without the food I love, then 8 weeks of carefully reintroducing food and food groups to test them. (Don't try this at home unless you've consulted with a doctor and a nutritionist.)


What I have learned so far is an entirely new appreciation for anyone with specific dietary requirements. Finding food is hard. Reading ingredients is hard. Eating out, in some situations, is darn near impossible. But society is getting better. There are products and shops out there with dairy free and gluten free offerings. Having multiple things you're intolerant to is much harder, but you learn to make things yourself pretty quickly.


That and Google is brilliant! It makes it possible to connect with other people that are going through the same problems as you. Then you can all share advice, recipes, and health knowledge together. This is the good side of the internet.


And if nothing else, this whole process has been an educational one. Hopefully though, in another 12 weeks, I should know more about what my body likes, and what it can't handle.


Wish me luck!

The Rush of Triumph

Nov 27, 2015


Ok. So I'm not a gamer. I didn't grow up playing computer games. My partner plays games on his consoles and computer. I really enjoy watching him play... especially for those games that are rich in visuals and story telling.


There are however a few games I like to try now and again, because I'm a huge fan of the theme. One of these is American McGee's Alice, and the following release Alice: Madness Returns. I'm head over heels for Alice in Wonderland, and I really love this dark twisted version of the story that I can actually interact with.


So, I come home and try going through Madness Returns. I'm a novice. If there's a surface I can fall off and die, I will. If there's a critical fight to get through to the next section, I'll fail a minimum of 3 times before I eventually win.


But boy, when I do win. When I've been through the same fight 5+ times, each time getting closer, then I finally kill the last bad guy, with a drop of health left? It. Is. Amazing. The high of triumph kicks in. I yell for joy, I mock the defeated cronies as if I always knew I could do it, and continue on in my adventure. Happy that I have completed my task.


It is a great way to finish a work day.

Pride In The Product

Nov 20, 2015


I can't help it. Part of me views our product as an extension of myself and what I can do. If it becomes unstable, if things we have done suddenly become undone, if the user experience is irritating or confusing, I feel responsible. I feel like it's a reflection of me, and I haven't done a good enough job.


How does one avoid this as a tester? Is it exacerbated by the fact that I am a lone tester on our project?


I try and advocate. I sometimes get my words muddled, but I make good points. And still, there is too much to do and no time to address usability and minor bugs. It makes me sad. We are so close, but so far.


How can I present our product, stand by it and say "hey, I contributed to this!" when I'm aware of all the niggles and lacks it has?


Hard questions. No good answers. *Hulks out and goes off to play Lego Harry Potter*

We're In The Future!

Oct 22, 2015


So the date that Marty and Doc go into the future came and went yesterday. Alastair and I watched Back To The Future Part 1 on Tuesday, Part 2 yesterday and will watch Part 3 tonight.


It made me wonder. What do I expect for life 30 years from now? So I thought I'd write a little list of what I think the future will be...

  • I'll be 57 years old.
  • My parents will probably be gone. (O-O)!
  • My cat will be dead. (T-T)! But I'll definitely have another pet.
  • I should own my house outright. If I haven't upgraded to a more expensive one.
  • We should have cures for some diseases we don't have now.
  • More advanced medical care, that still probably won't be accessible to everyone.
  • Virtual reality! Holo decks like in Star Trek would be awesome.
  • Machines will be common in the workforce to replace people.
  • More value will be given to works of art created by hand, or hand crafted goods, as a response to products being produced mechanically.
  • Parts of the world will have been written off completely by pollution. Unless we've actually managed to invent ways to rejuvenate the earth or break down products safely.
  • I'll be smarter than I am now, because I'll have learnt more.
  • I might have travelled overseas.
  • I might have become more advanced in my career.

Wow... I feel like such a pessimist. But a realist at the same time. Let's hope if I read this in 30 years time I can add some good things to this list...

Hyperbole and a Half

Jan 4, 2012


In my web exploration I have found THE funniest blog site ever! I found it through a friend and then spent the next few days reading all the old posts and rolling around on the floor. My partner came to see why there were random peals of loud laughter coming from my work room. It's well worth a look. I guarantee you'll get a smile.


Check out HYPERBOLE AND A HALF

Some sites to check out

Thanks goes to Godzone Internet Services for Hosting this site and also CMS Made Simple, my content management system experience.