Twin Cities Code Camp - Javascript Unit Testing

by Nick Saturday, April 14, 2012 9:21 AM

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Twin Cities Code Camp, where I was among many speakers. This event is huge, and the organizers did a great job, not just with logistics but also in pulling together a lot of great topics, and excellent speakers. For those who came to my presentation, the source for my demo code can be downloaded here. You can also view my presentation as well:


One of the coolest part about speaking at an event like this is when people come up to you afterwards with information on your topic that you don't know. After my talk, someone asked about integrating Code Coverage, and he showed me JSCoverage, which I'd never heard of before. It doesn't look like its being actively maintained any more, but it certainly looks interesting, and still worth a look to see if we can use this to bring first class Unit Testing practices to Javascript. I'll definitely be looking at it in detail to see if I can incorporate it into this presentation, and especially to pull it into our practices where I work.

Unit Testing Javascript with QUnit and Mockjax

by Nick Wednesday, January 18, 2012 4:22 AM

Thanks to Milwaukee ALT.NET for hosting on Monday, and allowing me to present on Unit Testing Javascript with QUnit and Mockjax. It was a great group of people, and I appreciated the good discussion and questions. As promised, here is the presentation material from Monday:

Also, you can look at the source code from the demonstration as well, which is in the following zip file. Thanks again to everyone who attended!

Guerrilla Agile at Milwaukee Agile

by Nick Wednesday, September 07, 2011 12:36 PM

I'd like to thank the organizers and participants at Milwaukee Agile last night for making it a great time for me. I presented a slightly updated version of Guerrilla Agile, and the discussion afterwards with those who were there was excellent. I really enjoy presenting on that particular topic, because there are always people listening who have done something similar, and can offer great insights into how to introduce Agile in a company that is unreceptive to it.

For those that are interested, here is the presentation that went along with my talk.

How Important is Education?

by Nick Monday, August 29, 2011 9:09 AM

About a month ago, I took the day off from work and went to Oshkosh for the EAA Fly-In. If you've never had the opportunity to go, and you enjoy flying, it's quite the experience. For the two weeks of the fly-in, the skies over Oshkosh become the busiest airspace in the world, and the variety of aircraft is quite impressive.  The day that I went up was declared to be Burt Rutan day, and the air show that day featured several of his innovative designs, and they had several more on display which did not fly. Burt Rutan was also there that day, spoke at several different venues, and I was lucky enough to hear him speak.

Burt RutanBurt Rutan, in my opinion, is one of the move innovative aerospace designers in history. While few of his designs have become extremely popular at the time, the designs he used often times were incorporated years later after more mainstream companies and designers started using them. He is truly the definition of "years ahead of his time".  Among various aircraft, he also designed SpaceShipOne, the first private manned spaceship.

Rutan spoke on many different topics, from his history as a designer, to the Space Shuttle. However, one of the more interesting topics he talked about was the value of having an aeronatical engineering degree in aerospace engineering. His view was that graduates of an aerospace program were essentially statisticians with no creativity. They would look at lots of data about how a current design operated, decide on a couple of areas that could be changed, and made minor tweaks. Then they'd run the data again. In any given year, an aircraft design would improve, but only on the margins.

According to him, many aerospace designers don't have a "gut". They don't come up with innovated designs that are truly game changers because they don't have a gut sense about how a design should work. If they can't model it directly, it won't happen. Rutan also talked about some of the low tech and rather simplistic methods he used to test various aircraft designs to verify that it would actually fly... but that was generally enough. One of those methods involved pulling a scale model attached to a trailer with a ball joint down a highway with his car.

Rutan's point was, just like the old basketball saying goes that "You can't teach height", you also can't teach that kind of creativity. You are either an out of the box thinker, or you're not. And often times colleges are structured in such a way that they try to suppress any subersive thoughts you might have about new and innovated ideas. This is not to say that data analysis and modeling aren't important. But at the same time, in any technical field, there is far more to the job than simply following existing models and slightly improving them.

These same lessons apply to software development. Education and certifications can be good signals to someone's ability, but there is far more to being a good developer than knowing your GoF patterns and the syntax to your chosen language.

WQL in Powershell

by Nick Monday, May 16, 2011 4:32 AM

For those who were at my Windows Management Instrumentation talk Saturday at Chicago Code Camp, you may recall one of the attendees mentioning an eBook on WQL in Powershell. I thought it would be worthwhile providing the link to Ravikanth's eBook, and thanks to Steve Murawski for the added information. Ravkanth also has a series on his blog on using WQL in Powershell, which if you found WMI to be useful based on my talk, is definitely worth a read.

Chicago Code Camp Recap

by Nick Sunday, May 15, 2011 10:08 AM

I want to thank all the organizers, volunteers and attendees for a great time at Chicago Code Camp yesterday. I ended up presenting on two different topics, instead of the planned one. One of the speakers in the first session was unable to attend at the last minute, so I filled in and presented Guerrilla Agile (which I'll also be presenting to Chicago ALT.NET on Wednesday). It was a good opportunity to test out that new presentation to a smaller crowd and get some feedback. There was no code to go along with this presenation, just this presentation:

Of course, I also gave a slightly shorter version of my Application Instrumenation with WMI talk which I've given before. The group for that talk was very good, and had lots of great questions, and a few extra insights which I appreciated. You can find the presenation and code for the presentation in this zip archive. I've also uploaded the presentation to Slide Share:

Guerrilla Agile at Chicago ALT.NET

by Nick Monday, April 11, 2011 3:45 PM

In case anyone thought that I only had one speaking topic, you will have an opportunity to hear me at Chicago ALT.NET on May 18th. I'll be presenting "Guerrilla Agile" - How to Adopt Agile in a Company That is Hostile to Agile Methodologies. How many times have you ever gone to a meeting discussing Agile Development, and heard many of the people in the audience talk about how they were "interested in Agile" and were "excited about it" but weren't actually doing Agile? That is often times because the company they are working for not only doesn't currently use Agile Methods, but is actually hostile to it's adoption.

Should you as a budding Agile Practitioner just stand back and study Agile without ever actually doing it? Or is there some other way that you can introduce Agile into that hostile environment? Guerrilla Agile will give you a set of tools to use in that hostile company.

Chicago Code Camp

by Nick Monday, April 11, 2011 2:57 AM

What are you doing on May 14th? If you have the day available, you should definitely come down to Grayslake Illinois for Chicago Code Camp. Code Camp is for developers of all skill levels, and will have multiple sessions running side by side. There is no language or framework of choice, so developers of all stripes are welcome. You can see the full speaker list here as well as the session listing.

You might notice that I am on the speaker list, and will be presenting "Application Instrumentation with WMI". If you're interested in attending (even if you don't plan on seeing my session), you can do so for free at Event Brite.

It's Free - Does That Mean You Can't Complain?

by Nick Monday, January 31, 2011 5:53 PM

I found this story about a man suing Facebook to be rather interesting:

In seeking $500,000, Fteja is suing Facebook for disabling his account, in which he had about 340 friends and family and had spent "timeless hours creating content and relationships [Facebook] benefitted from," the suit contends. He wants it back on, and he wants the company to pay for the damage of alienating him from his family and friends (about $1500 per friend/family).
There are a lot of mines to step on that could result in Facebook shutting down someone's account, according to its terms of service, and Fteja can't figure out what he did wrong.

"I know one thing - I didn't do anything," he told The New York Post (which lists him as 39 and a native of Montenegro. Gotta love those New York dailies.). "I didn't violate anything."

He aired his speculations to the tabloid. "Did someobody hack my account? I don't know. If it's that someobody hacked my account, Facebook should help me. If you have a problem with your AOL login, AOL helps you. Not Facebook," he said.

Now then, I don't know if this is worth half a million dollars, but it still poses an interesting question. I think he's right, that even though the service if "free", Facebook does get payment from all of us in that it uses our time and our information in order to allow it to make money through advertising. And while Facebook certainly ought to be able to ban people from violating its Terms of Service, does it not at least owe someone an explanation other than "you violated our Terms of Service"? After all, these are usually very complicated, and often times vague legal style documents.

Its quite possible that someone can violate any website's Terms of Service and not realize it. Oftne times these violations are really subject to debate. This type of issue has also come up with Apple when developers have their apps rejected for often times unknown violations of their App Store Standards. In Apple's case, these vague responses are even worse because developers pay money to submit an app to the store.

People also complain about Google's responsiveness when they have problems with their free services like Gmail. Since so many of the money making websites that we may develop are "free" and use an ad-based model for revenue, the question becomes... what do we owe our users?

Random Updates

by Nick Thursday, October 14, 2010 9:18 AM

So you may have noticed that my site template got cleaned up a bit. What can I say... being a software guy is sort of like being a cobler. Your children are often barefoot.

You may have also noticed this advertisement on the right side which I put up more than a week ago:

Windows Phone 7 Dev Launch Banner

If you're interested in developing for Windows Phone 7, as I am, then you might want to think about attending one of these Developer Launch events. And as it turns out, putting that advertisment up will also give me a shot at winning a free Windows Phone 7. The odds are slim, but if you don't play, you can't win!

I've also added a link to my INETA Regional Speaker profile. As you've probably noticed, this year I've decided to venture into the realm of User Group speaking engagements. I've already done three this year, that have been fairly well received, and I'm hoping to expand on that. My first presentations were on "Application Instrumentation with WMI", but I have other presentations I'm interested in doing as well. I am currently developing presentations on "An Introduction to Umbraco" (a fairly well done open source .NET CMS package) and also another presentation on Software Estimation (no working title yet). If you are interested in having me come to speak on any of these topics, please feel free to contact me, or check out my INETA profile.

About Me

Nick Schweitzer Nick Schweitzer
Wauwatosa, WI

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I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit. ... Full Bio

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