Misc

Chin up! It could always be worse

Even with the doom and gloom, you need to look on the bright side, things could always be worse. Not only could you work for a POS company like Wells Fargo, it could actually be the year 2000, which is the technology they seem to be using.

If this were 20 years, or even 10 years ago, things would truly be in upheaval. We have tools like Slack, Zoom, and others so we can hold conferences with dozens of people not only in different parts of the city, but different parts of the country. The technology to host that was abysmal 10 years ago.

We have an Internet backbone that can actually support this traffic. We previously had DSL, which was great at the time, and fast compared to dial-up, but egad, there is no way you could conduct business over that connection.

Sure, it can be a little saturated at peak times, but it's working 95% of time, so it's easy to host meetings, see people, share screens, draw on a virtual white board, and discuss complex topics, in real time, as though you were in the same location.

Sites and services are so easily connected through web portals. Even using a VPN solution is so much better than it used to be.

Let's not forget, we have the old standby of email, which is damn near instantaneous. It doesn't have the word instant in the name, but email still makes it across the country in seconds.

And we have file sharing like never before. With Google, Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, you can give files to people in the blink of an eye.

With that, we also have online Office. Google and Microsoft both have cloud versions, so you can still get on with tasks regardless of how powerful or not your computer happens to be.

Go back for a moment. Think back to 1999, and ticking over into 2000, when people thought their machines were going to reset, shut down, or explode because they weren't sure machines could handle the new year.

Make no mistake, it is tough for certain sectors of business. All the technology in the world doesn't help serve food to an empty restaurant.

But, let us be thankful for what we do have. We can easily connect to work. We can still do our jobs. We can still talk with our team. We can still write code, query databases, share files, and get work done. It's different, but it's working. And in my opinion, it's working well.

Other articles of interest:

Week #3 of working remotely – Build your workspace

We're at the start of week 3 for working remotely and I think just about everyone has found their rhythm. But, it has taken awhile, and one thing I heard from multiple people, they weren't prepared to work remotely for an extended period. The main problem? Nowhere to work.

We have people who work remotely and that's no issue. But, that's for a day. They can handle calls, or attend meetings, or put together a client proposal, but not everyone has a dedicated work machine or a dedicated work area. Working from the couch or kitchen table is fine for a few hours, but it's not going to do for several weeks.

Many people spent the weekend getting themselves set up for the long haul. Some just had to clear off a desk, while others had to race out and actually get a desk. Several people had to get full sized monitors. Some retrieved equipment from the office, others ended up ordering them. That's why so many monitors, mice, keyboards, headsets, and even full systems have been disappearing from inventory. I know Woot did a brisk trade for computer equipment.

Many people had to make a place for themselves. They needed a permanent work area in order to get back into the routine.

I'm lucky in this regard. I've already made comment that my home machine and work machine are the same. I rarely work from home, but when I've needed to do something, I wanted a familiar environment.

That's the problem a lot of people have just solved. They now have an area that is familiar, that allows them to have a routine, something puts them in the mindset of begin at the office.

It's the idea of, when I'm here, I'm working. This is my work space. You're not going to get that by wearing sweatpants and sitting on the couch.

Further, sitting at the kitchen table looking at a laptop screen for days on end is maddening. It will make being at home a dozen times worse. Setting up a space that feels right and works well will make this ordeal far more tolerable.

Other articles of interest:

Week #2 of working remotely

So here we are at the tail end of two weeks of working remotely. I had to make a dash into the office late Wednesday as our building would be closed until further notice due to the stay at home order. I figured it was better for me to have the machine here than it collecting dust in an empty building.

Oddly, there were far more people on the road than I expected. Maybe they were out and about doing the same thing, grabbing machines and necessities from their place of work, which could be confused with looting. Rest assured, I totally had permission to get my own machine from work.

Other than the laughable toilet paper situation, I find things to be going quite well. We are communicating regularly through Slack and use Zoom to have team meetings. This was already the norm since we've had people working remotely for various reasons for a couple of years.

I have to say, the morale is still very high, people are still getting work done, it hasn't all turned to doom and gloom, or a why bother attitude. That is good to see.

From my perspective, I am testing the same way I have always done. I have the same tools at home as I did at work. And now I have the same machine again. Problem is, I don't actually have room for it. I would have to turn something off to put it in place. Not sure that's possible.

I have noticed a lot of software companies dropping prices, extending trials, and making accommodations for people to work remotely. Unlike Wells Fargo, or people selling sheets of toilet paper on eBay, not everyone is out to screw over the public in this time of need.

Who knows how long the current situation will last, but we are operating under the guise of this as the normal for at least 6 months. Even when we do decide to head back, that office will need to be scrubbed. There was already dust piling up because we obviously didn't want the cleaning crew in there either.

Hopefully everyone is coping with the new normal. I haven't noticed much of a difference. I still work with the same team members, and still talk through Slack. I would even Slack people who sat next to me because I didn't want to totally interrupt their flow.

I have noticed one thing. Some people are working more now than before, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but you still need to keep boundaries. Just because our machines are on longer than they used to be, and we are in fact home, doesn't mean we need to work 10, 12, or 16 hour days. The schedule remains the same. Starting at 8:30am vs. 9am because you don't have traffic is fine. But, being "logged in" at 10pm is no good. Now more than ever, people need to take a break and separate work life and home life.

Block off time to spend with your kids. The sun is out, the birds are singing, the trees are blooming, take a break and go outside for a few minutes. Get yourself some exercise, and no, pacing doesn't count. Have a virtual lunch through Slack. Stay safe, but don't allow yourself to get cabin fever.

Other articles of interest:

Wells Fargo is run by F-ING IDIOTS

Please allow me to go on a rant for a moment. Not only am I customer of Wells Fargo, but not for much longer, but I know several people who work for the banks, Wells Fargo included.

Despite an order for non-essential professionals to stay home, Wells Fargo has stated all their employees are essentials and requires them to come into work as scheduled.

This is utterly ridiculous and they should be ashamed of themselves for treating employees like this and putting them in danger. This is totally unacceptable.

I haven't been in my office since March 13th and we were told last night to get anything we needed out of the office and steer clear of the building. There was no reason for us to enter before and now we can't.

We are a company that makes $40-50 million per year in revenue, and we have figured out a way to work from home and isolate ourselves from danger. You would think a company that clears $2 billion a year might have enough intellectual capacity to pull off the same feat.

Wells Fargo Demands Call Center Workers Come to Office Despite Coronavirus

And to further show just how rotten Wells Fargo has become as a company, this mental defective used to be CEO

'Some may even die, I don't know': Former Wells Fargo CEO wants people to go back to work and 'see what happens'

This is about as stupid as it gets. I'm ashamed to even be loosely associated with this company.

Other articles of interest:

Let the quarantine begin!

Like a slew of other people, I am now working from home and most likely will be for a few months. It's really not that big of a disruption, since I have almost the same set up at home as I do at work. If anything, I have more machines at home.

Since we do deployments at off hours, sometimes on the weekend, I've been in the habit of synching my work machine so I can pick up where I left off when I get home. This has included putting files on Dropbox, iCloud and GitHub. For example, all my DevonThink notes get pushed to Dropbox once a week so I have the same info in both places. Other items like test plans, templates, and testing data are dropped into iCloud since those will be used on the Mac at home. Github of course keeps all the automation code. If you haven't already done so, get synching set up.

When I switched over to using Mac machines, I took the time to get to set up my home Mac the same way I have my work one. It is also a 12 core machine with 128GB of ram, so there shouldn't be a difference in how they perform and accomplish tasks. And if that's not enough, I have a couple of booster iMacs if needed. Those have actually come in handy for screen sharing and attending meetings. They are a little more stripped down, so they are distraction free and better for that sort of thing.

No surprise they have the same software. Obviously, my home machine has more installed, but it has all the same apps, test tools, code tools and VPN connections. About the only thing I've had to do is update a few apps since I'm not always running Postman and it falls behind a little.

Point is, if you haven't done so already, get everything in place so you can work remotely for an extended period. I'm quite sure that will be the new norm shortly.

So far very little has changed. It's not as convenient to peer over my monitor to talk with the devs, but they are just as responsive through Slack.

The biggest change has been gaining almost two hours to my work day since I'm not stuck in traffic. I am making use of the time by going over training videos on Udemy and YouTube. I'm back in a refresher course on Groovy for automation. I've learned a lot in the last two years, and realize I could learn to do things the right way. So what better time than now to get myself pointed in the right direction before taking on a new project.

This also gives me the fantastic opportunity to ride my bike with consistency. Not outside, oh nay nay. At the end of the day, I simply walk across the room and get started. I can ride the bike and be done before I would normally be home. That is pretty awesome even if the circumstances surrounding it are less than ideal.

That brings up another point. There is A LOT of doom and gloom going on out there. People are panicking, raiding the store shelves for toilet paper, and acting like this is part of the end times.

But, let's keep our heads. This too shall pass. It's easy to steer clear of this mess. Sure, it's a dash inconvenient, but it provides plenty of other opportunities. No excuses for not exercising at home. Plenty of time to study new ideas and technology. Plenty of time to work on hobbies or start one. There is no shortage of new books to read or listen to. No time like the present to write that code you've been putting off. It's even a great time to look for a new game, or break out a board game. It's certainly a good time to set up your home office.

And if you find yourself a bit lacking in the hardware department, fear not. Jump over to Woot to pick up both Mac and Windows based systems. They had some solid deals running, and for the time being, they will still be delivered without issue. That might not be the case much longer, so get yourself set up for the long haul.

Things are a bit goofy to be sure, but nothing last forever. There is still plenty to do, and some new and interesting ways of doing it. We now have more daylight hours, and a few extra hours by not sitting in traffic. I'm sure something useful can come from that.

Other articles of interest:

Recent Comments

  • How To Disable the Quicken Registration Prompt (30)
    • David: A BIG Thank you! I regularly reinstall Windows OS’s using different hardware configs. In short, Quicken 2011 (it’s March of 2020 as I write this) has been a program I’ve been very happy with and continue to use....
    • Karen L: Today I rang Reckon Australia again, got a different guy and he talked me through the process of getting me a new product key to enter since I already had the licence and it had been extended. Reckon have only extended it by 1...
    • Karen L: I have Australian Quicken 2008 on Windows 8.1. It keeps asking me to renew my licence which Reckon did for me however the activation won’t work. I tried this to disable the registration prompt however it did not stop the...
  • Parsing Strings in Katalon – Split, Substring and Readlines (6)
    • Don Pedro: String tempText=”Date Month January. Revenue $1,355,721.00″ println(tempText.split(“ \$”)[1]) You need to escape the $ with \$ The [1] on the split captures characters on the right of the split [0]...
    • Prasad: Hi, I need to get the substring from the below string ‘Date Month January. Revenue $1,355,721.00’ I want to extract text after $ value. Please help Thank you
  • Working with Dates and Date Formatting in Katalon Studio (15)
    • Sangeethaa: How to get previous day’s date(Yesterday’s date)? Actually I was using today.previous() before,it was working fine till today morning.Now its not retrieving right date. Can anyone please guide me on this.
    • Don Pedro: That could be a little tricky. First, is the text/format always going to be the same? You will need to do some parsing. Separate the first but of text at 2019. After that, split the text again to get rid of Central Standard...
    • Don Pedro: It should be of the same Date type as today. You could then do some calendar trickery with Calendar /*Calendar c = Calendar.getInstance(); //c.set(Calendar.MONTH, 1) //Set the month, 0=January, 11=December println...
    • josh: I’m testing a page with a string like “Updated November 21, 2019 16:25:32 PM Central Standard Time.” How might I capture the date and time and compare it to current time to verify that the update time was within...
    • zakir hussain: today = new Date() lastWeek = (today – 1.week) can u please help me in understanding what is the return type of lastweek? and I wanted to set nextyear date how can i do it
  • Output status messages and test information by writing to the Log File Viewer in Katalon Studio (6)
    • Saranya: Good One. Could you plz share link to access all your katalon related blogs. ThankQ
    • Rodrigo Calabretta: I’m using the KeywordUtil.markFailed or KeywordUtil.markError and my test stops is being shown as Error and If I use in the @afterTestCase the testCaseContext.getTestCaseSta tus() to show the status test case...
  • Setting up Environment Profiles in Katalon Studio (2)
    • Don Pedro: Not quite sure I understand. The term “Execution Profile” is normally used now, but they are still GlobalVariables and are created in the same way for version 7 as previous. You make a new execution profile, then...
  • Here is my drive cluster (2)
    • Don Pedro: While I still have those drives, the drive cluster looks nothing like that now. Almost all of my external drives have had the cases removed and they have been installed into a series of MediaSonic 8 Bay Drive Enclosures. I...
    • Marin Boucher: Hi! Verry funny blog with “go to the point” on many post! I spent good time reading some of your post. Regarding this one about NAS, “many NAS” in fact, I would be curious to see a screenshot of...