Friday, December 9, 2011

Mouse Wars

When I started my current job over 6 years ago, or perhaps shortly thereafter, I got a largish Microsoft USB mouse with a few buttons and a scroll wheel. It's very right-handed, and someone else's skin oils had clearly already corroded the finish in a few places. But it worked. Never had to think about it. 

More recently, I 'upgraded' to a bluetooth keyboard and a 'magic' trackpad or whatever Apple calls it. I like the trackpad's swipe-y gestures, but they both disconnect from the computer at random intervals. Sigh. 

Then, within the last month, I caught myself switching back and forth between the trackpad and mouse a lot because they were both "sticking" -- intermittently failing to track my movements. 

To get through the workday, and start diagnosing the issue, I got another mouse from our sysadmin. Unfortunately, he only had bluetooth "magic" mice. (If I want to see a magic mouse, I'll go to Disneyland, thank you very much!) When I went to pair this new bluetooth mouse, I accidentally paired a co-worker's mouse instead -- while he was using it! I moved my USB mouse to his machine so he could re-pair the bluetooth mouse with his computer. He quickly diagnosed that my wired mouse had a short, which caused it to usually stop tracking if I moved the mouse straight vertically. 

Once we got the bluetooth paired, I started thinking about really solving my mouse issues. I brought a Microsoft wireless USB mouse from home and tried that as well. 

1) All mice are flaky sometimes
2) Some (all?) of the wired mouse's flakiness can be explained by the short; holding the wire straight prevents it. 
3) Both the bluetooth trackpad and the bluetooth mouse are flaky sometimes. Is it the bluetooth? Is it an OS or computer hardware issue?
4) The wireless USB mouse is a little flaky at work, but not at home. 

I think this leads me to blame either my Mac Pro or the desk surface at work. Neither of these have changed conspicuously since before I started noticing these issues. 

Upgrading from 10.7.0 to 10.7.2 did seem to temporarily alleviate some flakiness. Maybe it's drivers? Maybe simply a reboot helped?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What is your favorite part about writing?

It's national month of "do that creative thing you keep meaning to do" as far as I can tell. I think novel-writing came first, then drawing. BlogHer is hopping on the band wagon with NaBloPoMo. They're posting a prompt for their bloggers each day. I guess I'll try this a bit. No promises about a post every day or anything, though.

So, what is my favorite part about writing? Maybe that the process of writing down my thoughts in complete sentences helps me understand them in a new way. This is especially true of writing stuff out with pen on paper, but even here at the keyboard I tend to gain new insights and clarity. ''

Sometimes I hope my blog will somehow bring me fame and fortune. Sure, that'd be nice, but I don't write nearly enough for that (not to mention writing *well* enough!).

Does this have anything to do with testing? Oh, I could probably make some tortured analogy, but no. I won't. My goal in writing this blog post is just to write something, to exercise a muscle that I might need soon to write about testing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Women at WWDC

[originally posted to the DevChix mailing list]

I enjoyed several social gatherings (formal & informal) last week at
WWDC, not least of which was the Thursday women's lunch that Alexis
instigated. We picnic-ed in a sunny/shady spot at Yerba Buena gardens,
probably about 20 of us, sitting in a circle. I really liked the bit
where we each got a minute or two to introduce ourselves & talk a bit
about our interests. I recently encountered the idea
of 'plussing' each other -- an improv concept where you focus on
adding to what someone else is doing, rather than competing with them.
I definitely saw this in action at Thursday's lunch. When one person
finished modestly introducing herself, someone else chimed in with
"yeah, but you also got blah blah award" or "you also wrote
such-and-such book". This sort of thing happened a few times. It
created a great atmosphere of cheering each other on, I thought. Thank
you, Alexis and everyone else who was present.

As in past years, there weren't many women at the conference. I
couldn't really tell if there were more or less than last year.

I didn't see any women presenters, but I heard that there were a few
in sessions I didn't attend. The presenters are frequently engineers
who actually did the work, or managers of those people, so I think
that more reflects on Apple's general diversity than any specific
disparity in women speaking.

I had one thought about how to make conferences better for
newbies/underrepresented/underconnected people. Introduce people! Look
for opportunities to connect people you know, even if you're not sure
whether they have much in common. They're at the same tech conference,
odds are they have some overlapping work. Find someone who it's their
first time at the conference, and invite them along to lunch with your
usual gang or something like that. (I'm pointing this advice at myself
as much as anyone else -- after 5 trips to WWDC, I need to stop
thinking of myself as the newbie!)