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Go to Rally to get the Scrum story descriptions. Each story description is named by a User Story code. In Quality Center, write up the test suites of test cases and test steps. Be sure to name the test suites according to the User Story they refer to. Using a web browser and Selenium, run your test cases and record them, then save as Java source files. Be sure to name the Java files according to the QC test script identifier. Attach the Java files to QC and then email the whole test suite aling with the Java files to the automation test engineer. This way we permanently attach the recorded versions of the test suites to the QA test suites. (As an aside, we have not been able to get the email system to work. I talked with IT about this over a month ago but they have not made it work.) The automation test engineer will log onto his Windows machine and extract the Java files from QC and put them on a file server. Then from his development Mac he'll get them from the file server and import them into his Java workspace. There he will massage the files into code that actually runs the tests. This code will get imported into the Git repository, from which it will be deployed to the automated test machines.

It's a nice, workable workflow. But we're not using the FTP server. It makes sense that we left out LiveJournal: it's out of date and nobody uses it any more. But there are no Facebook or Twitter notifications. Do we want to publish the test scripts on Github and SourceForge?

story illustrator sought for fc15 con book

I've written a story for the Furcon '15 program book. I'd love,and I'm sure the con book editors would love, an illustration. The subject is an anthropomorphic wolf who is a college professor and a detective, and a nice old lady who runs a bakery ... all Victorian.

The deadline is November 15. Please post here or message me for details.

Power Savings Followup

Yesterday I got my PG&E bill. It was about half of last month's. Between replacing the power-hungry firewall with a much lighter appliance, turning off the early-morning heat schedule, and manually switching off the big TV and always-on cable TV box I've reduced my average power use from 560 watts to 430 … taking me out of tier 3 of energy charge.

I replaced all the light bulbs with CFEs over a decade ago.

I also finally tackled a problem that had been bugging me for years. In my entry hall is a motion sensor that turns on the light there and at the top of the stairs. People walking by, vehicles driving by, and wind blowing would set it off, turning the light on for a few minutes each time. So I took a plastic coffee "can" (a green Folgers one) and cut it so kit was a half-cylinder with a full-circle base. Into the base I cut holes to match the light switch openings needed by the motion sensor. The half-cylinder is on the outside so the motion sensor can't see the street. Once you walk into the entrance it sees you and turns on the light at night, which is the point. That circuit had one CFE and one 15 W incandescent. (Automagic light switches hate CFEs and need the pure resistive load of an incandescent to work.)

So with a number of small measures, you can affect your power bill by a lot.

Well, okay, I also spent two weeks of the billing period at work instead of at home, so I wasn't spending 75 watts of iMac power. That should translate to more energy savings next month, with an adjustment for the cold weather we've been having.

Power Savings

My PG&E bill tells me that my power usage dips often enough into the highest tier of power billing ($/kWh) that it's worthwhile for me to cut as much as I can out of my baseline consumption. 100 watts of baseline eliminated saves me 200 watts worth of billed baseline power.

One big draw was my ancient Sawtooth Mac G4 that I was using as a router and firewall. It was a reliable workhorse: it never bogged down after a week's worth of use the way the Linksys WRT54GS wireless router always did. I rather liked not having to reboot it every week just to get the bandwidth back, and the unix-based security was probably better than that offered by the Linksys firmware.

It turns out there's a way to combine the power-saving goodness of a dedicated router appliance like the WRT54GS with the software reliability goodness of Linux: dd-wrt was designed for the WRT54GS and gives it "real" router software.

Downloading and installing the replacement firmware was straightforward enough. One snag I ran into was that although I carefully typed in the masked admin username and password (I always use "nottheadmin" and "correct horse battery staple") it would not let me log in with those credentials. So I had to use the 30/30/30 reset method and enter the correct admin credentials. Once that was done, everything was shiny.

The dd-wrt UI is clear and easy to navigate. I entered the information specific to my installation and left the defaults for the other settings. With the router on my desk I verified that I could talk to it with my iMac and MacBook. I programmed it with my WAN ip address and DNS, then took it to The Room Beneath The Stairs and installed it. That meant unplugging the red cable from the G4 and into the router's WAN port, and the yellow cable from the G4 into the router's LAN port. (I follow a strict cable color code in my network setups.)

Then I unplugged the power from the G4 … and I even decided that the 10 watts of overhead from the battery backup wasn't worth it for LAN connectivity.

I had thought about getting a shiny Apple Airport Extreme, which provides two subnets: one public WAP and one private WAP and wired network. It uses a little more power and has cool features such as active antenna wave shaping… but that can come later when I *need* it.

Get dd-wrt here: dd-wrt.