Product Review: Sense Sleep Tracker by Hello

I love sleep. I also love data. Recently, I was in the process of doing some competitive analysis for the design of some upcoming sleep tracking features in our customer Neurometrix’s Quell mobile app, and I came across Hello’s Sense sleep tracker. I was intrigued, so I bought one. This is my Sense sleep tracker review after using for almost four months.

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Pitfalls to Avoid When Moving from Clojure to ClojureScript

I’ve been excited about ClojureScript, its community, and the new tools and libraries that have been appearing, but I’ve only recently started working with it. Using ClojureScript to power a web (or mobile) client to a Clojure backend service seems really compelling. It’d allow for easily sharing code or logic between the different components, as well as a well-designed implementation of modern UI development, via Om Next. It’s also a fun and enjoyable language.

However, while exploring ClojureScript, I’ve run into some areas that left me feeling frustrated. Read more on Pitfalls to Avoid When Moving from Clojure to ClojureScript…

Property-Based Testing for Serialized Data Structures

When I first heard about property-based testing, my instincts told me it was too academic to be of practical use. But, as is often the case in the art of software, my gut reaction failed to appreciate the value of something new.

I originally felt the same way about functional programming, so I guess I can’t trust my gut very much when it comes to new concepts. To quote Nick Hornby, “Between you and me, I have come to the conclusion that my guts have s— for brains.” I’ve recently stumbled into some great ways to get real-world value out of property-based testing.
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SSL Certificate Expiration Checker

IT Operations teams frequently have the responsibility to ensure that SSL certificates for various websites are valid and renewed on a regular basis. While SSL certificate vendors often provide reminders and warnings when the certificates are about to expire, this is not always effective–especially when a variety of different SSL vendors have been used, or different parties are responsible for purchasing and maintaining the certificate.

To prevent SSL certificate expirations from going unnoticed, I wrote an application that checks the certificates from a variety of sites and ensures that they will remain valid for a certain number of days in the future.
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Interacting with iBeacons in Swift

I’ve recently been investigating iBeacons and the programming model to interact with them in iOS using Swift.

iBeacons are a class of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices that continuously broadcast identifying information about themselves using the iBeacon protocol that Apple introduced in 2013. They are meant to be placed in the physical world at locations of interest. Mobile apps can then ask to be notified when they move within range of a beacon, and react appropriately. Read more on Interacting with iBeacons in Swift…

Why Software Craftsmanship Needs to be Financially Viable

In 1957, Robert Noyce and the “Traitorous Eight” left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory to form a little company you might have heard of: Intel. In doing so, they disrupted the employment model of their day. It wasn’t so much that they all left at the same time. It was that they left at all. The expectation at the time was that intelligent, successful people stayed with one employer for most, if not all, of their employment careers. Read more on Why Software Craftsmanship Needs to be Financially Viable…

3 Ways to Test for App Consistency

Over the Christmas holiday break, I had some spare time to try out a few new apps. Most of the apps I tried had a corresponding web portal to manage a user’s account and preferences. As a tester, I know that consistency is important. I like to pay attention to the consistency between an app and its web portal. What I noticed (and have read about other testers noticing the same thing) is that consistency between app and portal is not always great. And this was true with a couple of the apps I tried out.

Below are a few places where the apps I looked at struggled with consistency. By observing the problems, I’ll offer some tips on how to better test apps.
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Uploading Files in Rails’ Active Admin

I recently wanted to be able to upload a small file and then store it as a field in the database via an Active Admin interface in a Rails app. The solution is pretty simple, but it was tricky to figure out.

In my case, the file was a small piece of firmware. For this example, we’ll have a simple table with only two interesting columns containing the name of the file and the contents of the file itself. Read more on Uploading Files in Rails’ Active Admin…

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