Wishing Internet Explorer would finally be a real browser…

As I play with browsers, I’ve fallen for Internet Explorer 9.  It isn’t as much of a hassle to develop for anymore, finally choosing standards that seem to be close to what the other browsers use.  They’ve finally got tabbed browsing with removable tabs that can be re-added back in, much like Google Chrome.  As Internet Explorer grows up, I’m thrilled with the features that are getting added.  It’s slowly maturing into a real browser.

While I can browse the internet with Internet Explorer, it’s still not something I can completely uninstall and reinstall.  It’s still baked into the operating system.  

 

Until I can truly uninstall it and reinstall it and see it on the “Uninstall a program” page, it’s just a great operating system feature in my book and not a full-fledged browser.

So please, Internet Explorer team, show the world how awesome your product can be without baking it in the operating system!

Stash Tea Website SUX

While trying to find out more information on this Ginger Peach tea that my hubby picked up from the grocery store, I ran into this awful message on the Stash Tea website:

At this time our website does not support the Chrome browser. We hope to be able to support the Chrome browser in the near future. Please use the Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari web browsers for your shopping transaction, or call us 24/7 at 800-826-4218 to place your order.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for visiting Stash Tea.

Really?!?  Why – in the days of cross-browser platforms like jQuery – am I still seeing this?  Why do companies with such a wide audience base let their web developers get away with this?  Why is this acceptable?

Thankfully their site supports Internet Explorer, one of the harder browsers to develop for.  No error messages on IE 9 beta… which is much newer than Chrome!  Grrr…

And the feature that would tell me the information I’m looking for… works sorta in Firefox once I figured it out.  What in the world?!? Not only does it not work on a modern browser, but it doesn’t work easily… you have to maybe hover for a significant amount of time to get the product information window to display, even though the Product Information text looks like it’s a link.

It’s maddening enough when a browser isn’t supported, but when the data you need – such as product information – doesn’t display properly, if at all… ugh!

Looks like I’ll stick to my Twinings, Celestial Seasonings, and Lipton teas… no Stash Tea for me with that horrible user experience on their website. 

CodeMash Precompiler Morning Thoughts

 

Sitting in the web automation and Selenium precompiler run by Adam Goucher at CodeMash this morning, I was super giddy to see multiple languages being mentioned – PHP, Python, and Ruby so far.  I am very thankful for my natural affinity for languages.  While I may not have experience with some languages (these languages excluded), I have the great ability to follow the logic and pick up the syntax from code.

Selenium looks like it can be very useful for what I do, being a web developer.  I’d be curious to see how to get it working with Silverlight, as it really hasn’t been done.  

I really like the idea of Selenium Grid, with the distributed execution abilities.  To be able to test multiple browsers over multiple machines… this can be awesome! Having to support so many different browser/OS configurations, it would be beneficial to have a grid of computers to handle all that testing at once.  While I really like my QA guy, I really like him.  I don’t want to have to bombard him with “Can you test this site in all of these configurations?” -it would be great to have a grid to just run the testing on my own.

Selenium 2’s standard server will by default be running on a grid of 1.  Selenium Grid will no longer be a separate product. Selenium 2 is a merging of Selenium and WebDriver projects.  The best analogy that Adam came up with is that Selenium 2 is similar to Grover’s “Near/Far” skit – there’s a near part and a far part (Remote WebDriver).  Can’t wait to try out Selenium 2 and see if I can make it work for my .NET projects!

 

The Lonely WiIT Playing with PowerShell…

While I’m a C# and ASP.NET dev by day, I am programming language and automation junkie. My current interests lie in PowerShell.  A friend of mine talked me into tech editing some PowerShell stuff of his, and that has since escalated into doing some writing.  As I write this technical PowerShell stuff and as I banter with the PowerShell MVPs on Twitter, for some reason, I feel odd.

While I can probably keep up with some of the PowerShell MVPs technically, there’s something I’ve noticed.  There are no female PowerShell MVPs.  This is truly one concentration that reminds me just how rare women in tech are, especially in the IT realm.

For me personally, PowerShell caught my eye when I saw its syntax and made sense of it quickly.  My bash skills from Unix and my command prompt skills from DOS have been very helpful from a command-line experience.  My .NET developer skills have come in handy looking at creating custom providers and cmdlets.  PowerShell is just a natural fit for me.  

I’ll continue to school my friend on some of these PowerShell things, especially when it comes to applying PowerShell to the real world.  But at the same time, I can’t help to wonder… are there other WiITs… other Women in IT?  Are there any other female scripting addicts out there?

The Makings of a Great Team

I have been privileged to work with multiple teams of greatness in my career.  From the Arts & Science College Computing (ASCC) guys at the University of Toledo to my tech support team and co-workers at the Internet service provider… from the IT department at the manufacturing firm to the teams I work with in my current position… I’ve worked in various environments, but no matter how different the environment is, the teams all had something in common.  There was a great chemistry among certain team members that made that team effective, efficient, and strong.

As I watch some teams crumble, I wonder why.  I don’t understand it all the time, but when I do see teams fall apart, it’s usually a lack in leadership or cohesion among team members. Which again.. I don’t understand why they don’t work at their relationship and just let the team fall apart.

Being on a team is much like maintaining any relationship in your life.  If the team is having issues, the team needs to recognize their problems and seek out ways to get around the problems or solve them, so that they can be a strong team.

Things I’ve found that work well with the teams I’ve worked with include:

  • Team bonding is a good thing.  When I worked with the ASCC guys, we’d do lunch together every now and then – be it at the student union cafeteria or the BW3’s just off campus.  It was a great chance for us to take a break from the chaos of the day and just chat.  Bonding as a team helps the team understand each other and helps it get stronger.
  • Be each other’s cheerleaders and support.  One of my current teams works well like this.  When someone does something that really helps out, the rest of us will offer words of praise. When someone is struggling with their part, the rest of us are saying things like “How can we help?” and “Come on!  You can do it!”  
  • Be honest with your teammates.  If you make a mistake that’s going to hurt your team, own up to it.  While it may be a stupid thing, at the same time, owning up to and fixing your mistakes can help you earn respect among your teammates.
  • Remember that it’s not personal, it’s business.  This is one thing I’ve been saying a lot when talking with friends who ask how I do what I do.  When I offer constructive criticism, if I know it won’t be taken well, I will preface it with that.  If you’re on a team at work, remember your overall project owner and that your team has to make sure it’s the best product/service for your project owner.
  • Play off each other’s strengths when times are tight, but then learn from each other’s strengths when time allows.  This way, you get the project done in ample time when times are tight, but then when you have more time, you can make your team a well-rounded team by learning from each other.
  • Keep an open line of communication among teammates.  This is essential.  A breakdown in communication can easily lead to failure.
These are just some of the things I’ve found that work with the great teams that I’ve been a part of in my career so far.
So next time you find yourself on a team that is questionable or iffy, keep these tips in mind and make the team a great one!

New Year, New Goals…

With 2011 arriving, this means that it’s time to figure out what I want to focus on this year.  Here are a few things I’m looking into:

  • Silverlight – no, it’s not going way.  No, it’s not dying.  It’s still around, and I’ve got a bit of work to do with it.  So I’m looking forward to becoming a bit stronger with it this year.
  • TDD – ah yes, the current hype in software development.  I’m finally coming around to figuring out how I can apply it to work and how to really understand it well.  This is the main thing I’m looking forward to learning about at CodeMash.
  • Windows Phone Development – I have some app ideas that I’d like to build, and later this year, when my time frees up a bit more, I hope to get them out there.
  • PowerShell – I’ve always had a love of scripting, and PowerShell just brings out that love even more.  All that wrediting I talk about on Twitter is writing and editing a book on PowerShell that’s due out later this year.  I’ve learned quite a bit while writing, and I’m looking forward to building more custom cmdlets to help my fellow co-workers and maybe even the community.  We’ll see what happens when my time frees up again.
  • Agile – finally getting into this a lot more.  I’m excited because this process meshes better with my natural software development tendencies, much better than a chaotic waterfall.  I have a feeling I’ll pick this up quickly.
I’m also hoping to be involved in the community a bit more.  Some of the events I’m looking forward to in 2011 include:
I have a few other plans I want to tackle, but you’ll just have to wait and see what comes out from me later this year!
Do you have any goals for this year?  Have you blogged about it?  Leave me a comment here!