Category Archives: Work

TDD: When Not To Unit Test

Often when I speak to development teams about their technical debt, one of the issues they highlight is lack of unit test coverage. “We only have 30% coverage, so we’re hoping to set aside some time next sprint to get more tests in place. Our latest work all has 100% coverage, but there’s a lot of code from way-back-when which is completely lacking in tests”.

This seems to me to misunderstand the purpose of unit testing. I can see how this misunderstanding comes about: there is a general acceptance that tests are good, and that a high level of test coverage is good, therefore increasing coverage must be a worthwhile thing. Right?
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2008: Work

Like I said, I’ve been meaning to post a summary of my last 18 months. Perhaps easier if I split it into two: work, and personal. So, work: I started freelancing in the middle of 2007, and I’ve done a whole bunch of interesting jobs since then (see my CV for full details).
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Sheffield Bench store launch party

On Thursday night, I was hired to photograph the launch of Bench‘s new flagship shop at Sheffield’s Meadowhall, and the subsequent VIP party.

Mani (Stone Roses/Primal Scream) and The Yell at Bench VIP party

I have to admit, my hopes weren’t that high. I mean, how exciting can a Meadowhall shop be? Well, how wrong could I be? The shop was amazing, and the evening even more so.
Continue reading Sheffield Bench store launch party

So Safe

Well, we finally launched the So Safe website – it officially goes live at a presentation tomorrow morning, at which I have to speak following a 5am train journey down from Sheffield (was going to travel tonight but… been busy trying to make things work).

I’m still not very happy with the site, especially the Flash bits which I tried to throw together today with too little understanding/memory of how to do so, and which as a result don’t work quite as they should (and it shows). I am, however, absurdly proud of the Photo Exhibition and the fact that I came as damn close to the W3C Web Content Accessibilty Guidelines as is possible on a Flash website (OK, almost, I still have to implement the Macromedia accessibilty gumph). It really is the simple things that make me the happiest.

Now I just want to spend the rest of my life* building straightforward, information-based totally accessible websites, like the Westall Artists one I mentioned the other day. I get a warm glow from that kind of stuff.

*except for the time spent with Gill, the kids and the allotment, of course.

More Published Writing now Online

I finally put some more of my written work online – in print has 5 new articles in it, 2 Brand Republic book reviews and 3 pieces for FAD, the new magazine on Fashion, Art and Design which Mark & I are putting together with our chums!

I would greatly appreciate any comments and constructive criticism on this work… by email or using the little comments link below.

Direct Marketing, Kiwi Juice and Office Gossip

Another weird dream (real-world tie-ins in the footnotes). I?ve lost most of it in the intervening couple of hours, but it seemed to centre around a meeting with Steve B of LeoNCo (sorry, can?t give complete names here because search engines have a nasty habit of spidering my pages and giving them undue prominence in embarrassing situations [oops – that search used to bring my Christmas Party pictures up at #2] where a company forgets to build its own website). Steve wanted us to undergo a second merger, and he had a huge list of direct marketing companies from which I was to pick our new partner. I hadn’t heard of any of them1 (well, maybe one or two), and I insisted that he choose, as he knew the industry inside-out, whereas I only know the Internet side of things. But nevertheless he kept pushing me for a reply, sparking off some kind of quest for the ultimate below-the-line agency which took on epic proportions (would probably have made a good movie. Then again, maybe not).

At another point in the dream, I was making fruit juice, the hard way – with my hands. I had a huge tub (like a water butt: green, plastic and barrel-like) full of green fruit (mainly apples and kiwis). I kept pushing and squashing, trying to squeeze every last drop of moisture2 out of the fruity pulp. Bits of kiwi skin slithered between my fingers as I tried in vein to separate the flesh from the skin. I threw my weight on top of thick round sections of something seeming like pineapple, but which was actually apple, knowing that the stringy pulp must still be harbouring some liquid. However much I laboured, I could never be completely successful and I felt the frustration bitterly.

I can’t quite recall how the dream ended, but I do remember that it was during a formal gossiping session3 – a group of males from work each teamed with their female “work-wife” (a person especially selected for their complementary personality – the next best thing to a girlfriend during events where partners are not permitted) and the group sat exchanging “he never did”‘s, “she did what”‘s and “ooh he is, isn’t he”‘s

1:
At lunch yesterday, Joe had been talking about a Campaign report listing ad agencies – many of which he had never heard of. He was horrified (or faux-horrified or whatever) at the number of direct marketing agencies listed. 

2:
I seem to have spent a large proportion of the last two hazy alcohol-sozzled days squeezing juice out of lemons. In the morning, I wake up, boil the kettle, and drop a lightly-bruised slice of lemon into my cup of steaming water. At lunch time, I order mineral water and repeatedly squeeze the lemon wedge nestling among the ice, trying to stimulate the alkaline-forming effect to combat the effects on my stomach of the previous night’s drinking. In the evening, I order Bloody Mary in the assumption than anything tasting quite so evil must be doing a modicum of good. Peeping through the swirling red and brown is an incongruous speck of yellow or green that betrays the lemon or lime chunk hiding below the surface.

3:
Well, I’ve certainly been partaking in more than my fair share of gossip lately. And loving it.