A different mind

J was recently diagnosed with high-functioning autism (Aspergers). We always knew he had a different kind of mind. From day one, he was a very fussy baby and always looked a bit nervous. When my wife signed up for a “mommy and me” class at age one, he already was avoiding social interaction with other kids and wouldn’t participate in the activities.

He always had trouble entertaining himself. Other parents would say things like, “I just put my baby down on the floor with his toys and he plays while I get dinner ready.” Never so with him. He’d always need us to stimulate him. Or on the contrary, he’d have trouble settling down. In short, he was always different–and often frustratingly so. Continue reading “A different mind”

Installing Jekyll with RVM

Note: I no longer use Jekyll for my blog.

A lot’s been written about Jekyll, but coming from a Python background and knowing virtually nothing about the Ruby ecosystem, I had no idea how to do Ruby virtual environments and install Ruby dependencies. I suppose I’ll learn more about that as I need to. In the meantime, I just wanted to get up-and-running with Jekyll and be able to build my environment from my website’s Github repo.

I documented how I did this in my website’s Github repository’s README, so check it out. Hopefully this will save you time getting going with Jekyll, and also allow you to easily re-create your environment on other machines.

A new web-testing paradigm: Robot Framework & Page Objects

Though I am not a QA engineer, a year ago frishberghellmanj and I took it upon ourselves to help NCBI’s QA department replace their dying automated web testing framework, IBM’s Rational Functional Tester(RFT). The process introduced some innovative new tools that we released open-source, but perhaps more importantly, it introduced new practices to our QA group. In this post I’ll discuss our experiences with developing our own testing framework and our experience integrating some programming-best-practices to our QA group. Continue reading “A new web-testing paradigm: Robot Framework & Page Objects”

Sacks vs. Dawkins

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of England, came to visit Kemp Mill Synagogue this past Shabbat as a visiting scholar. I’ve never heard him speak but had read his book The Great Partnership, about religion’s relationship with science.

I had no epiphanies reading this book, but it did reinforce my own thoughts about how I relate to both rationality and religion. Essentially, Sacks’ position is that religion and science don’t contradict each other, nor do they support each other’s claims. Rather they belong to two distinct spheres, both answering different, yet valid questions. Science asks how, religion asks why. Sacks addresses this issue quite eloquently. Continue reading “Sacks vs. Dawkins”