Can Of Code

Category Archives: General

Podcasts Recommendations

One hour of my day is dedicated to walking my dog and something I find fits perfectly with this is slotting some headphones in and listening to a podcast. I thought I would share some podcasts that I enjoy and that you might not have heard of.

Planet Money

By NPR

A light introduction to topics relating to economics and business. The podcast has covered a fast range of topics from why some packs of M&Ms have an odd weight to buying their own barrel of oil to investigate the process.  The podcast never fails to give a light and entertaining overview of a topic that might never had crossed your mind.

Websitehttps://www.npr.org/sections/money/

Notable Episode: Fascinating take on the benefits of the US bankruptcy laws

How I built this

By NPR

How I built this follows the story of the people behind current and past business successes.  They have had a wide range of guests from Howard Schultz whom transformed Starbucks to what it is today, to say Rod Canion who co-founded Compaq (A story very familiar to those who have watched the first season of Halt and Catch Fire). Like Halt and Catch Fire, this podcast never fails to give an injection of inspiration.

Website: https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510313/how-i-built-this

Notable Episode: Compaq

The Documentary

By BBC World Service

The Documentary offers a short insightful podcasts about issue from around the world from a podcast discussing the Generation gap in China to an insight to the hackers of Siberia. I can find the news can tend to ignore international topics and therefore I find these documentaries a good source for understanding events occurring in the rest of the world.

Websitehttps://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nq0lx/episodes/downloads

Notable EpisodeThe CIA’s Secret War in Laos (From the son of one of the CIA Spies in Laos)

Bonus: What App?

It was the case for a long time that all the stock podcast apps were not up to the job in hard. For a couple of years I have used PocketCasts. It manages all the syncing of feeds and downloading of episodes for offline listening. I have not experienced any issues with it and it does seem that is regularly updated.

Websitehttps://www.shiftyjelly.com/pocketcasts/

 

That is some of the podcasts I listen to, got any recommendations?

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No video playback on Windows 10 Store Apps

I have come across this problem every time Microsoft release one of their bigger “update”.  I go to open say “Redbull TV” click on a video and normally get a generic “playback failed” error.

video app error

That’s not a very helpful error!

This happens because i’m running a “N” or “KN” version of windows which I believe doesn’t ship with media stuff because Microsoft got told they shouldn’t in Europe. Sadly to fix it you have to download a “Media pack” after each update.  A really useful link can be found here:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3145500

This lists which “Media pack” you will need for your version of Windows. Proceed to download and install the one that relates to you (installing one for a older Windows version will feel like it has installed but playback will still not work) and you should now have video playback in Store Apps.

To find out your “version” on Windows 10 go to Settings > About.

This is a nasty issue for users as the errors are useless, Microsoft keep releasing updates that remove the media pack forcing the user to re-download it again and worst of all it shouldn’t even be a thing! I hate to say it but you don’t have to jump through these hoops on iOS or Android.

Hope this helps, any questions just leave a comment.

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BCS Software Testing Foundation book review

I had decided it was time to learn a bit more about Software Testing with the aim of improving my own software quality. The book I decided to read for an overview was Software Testing: An ISTQB-BCS Certified Tester Foundation guide. The book acts as a guide to a certification that the BCS offer so it would likely supply a good overview of the field.

 

BCS Software Testing book

This book makes no assumptions about its audience and therefore I don’t feel that you need any background in software or testing to get something out of it. If anything I was impressed at the pragmatic insights the book made, clearly showing that it had been written by people who have experience in testing within a wide range of different sized businesses. An example of this would be how the authors have awareness that the task of testing can often get passed to other members of the team when a dedicated tester isn’t present.

I was also impressed by how the book starts by setting the expectation that its impossible to catch all errors therefore its important to focus testing based on risk to do an effective job within the limited time and resources.

I felt that the book and most likely the field of software testing itself has a lot of overlap with other disciplines within software such as project management, systems analysis etc. So if you already have some background in software you are likely to be scanning through some parts of the book, although these do act as a good refresher.

A recommendation the book made which caught my eye was that it recommended external contractors for testing because of their independence from the project and team. This to me reinforced my thinking that a testing consultancy would be a great opportunity to start for the smaller digital agencies who don’t have the level of work load or resources to have a full-time or even part-time tester as part of the team.

Another important message the book conveyed was the importance of testing as early as possible suggesting that finding an error at the requirements stage is a lot more cost effective than at any later stage referred to as the “cost escalation model”.

I found it a little disappointing that the tooling support section did not give links to examples of tools that the reader could then go and investigate to get a better idea of how they work. I do understand that it might have been out of scope of the certification but I believe it would help.

Summary

Weighing in at around 250 pages this offers a good overview of testing which I would recommend to anyone in software, more so for those who don’t currently have a formal testing procedure. As a developer myself I felt it give me a better understanding of testing that I could either implement myself on smaller projects or help support in larger projects. From my own experience just knowing the difference between simply retesting something and performing regression testing has been a help regardless of the size of the project. It has also enabled me to focus on risk when decided what should be testing and how that should be tested.

I found that even with the BCS member discount, this was still way cheaper on Amazon or Wordery.

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