Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'me'

Nicholas Skaggs


The joys of Spring (or Fall for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere) are now upon us. The change of seasons spurs us to implement our own changes, to start anew. It's a time to reflect on the past, appreciate it, and then do a little Spring cleaning.

As I write this post to you, I'm doing my own reflecting. It's been quite a journey we've undertaken within the QA community. It's not always been easy, but I think we are poised for even greater success with Xenial than Trusty and Precise LTS's. We have continued ramping up our quality efforts to test new platforms, such as the phone and IOT devices, while also implementing automated testing via things like autopkgtest and autopilot. Nevertheless, the desktop images have continued to release like clockwork. We're testing more things, more often, while still managing to raise our quality bar.

I want to thank all of the volunteers who've helped make each of those releases a reality. Oftentimes quality can be a background job, with thank you's going unsaid, while complaints are easy to find. Truly, it's been wonderful learning and hacking on quality efforts with you. So thank you!

So if this post sounds a bit like a farewell, that's because it is. At least in a way. Moving forward, I'll be transitioning to working on a new challenge. Don't worry, I'm keeping my QA hat on, and staying firmly within the realm of ubuntu! However, the time has come to try my hand at a different side of ubuntu. That's right, it's time to head to the last frontier, juju!

I'll be working on improving the quality story for juju, but I believe juju has real opportunities to enable the testing story within ubuntu too. I'm looking forward to the new challenges, and sharing best practices. We're all working on ubuntu at it's heart, no matter our focus.

Moving forward, I'll still be around in my usual haunts. You'll still be able to poke me on IRC, or send me a mail, and I'm certainly still going to be watching what happens within quality with interest. That said, you are much more likely to find me discussing juju, servers and charms in #juju.

As with anything, please feel free to contact me directly if you have any concerns or questions. I plan to wind down my involvement during the next few weeks. I'll be handing off any lingering project roles, and stepping down gracefully. Ubuntu 'Y' will begin anew, with fresh challenges and fresh opportunities. I know there are folks waiting to tackle them!

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Nicholas Skaggs

Preparing for the Community Charity-a-thon

In preparation for the 24 hour marathon, I thought I would share with everyone my thoughts on my I chose my charity, and what I plan to do for 24 hours :-) To start off the post, let me get this right out front <insert flashing lights and whirlygigs> DONATE HERE </insert>

First the charity, WaterAid. I chose WaterAid upon realizing how important water is to me. I love water -- I love to stare out across a vast sea, or to sail along it using the wind, and hearing only the splashing of the waves, and the smell of life beneath it. And of course, I consume water each day in order to sustain life. I am happy to support an organization whose goal it is to provide sustainable water sources to everyone. Water is important to life, and is a basic need for us all as humans. We need clean water, and even moreso, we need sustainable access to it. Water is precious, and it's important for us to not pollute the water we have as well. WaterAid understands this need and works with locals to help create clean renewable water sources. Consider donating to help those who don't have access to the same resource we take for granted -- available anytime out of our faucet.

I'm also placing a call out to those who are interested in QA on both the Debian and ubuntu communities to participate. I plan to spend my time during the 24 hours doing something to further the work of how you interact with ubuntu and QA. So, to that end, I'd like to ask those of you who are interested in ubuntu to donate and install ubuntu during the marathon. I'll be here to provide technical installation support for you during the install. Let's see how many exotic configurations we can see successful installations on. Got a RAID setup or some exotic hardware? Multiple disks, partitions, and Os's? Get your systems backed up now, and let's try and install. NOTE, I'd encourage using the latest daily iso for installation, but you are welcome to also use beta2.

In addition for those of you in the Debian community, I am issuing a challenge for donations. For every 5 donations from the Debian community, I will write a missing man page from the list. I'll be focusing on things I use, but feel free to offer a suggestion during the marathon!

I would also issue a challenge to the greater ubuntu community. Do you have a problem that you are unable to solve within ubuntu? While I can't promise a fix for your issue, I will offer you my personal attention to help solve your problem. I'll help you file a bug, confirm it, or help you debug the problem to the best of my ability. I'll even offer my karma on askubuntu to your question ;-) If I get overwhelmed with donations, I'll pull the highest donators first -- but we do have 24 hours to fill! Note, I plan to do this work on Thursday, on-air, but you can donate in advance. Just leave me a note, or simply send me an email after your donation with your request if you donate in advance.

Finally, if none of the above suits you, I am happy to have a personal 1 on 1 match of highest level house of cards building, or another quick playing game of your choice on air. And don't worry, I'm ruthless competition, no pushover here!

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Nicholas Skaggs

Bleeding Orange and Purple

So today I headed over to ubuntu planet to get my daily fix, when I happen to spy my floating head next to a post. What's this? The last post from my blog was published! That simply won't do for an introduction, so this post will do so!

The reason my blog appeared in the planet blogroll is the same reason I now write this post. I would like to introduce myself as a newly minted ubuntu member! I couldn't be happier to bleed orange and purple. I have been 'around' ubuntu for a long time, but only recently began pursuing a more active role in the project. This culminated in me joining Canonical as the QA Community Coordinator1 and now becoming a member :-) I would encourage anyone who might want to know more about me to simply visit the about me and contact me pages above. It has links to goodies like my ubuntu wiki page, launchpad information and contact details.

To those of you within the community who I've been working with already, thank you! It's been a blast getting to know everyone. And for those whom I haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting or working with, feel free to say hello. Join a call for testing, or other testing event and get some hands on time with myself and the other folks in QA; we always enjoy meeting new faces and new people.

You can expect to see more QA and testing posts coming from me on this space. I hope to here more from all of you as well. Happy Testing!

1. Yes, Jono Bacon is my boss, and no it's not quite as cool as you think it would be. jk <3 u Jono!

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Nicholas Skaggs

UDS Highs and Lows

As you may have seen or heard, I attended UDS-Q last week in Oakland, California. I was privileged to serve as the track lead for the QA track. I trust I served all of you brave souls willing to attend the QA track sessions well enough ;-) A big thank you to everyone who participated. We set some big goals for this next cycle, which I'd like to share over the coming days. For now, I'm going to provide the list (perhaps not comprehensive, but I tried) of blueprints I have work items on as a sneak peak at what we discussed:

You can see more of the 'qa' blueprints here:

A few key takeaways can be found in them:
  • Expansion of the isotracker capabilities to do testcase management
  • Ideas around helping reduce burnout, duplication of work, and in general make the testing experience easier and more fun
  • Utilizing ubuntu friendly for testing
  • Scrapping of the team organization ideas I proposed earlier in the cycle; instead focusing on communicating between groups will be pursued
  • Ideas for community involvement in automated and regression testing
One thing you won't find in the blueprints, but which is still an important goal, is QA representation at the next UDS. I want to see more of you there next time! 

So, this post was intended to be about the highs and lows of UDS. Well, let's call the first night dinner and jetlag a definite low, and the closing party a definite high :-) After 5 days of discussing I was ready to head home, but the closing party (despite the soberness of leaving) lifted my spirits and helped UDS end on a positive note.

Hmm, perhaps an image or two would better explain it.. 

This was high, and below is the low :-)

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Nicholas Skaggs

How do I use Unity?

I know I use unity to launch applications and run a search thru an occasional lense, but I wasn't sure how else I might be using my ubuntu desktop. To solve my curiosity, I decided to watch my mouse movements and find out how I interact with the unity desktop. Does it help or hinder my workflow, etc. Check out the results below. The answer about which piece of unity I was using the most surprised me a bit. Looks like I <3 my indicators.  The first picture show both my desktops, with no background. In the second, I only show my left monitor with a background snapshot to show you where I was clicking and hovering in more detail in regards to unity itself :-)

To explain the picture a bit, the circles represent where my cursor stopped or rested, while the lines are my movements. You can see I am using the indicators often over the course of this hour. What I was actually doing (besides playing with this tool) was having a video meeting, writing some emails, browsing the web and a hacking around in a terminal session. This is pretty typical hour for me. If you want to make your own graph of your mouse usage habits, check out IOGraphica and share your own discovery about your unity habits.

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Nicholas Skaggs

Introducing me

Ahh yes, the days of old, when I was simply that that guy Jono blogged about. Shortly after that post, I wrote an email to the QA mailing list as a way of introducing myself. As it remains an unspoiled view of me from before beginning work, I thought I would share now with everyone on this blog. It represents my first impressions of ubuntu and QA, as well as my hopes for the future.

"I think ubuntu is in a unique place to be a leader among open source projects in the area of QA. The more I have used ubuntu over the years, the more impressed I become. Each release gets better and better and provides a better experience. It's that "just works" nirvana that all technology projects seek to provide its users and ubuntu more and more "just works". I was reminded of this the other day after coming home to find my wife happily printing some documents using the new printer we had purchased. I hadn't yet had time to setup the printer so imagine my surprise that my wife was now printing from it! I asked her how she figured out how to setup the printer and was met with a blank stare. She had simply turned it on and plugged it in. Ubuntu did the rest when she hit the print button -- ubuntu saw she wanted to print, found an unconfigured printer available on USB, configured it, set it as the default printer, and then sent the document to it. Amazing! It's this community's tireless work and focus on finishing ideas well that these experiences are a testament to. I look forward to creating more and more of these experiences with all of you."

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Nicholas Skaggs

The first week

I must say the first day working for Canonical certainly was unique. Imagine 8 hours on a plane with nirvana's "I'm on a plain" looping through your head while your knees are shooting pain down your legs.

"I'm on a plain..., I can't complain..."

And so it began. Monday morning came with little jetlag and it was time to face the music1. The opening session revealed Canonical was a sizable company2 -- more than I had realized. I can't imagine a better way to have begun than to meet everyone face to face in Budapest. Having the first meeting be a physical one really helps jumpstart productivity from that point onward. Phone calls and video conferences don't cut it in this regard. A physical meeting will enhance all future communications and break down confusion and differences of opinion.

I can attest to this fact having seen it firsthand on a separate open source project. The core team was split on several decisive issues for a long time until a physical meeting was agreed to. Once everyone arrived in the same room, it turned out that many of the differences weren't so different after all, and we were able to come to an agreement to move forward. The productivity gains in working with the remote team members upon there return home was instantly enhanced. Something as simple as placing a name with a face goes a long way towards building a relationship.

In due time, I returned home having learned my lesson on international travel after spending 30 hours traveling for a 16 hour trip. Check your itineraries closely!

1. Sorry, I really couldn't help myself. Puns are puns...

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