Thursday, 19 February 2009

5 Questions For Catherine Powell

Catherine Powell is the author of the Abakas blog and one of that rare breed of people who seems to love Mondays
Her blog is regularly updated and full of tales and insights from the testing trenches

Definitely one of the more prolific bloggers out there - 242 posts last year, 80 in 2007 and 32 already this year ( and you get quality and not just quantity )

As for the name, Abakas ?
" Abakas is something from one of those miles-long UNIX dictionaries. I liked it because the name and the logo design evoke an abacus without being too literal. I like to harken back to things - like an abacus - that can take many forms and be effective in each of them "

1. Why did you start blogging and what were you hoping to get out of it ?
( and have you got what you hoped for ? )

I think the tipping point was that I didn't hear a lot of voices who were talking about the same things I was facing day in and day out - really in-the-trenches, small company, small team testing of enterprise or large products. There are a lot of very good testing blogs out there, but many of the ones I was aware of are from a trainer/guru perspective, or by people who were interested in the tools side of testing. I wanted to talk about the daily ins and outs of working in test: the neat tricks; the incremental, achievable changes; and the mistakes large and small.
I wanted to write for me.

2. What have you learned from doing your blog?

I've learned that there are a lot of very smart very helpful testers out there - and I've gotten a lot of encouragement from many more people than I ever thought would read it. I've also learned that it makes my day when someone talks back, either through a comment or privately.

3. Do you track your visitors - if so, any unusual searches to find your blog ?

I did set up a Google Analytics account and Feedburner when I first set the blog up, but I don't log into it much. Looking at the keywords, it's mostly people searching for things that make sense. My two favorites, though, are:"put it in reverse – part iii" and "define: pain-driven"
I really feel for the guy who got there with the second phrase.

4. Do you have a favorite post that you have written ?

The Selenium posts are by far the most popular, but definitely not my favorite. I wrote those mostly to give back to the many many other manuals, blogs, mailing lists, etc. that I relied on to get it working. I figured I'd try to save others some leg work!
I don't personally have a single favorite, but I do find the ones that I return to are the ones that speak to making each action and each day just a little better than the one before.

5. Any advice to new bloggers ?

Read first, then write, and always set your entries to post at least an hour in the future so you have time to change or undo it.

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