Have you registered to vote in the EU Referendum?

If your answer is yes, then great – just don’t forget to vote on the 23rd June.

If no, then you have until midnight tonight to register to vote for the EU Referendum.

If after today you haven’t registered to vote and are then unhappy with the result announced on the 24th of June, I’ll come around to your house and give you a rousing chrous of the “I told you so” song.  ;p



Ten Days Left to Register to Vote

Including today, anyone eligible to vote in the EU Referendum has ten days – that is, until midnight on 7th June to Register to Vote.

Younger voters who have until recently been living away from home (e.g. Students who’ve come home after the end of term-time at University or College) are at most risk of missing out on their opportunity to exercise their democratic voice in what is probably the most important vote in a generation.  So please, for sake of your future, to have a democratic say in that future, please please do not forget to Register to Vote.

The Wind Rises

I’ve never done a film review on this blog before (I prefer to leave that to Ms Greer instead as a general rule)  but I’ll make an exception for the exceptional Studio Ghibli film The Wind Rises.


I’ll freely admit I’m a lover of animation in general, Anime more specifically and of the work of Studio Ghibli especially. I can’t think of a film of theirs I’ve disliked, although my reaction to seeing Tales From Earthsea was quite frankly “meh”. The Wind Rises is, in my opinion, probably the best film this animation studio has ever produced. The narrative certainly flows, with a clear plot, crisp editing and a lack of extraneous fluff resulting in a well paced film that doesn’t feel anything like 126 minutes.  The plot held my attention captive utterly, to the point that I still had some of my drink left as the credits were rolling; that has only ever happened while seeing one other film in a cinema, which was Book of Eli, but I digress.

Kaze Tachinu or The Wind Rises is a cinematic feast with sumptuous colours, evocative storytelling, and a rousing soundtrack. It tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, following his boyhood inspiration by Italian plane designer Count Giovanni Caproni to become an aeronautical engineer as well. This is essentially a love story, or rather two love stories.


The first love story is about Jiro’s love of flight and his desire “to build beautiful aeroplanes”, which takes him around the world and sees him culminating in the creation of the famous Zero fighter plane. The intended uses that the planes made at the company he works for are alluded to over the course of the film. The war scenes act as a not very subtle metaphor on the loss of innocence as the rose tinted glasses of idealism fade and crack.


Love story number two is Jiro’s relationship with Nahoko Satomi. This wends its way deftly through the rest of the plot, binding the film together and rounding out the main characters in way that creates real emotional connections. Arguably the film could have focused solely on the creative vision, struggles and engineering abilities of Jiro during the inter-war years, but the resulting film would have been a far less engaging tale.

This is apparently to be the final work of Hayao Miyazaki which is a shame, but perhaps at the age of 73 he thinks it’s time to hang up his brushes and retire. Then again, he said that Howl’s Moving Castle was to be his last movie and has directed six more films since then, so perhaps one of the world’s greatest animators will change his mind once more.

State of Testing survey

A shiny new State of Testing survey is now running on Joel Montvelisky’s excellent QA Intelligence blog; I must confess I’d not actually read any of it until recently, but I’ve skimmed through a couple of several articles and it is now officially on my “to-read” list of blogs and articles related to QA and Software Testing.   The survey itself is a collaboration between the guys at Tea Time With Testers (a monthly e-magazine also well worth reading) and QA Intelligence.

I’ll be extremely interested to see the results of this survey, but that hopeful statement comes with a caveat.  Survey results are only as good as the final data set.  The more Testers and QAs who answer this survey honestly from more countries and companies of all shapes and sizes, the better a picture those crunching the numbers will be able to provide.  So, if you work as a  Software Tester/QA/Grand High Poo-Bah of Bugs[1] then please do fill this out.  Admittedly, there are issues around a self-selecting survey sample, but I’m assuming that whoever ends up doing the data analysis and commenting on the survey results will be taking that factor – amongst many others – into account.

If you want to help make the survey a success, do take heed of the suggestions already made by Joel, which can be summed up as blog about it, mention it to all of your tester friends and colleagues and generally plug it all over whatever flavours of social media take your fancy.

In a similar vein, Cole Henley has been running a survey for the last three years with a focus on Developers rather than testers, focusing on freelancer rates.  An excellent breakdown and analysis of the 2012 results are on Cole’s blog here.   The results on the 2013 survey are on the Mud Blog, which covers how freelancers work as well as how they charge what their rates are.  I hope that the State of Testing survey will be as thorough in its approach.

The State of Testing survey can be taken right here.

[1] Delete as applicable.

School suspends teen boy for carrying purse. Why???

Why indeed…

Dr. Rebecca Hains

For several weeks, an eighth-grade boy outside of Kansas City has been expressing his individuality by carrying a floral-print Vera Bradley purse. But yesterday, his assistant principal demanded he remove it. The boy refused, and he was immediately suspended from school.

This raises a question: Why is it a problem for a boy to carry a purse instead of a backpack if he wants to? By breaking gender stereotypes, he’s not hurting anyone. Instead, he’s showing the world that he has good self-esteem and self-confidence—that he is secure his identity.

Unfortunately, his school administrators’ actions show that they want to force a 13-year-old kid into stereotypical masculinity. Apparently, they value gender conformity over creativity and individuality.

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