Friday 13 July 2012

Mobile App Testing, Meteors and Newcastle Apocalypse

Welcome back to Adventures with Autism Works. My last two weeks at Autism Works, as you may have seen in my two previous blog entries, have been highly varied regarding what I have been up to and where I have been. Though the variation and change of setting and scenery have been enjoyable, in accordance with how I am affected by Asperger's Syndrome, it is nice also to have some routine and repetitive work for a change.

For much of this week, I have been testing a mobile phone app, using functional testing techniques to see if the links from the app worked. In the world of software testing, which I am still very new to, functional testing involves identifying the functions of the software component being tested, in this case the mobile app, and its execution and recording the expected and actual outputs on a spreadsheet. I was pleased to find that I was able to do it both quickly and successfully without missing anything, and most importantly, it made me feel valued within the team, further enhancing my role in the company. According to Deloitte, mobile phone apps is a huge growth area. Currently, there are two million mobile apps and this is set to double over the next two years. Hopefully we will test many more!

Water at car roof height, Heworth
As I briefly touched upon in my previous entry, two weeks ago I found myself, as did the whole of the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the surrounding area caught in the middle of floods and a thunderstorm. Described as 'Newcastle Apocalypse' on Twitter, when the sky suddenly seemed to go dark it reminded me of the film Independence Day where a huge shadow is cast over New York by an invading alien spacecraft. The experience of Newcastle Apocalypse was a huge step outside of my comfort zone not only regarding coping with walking through floods, but also seeing sights that I had never previously seen including water at car roof height and people being rescued from flooded houses by lifeboat. Previously the only times I had seen such sights was on television. The most iconic image from what turned out to be a quite memorable day was the huge bolt of lightening that almost struck the Tyne Bridge, which featured on the national news.

Family being rescued from flooded home by lifeboat, Heworth
Readers of this blog may also remember that cloudy skies obscured what will almost certainly be the last chance to see the Transit of Venus during my lifetime, but with a bit of luck, the skies will hopefully clear in time for the next major astronomical event this year, the Perseids Meteor Show which is due to peak between 12-13 August. Though perhaps not as talked about or observed as much as moons, planets stars, nebulae and constellations, observation and study of meteors and indeed if they are large enough to survive the fall through Earth's atmosphere to land and become meteorites, also provide a fascinating insight into the origins of the solar system, including the origin of life on Earth. At a lecture given by Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, that I attended at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland this week, I found that some meteorites found on Earth actually pre-date the Solar System. Most excitingly, studying meteorites is one of few ways in which humanity can get up close and personal with material that originates from inter-stellar space beyond the Solar System, gathered and ejected by comets.

Coming back down to Earth, I am still continuing with my training for the Bupa Great North Run, which is now only two months away. Currently I am up to ten miles, but I feel as though I am gradually getting there. Daisy Chain, the charity whom I am running in aid of, has also been in the local news recently about how demand for their services has gone up by 600 per cent, while at the same time its income has fallen. To obtain an idea of the huge difference that Daisy Chain makes to many of the families it supports, see the promotional video below:

My sponsorship page can be accessed at A huge thank you to all who have donated so far.    

Be sure to stay tuned to Adventures with Autism Works to see how this unfolds.


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