find and replace in adobe acrobat reader … or java 8

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find and replace in adobe acrobat reader … or java 8

February 19th, 2017 by Jeanne Boyarsky

Scott and I are doing final edits of our OCA 8/OCP 8 Practice Tests book. We wanted to use parens after method names in the explanations. I noticed that I missed two in an early chapter so wanted to do a search in Adobe Acrobat reader for “main method”. Unfortunately Acrobat ignores the parens so “main() method” matched too.

Rather than figure out how to do this in Acrobat, I just coded it.

Path path = Paths.get("test.txt");
.filter(l -> l.contains("main method"))

Broke up the reading/editing with some code too 🙂

the relative in trouble scam

February 6th, 2017 by Jeanne Boyarsky

The most recent AARP newsletter has an article about the “grandparent scam.” A retired person asked me about it and we had a good discussion about potential future variants of it. First of all, this isn’t new. In fact, AARP wrote about it four years ago. Some thoughts beyond what is in the article:

  • Never give any personal information or financial information if you didn’t initiate the phone call in the first place.  I’d say banks and such don’t call and ask for personal information except that one did. The solution was to call back to the known number of the branch.
  • Don’t rely on caller id. It can be spoofed with your child/grandchild’s phone number.
  • I’d like to think a grandparent/parent would recognize their child’s voice. But if not, ask questions. And not questions like your pets name or mother’s birth date. The former is likely on Twitter/Facebook. And mother’s birth date is in the public record so a horrible security question in any case.  I’m talking questions that are hard to search for an answer to if you don’t already know them like “remember when I visited you in Arizona two years ago” and see if they know that never happened. Or “what’s the last injury you had” since that is hard to search for.
  • Verify using another channel. Ask for a number to call back. The police or hospital or any legit emergency would give you one. (and verify this is the right number; don’t just call back.) Then call the person on their known telephone numbers. Call their relatives. Send a text. Odds are the person really is ok.
  • Don’t wire money or buy a pre-paid cash card or buy BitCoin to pay someone who called you. Hospitals take this lovely thing called a credit card. Even if someone is arrested, you can call a local bail bondsman and pay them and they will pay the local jail. (At least that’s what the internet says; I’ve never been in a position to find out if that is true!). Which goes back to you initiating the transaction.

The point that a lot of information is online is a good one. And that’s just what we know about. Think about how many websites have been hacked in the last five years. That means your “security questions” aren’t safe. Also, the “bad guys” don’t limit themselves to google. Paying for a background check would yield more info if someone wants to target you. And the dark web probably has all sorts of information.


finger voting – teamwork and voting

February 4th, 2017 by Jeanne Boyarsky

In the past month, I’ve used “finger voting” in three contexts.

What is finger voting?

Voting with your fingers of course. Seriously thought, finger voting is a bit like rock, paper scissors. First the choices are presented. Then everyone sticks out their fist when ready to vote. The person who called the finger vote says 1, 2, 3, reveal and everyone votes at the same time. This could be thumbs up/thumbs down/thumbs side to indicate agreement/disagreement/neutrality. Or it can be a series of options. One finger means we should have pizza, two fingers means we should have sandwiches. Finger voting can be used for binding votes or polls.

Why is finger voting beneficial?

Decisions by consensus often take a long time. Sometimes the decision is such that any of the outcomes are acceptable. Sometimes at topic has been discussed at length and more discussion isn’t going to change anything. Sometimes you just want to take the pulse of the room to see if there is a consensus before spending a long time discussing. Finger voting lets you see where everyone stand.

Another benefit of finger voting is that the quieter people in the group get an equal say. It avoids the scenario where you have one vocal person in favor, one vocal person opposed and it appears the room is split down the middle. A finger vote/poll lets you see if it is split down the middle or just that one vocal person.

Context 1 – Work

We use finger voting for a variety of things. Some examples:

  • Process changes at the retrospective
  • Design decisions after discussing the options
  • To see how people feel about the sprint at the end of sprint planning

Context 2 – FRC (FIRST Robotics Challenge) Brainstorming

This year there were a number of strategies you could use for the robot. This decision is important because you get locked into it pretty quickly. There were a few conversations we got mired in. I suggested a finger vote to see what the majority of the room was thinking. While this worked, I learned that not being able to “demand” a finger vote makes it take much longer. At work, when anyone on the team suggests a finger vote, we have one. It may be a finger vote poll or a “binding” decision (well until the next retrospective). But a call for a finger vote at work isn’t distanced from said vote by a period of half an hour.

Context 3 – FLL (FIRST Lego League) judging

Today, I judged technical/robot design. The way judging works, there are four pairs (or triples) of judges who all see different teams and created an ordered list. Then the four groups get together to form a combined ordered list of X teams. To do this each group talks about their strongest team and all four groups concur on who was strongest overall. Then the next highest from that group replaces it and all four groups concur and…  Historically, the step of figuring out which of four teams should be ranked highest is a difficult step because you need at least eight people to agree. And typically that means the vocal people have a disproportionate impact on the decision.

Today, there 9 judges (three pairs and one triple) for technical/robot design. Two of us have been doing it for many years. I asked Dave (the other veteran judge) if I could moderate. He graciously agreed and I gave finger voting a shot.

Each group presented their strongest team and why. Then we used our fingers to show which of the four teams was strongest. Majority rules. And we proceeded. There were two votes that were really close and we discussed more there. There was even one where we had a three way tie. We discussed and revoted and there was no tie. (If there was another tie, I was going to propose we vote for which of the three was the weakest and see if we could get it down to two.)

Anyway, finger voting rocks. Consider it on your teams!