I’m always meaning to improve my testing for reviews. I’d like to test every feature of every program, through with 250 of them that is a little unrealistic, as my assistants are not all one might wish for in terms of productivity. At the least, though, I like to download each program, install it, and run a simple test case. That gives me an idea of the general quality of the program, and a quick look into its abilities.
The situation gets more complex when it comes to networking. Lots of new programs come with PACS client capabilities, which is great, so I try to test that too. So I need to leave a PACS server or two running, and as I try to test three different platforms, the number of permutations grows quite high. Another growing trend is cross-platform development, also a very good thing, but it means to be thorough I need to test three versions of the same program, and test each against PACS servers running on different platforms.
I used to like big complex networks of computers with keyboards and screens and wires going all over the place. These days, I strive for simplicity. With that in mind I treated myself last year to a 27″ iMac, running Parallels. I set up two virtual machines running Windows 7 and Fedora Linux, and I have them running full screen in separate Spaces within the Mac (Osirix of course gets its own Space). Each virtual machine gets 2 GB of memory of the 8 in the Mac, and 2 CPU cores of the 8. I have Time Machine set up to not back up the virtual machine files, and on the Linux and Windows VMs I save all my files on a “network” disk on the Mac. Of course, they all use the same disk, so it’s no slower than saving “locally”. They all access the same directory of imaging test data, which saves a ton of duplication. And because all the files are saved on the Mac file system, Time Machine backs them all up. It all works really well, though I don’t usually have more than one of the VMs running at once, and I might upgrade the memory so I can give 4 GB to the guest OS’s.
Once all the networks are up (the VMs communicate locally on a private network), I can do PACs operations between them all. The only trouble I get is when I need to restart the Mac, there’s a lot to set back up again, but then there would be anyway if I had 3 computers to get going.
Struck by the desire to add a gratuitous feature that was both easy and colourful, I settled upon national flags. Once again, the awesome famfamfam provided the lovely soft PNG flag icons for every country I’d heard of, and plenty I hadn’t. Naturally I immediately got sidetracked reading up about places like the Åland Islands (you’ll see this flag about as often as you’ll see an AX top level domain name).
The issue of which country to associate with which person was not always straightforward, so I left it out unless they had indicated a particular allegiance on their web site, or had a particularly attractive flag. I will correct any errors upon request, so if you are from Tristan Da Cunha
and I have put you down as South Georgia
, thereby increasing their population by 3%, I will gladly move you back.
It did remind me just how widespread are the developers of the programs I track. Lots of programs from the USA, but plenty from all over the world. Here’s a preview…
mysql> select country, count(*) as num from author where country not like ” group by country order by num desc;
| country | num |
| US | 45 |
| DE | 22 |
| CA | 11 |
| FR | 11 |
| GB | 10 |
| CH | 6 |
| IT | 5 |
| BE | 4 |
| JP | 4 |
| NL | 4 |