THE OMNI SHOW

Get to know the people and stories behind Omni’s award-winning productivity apps for Mac and iOS.

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May 29, 2019, 6 a.m.
Lanette Creamer, Software Test Pilot

Lanette Creamer — tester, speaker, cat enjoyer — joins the show to talk about testing OmniGraffle. Her previous experience includes testing Adobe InDesign, where she first met Liz Marley, then a tester at The Omni Group, when Liz presented an elaborate prototype iPad made from a cardboard box.

Show Notes:

Lanette gives talks and workshops at various conferences, and you may well have seen her speaking already. If not, you still have a couple chances later this year. One of her upcoming talks uses the metaphor of applying makeup: how much time do you have, and what can you do given that amount of time? What should you prioritize?

You can find Lanette on the web on her Linkedin profile. You can also find her cat Navani on the web. And here too.

Some other people, places, and things mentioned:

Transcript:

Brent Simmons: You're listening to The Omni Show. Get to know the people and stories behind The Omni Group's award-winning productivity apps for Mac and iOS. Music.

SFX: [MUSIC PLAYS]

Brent: I'm your host, Brent Simmons. In the studio with me today is Lanette Creamer, software test pilot. Say, "Hello Lanette."

Lanette Creamer: Hello Lanette.

Brent: You are a software test pilot. Do you work on one of the apps in particular?

Lanette: I have been working on OmniGraffle.

Brent: Oh, okay.

Lanette: Before that I did work on OmniFocus for a while.

Brent: Oh, all right. How long have you been on OmniGraffle, roughly?

Lanette: I would say, between one and two years.

Brent: Oh okay. One of the emphases with OmniGraffle lately has been performance enhancements. Have you been testing those? How's that been going?

Lanette: That's been really amazing. What's been so fun, are some of our customers have sent in the coolest documents. Some of them are things that were formerly slow in different ways. We have some with thousands of lines. We have some that have the most complicated images, and some with a ton of text. The difference in zooming and panning is kind of, a huge win for everyone, especially in image-heavy documents or items that have a lot of lines. That's been really fun to see. We've been getting feedback. Every time someone sends us a document, that gives us something else to test in kind of a different view. It's been wonderful that people have sent in so many different kinds of examples.

Brent: Okay. It's not just performance enhancements with one specific thing, it's with a whole bunch of different stuff. Like lots of elements, or very large images; just doing all of them, it sounds like ...

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: ... or a lot of them.

Lanette: Even things like selecting and moving items. If you were to pick a whole bunch of items from the canvas, the sidebar, it's all of those things that have to update, to give you all the details that you need. They've all been improved. I think we're still making some last minute tweaks. We have a build in public test.

Brent: All right. Yeah.

Lanette: If anyone out there, if they're like, "Oh, but it's still slow for me in this case," you can let us know, and we'll take a look at it.

Brent: All right. It's worth knowing that we're recording on May 8th. I'm not sure when we're publishing. Hopefully this version will actually be out by the time of publishing. Let's see.

Lanette: I hope so too.

Brent: Let's see. Looks like we're publishing on ... If you're listening, listener, I bet it's May 29th. I bet we've got it released by then.

Lanette: I think so.

Brent: Yeah. Cool. Hopefully our listeners are finding the same kind of performance enhancements.

Lanette: Definitely they'll notice a difference, especially in image-heavy documents. I think for me, just day-to-day, it's opening documents, it's zooming and panning, and moving objects. Those are the improvements that I think most people will notice, first thing.

Brent: It's awesome. How did you come to Omni? I assume there was a life before Omni for you.

Lanette: There was.

Brent: I haven't met anyone who started here the moment they were born.

Lanette: Are you sure? Because Ken might.

Brent: That's a good point.

Lanette: Oh.

Brent: He's been on the show. I haven't done a Ken interview yet. I'll ask him.

Lanette: We'll have to find out.

Brent: Yeah.

Lanette: I was born in Bellevue. I've lived here in the Seattle area my whole entire life. I'm from a small town, Lake Tapps, and I went to Sumner High. And then, after that I went to college, still here in Washington, up in Bellingham.

Brent: Oh okay.

Lanette: I studied graphic design. What I really found in the 1990s, doing graphic design, was that I loved the Macs ...

Brent: Oh yeah.

Lanette: ... a ton.

Brent: Were you on Photoshop and Illustrator?

Lanette: Oh yeah.

Brent: Yeah.

Lanette: That was back in the PageMaker days ...

Brent: Yeah.

Lanette: ... when all this was around. I got into computers. I was on the BBSes back in those days, when we had the local BBS going on.

Brent: Cool.

Lanette: I found I just loved being on the computer. That was kind of where I was shining, was helping other people with the software. I kind of got into software that way, by accident. I did support for a little while. I was the first support person, when InDesign was brand new.

Brent: Oh, you were at Adobe. Supporting InDesign?

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: Okay.

Lanette: I worked for Adobe for 10 years. I was one of the first people that worked on the Creative Suite ...

Brent: Oh, okay.

Lanette: ... and testing to get the products working together.

Brent: You know, probably then some people that I know from outside Omni, like Chris Parrish and ...

Lanette: Absolutely.

Brent: ... Matt Joss.

Lanette: Yes.

Brent: Jeff Argast maybe.

Lanette: Absolutely.

Brent: Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah. I worked with all of them.

Brent: Yeah. That's cool.

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: Yeah, that's quite a team. I've heard stories... Yeah.

Lanette: I'm always thankful for my Adobe roots. I still use their software to this day.

Brent: Yeah.

Lanette: It's part of what I love about software are products that have a rich history, and a deep feature set.

Brent: Yeah. Certainly, Adobe has that, as does OmniGraffle.

Lanette: I love working on applications that let you visualize things, and be creative. That's why I've enjoyed working on OmniGraffle, but I've also liked it because I've got to learn iOS for the first time.

Brent: Okay.

Lanette: It's a whole new platform for me. I've tested on Windows and the Mac. I've tested mobile devices. I haven't really deeply got into iOS, as much, before I was at The Omni Group.

Brent: You've been here about three years, four years?

Lanette: Yeah. Three years.

Brent: Three years. I've been here four and a half now.

Lanette: Wow.

Brent: I had to stop thinking of myself as the new person.

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: Since there are people obviously newer than me. What actually brought you to Omni? Did you come straight from Adobe? How did you get here?

Lanette: Well, I met Liz Marley ...

Brent: Oh yeah.

Lanette: ... who was on The Omni Show. At that time, the iPads were brand new.

Brent: Okay.

Lanette: Most of us had heard about them, but we hadn't seen one in person. They hadn't shipped yet. The Omni Group was making software for iOS, and she showed me a cardboard prototype she had worked up, and I thought it was so cool. I invited her to Adobe to present her prototype she made from the iPad specs.

Brent: It was a cardboard box that looked like an iPad.

Lanette: It was a card ... It was an elaborate cardboard box.

Brent: Yeah.

Lanette: She was showing different ways people would hold it, and what the gestures would be like. All of that, in preparation for releasing the first iOS versions for The Omni Group, which... That testing was a huge part of why it was ready on time. I met her. I just thought it was really cool what she was doing.

Brent: Did you come straight to Omni from meeting her then?

Lanette: No. I was a consultant for a while. I worked on an IT project for a large coffee company in town here.

Brent: Okay. I can name one.

Lanette: Yep. The first time I stopped by the Omni offices, I thought, "Wow. This company's really focused on gaming. I'm not very good at games. Maybe it wouldn't be the best," but then as time went on, I thought, "I love my iPhone." There was an opening and I applied for it, and Kristina, the test manager, replied, and she'd already hired someone. I let her know that was no problem, and I took a contract. And then the next time an opening was available, I came in and I interviewed and, luckily, here I am.

Brent: Good deal. I've heard you say you enjoy cross-platform testing an awful lot. What attracts you to that? What do you like about that? Is it different screen sizes, different modes of interaction?

Lanette: To me, it's trying to provide a consistent experience for people that's good, but still observes what's special about that platform.

Brent: Okay.

Lanette: I think it's challenging testing to do well, because the problems are not always obvious. They're not always visual. Someone who is creative and good at exploratory testing is going to have more opportunity to have an impact in that kind of a situation.

Brent: Exploratory testing is ... How would you define that?

Lanette: All testing to some extent is exploratory. You're comparing what you're seeing with a model of what you expect in your mind.

Brent: Okay.

Lanette: You're comparing it to maybe other software, maybe to past versions, or maybe to a platform standard, like we have guidelines from Apple about what to expect.

Brent: Right. Sure. Yeah.

Lanette: And then, there's also really subtle things we expect, like performance and usability, that are subjective.

Brent: Right.

Lanette: It's taking what you see and comparing it to those models that are unique to each of us. We do use tools to assist us. But for a lot of that, the pattern matching of the human brain is still the most effective tool we have.

Brent: It's interesting. It seems like the industry's moved toward automated testing, as really a thing. We do that, of course, but having humans actually makes a really big difference.

Lanette: We have both. We have some automated testing, but I love the fact we have a team of humans. I've worked places that haven't. I've done test automation, several places. I see the value of both. I think automation can help us watch behind us very well...

Brent: Right.

Lanette: But it cannot look forward. It does not predict anything. It does not learn anything new. People talk about machine learning and how amazing it is. And then, you get an email. I bought a shower curtain rod for my new house, and I haven't suddenly become a shower curtain rod enthusiast, yet I get email. "Oh Lanette, you want to buy three more shower curtain rods today?" Probably not.

Brent: Right.

Lanette: There's a limit to the smartness of what we can automate.

Brent: Yes. I want all of the shower curtain rods.

Lanette: I don't know how many people have got hooked on those, since ordering one, but the number must be pretty high.

Brent: That's horrifying. You're probably right though. Yeah.

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: You grew up here in the northwest. Sumner, you said?

Lanette: Yes.

Brent: Yeah. Went to school in Bellingham. How was it going from... Sumner is a pretty small place, getting into bigger cities?

Lanette: I really loved it. I feel like, for me the biggest change was, when I graduated high school. My friend and I got our first apartment. I went from Sumner, which is a pretty small area. We moved to an apartment on Martin Luther King Way in Renton.

Brent: That's going to be a dramatic change.

Lanette: It was very dramatic change. We were the only white people in our apartment building, and that was really wonderful, as far as just meeting people that had different backgrounds, than I had, coming from Sumner. Getting to meet families, and people. In our home, we lived there. It became comfortable. You might think it wasn't, but once we got to know people, it really ... It was a great experience to learn that not everywhere, not even in Washington, not everywhere is the same.

Brent: Yeah, right. You were 18, 19, 20?

Lanette: Yeah, about 19 at that time.

Brent: 19. That's a great experience. Yeah. For me, I grew up in a small town in Maryland, then moved to Seattle.

Lanette: Wow.

Brent: It was just before my 18th birthday. That was a massive change. Yeah. I see a little bit of what you're talking about there.

Lanette: I also grew up with no television ...

Brent: Wow.

Lanette: ... until I was 16 years old. So, I'd read most of the books in the Sumner library. I'm still a huge reader to this day. I definitely have a TV. I would never miss Game of Thrones. But for a long time, I didn't have TV, so sometimes people will ask me about TV and movies from the past, and I have no idea. Just haven't seen them.

Brent: Oh, okay. Yeah. Wow. That's interesting. I had a TV, but we were so rural that we didn't have cable. People my age will talk about when MTV first appeared.

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: I'm like, I didn't have MTV until the 90s. I saw it occasionally, but...

Lanette: You don't remember when they used to play music.

Brent: Yeah, right. Exactly.

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: I knew they did. I might go over to a cousin's house and they had it or something.

Lanette: I was a huge Billy Idol fan in those days.

Brent: Oh right, yeah.

Lanette: I just thought he was amazing. My aunt got confused and ended up getting tickets to a Billy Joel show. She couldn't believe that I liked Billy Joel. I was in middle school. I was not impressed with the Billy Joel.

Brent: Totally not the same thing.

Lanette: It was not ... The Piano Man and the Rebel Yell are not the same. My mom went to all this effort to set up that surprise.

Brent: And it was Billy Joel.

Lanette: It was Billy Joel. Wrong Billy.

Brent: Yeah.

Lanette: Common mistake.

Brent: Yes. Right. They almost look alike really. Yeah. You've got some talks coming up right?

Lanette: I do, yeah.

Brent: One in the Bay area. What's that about?

Lanette: I'm headed down to San Francisco. I'm going to do a 30 minute talk for a meetup at BrowserStack. I'm going to be talking about small agile projects. What do you do if you have a whole lot of projects that need testing, and not a lot of testing time? A lot of that experience ... I worked for a company that had 17 developers. I was their first and only tester. It was a lot at once.

Brent: Yeah.

Lanette: I'm hopefully going to help one of those testers who's not as lucky as we are, here at The Omni Group, of having adequate testers. I hope I'll help someone keep their sanity. Because when you have that many things going on at once, it can be really hard to know what to focus on. I'm going to be sharing that.

Brent: What is agile testing? How do they keep their sanity? I mean, I'm not going to be at the talk.

Lanette: Okay.

Brent: Our listeners, maybe some of them will.

Lanette: All right.

Brent: Don't give it all away. Just maybe a hint.

Lanette: For me, it's about having good boundaries. I would publish which project I was going to work on. I have time boxes. I would have, before lunch and after lunch as time boxes.

Brent: Okay.

Lanette: And if a project thought it had an emergency, it could take the time box, but then it got bumped back the next time.

Brent: All right.

Lanette: Basically, only true emergencies became emergencies. I would only focus on two things a day, so I could actually get meaningful work done. And then I also — this is where the agile part comes in — when the new feature would be ready, I would pair with that developer on chat, and we would turn around bug fixes in the code base. I found that really effective, because instead of going back and forth, we wouldn't even write bug reports, literally be in the chat window.

Brent: Just testing and fixing.

Lanette: And we'd fix seven to 15 things in an hour.

Brent: Wow. Nice.

Lanette: That really sped us up. It meant we didn't ... Nobody cared about the bug reports. They really didn't exist, because the bugs were fixed by that time.

Brent: Oh, wow. That's awesome.

Lanette: And that can be really effective, especially when you're building something new that may have obvious problems once you start to use it together. And then of course the developers would get better at their exploratory testing because they're pairing up with somebody who's been testing for a long time. Not to age myself, but this is my twentieth year of doing software testing.

Brent: Yeah, all right. You know a little bit about it by now.

Lanette: I have a passion for finding problems, and part of the issue is I can't stop. I even break the self-checkout machines when I go to the grocery store.

Brent: No kidding.

Lanette: So no one who knows me will let me use those.

Brent: My problem is I'm just afraid of the machines, but that's a whole other problem.

Lanette: They should be afraid of you.

Brent: Okay. I think you mentioned you have an online talk coming up, too?

Lanette: I do. I'm giving a lightning talk for fifteen minutes about makeup and software testing. It's a topic I've never heard covered before.

Brent: Okay. How do those two things go together?

Lanette: I see both makeup and software testing as something to layer on gently, with a lot of blending, and I'm going to show how to do a two minute makeup job, and all you can do in two minutes is kind of cover your most obvious flaws for consistency. And the same is true if you don't have much time to do testing. You might catch your worst flaws, but you're going out the door with what you have, pretty much.

Lanette: Then I'm going to do a little bit longer of a makeup example, and if you have longer time—

Brent: Okay. Do it during the talk? Will you actually be applying makeup and everything?

Lanette: I'm just going to show a picture, no.

Brent: Oh okay, because that would be amazing.

Lanette: I cannot talk about testing and applying my makeup that quickly at once. I think I would really mess both up. Especially not live. Wow, that would be hard.

Brent: Yeah. I'm just trying to imagine.

Lanette: I don't know if it's possible. But anyways, I'll show a picture, and if you have longer, you can cover your flaws and also highlight some features. In testing, that's like if you have a demo, and you can control the script, you can focus all your testing there and make sure those areas are running really smoothly.

Lanette: And then I'll show if you have longer, you can highlight a lot of features, and you can really improve things, but it's going to take longer. And I think the same is true if you have longer, you can really do detailed testing and make sure that your error handling and your performance is good and you haven't just covered the basics, but that you've really gotten in there and shaken out some of the complexity.

Brent: That's a metaphor that would never have occurred to me, but I think that's awesome. It's cool.

Lanette: I told my mom I was doing this talk, and she said, "Oh, I really hope... Is the audience going to be all women?" And I just laughed, and like, "No, that's the point."

Brent: Right, yeah.

Lanette: That's totally the point. I've sat through so many sports analogies.

Brent: Oh, right.

Lanette: I just think it's totally fair play that somebody should hear about makeup, and my nephew, who's four, said that he liked sparkly lipstick and he was going to wear it when he was older, and I would totally help him.

Brent: Yeah, right on. Yeah, you'll teach him.

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: That's good. "In the fourth quarter of testing." Yeah, I can hear it. Then you've got a workshop coming up.

Lanette: Yeah, that's in August. I have been invited to Agile, which is a huge conference in Washington, DC. And I'm going to be teaching exploratory testing, leading exploratory testing for non-testers. And my hope is that developers and Agile coaches will be less intimidated to have exploratory testing before their products are going to go out, and to get good results from having the exploratory testing by giving people what they need to be successful if they don't know testing well.

Brent: What are some of the things they need to be successful? Again, without giving away your whole workshop.

Lanette: Well, I can't do a whole afternoon workshop right here, but they need to consider what are their important priorities? What information do they have about who is using what? Do they have any metrics they can use? Like, do they know which platforms and versions people are most likely to be on, that they can focus on? And I'll teach them how to write exploratory testing charters, which is like a mission statement for what they're going to test.

Lanette: The key to doing really good exploratory testing is to follow the charter, but not too closely. You have to wander some, but you don't want to go way off in the weeds. You want to be focused to some extent, and then when you find bugs, a lot of times they nest together. And so letting people explore that.

Brent: That sounds cool. So you've been studying JavaScript. Took a class at the U, right?

Lanette: Yeah, I took a certification that's a nine month class. Last year we added some JavaScript support to OmniGraffle, and my thought was, "How cool would it be to be able to script some of our testing setup, some of our tests?" I had done some Python before, but I didn't really feel like I had a firm understanding of JavaScript. So I took the nine month class, and that kind of gave me a start and overview in web development, but I've been practicing since then, trying to learn more about JavaScript and programming in general.

Brent: Okay. Took the class, nine months, got through it though. Got the certification and everything.

Lanette: I did. I was really proud of finishing it. We started off, our class had about 30 women, and I was one of the four women to finish with my certificate.

Brent: Oh boy.

Lanette: So we were a dwindling group at the end there, for sure.

Brent: Sounds like it must have been a pretty tough class.

Lanette: It was. And I'm thankful I had the chance to go and learn more about it, and I'm still using those skills today and building on them, hopefully.

Brent: So did the class talk about test-driven development at all, or is that something you're picking up later?

Lanette: No. It wasn't mentioned. We didn't talk about pair programming. In fact, the only time testing was mentioned was on one exercise, and it doesn't surprise me at all why so few programmers know how to test after experiencing the education they're receiving myself. All we talked about for testing was setting up one expect statement in one lesson the whole time.

Brent: Wow. It's just not emphasized at all. Wow, that's crazy.

Lanette: No, it's not even a thing. It was surprising to me.

Brent: At least in the programming class you took, but I suspect that's generally true.

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: So you're picking this up ... test-driven development is something you're picking up later.

Lanette: Yes. Part of it is getting a chance to go this Agile conference. I've talked to some programmers who really rely on this test-driven development, where they are writing out their own tests and then making them pass, and that's part of how they pair. And the chance to pair with some programmers who have been doing JavaScript for longer is helping me increase my learning speed.

Brent: Oh cool.

Lanette: But pairing's a whole new skill. You have to talk, and type, and listen all at once, and it's something to practice that's very different from just me programming and talking to my cat.

Brent: Well, your cat's probably a good programmer though, right?

Lanette: I'm starting her early.

Brent: Yeah, as you should. How is she at debugging?

Lanette: Not very good, but she's an understanding listener.

Brent: That matters.

Lanette: She watched the Apple Keynote with me.

Brent: Aw, what a good kitty.

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: So my notes here, from our pre-interview, just go off the rails, and it says something like, "Ask Lanette about the whoopee cushion." So, what's that?

Lanette: Oh, I have a Tesla Model S that I bought in 2016, which is really out of character for me, as I'm not a fancy person. But what happened is I test drove one, and I just couldn't get it off my mind. I loved it so much. I felt safe in it. It was so different from any other car, that every other car I drove just paled in comparison.

Lanette: Well the cool thing about a Tesla is you get updates, and this last time there was a new Easter egg in the update, and one of them is Romance Mode. So if you're parked, you push a button, a beautiful blazing fire comes up, it plays a romantic soundtrack to set the mood. But my favorite Easter egg is just a whoopee cushion, and you can put it in a person's seat, and—

Brent: You can pick the seat?

Lanette: When you sit down on it, you can pick the sound, and these sounds, they have Ludicrous Mode for that. They have some ridiculous names. And then you can also set it up so your blinker has the whoopee cushion effect, and there's no way to turn it down. And it got stuck on while turning, a really long one, and there's pedestrians on the street, and the car is just letting loose. It is so ridiculous.

Lanette: But I'm really looking forward to using it the first time when my nephew comes to visit. I'm going to put that in his seat, and I'm just going to wait, and I think he's going to be really impressed.

Brent: How old is your nephew?

Lanette: He's four.

Brent: Yeah, that's perfect.

Lanette: His mom has him trained up on 80s music, and he'll call up and want to jam out with us, and we have to play air guitar to The Final Countdown and that kind of thing.

Brent: Sweet.

Lanette: He's a Bon Jovi fan.

Brent: Mm-hmm (affirmative). The Tesla, aside from the whoopee cushion and romance modes and feeling safe, does it drive pretty well? You like the handling of it?

Lanette: It drives amazingly well. My favorite thing about it is probably the adaptive cruise control. Here in Seattle we have just terrible traffic, and to be able to have the car slow down and speed up for me in stop-and-go traffic has made my stress level while commuting so much lower, and I just also love that I haven't bought gas in two years.

Brent: Oh right, yeah.

Lanette: And I don't like going to the gas station.

Brent: You don't have to.

Lanette: Nope.

Brent: That's very awesome.

Lanette: I like how quiet it is, too. I'm surprised, as a person who's not a car enthusiast, that I have this kind of a car. It's really out of character, but it's been a great time. And it's fun here, at the Omni Group, we have so many people with electric vehicles. And quite a number of Teslas.

Brent: That's right, including Ken.

Lanette: Yeah, I'm envious of Ken. He has the yacht floor. He has the edition that has the purse cubby, it what I call it. It's the space in the middle where if you have a purse or a bag you carry, it's a perfect spot for it. So my model came out just after. It has a console so I can carry more drinks in mine for the road trips, but Ken has room for bags there in his Model S.

Brent: Nice. Still though, pretty awesome car. Do you take I-5 usually to work?

Lanette: I've been taking the new tunnel. It's free right now, so I feel like we really have to take advantage of that tunnel that they've built. It's really cool.

Brent: Now, what worries me slightly is that you're a tester who breaks things, and so please don't break the tunnel.

Lanette: No, I won't break the tunnel, but you'll be happy to know Tesla's been awesome at fixing bugs I reported.

Brent: Oh yeah?

Lanette: They had a software bug where when I went up to Canada, the kilometers were translating kilometers per hour again. And so it would tell me that the speed limit was ... I can't remember exactly what the conversion is, but way higher than it was. So if I was following the Tesla, I could really speed way over the speed limit in Canada, and they fixed that bug in a software update.

Lanette: So it's kind of fun to see the car get new things over time, but then again, there's bugs. Every time I see a demonstration of autopilot, I'm like, "Now do it in the pouring rain," because I know what the results are when it's pouring rain.

Brent: Yeah, that's interesting.

Lanette: Or do it in a construction zone where the lines aren't very good. There's all these factors that come into play, but all in all it's been really great to see it improve over time.

Brent: So let's talk about what's really important: you have a new kitty.

Lanette: I do, and she is awesome. Her name's Navani, and she's, I guess you would say an American shorthair mutt, an adopted rescue cat. She's white with tabby points, and she has bright blue eyes.

Brent: How did you come up with the name Navani?

Lanette: One of my favorite books, actually book series, is the Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, and Navani is a character who's a queen in the book, and she's known for having bright eyes and being politically astute and tough. And she's also a scientist, and so I just named her after that character in the book.

Brent: Cool. Sounds like a great character.

Lanette: It's a really good book series. The characters have a lot of depth to them.

Brent: I'll make sure that's in the show notes so people can check that out.

Lanette: It's one of my favorite fantasy series out there.

Brent: Nice. So does Navani have any hobbies, obsessions?

Lanette: I would say her top interest is murder, and it's really a huge thing with her. She loves it so much that she will literally be purring while she is trying to kill and destroy things.

Brent: Yes! What a great cat.

Lanette: Yeah, she's about four months old now.

Brent: Definitely that murder age.

Lanette: Yes. When I got her, they thought she was only a few months old, she was so skinny, because they found her out by a logging road. And April, who's in support here, one of her Facebook friends said, "There's this kitten that's been found that needs a home." I was like, "Oh yeah. Me, I'll go!" And I was on the ferry the next day to go get her.

Brent: Oh that's awesome.

Lanette: We hit it off, right off the bat.

Brent: Where was she found? Where was this logging road?

Lanette: She was on Whidbey Island.

Brent: Oh, okay. So a scientist who's politically astute, and loves murder and is a kitten.

Lanette: Yes.

Brent: That's awesome. We have had one picture of her up on the micro.blog. By the time this episode's out, we'll post more, because you gave me a whole bunch today, plus a movie. People will get to see her.

Lanette: Yeah, the movie's a good example of what she does. She looks sweet and innocent, and then she absolutely just goes for it and attacks.

Brent: Have you been spared those attacks?

Lanette: No, I went in ... When I first adopted her, I went in for my massage, which we're so lucky to have as part of our benefits, and the massage therapist asks, "What happened here all over your legs and your arms?" And I had to tell her that I had a kitten because I was just covered in scratches.

Brent: Going to get any more cats? Cats often do well in pairs or threes.

Lanette: I have another kitten who is at home with his mom right now, who is 75% Siamese and 25% Ragdoll…

Brent: Wow.

Lanette: Who will be coming home when he's weened and ready to be adopted. And that will complete my family of cats.

Brent: Mm-hmm (affirmative). A good solid two cats. The Siamese-Ragdoll combo should be interesting, so a really mouthy, cuddly cat.

Lanette: That's my hope.

Brent: Maybe.

Lanette: We'll see. I think Navani might train this young one to be some kind of murder accomplice or ninja. I could be in trouble when they get together.

Brent: Do you have a name picked out for the new cat yet?

Lanette: I don't, but I'll be re-reading those books to see, based on the personality of this cat, what it should be. I might stay with the Stormlight Archive theme. There's one character who's really depressed, so I hope his personality doesn't end up that way, because I'd much rather have a happier cat.

Brent: Yes, right.

Lanette: So fingers crossed it'll be a good one.

Brent: Well we're all in favor of happy cats.

Lanette: Yeah.

Brent: Well on that note, we probably are done with this episode. Thank you, Lanette.

Lanette: All right, thank you.

Brent: How can people find you on the web?

Lanette: I recommend my LinkedIn. If you want to come see one of my talks, or workshops, or just see what I'm up to, that's probably the best place.

Brent: Okay. Offhand, do you know what it is? I'll make sure it's in the show notes either way?

Lanette: I'll send you that.

Brent: Great. I'd also like to thank our intrepid producer, Mark Boszko. Say, "Hello, Mark!"

Mark Boszko: Hello, Mark.

Brent: And especially I want to thank you for listening. Thank you. Music.

SFX: [MUSIC PLAYS]