Quite a week of martial arts.

by Bill Sempf 10. March 2010 07:12

I started the extended weekend timeframe with my normal martial arts club, the Columbus Ninjutsu Club.  Most regular readers probably know that I study there, and am a big fan of the art of Ninjutsu.  Thursday, we did Yoko Nage, one of my favorite throws.  It meant hitting the mat many, many times though – probably forty over the course of the class.  Then I did the first randori (full speed training) that I have done in months with friend and fellow ninja Adam-san.

I knew I would be sore the next day, so I drowned my sorrows in 800 milligrams of Advil and 32 ounces of Muscle Milk.

Friday, I was sore.

Saturday I was REALLY sore.

Sunday, I have a three hour seminar with Don Frye.  Don and Dan-sensei are working on a movie together, Apparitions: The Darkness, and had some filming to do in Michigan.  Also, the Arnold was this weekend, so Don was here for that.  In between the two, he held a seminar for us.  Nice guy!

Don Frye seminar

Learned a lot from Mr. Frye.  He is built more like me – heavier, bigger boned – rather than the light willowy guys that mostly make up our classes.  His methods for getting people on the ground, especially, are very much along my idea of best practice.  For instance, for the two leg takedown, he comes straight in, low, still in guard, and then basically head butts you in the gut while grabbing the top of the thighs.  With his larger mass, he doesn’t have to screw around with all of the footwork of the jujitsu method.  Just knocks you down.

Anyway, that was three hours of opening up the top of my head and pouring as much in as I could.  The man knows a lot about fighting.  It wasn’t a very strenuous seminar, actually, though we all did get banged up a lot.  I have two huge bruises on my pecs from Frye demonstrating the head butt on my chest.

Strangely, Monday I didn’t feel too bad.  I guess we didn’t really DO that much, except train on a few of the techniques.  No randori, no drills, really.

Tuesday I went back to Ninjutsu, and had a much liter class under Bryan-sensei.  Did some chokes, drills, pretty laid back.  Good thing, because I went from there to Systema with Steve-sensei, and that was an experience.

Systema is a Russian martial art based on the standup from Sambo.  It has four tenets: breathing, relaxation, movement and posture.  There are no techniques, no kata.  You just use the basic philosophy and do whatever doesn’t hurt. 

Fascinating where that takes you.  Because a lot of akidoka study Systema, a lot of the finishing moves from Systema look like Aikido.  I have 6 years of Aikido, and three more of Ninjutsu (which are all Budo) so I fit right in.  Certainly will be looking more into Systema.


Columbus Architecture Group

by Bill Sempf 3. March 2010 06:48


I had a good time with the Columbus Architecture Group (ColArc) Tuesday night at the ICC conference center.  I gave the Economics of Cloud Computing talk there and it was well received.

I got some great commentary from Mark Freeman about the impact that CompuServe had on early internetworking, which is a very good point.  CompuServe was born out of TSO, with a large organization reselling unused computer time.  This is very similar to the IBM TSO concept, and what Google, Microsoft, Amazon and the other large players are doing now.

Another point was the impact of grid computing, which I need to research a little more.

One of the big impacts was security, though.  How is cloud going to interact with HIPPA?  how do you convince a CIO?  What else has to happen to prepare your application for the insecurity of the cloud?

Location is a problem too. How about a state’s requirement to keep all data inside its borders?  There are tough questions there!

Anyway, thanks for having me folks, and I hope to see you next month.


Biz | Cloud

Parameterizing web load tests

by Bill Sempf 2. March 2010 06:55

You’ve been asked to make sure that the Client Search screen will stand up under load, because it will be most used screen in the application.  You set up a test user, and then run the Web Performance Test wizard in visual Studio 2010 to record the test.  You make a new test project, save it in TFS and add a new Web Performance Test.  the browser launches, and you log in as your test user.  You do a few client searches representative of the use of the system and log off.

Next, you create a Load Test.  The wizard launches, and you prescribe a 50 user test over a half hour.  You save the test, launch it and go to lunch.

When you come back, there are 23,856 errors.

What happened?  Oh, that’s right, one user can’t log into this system more than once – it was an early requirement.  Oh!  How am I going to do this then?  Do I have to record 50 Web Performance Tests? No.  You can parameterize the login.

Making a data source

Start with a CSV file of usernames and passwords.  You can make it in NotePad or Excel.


Next, we will need a datasource that points here.  Open your webest and click on the Add Data Source icon up in the test’s button bar.


You can select CSV file as the source of the data.


Pick the excel file you created and you’ll see the sample data.


The new data source will show up as one of the data sources for this test.  Probably shoulda named it something better, huh?


Binding the fields

The next major step is to bind the data to the fiends in question.  This is insanely easy.  find the step where you enter the data.  In my case, it was the Login.aspx page.  Open the Form Post Parameters folder and find the parameters for the login and password.  In this app, they are pretty easy to find.


Then follow these steps to get to the next image:

Open the properties panel with F4

Click on the fiend in your application that has the user name.  Mine is txtUser_Name

Click on the Value parameter in the properties panel.

Click the dropdown arrow.

Open the data source in the treeview.

Open the testdata table (or whatever you named it)


Click on UserName and there you go.  Teat field is now bound to the value.


This will work for any form

Remember, this isn’t just for login.  Actually, I am making a mashup of performance testing and training, adding the training data to the system using the performance test for the New Item pages.  Load testing isn’t just for performance anymore!


Biz | Enterprise Architecture

Family Game Night should be back

by Bill Sempf 1. March 2010 18:49

I just spent the evening playing board games with my four year old son.  For a lot of people this would be an exercise in boredom, but it shouldn't be.  Teaching games is something that is very similar to teaching the kind of thinking that makes software design work.  It’s important, logical thinking.

Board games with young children doesn’t have to be limited to chutes and ladders and Candyland – random games with zero strategy.  Kids need to LEARN strategy.  The only way they will learn is to be led, hand in hand, though the process of making game decisions.  For instance, tonight Adam and I played Living Labyrinth . He can’t quite read the cards, and he has a hard time making decisions about how to use the cards.  But how else will he learn?


We played open hand, and I walked him through every move.  I reminded him to play his card first then move, and point blank told him what moves to make and why.  It wasn’t competitive, but it was a blast, and Adam learned a ton.  I’m betting that next time we play he’ll remember the cards and be able to make some decisions about his card use.

After that, we played a much less sophisticated game, Guess Who? This game is a deduction game similar to the old logic puzzles with the grid that we all did in the puzzle magazines.  The kicker here – Adam beat me five out of five games.  I can’t explain it, unless it is just that he is a good guesser.  We play fair and square, no help, no hints, and he has to sound out the name of the mystery person for his final guess.  Beat my pants off.

Next time I am introducing him to Kids of Catan .



This remarkable game will not only be a great rule learning adventure, but the pieces are cool and we can make up our own games – another important skill.

Plus, I can have him play against Jeff Blankenburg next year at CodeMash.


Personal | Rants

Husband. Father. Pentester. Secure software composer. Brewer. Lockpicker. Ninja. Insurrectionist. Lumberjack. All words that have been used to describe me recently. I help people write more secure software.

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