Archive for the Interview Category

Digital Immortality

| February 19th, 2008

Gordon Bell explains MyLifeBits in this article. A good read for those who still don’t know about the MyLifeBits project.

Gordon Bell and the Sense Cam

MyLifeBits is a memory surrogate. It’s digital immortality. It’s a database or transaction processing system to capture everything in your life, every keystroke, every mouse click. Basically I’m capturing all the minutiae of life.

Now that you know about MyLifeBits, you may also want to explore LifeLogger, my MyLifeBits inspired project.

[Update] You might also be interested in Momenta.

I had the privilege to interview Angrez Singh, a ruby guru and the one behind FireWatir.

anand: Tell me about yourself.
angrez: I am a Computer Science Engineer graduate from Army Institute of Technology, Pune. After graduation I worked with Persistent Systems Pvt. Ltd. for around 2 and half years before moving on to Proteans Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd. I worked on .NET technologies mainly on ASP.NET and C# and open source projects in Ruby.

anand: Why WATIR from among the other alternatives?
angrez: There are lot of reasons behind this:

  1. Its an open source project, so its free.
  2. Written using full-fledged Object oriented language Ruby, instead of some vendor specific language.
  3. Easy to write a script, even if you have very little knowledge about Ruby.
  4. A big community behind Watir for constantly improving the tool. The movement you found that something is missing you can go ahead and add it.
  5. As, SafariWatir and FireWatir are coming so you are not bound to use it on only one browser. The same script with few changes you can use to test your application on different browsers and platforms.

anand: How and when did you get acquainted with WATIR?
angrez: It was way back in August 2004 when my Project Manager introduced me to this tool. I found it very interesting and from there on I am with Watir.

anand: Tell me something about FireWatir.
angrez: FireWatir is tool similar to Watir for testing the application on Firefox. It uses the same model to drive the browser as FireWatir . It uses JSSh ( for interacting with the browser. JSSh is an extension which accepts JavaScript commands on port 9997. You can get the XPI for this extension from ( for different platforms. We convert the FireWatir code statements to the corresponding JavaScript statements; send it across JSSh and then get back the result using simple Socket communication in Ruby.

anand: What motivated you to develop FireWatir?
angrez: The product for which I used to develop/test in Persistent Systems was targeted for different browsers and platforms. When kick starting a design of a browser independent testing framework to test application, my manager told me about the JSSh and asked me to explore more. This is how it started, since then we discussed and implemented FireWatir so that the Watir script can be used on Firefox as well.

anand: What’s next after FireWatir?
angrez: I started working on SafariWatir few months ago, but due to lack of resources now (don’t have access to Mac machine) it has came to halt now I am not able to do much on this project.

anand: Anything else you would like to share?
angrez: I have a blog at