If 2020 was the year that COVID-19 hit us like a tsunami wave, 2021 seems like it was the year we all tried to figure out how to respond to it. In the news, companies would roll out back-to-office plans only to have them postponed or modified. In-person events would get scheduled and then change to virtual or be cancelled, or in some cases, held in person but with restrictions or mitigations. If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic has at least improved our knowledge of the Greek alphabet.
I just looked back at my Year in Review blog post for 2018 from a year ago, and I see that it was posted in late February with a stated goal to get the next one done on a timelier schedule. So here you go, hot off the press and still in January! In 2018…
In mid-September, the Agricultural Electronics Foundation (AEF) once again hosted a fall ISOBUS Plugfest in Europe, this time in Antibes, France. Antibes is in the French Riviera along the Mediterranean coast – the views were spectacular, the food was great, and the hospitality was fantastic. The conference center facility was well-suited to host the Plugfest and even though it did not have an attached hotel, there was ample lodging within walking distance to meet the needs of the Plugfest attendees.
I am looking around at all the people entering the large ballroom at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln, NE. As I wait for the buzzer that will announce the first 35-minute rotation, signaling someone I have never met, from somewhere I have never been, to come to my station, I am nervous and excited and unsure what to expect. While I may sound like a desperate bachelor at a speed-dating event, I assure you that is not the case. I am a software engineer, new to the world of ISOBUS, attending a Plugfest event for the first time. Plugfest is an event held twice a year, where the best and brightest minds in the ISOBUS industry come from around the world to test their offerings, checking for compatibility with other ISOBUS equipment manufacturers.
The next ISOBUS Plugfest is just around the corner from May 07-09 in Lincoln, NE. If my quick mental count is correct, this Plugfest is lucky number 13 for me. I first attended in Austria in September 2012 and have been at each Plugfest since … except in 2016 when I had to miss the spring event due to a freak medical issue. In the seven years I have been attending, AEF has almost doubled in membership, hundreds of products have been AEF certified, and Plugfests have lengthened from two to three days each.
For the second year in a row, my year-in-review blog is being delivered well into the new year. That is getting dangerously close to a bad habit, so I will have to work on that for next year. On the plus side, this should get posted in February and thus I am technically only a month late of my goal of January for the target date. Normally I would not start at the end of the year, but this year is an exception because the single biggest piece of news is what happened at the very end of the year …
Sometimes when I write a blog, I try to be a little clever. And if ever there was a good time for me to write a clever blog, this may be that time. For one, this Plugfest is celebrating the 10th anniversary of AEF as an organization. Secondly, I have an idea of how I could make my blog post clever by incorporating an Italian flavor to celebrate the Plugfest location.
Another ISOBUS Plugfest week is almost here. From May 14-18, the AEF will once again host engineers from around the world for ISOBUS testing and some related events in Lincoln, NE. I have previously explained the mechanics of a Plugfest, so go take a look at some of my old blog posts if you want more info on that. The initial schedule I saw for this year showed 66 different pieces of equipment that will be tested during the three days of the Plugfest. DISTek will be participating with our VIRTEC stack and with our VT Server application. In total, DISTek expects to have 5-7 people attending Plugfest.
Much of the software engineering industry uses testing techniques that aren’t often available to those of us in the embedded industry. In my experience, this has definitely been true of automated UI testing while working on ISOBUS VT clients. In a previous position, I spent much of my time creating test frameworks, including those for testing web applications through the UI.
Regular DISTek blog readers will have noticed that we took a VT server implementation to AEF PlugFest in spring 2017. Part of our motivation from the start of this project has been to give VT client developers the ability to automate functional testing of their applications.
As I write this, we are less than two weeks removed from the most recent ISOBUS Plugfest, held at the Maritim Hotel in Stuttgart the week of 16 October 2017. As in past years, the Plugfest itself was held Tuesday-Thursday while several other AEF meetings were scheduled Monday-Friday. The Plugfest this year was either the biggest ever, or at least quite close……