Thursday, 31 July 2008

Test Manager Forum Meeting

Went to the Test Management Forum the other day and enjoyed it.

Guest speaker was James Whittaker, very entertaining speaker with examples of bugs in the wild, how he became the top cheater on X-Box games and running through Bill Gates's house to test it.

He also outlined Microsofts vision of the future and how testing fitted into that vision, hopefully he will be putting more details onto his blog.

I got him to sign my copy of How to Break Software, next stop is EBay...

This was followed by a workshop on multi-vendor testing with special regard to PCI and the TJX credit card loss.

Paul Gerrard then raced through his Test Axioms in a Presentation Zen style

The drinks breaks were a good chance to network and I got to meet Ben Hall who I had been emailing and Twittering with for a while, always nice to put a face to a name.

Also met the recruiter who got me my job with Acutest and a chance for me to say 'thanks'

and of course it wouldn't be a meeting full of testers if a bug hadn't shown it's head, when trying to show a video up popped a message to tell us all that Windows Media Player had stopped working

Friday, 25 July 2008

Perfect Operators

Last month was a company social event, sailing to Cowes. Some people were happy to sleep onboard the boats the night before, others with not so good sea legs preferred a hotel bed so I had to go and book 6 rooms

The hotel chain website only allowed a maximum of 4 from the dropdown for number of rooms
After a search through the Help pages I found I could do a Group Booking...

...for 10 or more rooms

So it had to be the manual option of a phone call
Slight Aggravation # 1

( well, OK, I could have booked 4 rooms then 2 rooms using the website but I wanted to be sure there were 6 available )

6 rooms booked, a booking reference number for each and the numbers and invoice would be emailed to me

Two days later, still no email

Phoned up, they checked one of the reference numbers, quoted my email address back to me
And it was wrong
Slight Aggravation # 2

And no, they couldn't change it and resend the email
Larger Aggravation # 1

I used the 'Contact Us' page to report my problem, sadly the response had this sentence
"We also tried searching using your email address (assuming you booked with this) but again, no results were found."
Of course there were no results as they had MY WRONG EMAIL ADDRESS and this was the problem I was reporting.

Larger Aggravation # 2 - read the problem the customer is reporting and dont just sent a canned response

Fortunately, unlike the original operator, I had copied down all 6 reference numbers correctly and was able to put those into the website to generate an invoice

and that wasnt the end of the story, a few weeks later our email server caught some Special Offer emails from the hotel chain - to my wrong address of course

So make sure your testing includes the possibility that the operator gets things wrong - and that there is a process to correct these errors and not annoy the customer

and maybe I should have Twittered about my problems to see if the hotel chain was listening

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Not Much Benefit

Spotted this job ad and whilst I love my Friday morning fry-up I dont think it would be good for my health to have it 5 days a week.

Nor would it be good for my health to be working at a place where I was expected to be in work for breakfast, I much prefer to have it at home

Friday, 18 July 2008

One day weekend

Checked the weather for the weekend and was disappointed to find that there was no Saturday
Ah well, it was probably going to rain anyway

Could be interesting to see how long this link shows the bug

Thursday, 17 July 2008


Yesterday was Graduation Day for my daughter, BSc in Computer Science and Management from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Just time for some photos, a celebration lunch and then off to Heathrow for a flight to New York to start her 8 week training at a well known global investment bank

She graduated in good company, at the same ceremony Whitfield Diffie was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Suckered in

With a sensationalist headline of Testing is overrated this blog entry had to be read but really it should have been called Unit Tests Are A Good Thing But Are Not A Silver Bullet And Testing Is A Good Thing To Do Really HaHa Thanks For Visiting

Usability testers will probably be choking when they read that their jobs can be done by reading the online chapters of Dont Make Me Think and using a $20 tool ( any choking usability testers care to comment on this ? )

His conclusion is that unit testing has become popular because most shops can't hire a proper QA person and hope devs can write their own tests - but he doesn't answer the question of WHY these shops wont hire one

Well, I do have a clue why from the last place I worked - it had the ethos of 'anyone can test' and the CEO was seriously thinking of sacking all the programmers because they kept writing code with bugs in it...

And he ends his article listing all the testing techniques that should be used - so testing is hardly overrated. I hope his presentation is better than his blog

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Dilbertmeter ?

I'm glad my programming days are over if my productivity is going to be measured by programs like Programeter

I'd love to know if their measurement of comment density actually measures whether the comment is useful

# Adds 1 to i
i = i + 1

and whether

# This
# is
# a
# comment

gets a higher score than

# This is a comment

I'd also like to know if it can cope with negative numbers as related in this tale from 1982

Worryingly it seems to be a finalist in some CEO awards

I suppose if it proves successful then we can look forward to Testmeter and Managemeter and if software is an art then maybe it's a good thing there was never a Renaissancemeter - "not enough brush strokes, Leonardo! ", "inefficient use of the chisel, Michelangelo"