Friday, 30 August 2013

Great CAST - but now what?

So I finally made it to a CAST Test Conference - and it was good.

Great to meet people that I'd only know online and feel them turn into real people.
Great to meet new people.

Lots and lots to reflect back on, thoughts and ideas to work through.

But it could be easy to let this go to waste and fall back into bad old habits.

How to avoid this?

- I have already committed myself to doing a presentation to the company on what the test conference was about and what I learned from it.

- Inspired by the talk from Eric Brickarp I am putting together some lists to work on.

- With great timing I read a blog post this morning on Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone. I did this at CAST - people I knew online I talked to in real life, I sat down to breakfast with people I had never met before ( not even online ) which for me was A Giant Step. I survived it, in fact it even felt good so I need to remember that changing yourself can be scary but I can do it.

- A further push for me to carry on with making these changes is that the new footy/soccer season is just about to start. I have my first game assignment and it's for U11B which is a step-up from last season. I could hit the 'Decline' button and stick to doing U8s but I want to take this challenge.

Any hints or tips from readers about how to keep the conference momentum going and not slip back into your old ways?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Huddled Masses Use Case

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

OK, so I wasn't exactly poor. Or wretched.
I was tired of the London commute though...
And the flight over was full so maybe that counts as huddled?

But I had joined the many many people that had come to the USA to find a new life.
So you might have thought the US was used to dealing with immigrants and people coming in from different countries.

Well if you're a tester you didn't think that and yup, some of the IT systems I've had to interact with recently don't seem to consider that case.
Most recent example - "addresses lived at in the 5 last years" don't seem to have non-US as an option.
Somewhat disappointing that us resident aliens are not thought about.

Carrying on with the use case stories, a co-worker noticed me deep in thought and asked what I was thinking about:

"Death and Divorce" 
was my cheerful reply.

For the new system I'm about to start testing I was coming up with some scenarios
- If the account is a joint account what happens if the partners divorce?
- If the account is a joint account and needs both parties to agree what happens when one dies? Does the account become a single account?

Life happens - does your app account for all the trials and tribulations ( and happiness ) that happens over a lifetime?

Monday, 5 August 2013


Garbage/Trash/Refuse - or just plain rubbish as I used to call it back in England.

Everyone has it and has to deal with it but the experience itself shouldn't be garbage.
Sadly it was....

Went to the internet site for the city to sign up for a trash barrel.
Problem #1 - I went there using Safari and got an alert popping up asking for a site certificate. It listed one, I selected it, press Continue - alert appeared again.

Switched to Chrome and was not asked about a certificate.
Signed up and received the confirmation email
Problem #2 - the email had my password in plain text

Logged in.
Problem #3 - the screen showed my name as Davis A Young.
That's not me - the rest of the account details were me but where was this name coming from?

onto problem #4
During sign up I'd chosen a 32 gallon refuse bin
The account details showed a 64 gallon one

Next step was to report some of these problems
Problem #5
The 'contact us' page had a bad alignment problem with the 'by fax' and 'by email' fields,
the labels were in the middle and right of the page with the information on the left.
Not pretty.

Problem #6
The banner at the top of the page had an image of trash barrels. Mouse over it and a tooltip appears with the text "Custom image centered on the banner, defined by the client"

Just because your business is garbage, no need to make your website reflect that