QA Music: A Tale of Boundary Analysis

October 26th, 2015 by The Director

Five Finger Death Punch, “Jekyll and Hyde”

QA Music: It’s Monday–Apocalypse Is On Its Way

October 19th, 2015 by The Director

Theory of a Deadman, “Savages”

Dangerous, Some Interfaces Are

October 14th, 2015 by The Director

I’ve seen some computer interfaces that suffer from this problem:

This is dangerous, you see, because the text that says push here is the glass. Which is not really where you want to push; the user should push on the bar.

So when you’re testing, make sure to evaluate the design of the interface to ensure that the instructions are clear and that the text appropriately indicates what the user should do.

Not just close enough.

WordPress Passes Judgment

October 13th, 2015 by The Director

New reader Aron notes the error on this very site:

Perhaps WordPress is passing judgment on gimlet. More likely, though, the template has a bug in it. I’ll go looking for it eventually.

QA Music: Dangerous

October 5th, 2015 by The Director

Not Roxette, old man.

Within Temptation.

QA Music: I Am The Fire

September 28th, 2015 by The Director

Halestorm for a Mondy morning.

QA Music – I’ve Had This Dream Before

September 21st, 2015 by The Director

Pop Evil, “Footsteps”:

QA Music – I’m A Savage/It’s Automatic

September 14th, 2015 by The Director

Shinedown, “Cut the Cord”:

QA Music: The Choice Is Ours To Make

September 8th, 2015 by The Director

In the 21st century:


Jeez, I need a jump front kick with guitar and some direct-to-video 80s action films, stat.

“Winner Takes It All” by Sammy Hagar. From the Stallone film Over the Top. Which was not, in fact, direct to video; it was a major theatrical release.

If I Followed Directions, I’d Still Be Looking

September 1st, 2015 by The Director

The instruction in the installation wizard is Press Execute.

There is, of course, no Execute button in the wizard. Nor, for the last four or five decades, is there one on the keyboard.

Lessons, of course, include:

  • Check to make sure your application’s text matches the interface, including instructions and error messages.
  • Test the installer.

QA Music: QA Tells You The Odds

August 31st, 2015 by The Director

According to Michael Jackson, they’re not good.

That’s “You Can’t Win” also known as the Crows’ Anthem from The Wiz.

A Ping Pong Defect

August 28th, 2015 by The Director

While sitting in a restaurant, I saw that the closed captioning on the sports program was frequently emitting a string of random characters in the speech:

Forensically speaking, we could assume that this bug occurs in one of the following places:

  • The software transliterating the text to speech. That is, when the software encounters a certain condition, it puts a cartoon curse word into the data.
  • The network transmitting the information. That is, the transmission of the data introduces garbage.
  • The device displaying the transmitted information. That is, the television or satellite box that introduces the captions into the picture inserts the junk every two lines or so.

Okay, I’ll grant you the fourth option: That the broadcasters were actually cursing that much. However, given that the FCC has not announced fines daily, I’m willing to say that it’s nonzero, but unlikely.

The beauty of a defect that could occur almost anywhere, between disparate parts of the product and across different teams and technologies, means that it could ultimately be nobody’s fault. Well, if you ask one of the teams, it’s one of the other team’s fault.

You know, a little something squirrelly happens, you log a defect, and the server, interface, and design teams spend megabytes reassigning the defect to each other and disclaiming responsibility. It drives me nuts.

So what do you do? You find a product owner or someone who’ll take charge of it and pursue it across fiefdoms or who’ll put the screws to the varied factions until it gets fixed.

Because everybody’s got something they’d rather be working on than somebody else’s problem. Even if it’s everybody’s problem.

Apparently, The Screen Size In Production Is Different

August 25th, 2015 by The Director

At least, I hope this is the result of the screen size being different in production than it was in the spec.

Otherwise, the implication would be that the interface was not tested.

Remember when you’re testing that the spec or requirements are merely suggestions, and you should go afield of your testing matrix as often as you can.

Suggestions For Your QA Mission Statement

August 24th, 2015 by The Director

Victor Frankenstein’s creation speaking in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein pretty much sums up my testing approach:

I will revenge my injuries: if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear; and chiefly towards you, my arch-enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred. Have a care: I will work at your destruction, nor finish until I desolate your heard so that you shall curse the hour of your birth.

Nineteenth century curses are the best.

Here’s a statement of work from Frankenstein himself later in the book:

My present situation was one in which all voluntary thought was swallowed up and lost. I was hurried away by fury; revenge alone endowed me with strength and composure; it moulded my feelings and allowed me to be calculating and calm, at periods when otherwise delirium or death would have been my portion.

Extra Naughty Strings

August 13th, 2015 by The Director

As the child of two former United States Marines, I already know plenty of naughty strings; however, a client pointed me to this resource on GitHub: Big List of Naughty Strings.

It is a pretty comprehensive list that includes a couple things not in my standard bag of tricks.

Until now.

Word for the Day: Recrudescence

August 12th, 2015 by The Director


Recrudescence is the revival of material or behavior that had previously been stabilized, settled, or diminished. In medicine, it is the recurrence of symptoms in a patient whose blood stream infection has previously been at such a low level as not to be clinically demonstrable or cause symptoms, or the reappearance of a disease after it has been quiescent.

I don’t normally mention the mouthfeel of words, but this one has it.

I’m looking forward to using this when reopening bugs whose behavior recurs.

Also note I plan to mispronounce it as re-CRUD-escence.

QA Music: QA Origin Story

July 20th, 2015 by The Director

“Hell is where I was born/Hell is where I was raised….” Hellyeah doing “Hush”:

QA Music: If It’s A Fight, I’m Ready to Go

July 13th, 2015 by The Director

Sick Puppies, “You’re Going Down”

Great Moments in Industrial Design

July 8th, 2015 by The Director

I recently replaced an old timey thermostat that measured the temperature in Roman numerals with a new thermostat that the blister case said was programmable but that doesn’t know Java, Ruby, Python or C# at all (which is just as well, since any programming I did in those languages would undoubtedly set my household temperature to null.

Inside, though, note the guide to the internal switches, particularly the last:

To turn the battery monitor off, you have to set the switch to the on position. To turn the battery monitor off, you have to set the switch to the on position. It’s akin to clicking Cancel and getting a confirmation dialog box that has a Cancel button which is to cancel the cancellation and an OK button that is to actually cancel. If you mix in some confusing message on the dialog box to confound the user.

Look closer, though.

There is no switch #4 on the board.

Never mind, it’s more like a 404 error then.

It’s good to see our friends on the hardware side of things getting into the slapdash action we’re accustomed to in software development.

And by ‘good,’ I mean terrifying.

QA Music: Despite My Rage, I’m Still Just A Rat In A Cage

July 6th, 2015 by The Director

Billy Corrigan’s working life is not unlike ours, as he explains in Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”:

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