Effective Nonverbal Communication During Meetings: A Guide

August 21st, 2019 by The Director

It’s not just what you say during meetings that matters; your non-verbal provide attendees with information as well.

This handy guide helps you to ensure that your gestures adequately convey what you’re thinking and/or saying.

Word for the Day: Vorführeffekt

August 20th, 2019 by The Director

Vorführeffekt: The phenomenon that something which was previously not working correctly suddenly does work correctly when one tries to demonstrate the fault to others.

Undoubtedly, there is a word in the German for the opposite it works on my machine. If not, Google translate offers Esfunktioniertaufmeinermaschine.

QA Music: Welcome Home to Monday

August 19th, 2019 by The Director

If there’s ever been a song that really expresses the daily grind of QA, this is it.

Hellyeah, “Welcome Home”

The album of the same title won’t be available for another month.

Sadly, I just tipped my age: Old enough to buy music on physical media.

Because Sometimes The User Is Effen With You

August 16th, 2019 by The Director

Geeky license plate earns hacker $12,000 in parking tickets:

Droogie decided his new vanity plate should read “NULL.” While he did this mainly for the giggles, he told the audience that there was an ulterior motive, as reported by Mashable:

     “I was like, ‘I’m the shit,'” he joked to the crowd. “‘I’m gonna be invisible.’ Instead, I got all the tickets.”

Droogie’s hope was that the new plate would exploit California’s DMV ticketing system in a similar manner to the classic xkcd “Bobby Tables” cartoon. With any luck, the DMV’s ticket database would see “NULL” and consign any of his tickets to the void. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened.

First, Droogie got a parking ticket, incurred for an actual parking infraction—so much for being invisible. Then, once a particular database of outstanding tickets had associated the license plate NULL with his address, it sent him every other ticket that lacked a real plate.

Agile too much tries to guess what the user will do and code to that.

You have to test what the user can do and log defects against that. And, quite likely, argue daily with the scrum master and others that these are really defects even if the acceptance criteria do not specifically include basic user bad behavior or negligence.

QA Music: Setting the Mood for the Week

July 29th, 2019 by The Director

You might not want to turn this one up if you work in a workplace that requires a tie. Or pants.

Dope, “Die, Motherf—er, Die”

Or maybe you do.

Conference Call Background Sounds That Require Some Explanation

July 26th, 2019 by The Director

As you probably don’t know, ungentle reader, your humble narrator has taken it upon himself to participate in triathlons at his advanced age because something in him seeks out hobbies that are even less pleasant than his daytime job.

So I have recently acquired a Volodyne 5000 Volumetric Exerciser to try to improve my lung capacity.

My thinking is that I can increase my lung capacity which will make me a better athlete and able to focus not so much on how my breathing hurts when I’m swimming, biking, or running, and that I can, instead, focus on the important things, such as how much I hate swimming, biking, or running.

So it sits on my desk, and every so often, I take a couple minutes to use it. If you’re not familiar with such a device, basically it measures how much you can inhale at any given time, so to use it, you inhale as much as you can and hold your breath for a couple of seconds.

Which sounds kind of like something else.

So I am afraid I’ll use it when my microphone is not muted on a conference call and where video is not enabled.

Ah, well, as I always say, it’s best not to explain to the other callers what is going on. Let their imaginations go. Cat fight on the desk? Continue talking as though nothing is happening. Maybe they’ll think it’s someone else on the call.

A Memorial to Rutger Hauer: Reposting the Rutger Hauer School of Software Testing

July 25th, 2019 by The Director

Ruger Hauer passed away; in memory of him, I’m reposting something from 2012.


The Rutger Hauer School of Software Testing

As I mentioned on Twitter, I’m a member of the Rutger Hauer school of software testing. The Rutger Hauer school of software testing (RHSoST) focuses less on processes and procedures and more on how to wreak havoc using a varied set of tools upon a system or application regardless of its plot, I mean, its business rules.

But here are some of the primary texts of the school:

  • Introduction:
    Beyond Justice. The basic primer in software testing describes how to create user scenarios to test systems, how to understand and work within and without established processes and procedures, and how to turn erstwhile enemies into allies.
     
  • Exploratory Testing, Basic:
    Blind Fury. Even when you lack basic knowledge about a system or insight into the business rules or considerations, you can still cause damage find defects with your sword basic set of test cases that apply to any application.
     
  • Exploratory Testing, Advanced:
    Blade Runner. As your knowledge of applications grows, you can find more complexity and higher levels of business rules to test until the final deadline.
     
  • Load Testing:
    Escape from Sobibor. Learn how careful planning and execution of load tests can find the weaknesses in and actually crash the most rigid set of rules and constraints in an application.
     
  • Career Planning: Working in a Large Corporation:
    Deadlock. Learn how to find a payoff even when constrained by an explosive device bolted to your neck, figuratively speaking (and literally).
     
  • Career Planning: Working as a Test Consultant:
    Hobo with a Shotgun. This text deals with the itinerant tester and the challenges he/she faces with each new engagement, including how one fits in–or does not fit in–with the existing culture and how one can test effectively and efficiently on the run.
     

Rutger Hauer on the end of a project and the knowledge lost when a test consultant or team member moves on:

These are some of my favorite texts in the RHSoST. Undoubtedly, some of my fellow school members have their own. Don’t be afraid to share in the comments.

Debugging Automated Tests, Step One

July 24th, 2019 by The Director

Step on in troubleshooting any failing automated test should always be Look at the application and try to do what the automated test does.

I hate to admit how many times I’ve spent hours trying to debug an automated test only to realize at the end that the automated test was failing because the application had an error.

I guess I spent that much time on it because somehow I trust my own code less than code created by a software developer.

At any rate, Trish Khoo has written an automated test debugging cheat sheet that does not include my step one as step one, but it’s a handy bit of thinking to keep at hand.

Perhaps I’ve Read Too Much Theology

July 23rd, 2019 by The Director

Perhaps I’ve read too much theology (I was this close to trying for a triple English/Philosophy/Theology major at the university and have continued to read in the field after school), but when I saw this job posting:

I thought it was an Principal Technical Eschaton Engineer.

Which I feel eminently qualified for. I have a lot of experience telling important people that it’s the end of the world.

QA Music: Monsters

July 22nd, 2019 by The Director

It’s been a while since we’ve had any Shinedown on the blog, so here’s “Monsters”:

I know, it’s been a while since we’ve had anything on the blog. I’m working on it.

Computer Error In Company’s Favor

July 18th, 2019 by The Director

Uber glitch overcharges customers 100 times their fares:

An apparent Uber glitch resulted in some customers of the ridesharing company being charged 100 times their advertised fares on Wednesday.

One customer wrote on Twitter that she was charged $1,308 for her Uber ride — sparking a fraud alert from her credit card company — instead of the advertised fare of $13.08. Others reported similar overcharging, including one person who expected an $8.79 fee for her ride but instead was charged $879.

The cynic in me says that bugs that cost the company money get hotfixed faster than the ones that lend the company extra money.

When Testers Go Bad

July 17th, 2019 by The Director

Former Microsoft Software Engineer Charged with Mail Fraud for Scheme to Steal Digital Value Such as Gift Cards:

A former Microsoft software engineer was arrested today and charged in a criminal complaint charging him with mail fraud for a scheme to steal $10 million in digital currency from Microsoft, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. VOLODYMYR KVASHUK, 25, a Ukrainian citizen residing in Renton, Washington, worked first as a contractor at Microsoft and then as an employee from August 2016 until he was fired in June 2018. KVASHUK was involved in the testing of Microsoft’s online retail sales platform, and used that testing access to steal “currency stored value” such as gift cards. The complaint alleges KVASHUK resold the value on the internet, using the proceeds to purchase a $160,000 Tesla vehicle and a $1.6 million dollar lakefront home. KVASHUK made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle today and is detained pending a further hearing on Friday July 19, 2019.

I’m just kidding about the testers going bad; testers start out bad, but mostly we’re bad to do good.

QA Music: We’ve Heard This Before

March 4th, 2019 by The Director

Well, not this song, but the message it conveys.

“Mantra” by Bring Me the Horizon

Yeah, I’m still here. I’d say I’m still testing, but I have found myself on a couple of gigs where I spend most of my time with Agile artifacts expressing that some testing is done. Not as much as there should be, though. Perhaps I should get back to writing more.

Test It Like A Samurai (III)

November 2nd, 2018 by The Director

From Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai:

Lord Aki declared that he would not have his descendants learn military tactics. He said, “On the battlefield, once discretion starts, it cannot be stopped. One will not break through to the enemy with discretion. Indiscretion is most important when in front of the tiger’s den. Therefore, if one were informed of military tactics, he would have many doubts, and there will be no end to the matter. My descendants will not practice military tactics.”

The first facile quip I was going to make was that Lord Aki would probably insist that testers should not learn to code, but the real lesson here lies in the danger of being to overloaded with knowledge about a project or a piece of software that might constrain your ability to test it as a new piece of software without being influenced by too many considerations about why things are done this way and why the software is this way and why users would never do that.

Just charge in and start logging the defects.

Test It Like a Samurai (II)

November 1st, 2018 by The Director

From Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai:

When there is something to be said, it is better if it is said right away. If it is said later, it will sound like an excuse. Moreover, it is occasionally good to really overwhelm your opponent. Also, in addition to having spoken sufficiently, it is the highest sort of victory to teach your opponent something that will be to his benefit. This is in accordance with the Way.

I have a new Objective statement on my resume, brah, and this is it.

Test It Like A Samurai (I)

October 31st, 2018 by The Director

From Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai:

Once, a group of ten blind masseuses were traveling together in the mountains, and when they began to pass along the top of a precipice, they all became very cautious, their legs shook, and they were in general struck with terror. Just then the leading man stumbled and fell off the cliff. Those that were left all wailed, “Ahh, ahh! How piteous!”

But the masseuse who had fallen yelled up from below, “Do not be afraid. Although I fell, it was nothing. I am now rather at ease. Before falling, I kept thinking ‘What will I do if I fall?’ and there was no end to my anxiety. But now I’ve settled down. If the rest of you want to be at ease, fall quickly!”

I think this was the point of Agile before it became an industry of its own.

Detecting Agile BS

October 25th, 2018 by The Director

The Defense Innovation Board has a handy guide to Detecting Agile BS.

Definitely worth a read.

Well, I Do Have Experience Shaving Yaks

October 16th, 2018 by The Director

Dice.com used to be a good source for IT job postings, but in the last couple of years, not so much. I don’t know if it’s been totally eclipsed by the Joel on Software/Stack Overflow jobs board, or if my current city employers aren’t as hip to it as the employers in my previous, larger city, are, but it’s basically a collection of the same rotating set of low-level jobs that have a lot of churn or some hard-to-fill positions whose postings rotate through the primary employer followed by a series of recruiters looking to fill those jobs for the primary employer and wet their beaks in the process.

Oh, and now a posting for a pet groomer trainee.

At this point, Dice is a couple marketing intern and vacation club sales representative postings short of being Monster.com.

QA Music: We Always Test The Metal

October 15th, 2018 by The Director

Unleash the Archers, “Test Your Metal”

It Must Be Football Season

September 11th, 2018 by The Director

That’s North American football, not soccer. Why would you call that “football” when the sport has a name associated with it and not another sport? Because you like the confusion?

Where was I?

Oh, yes, it’s football season, which is why I see a job posting like Mobile QA Engineer, and I think, “I’m more of a pocket tester.”

Ask an American friend to explain it to you.


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