Archive for November, 2007

That’s Probably Public Domain By Now

Friday, November 30th, 2007 by The Director

Wow, that’s an interesting copyright date; the actual forms must have been filed in Rome:

Copyright 2007
Click here for full size

No, wait, that’s not the real copyright date; it’s merely that a provider of Web solutions has a product Web site with obvious flaws, such as laying out incorrectly and actually giving incorrect data when viewed in Firefox. But that’s not all, of course.


The Poor Forgotten Thank You Page

Thursday, November 29th, 2007 by The Director

The poor, lonely confirmation page never gets the attention it needs during the testing cycle of a sweepstakes or promotion. You’ve seen me identify problems with them before, and you’ll see me identify problems with them again, very soon if you click the more link.


It’s Easy To Be A Cool Hipster In Anchorage

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 by The Director

Because I signed up for a free subscription for MacWorld when I got my first testing Macintosh and because I’ve kept up the subscription because co-workers like the magazine, I’m subject to cool, hip advertisements for all the foolish bric-a-mac that the cool and the hip sell to the sheephipsters.

The following advertisement always gets my goat, though, because when I worked at an interactive marketing agency, I would have shrieked about the implication.



Finally, A Contest For Gang Members

Monday, November 26th, 2007 by The Director

Volvo apparently has gang members in mind with this contest:


“Yahoo!” Is What I Said When I Crashed It

Monday, November 26th, 2007 by The Director
  1. I have multiple machines here in the QAHY lab.
  2. I have the Yahoo! Messenger program installed on multiple machines and it’s set to automatically log in on a couple.
  3. Yahoo! allows a single user to log in only on one machine at a time.
  4. I use custom status messages to share my wit, so I often open the dialog box that allows you to enter that text.
  5. On patch or installation days, it’s not uncommon for my PCs to contend and collide for which one is actually logged into Yahoo! Messenger.

I say this so you’ll understand that I wasn’t looking for trouble with Yahoo! Instant Messenger. I was just using the software like I normally do.


It Just So Happens That Your Friend Here Is Only MOSTLY Dead

Sunday, November 25th, 2007 by The Director

A Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword warrior gets lucky:

Only MOSTLY dead
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When my health reaches 0.0, I hope I look that vertical.

That being said, I am very glad I don’t test games; there are too many variables for me to account for in games. Still, on the whole, they seem to work, don’t they?

Classified Ad Broken Image Link

Sunday, November 25th, 2007 by The Director

I’d be very disappointed with my service provider if I paid extra to get a photograph included with my printed classified ad and instead got a placeholder error message:

Picture Not Found.
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Maybe if you refresh the page by buying another copy of the free newspaper.

One must wonder if this set of classifieds is drawn from the actual source used in the online advertisements at the paper’s Web site and if this actually drew in a broken image placeholder. I cannot understand it any other way.

Memo To Bottom Liners

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 by The Director

Failure is cheap.

Sending An Alert To Do A Confirm’s Job

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 by The Director

When you’re listening to the online stream for WSSP-AM, the sports station in Milwaukee, it prompts in a very AOL Idle Message like fashion:


Someone Let The Links Get Stale

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 by The Director

If you try to launch the game Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword without the disc in the optical drive, the application pops open the dialog box that says, essentially, “Stop, ye Pirate, and show me your papers that prove this game is yours!” The dialog box has a message (lacking in a serial comma and a period, I add insult to insultery) and a link:

A helpful dialog box that turns out to be not so successful.
Click here for full size

It’s a pretty standard link sort of thing, but since it’s here on, you can guess the result of clicking the link.


Civilian Mockery

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 by The Director

A civilian spots and mocks an Adobe banner ad.

A civilian, mind you, not a professional who needs to continually find problems for sustenance.

Keep that in mind when someone tells you that “only QA notices.”

Somethings Are Not Better Left Unsaid

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 by The Director

Put the CD in and let it automatically run, and you get:

Exclamation point!

That sounds important.


Counterintuitive To Whom?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 by The Director

Really, even the journalists of SD Times ignore what QA might have been telling them:

It seems counterintuitive to think that the biggest time-sink in the application production life cycle would receive the least regard from development managers. However, a survey published by Forrester Consulting has revealed that this conundrum is the cold hard fact for many organizations.

The objective of Forrester’s “Problem Resolution Survey Results and Analysis” was to determine where developers and testers are spending their time and to learn what is automated and what is not. The biggest time drain, according to the managers, directors and executives who responded: investigating and resolving application problems.

According to Forrester, almost half of the respondents require more than an hour to document a problem, and a problem report uses six types of media on average. “That is interesting to us, given the large number of problems,” remarked Eldad Maniv, vice president of BMC’s Identify Software Business Unit.

The respondents spend almost three out of every 10 hours (29 percent) in various stages of troubleshooting: documenting, reproducing or testing. On the average, a problem takes six days or more to resolve, and one in four of the problems reported by a QA or test group are returned as irreproducible.



Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 by The Director

In Software Quality Assurance, 1.33=CPK means you’re having a late lunch at California Pizza Kitchen.

Merry Christmas from Be kin

Monday, November 19th, 2007 by The Director

An insert in a package of Belkin cables:

No L, No L

Because periods and Ls would have broken the printing budget.

Classic Blunder: The 7 Inch Lineman

Monday, November 19th, 2007 by The Director

Back in 2005, Electronic Arts sent out an update for its popular video game Madden 2006. The update included updated roster positions as well as a special “feature”: a lineman who was 7 inches tall.


In Some Organizations, That’s SOP

Monday, November 19th, 2007 by The Director

An open-source, tech-geek-beloved project set to act like a for-profit, lowest-possible-bidder, fly-by-night, on-some-shore project? Believe it:

Mozilla seems to have forgotten this, with The New York Times reporting that the upcoming Firefox 3.0 set to ship with only 20 percent of its remaining 700 “blocker” (serious enough to justify postponing a release) bugs resolved before it ships.

Of course, Mozilla has already fixed over 11,000 bugs, according to Mozilla developer Asa Dotzler. Even so, that doesn’t answer the apparent fact that the Firefox development community is planning to ship a product before a wide range of known blocker bugs are resolved.

As if millions of developer voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced before anyone cared.

Seriously, though, when confronted with critical issues uncovered with most projects, developers are quick to resolve those issues without fixing the problems using the martial art egokido. We in QA are surprised it’s taken them this long to begin behaving that way in their avocational pursuits.

Making the Least of Opt Out

Friday, November 16th, 2007 by The Director

I get e-mails because I once signed up for so I could read an article there. I might have opted out once or twice before; I know I’ve tried to opt-out of the Twin Cities Star several times, but like a drunk-dialing ex, they keep ringing me up with ludicrous offers hundreds of miles from me.

So I tried to opt out of the e-mails via the latest offer from, an offer targeted to KU and MU (that’s University of Missouri-Columbia, not really an MU like my alma mater). Here’s the link in the e-mail:

Kansas City Star e-mail
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What would you expect that to take you to? Not where it takes you.

Flout Convention At Your Peril

Thursday, November 15th, 2007 by The Director

A year and a half ago, Peter Coffee of eWeek wrote a column exhorting software designers to stick to convention when designing application interfaces:

The Web-browser actions of “back” and “reload,” along with a history of visited locations, have become widespread user interface metaphors. Browser-style buttons invite us to explore file systems, review online documents and access digital media—whether or not we’re on a network and whether we’re viewing resources that are local or remote. It figures that just as we reach the point where everyone knows how these things work, the content creation community is changing the rules.

Users have deep-rooted expectations about the semantics of “back” and “reload.” “Back” means “show me what I was looking at before I was looking at this.” “Reload” means “show me the present state of the content whose past state I’m seeing right now.” When designers don’t respect these conventions, users become confused and transactions are derailed.

He’s right, of course, and it goes without saying that in the absence of detailed requirements, testers will test applications to behave like all other applications.

So keep your nonconformist genius to the metal sculptures you make in your backyards  on the weekends.

Said It Before, Say It Again

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 by The Director

David S. Linthicum explains in the SD Times why SOA projects in particular fail:

It’s just one of those things. Technical projects fail, and SOA is no exception. So, how do these failures occur? Like they always do: as a result of poor planning, lack of understanding or the inability to execute—and that’s the short list.

As you and I know, this is a bright and shiny way of looking at it. The real reasons that projects fail are as follows:


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