Archive for July, 2008

Happy Birthday To QAHY

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 by The Director

Hey, it’s the first anniversary of  Celebrate by perusing the archives, starting with July 9, 2007.

Blaming The Victim

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 by The Director

Over the weekend, several people told me that Pizza Hut was having trouble with its online ordering.  Some stores were apparently unable to process orders placed online, and the Web site itself offered one user this helpful message when trying to preorder:

Your insolent browser has made an error.
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I love how that error message, Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand, makes it sound like it’s your browser’s fault.  Not that it’s the previous Web page that built a bad request out of its hacked-together code.

It’s not me, it’s you.  If this were vocalized, it would not be HAL’s voice.  It would be that dev team leader with the thin glasses and Van Dyke (not a freaking goatee, people!) who always explains suavely to the project manager that only QA would find error #7.56808d1.1215369972.0.  Yeah, QA and innumerable hungry people on a holiday weekend.

Speaking of which, what was it, the load this weekend?  Or an ill-timed upgrade of some sort?  Sure, a nice, long holiday weekend is a good time to make an update to a business application, but not a consumer-facing application.

The QA Way To Handle Narcissists At Work

Monday, July 7th, 2008 by The Director

A few weeks ago, ComputerWorld offered an almost helpful guideline, Narcissists at work: How to deal with arrogant, controlling, manipulative bullies.  The Narcissist is described as:

Narcissism, defined as a personality disorder by the National Institutes of Health, is a pattern of behaviors that show a pervasive need for attention and admiration, as well as a lack of concern or empathy for others.

Jean Ritala.In the workplace, says Ritala, narcissists tend to be successful and goal-oriented, with no concern for others who get in their way. They feel a need to control co-workers, projects and situations around them, and they can be manipulative, spinning situations and facts to make it appear that others around them are the problem, not them.

According to Ritala, narcissists often display the following traits at work:

  • Arrogant and self-centered, they expect special treatment and privileges.
  • They can be charismatic, articulate and funny.
  • They are likely to disrespect boundaries and the privacy of others.
  • They can be patronizing and critical of others but unwilling or unable to accept criticism or disagreement.
  • Likely to be anxiety-stricken or paranoid, they may exhibit violent, rage-like reactions when they can’t control a situation or their behaviors have been exposed.
  • They are apt to set others up for failure or pit co-workers against one another.
  • They can be cruel and abusive to some co-workers, often targeting one person at a time until he quits.
  • They may need an ongoing “narcissist supply” of people who they can easily manipulate and who will do whatever they suggest — including targeting a co-worker — without question.
  • They are often charming and innocent in front of managers.

We in QA prefer to use the term developers, designers, or client account representatives for the same concept.  Whereas ComputerWorld prefers hiring a professional who coaches people on how to handle narcissists, convincing narcissists to attend counseling, and involving HR every step of the way in documenting narcissism so they can be disciplined, your Director has a simpler solution:

Hire sociopaths to counteract the narcissists.

Remember to hire a good mix of creepy/scary sociopaths and charming, manipulative sociopaths to keep the other teams in the office off-balance.  Also, remember you cannot really manage those with no moral compass but a drive for quality excellence; you have to sort of herd them.

A Foolish Consistency

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 by The Director

Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  He could have also made that point about Web design if he’d lived to be 210 years old.  Case in point: This privacy statement on the Westlake Ace Feedback site:

 Think of it as a link-based koan
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The link in the footer links to the current page, of course.  It’s like having a link labeled HOME on the index page of a site.  Sure, it’s not hurting anything, but conceptually and logically, it’s flawed, since it–based on the nature of links–acts as though it’s going to take the user somewhere else.

Additional design mockery below the fold.


External Software Strikes Again

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 by The Director

Even Slashdot, tech Web heaven, looks as though it can fall prey to problems with ad rotators:

Incoming JavaScript error.
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When you lie down with someone else’s developers, you often get their bugs, too.

Note that the issue shown above appears to be fixed.  For now.

This QA Job Will Kill You

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 by The Director

Or at least that’s what I infer from the compensation package offered for this job:

Compensation: DOA
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Maybe I’m mistaken.  Perhaps this company is looking for some goth QA people, so it’s promising to turn them to vampires on their first day.

Meta 404

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 by The Director

When your Web site cannot find a page, it often displays a special custom 404 message configured on your server.

What happens if the site cannot find it?

Everything goes meta:

The 404 message is 404
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Dude, that’s like a 404 message for a 404 message.

In this case, it looks like it’s gotten left behind since the Web site URL without the non-existent page name redirects, and the redirected Web site with the non-existent page name is handled.  However, it looks as though with all of the redirection going on, some misdirection has occurred.

You do keep track, QA professional, of all of the URLs and all of the landing directories and all of the page names to make sure that they’re handled when the site changes in such a fashion to render them incorrect, right?  Right?

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