Archive for June, 2009

We All Have That Experience

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 by The Director

Job listing asks for relevant experience:

Yessir, we do that daily
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You know, they might mean Point of Sale, but they might mean the other.  And we all have experience with that, hey?

Perhaps they should have followed the best practice of spelling out words before using abbreviations.  But the simpleton recruiter suffers from the same hubris that designers and developers (and some defect writers) do:  you know what I mean syndrome.

Java’s Untimely Repainting

Monday, June 8th, 2009 by The Director

One of the biggest problems with Java is that it doesn’t apparently by default repaint quickly enough.  If you get it thinking about other things, it forgets to update its interface properly.

Take for example this Java applet I found via Knowing .NET.  You go there,  enter a URL, and it displays a word analysis of a Web page, like this one for QAHY:

It looks as though I include the phrase
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Now, click Open in Window to pop it into a new window.  The applet beneath remains.  Now, drag that new window over the original applet, and it doesn’t repaint itself while the window is open:

It's an art project with limited potential
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I’ve seen this many times in desktop environments, too.  Sadly, Java seems unprimed to repaint smoothly without some attention from its developers.  Regardless, in non-Java environments, this unrepainting tends to occur when the application is biting off more than it can chew of the processor or something’s going horribly wrong, and users will pass that particular sentiment over to your Java application that might be otherwise working fine.

And if the users think something’s screwed up, they’ll chew up your support time or not use the product at all, which seems to me less ideal for your organization than just inserting the code to handle this better.


Barbara and Roberta: Two Women You Should Know

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 by The Director

Joe Strazzere (spelled it right this time, but will continue to mispronounce it) talks about The Barbara Test, wherein he speaks of having a domain knowledge expert help you understand what he or she does so you get a better sense of how your software will help.

He’s right.  In my experience, too often software is developed by technical people, particularly the hated software developer, who spends his or her day at the computer or in meetings or standing around the coffeepot steeped in the business of software development.  Software company people spend all day at the computer, so they see the computer and the software under development as an end in itself.  However, for people in the real world, computers and software are tools and means to other goals.

I remember a position where I tested chemical lab software.  Slow lab software.  I complained incessantly about the performance, but no one else did, not even the other QA staff.  Just because we had to fill eight to ten hours a day sitting in the chair in front of the computer, we could accept a minute passing between operations.  However, to a chemist in a lab, the computer is a small part of what he or she does.  Prepare an experiment, conduct an experiment, enter the results, and then prepare another experiment.  The software should not impede the user from doing his or her job.

But try telling that to your team, unless you have a Barbara right there.  Preferably one with a cosh.

The other woman to keep in mind, as I have mentioned before, is Roberta.  Someone who is not familiar with computers much at all.  Your software needs to guide that user through the process through its design.  A design built to perform a function, not to impress your designers’ peers.

Daily QA Inspiration: Glen from Makita’s

Thursday, June 4th, 2009 by The Director

For today’s inspiration, we look to the manager of Makita’s, Glen:

I wish to God somebody would do something to block out the voices in my head for five minutes.  The voices that scream over and over, why do applications come to me to die?  Why do applications come to me to die?

English: Optional! (Have Someone Read You This Job Posting)

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 by The Director

A job posting asks for someone who can speak two languages:

Arabic and Urdu required.  English: Nah.
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This bilingual job candidate needs to speak Arabic and Urdu.  In a bilingual speaker, that leaves no available slot for English.

But the posting goes on and points out that actual QA knowledge isn’t required, either, so we’re not dealing with the most literal or logical of employers anyway.

Get Your Minds Into The Gutter, QA

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 by The Director

This lesson holds true especially if you work in an interactive agency where a snickeringly clever designer might try to put a double entendre or smut humor into something and see if they can sneak it past the client and into the wide world.

It’s entirely possible that the Jack in the Box team at Apollo Interactive did not mean for this to display if you don’t have Flash installed when you view the Jack’s Office thingy on

Uh, what?
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Um, right.  You know that sounds sorta like slang for ….

Yeah, QA, in the meetings and in the defects, you have to go there.  Remember, the Internet is place full of miscreants, miscontents, and people who will, in fact, go there.  So be like your brave Director here and bring the misinterpretations up, like the time I mentioned that the thought balloons behind the person bending over and peering into the refrigerator kinda looked like he was fluent in flatulence.

Remember, you have no shame and try not to blush.

Click Here For Nirvana Album

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 by The Director

The SD Times Internet site promises me streaming media that it doesn’t provide:

I was hoping for a button for the In Utero button
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I keep clicking Nevermind, but I don’t hear “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

Two Better Than Six Sigma

Monday, June 1st, 2009 by The Director

Introducing the Eight Epsilon quality prevention system.  Probably already in place where you work.

(Link seen on Dustbury.)

I’ll Take That Cheap Shot

Monday, June 1st, 2009 by The Director

A frequent contributor points me to which isn’t half as clever as one would hope.

It’s a coming soon testing site or magazine, and all it has is a front page with a form on it to collect e-mail addresses.  With a JavaScript error on it:

That's not exactly 'clever.'
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And if you click the button without entering data, there’s no validation.

Have another blank e-mail on me.
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Put this in the same category as interactive agencies or development shops that have Web sites that suck.  Still in the mindset of first to market instead of solid performer to market.


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