Archive for October, 2009

Excuse Me While I Squat On This Domain

Thursday, October 29th, 2009 by The Director

Defunct St. Louis, Missouri, newspaper St. Louis Globe Democrat plans to resuscitate itself after 23 years as a Web-only endeavor.  Currently, the Web site only has a sign up page and promises news in December.

Meanwhile, the masthead of this two-page microsite links to a misspelled representation of the URL:

The masthead leads to a different domain.
Click for full size

I cannot wait to see the attention to detail and the quality control that they put into it when it launches.  It might even rival the real paper in town, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Web site.

Although I have to give credit where credit’s due: That is one elaborate alt attribute on the e-mail icon:

That's SEO, baby!
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That is one icon that is search engine optimized!

UPDATE: Well, curses.  I totally did squat on the mistyped domain, but someone over there was paying enough attention to fix the problems before any of you saw my Internet prank.  Which is why I should probably stick to QA and leave the pranks to the b3ta guys.

Does That Include A Web Paradox?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 by The Director

An article page from The New Scientist tells you that the article you’re looking for, Seven questions that keep physicists up at night, has moved and provides a link to the new page.  Or so you would think:

 You're trapped in a link vortex!
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Instead of going to a new page which would have the article, the link leads you to the current page.

Or as we QAicists call it, a link vortex.

Putting Six Gallons in a Five Gallon Bucket

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 by The Director

At, a Midas ad looks like an obese woman in spandex:

Busting the paradigms--and the ad size
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This one falls on the ad syndicator, but that’s one reason you need to find and check your ads in the ad syndicator’s environment or in the wild.

Not Bugs, But Some Embarrassing News Captions

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 by The Director

I heard of a mythical time where professional media had proofreaders.  Maybe that was in the Age of Heroes, which is to say a non-existent time before now.  Here are some examples of television news captions that went from someone’s fumbling fingers directly to the air.

(Link via O’Brien Media.)

Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game? StubHub Edition

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 by The Director

That’s an interesting way to boost ticket sales:

 Hey, Mets fans, that awful season was just a bad dream — if you believe StubHub.

The company sent an e-mail Monday offering tickets for Mets’ playoff games.

“Be there alongside your New York Mets as they chase baseball immortality,” the e-mail said. “Go to StubHub, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of tickets to every playoff game — so you experience the championship chase live and in person.”

Apparently, the rude little raspberry was not limited to offering tickets to a single non-playoff team.  I’m not sure if that reflects worse upon the marketing team or not.

I bet many of them have been put on waivers, so to speak.

How Many Bugs Does Autofill Cause?

Monday, October 19th, 2009 by The Director

I imagine that’s what happened here: Programmer slip-up produces critical bug, Microsoft admits:

“Look at the two array references to ValidateRoutines[] near the end,” said Michael Howard, principal security program manager in Microsoft’s security engineering and communications group, referring to a code snippet he showed in a post to the Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) blog. “The array index to both is the wrong variable: pHeader->Command should be pWI->Command.”

One can imagine that developer, cranking along bopping his head to some Shakira, coming to the place to insert a variable name in the code, typing a couple letters and then letting the IDE autofill the wrong variable name.  A code review could catch that, I suppose, if you were diligent enough, but who has time for code reviews when there are deadlines approaching and no time to squander on anything but Rock Band Beatles in the lounge?

Quality Indigestion

Monday, October 19th, 2009 by The Director

CMLalley is apparently punishing her testing team by getting them a subscription to Quality Digest.  However, it wasn’t easy:

In technical terms, we call that an awrray.
Click for full size

You know, I suspect that a magazine entitled Quality Digest is managed by magazine professionals and its Web site is managed by Web professionals.  Sadly, neither of those groups include actual quality professionals.

An Accomplishment I’d Like To See On A Resume

Friday, October 16th, 2009 by The Director

Leroy Lockhorn: Candidate for QA.

Forget Asok the intern.  Forget Sharon the possum.  Any man who gets an elbow up on someone in a costume on skates is my kind of software testing professional.

QA Knows About Sharpening Spoons and Bedsprings

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 by The Director

Let me tell something to whoever put together this ad:

That's not a shank.

That is not a shank.

Of course, even when QA points this out, the designers are in love with their own design genius and with the clean lines of a semi-automatic pistol, so they use the image that does not match the headline anyway.  Twits.

Marcus Aurelius on Becoming a Test Consultant

Monday, October 12th, 2009 by The Director

From Meditations Book Twelve:

All those things at which thou wishest to arrive by a circuitous road, thou canst have now, if thou dost not refuse them to thyself. And this means, if thou wilt take no notice of all the past, and trust the future to providence, and direct the present only conformably to piety and justice. Conformably to piety, that thou mayest be content with the lot which is assigned to thee, for nature designed it for thee and thee for it. Conformably to justice, that thou mayest always speak the truth freely and without disguise, and do the things which are agreeable to law and according to the worth of each. And let neither another man’s wickedness hinder thee, nor opinion nor voice, nor yet the sensations of the poor flesh which has grown about thee; for the passive part will look to this. If then, whatever the time may be when thou shalt be near to thy departure, neglecting everything else thou shalt respect only thy ruling faculty and the divinity within thee, and if thou shalt be afraid not because thou must some time cease to live, but if thou shalt fear never to have begun to live according to nature- then thou wilt be a man worthy of the universe which has produced thee, and thou wilt cease to be a stranger in thy native land, and to wonder at things which happen daily as if they were something unexpected, and to be dependent on this or that.

At least, that’s how I felt when I quit the daily work world and went to test consulting.  It’s liberating in that it allows me to focus on the testing and avoiding the office politics and the other trappings that fall into the “administrative” bucket on the time sheet.  On the other hand, you do have to have a certain faith that those contracts will keep coming.  QA doesn’t make a fellow optimistic, but you do need it a bit when there’s no sure knowledge that you’ll be logging the same defects against the same features against the same application a year from now.

Marcus Aurelius on QA Mentoring

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 by The Director

From Meditations Book Seven:

 In everything which happens keep before thy eyes those to whom the same things happened, and how they were vexed, and treated them as strange things, and found fault with them: and now where are they? Nowhere. Why then dost thou too choose to act in the same way? And why dost thou not leave these agitations which are foreign to nature, to those who cause them and those who are moved by them? And why art thou not altogether intent upon the right way of making use of the things which happen to thee? For then thou wilt use them well, and they will be a material for thee to work on. Only attend to thyself, and resolve to be a good man in every act which thou doest: and remember…

Hrm, you know, that’s not very inspirational mentorship, true though it may be.  Maybe we’d better cling to Henry V at Harfleur:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Curly Could Have Told You That Much About Time Management

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 by The Director

From an essay on What Every Super Achiever Knows About Time Management That You Don’t:

Super achievers don’t manage their time, they create, manage and maximize their opportunities. At any given time they know the one critical, must complete, task and they work on that task. It is the most important and therefore deserves their full attention.

Curly said there was only one thing in life, but you had to figure it out.  If you’re working in quality assurance, you’ve already figured out what that one thing is: to keep your hanger-on-to-technology job by being pleasant in innumerable pointless meetings, not rocking the boat, and spending a lot of time generating metrics systems to justify your continued employment.

Well, maybe that’s just a lot of the quality assurance people with whom I’ve worked briefly.

No, the one thing you need to focus your time on is delivering a quality product.  Knowing the product, knowing the business problem it’s designed to solve, and making sure the damn thing works is that one thing.  Sitting in kickoff meetings, no matter what kind of doughnuts they have, isn’t it.  Neither is pulling together another test strategy document from the template that no one will read or understand.  It’s not about creating a perfect process that Plato would be proud of.  It’s delivering a quality product.

Focus your time and energy on that, not the trappings of the Quality Assurance industry.

Taking the Extra Step in Masking

Monday, October 5th, 2009 by The Director

Sometimes, I wonder why I even bother putting my credit card into the datastream that is the Internet.  So many of the forms fill me with a sense of deja vu, where I have flashbacks of logging defects against e-commerce storefronts as fast as I can type.

Here’s an interesting tic one displays:  In addition to masking my credit card number with asterisks, it displays the last four digits.  And turns them all to 0s.

My credit card number actually ends with four 1s, since it's all 1s.

Does that make you feel better about the site’s security?

Me, either.

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