Archive for January, 2010

How Web Designers Did It In 1985

Friday, January 29th, 2010 by The Director

Ever wonder what Web designers did before the Web existed?

This article gives us some insight.

Craigslist Backlash Targets Single Company

Thursday, January 28th, 2010 by The Director

In Springfield, Missouri, the Craigslist designers are ganging up on one local company.


 Attack 1
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Attack 2
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Attack 3
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You know, I once worked at a dysfunctional company.  No, I mean crazy dysfunctional.  It was run by a guy named Bob who went from selling printing services in the 1970s and 1980s (like business cards and whatnot) to building PCs in the 1990s.  He was a scatterbrained, power-drunk mad professor with no technical skill or business acumen.  His wife and a couple of employees loyal to his wife, who also worked there, kept the business afloat.  Bob would rant and rave at employees, he would fire people at the drop of the hat (one woman brought in doughnuts every time she was fired).  And I caught on in 1994 as a Clerk Friday, which meant I did some shipping/receiving, some filing, some accounts receivable (violating many Federal statutes given my training–“Here’s a printout of late customers.  Here’s a phone”).  The fellow and I once had an argument about my name, as he addressed me as Mark repeatedly and was confused when I corrected him.  Then he fired me, and I didn’t come in to work for the celebratory doughnuts (since the woman was fired the same day), and he called me at home to ask where I was.  We argued about whether he fired me or not, so I quit.  “Without warning?” he asked.  As you can tell by this run-on paragraph, I still get riled up about it.  Also, it makes for some interesting asterisking if I’m ever asked if I’ve been fired.

So these kinds of companies can stay in business for years and decades.  What a world.

Also, it makes me wonder what sort of market I’ve moved into here where good Web designers, or at least self-confident Web designers, start at $14 an hour.

It Is True: A Scam Is Not A Joke

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 by The Director

I’m cruising a low-end user site, and a flashing, garish ad greets me:

I before E except in a scam.
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Of course, they want the flashing border to capture your attention.  You know what got mine immediately: misspelling the word receive.

I before E except after C except in a scam, I guess.

Developers Think?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 by The Director

Dr. Dobb’s Journal conducted a survey and came up with 7 things developers think.  Of course, they asked developers, so the developers answered, and CIOs are supposed to use these truths to define their IT strategies.  Huh.

Here’s the abbreviated list from the magazine:

  1. RIAs Are For Real
  2. Wide Use Of Open Source
  3. Virtualization, Cloud Use Evolves
  4. Multilingual Developers Emerge
  5. Young Developers Drawn To Dynamic Languages
  6. Agile Processes Resonate
  7. Developers As An Untapped Source Of Innovation

You want to know what those developers are really thinking?  Here, let QA tell you:

  1. RIAs Are For Real
    I need to get RIA work on my resume.  Can we do something with them?
  2. Wide Use Of Open Source
    I have no budget.  Alternatively, I started using this stuff when I was in college because I had no budget then, and we’re going to use it now even though more robust solutions are available because I’m comfortable with them.  Also, I can get bits and pieces of the application I’m writing from some server in the Czech Republic for free, and by the time you’re sued for using it without paying for it/the Russians steal not only our customers’ identities but some of their pets as well, I will be using my RIA experience in a higher paying architect position.
  3. Virtualization, Cloud Use Evolves
    Cloud is awesome because I can just slam code up there without putting it through a build process/testing/a second thought at all.
  4. Multilingual Developers Emerge
    I’ve been job hopping so much, I don’t have time nor the attention span to actually learn a single language enough to learn it thoroughly.
  5. Young Developers Drawn To Dynamic Languages
    Hey!  Something shiny! 
  6. Agile Processes Resonate
    Formalizing all the foolish, thoughtless, and unforesighted things I would normally do?  Sign me up!  I’ll call it agile, and the business interests won’t know the difference.
  7. Developers As An Untapped Source Of Innovation
    I am a genius, like Ricola Tesla.  Listen to me, and make me an executive, now, you twit!

There, now you know.  And you can discard whatever a developer tells you and get on with business.

The Inuit Have A Word For It

Monday, January 25th, 2010 by The Director

Shaktoolik: The feeling that you have when you have been going toward a place for so long that it seems that you will never get there.

Be sure to use that word in a meeting about the current project that keeps getting features added, changes made, and the client’s whimsy indulged while the release date recedes into the future.

(Word source.)

More Craigslist Backlash

Friday, January 22nd, 2010 by The Director

In addition to another response to the St. Louis job listing I noted yesterday, we find another case of Craigslist backlash in Minnesota today.  Is it cropping up everywhere, or are my loyal Minneapolitano readers joining in the fun?

First, the job posting:

$200, same as in town, as long as that town is Lahore.
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The riposte:

I know what kind of designer you are; now we're just haggling over price.
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To misquote Dwight Yoakum, apparently the responding designer ain’t that hungry yet.

But I wouldn’t expect to see that small company become a larger company anytime soon.  One wonders what the full time salary would be if each project is $200?  Maybe since their Web pages are served, they would go for the waiter minimum wage.

Another Case of Craigslist Job Posting Backlash

Thursday, January 21st, 2010 by The Director

In the St. Louis area, another job seeker has lashed out at someone looking to hire.  In this case, someone specific.

The job posting:

 Looking for a Flash developer.  Or are they?
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In the interest of full disclosure, I have had some dealings with the recruiting company in question, and, boy, they sure are recruiters over there.

The riposte:

You're measured words convince me.
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In which the $60 an hour designer, or the person who would be a $60 an hour designer if anyone hired him or her, shows a stunning grasp of the English language.  It sure left me speechless.  Let’s see, what is that, 19 grammatical mistakes in the rant?  I’m only skimming here.

Sounds like a lot of designers.  Put them words in your pretty Web sites and see who notices.  Probably nobody in IT but the QA you cannot afford since you’re paying the designers $60 an hour.  Or would if they had their way.

UPDATE: The next day, the following response to the response appeared:

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The recruiter, the friend of the recruiter, or another catty designer?  You decide!

Hey, Kids, Here’s a Fun Game!

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 by The Director

It’s called Debug the Flash/IE Integration!

Debug debug debug debug debug debug Johnny
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Let’s talk about energy efficiency.  It’s efficient not to put QA energy into a project and to push the costs and aggravations of errors onto the user.  That’s proven economics law to many organizations.

Unfortunately, the user will go elsewhere.  And children won’t learn how to save energy by hectoring their parents from

Now That You’re Dating Checks Correctly

Monday, January 18th, 2010 by The Director

Two weeks ago, an event occurred that altered the fundamental way we describe our locus within the space-time continuum.  That event, the New Year, means that any Web site to which you added content since then needs to have an updated copyright date:

I'm so 2008, you're so 2000 and late.
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 If you’re working in PHP, such as a blog, here’s a PHP script to make it dynamic.

Another thing to check is for any recurring contests on your sites, such as stories that you ask users to share, to make certain that your terms, conditions, and rules extend to the new calendar year.

Five Tips Your Organization Will Not Follow

Friday, January 15th, 2010 by The Director

Trisherino enumerates five things developers and designers could do to reduce the number of obvious issues testers will find: 5 Tips to Thwart Testers.

They’re obvious, and they’re pretty good ideas, but your organization will not follow them for long, even if your team catches on.  Why?  Because institutional memory is fluid.  By the time you drum that into your developers’ and designers’ heads, they move onto a different teams or onto different companies.  They will be replaced by people who are less expensive and less knowledgeable or they will be replaced with experienced sticks in the mud who know the right way to do things: their way.

And their way does not include to stooping to IE.

And so it goes.

The best you can hope for is to become such an archetypal nemesis to your developers and designers that they carry the fear of you beyond your team and company so that they do things the right way even when they’re somewhere else.  Somewhere, some lucky QA professional will get a n00b on their team that does things right.


Thursday, January 14th, 2010 by The Director

Someone on the twitter feed mentioned, so I have duly added it to the QA Merely Dislikes roll.

One of these days, I’ll have to run down that list and see how many of those blogs are still active.

Like QAHY for Ad Copy

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 by The Director

Copyranter goes off on print and broadcast advertising.  Warning, though: He talks a lot about how sex is used to sell things, particularly overseas, so the content might not be safe for work unless you work for an interactive agency, where that sort of thing is appreciated.

Exciting Job Opportunities

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 by The Director

I think some HR people and consulting recruiters already have a little cabin fever in Minneapolis.  Two recent job postings seem to indicate something ain’t right.

Job 1: A combination Web developer/shipping and receiving clerk/delivery driver:

 Oh, wait a minute - do I still get to be the janitor?
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Job 2: A Java development position whose consulting company recruiter is only phoning it in.  The headline of the job posting is Date Resource:

Sounds like an escort position of some sort.
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The lede:

Date resource is required: 01/11/2010

Anticipated end date: 05/30/2010

Location: Minneapolis, MN

The vendor is expected to thoroughly screen the candidate to ensure the Self Assessment form is accurately filled out. We have little patience for candidates who have overstated their skill level / experience We are looking for a highly qualified Web Services developer to join an on-going Wachovia, Wells integration project.

Note the admonishment to the recruiter that he or she should pay attention.  You know my position on recruiters, particularly those who post on craigslist.  You are in good hands, applicant.

Hey, speaking of bad craigslist ads, here’s a whole blog of them: You Suck at Craigslist.

Some Branding Should Be Done With A Hot Iron

Monday, January 11th, 2010 by The Director

Here’s a little hint on things to look for when your team decides on product names:  Unfortunate Names blog.

Remember, someone has to pipe up and scotch the bad ideas, and the dreamers (read: the designers, the developers, the project managers, the client account managers, the clients) aren’t grounded enough to say, “Uh, guys?  Flooz? That would make users floozies.”

That Won’t Play Well In England

Monday, January 11th, 2010 by The Director

Dustbury notes an error in a footer:

That won't play well in Japan, either.
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Ah, what the hell, it’s an imported problem, so it’s not really a problem, eh?

(He said in a Canadian accent, implying another layer of international conspiracy, sending those conspiracy theorists into a tizzy.  QA understands there is no international conspiracy, only entropy at work.)

When Error Messages Taunt

Friday, January 8th, 2010 by The Director

A media player keeps timing out on me, delivering this error which sounds like it’s taunting me:

Na na na!
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NaNNaNNaN!  You can’t listen!

Not In The Ten Ring

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 by The Director

Sobe’s new contest misses it by that much:

A little higher.  Never mind.
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“In the 10 Ring,” he explained to his foreign readers, refers to hitting a bullseye when target shooting.  Sobe missed the frame slightly here when dropping their Flash application onto their Facebook page.

Want to know what else they did wrong with the contest entry?

  • They put the rules in a pop-up window which Internet Explorer blocks since it’s coming from a Flash application.  Instead, they could have put it in a panel in the Flash application.
  • They ask for a phone number, but they don’t tell you what a proper phone number is.  You get to try and err.
  • They don’t enable the Submit button on the Tell a Friend form unless you enter valid e-mail addresses.  The other steps, though, enable the Next/Submit buttons before the user has filled out the form.

Well, it was good enough to separate Sobe from its interactive budget.  Carry on, then!

Remind Your Coworkers

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by The Director

You, QA, probably won’t need this; however, you should share this with your barely-literate coworkers who put copy in front of users: 10 Words You Need To Stop Misspelling.

Courtesy the twitterverse.

1 Typo in 94 Characters Is Acceptable .0106 Error Rate

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 by The Director

Back in my interactive agency days, you’d better believe that we proofread everything, including the text ads going out to Google or Yahoo!

To prevent things like this:

Largesr is short for largester, which is larger than largest.

You know, quality isn’t just making sure that things don’t blow up with certain click-and-key combinations.  And people can and will screw up the simplest of things.

I Know The Feeling

Monday, January 4th, 2010 by The Director

Someone else trolling craigslist jobs postings reacts to the common postings for jobs requiring 10 years of skill out of part time interns and offering a bit lower than the prevailing wage:

But if it's $12 an hour Canadian, these days that's real money.
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Sadly, I fear this person reads the craigslist job listings as serious and expresses his frustration at not being able to find a job through these listings.  I hope this poster’s pride doesn’t lead to starvation if he cannot find a job with the salary he thinks he so richly deserves.

Me, I troll craigslist job postings just because they’re funny for the very reason stated here and because they’re often rife with errors that I can make fun of for your amusement.

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