Archive for January, 2013

You Can’t Ignore My Strings of Electric Six in Foreign Languages

Monday, January 28th, 2013 by The Director

As a public service, I hereby provide you with the first verse of Electric Six’s “Synthesizer” in a dozen non-Roman alphabets for your testing pleasure. Remember, Hebrew, Arabic, and Urdu read and represent from the right to the left which might bollix your application if it tries to handle them.

Chinese traditional
合成器
您可以撼動它周圍
你可以去向上和向下
你可以失去你
但你不能無視我的化工技術

Chinese Simplified
合成器
您可以撼动它周围
你可以去向上和向下
你可以失去你
但你不能无视我的TECHNO

Arabic
المزج
يمكنك التخلص منه في جميع أنحاء
يمكنك الذهاب صعودا وهبوطا
يمكنك أن تفقد ما وجدت
ولكن لا يمكنك تجاهل تكنو بلدي

Hebrew
סינתיסייזר
אתה יכול לנער אותו בכל רחבי
אתה יכול לעלות ולרדת
אתה יכול לאבד את מה שמצאת
אבל אתה לא יכול להתעלם טכנו

Greek
Συνθεσάιζερ
Μπορείτε να ταρακουνήσει όλο
Μπορείτε να πάτε πάνω και κάτω
Μπορείτε να χάσετε ό, τι βρήκατε
Αλλά δεν μπορείτε να αγνοήσετε techno μου

Korean
합성기
당신은 주위를 흔들 수
당신은 가서 다운 수
당신이 발견 잃을 수
하지만 당신은 내 테크노를 무시 할 수 없습니다

Russian
синтезатор
Вы можете встряхнуть все вокруг
Вы можете идти вверх и вниз
Вы можете потерять то, что вы нашли
Но вы не можете игнорировать мои техно

Urdu
مرکب ساز
آپ کے ارد گرد ہلا کر سکتے ہیں
تم جاؤ اور نیچے کر سکتے ہیں
تم ہار جو آپ محسوس کر سکتے ہیں
لیکن تم نے میری تکنیکی کو نظر انداز نہیں کر سکتے

Thai
สังเคราะห์
คุณสามารถเขย่ามันทุกรอบ
คุณสามารถไปขึ้นและลง
คุณจะสูญเสียสิ่งที่คุณพบ
แต่คุณไม่สามารถละเลยเทคโนของฉัน

Japanese
シンセサイザー
あなたはすべてのまわりでそれを振ることができます
あなたが上に移動し、ダウンすることができます
あなたが見つけたものを失う可能性があります
しかし、あなたは私のテクノを無視することはできません

Kannada
ಸಂಯೋಜಕ
ನೀವು ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಸುಮಾರು ಅಲ್ಲಾಡಿಸಿ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು
ನೀವು ಹೋಗಿ ಡೌನ್ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು
ನೀವು ಪತ್ತೆ ಕಳೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದು
ಆದರೆ ನೀವು ನನ್ನ ಟೆಕ್ನೊ ನಿರ್ಲಕ್ಷಿಸಿ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ

Tellugu
సింథిసైజర్
మీరు అన్ని చుట్టూ ఇది షేక్ చేయవచ్చు
మీరు అప్ వెళ్ళి డౌన్ చేయవచ్చు
మీరు దొరకలేదు ఏమి కోల్పోతారు
కానీ మీరు నా టెక్నో విస్మరించకూడదు

Also, for your listening pleasure, all of Electric Six’s “Syntesizer”:

Backward Compatibility, Explained

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 by The Director

Troy Hunt has a long post on how many desktops are still running Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP and why that is.

If you’ve read this blog for much of its five year existence, you know I harp a lot on understanding why so many users are locked into old browsers, and why the number of them still running old versions of IE is still quite high. And why you need to account for it, whether to make your stuff backward compatible or to consciously decide not to support old beasts out there and what that might mean.

Also, you should always find out what your clients are running. Oh, the number of times developers, left to their own devices, would write things for their clients that their clients would be unable to run.

(Link via tweet.)

Please Correct Your Test Data Accordingly

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 by The Director

Mocking up some fake addresses and using “101 Tester Way”?

Bear in mind these are actual addresses:

101 Tester Lane, McEwen, TN 37101:


View Larger Map

101 Tester Street, Clinton, AR 72031:


View Larger Map

These samples will give you the satisfaction of having Test right in the data and they work for map integration purposes.

Strangely enough, 101 Tester Street is not that far down the highway from my secure mountain redoubt.

QA Music: Dr. Who Theme in Metal

Monday, January 7th, 2013 by The Director

The only way it sounded better was on the Commodore 64.

Undoubtedly, I still have that on a floppy disk somewhere.

The Stuff QA Nightmares Are Made Of

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 by The Director

There’s a White House petition to make the United States change from imperial units to metric units of measurement.

I got two words for you: Gimli Glider, a plane that almost fell out of the sky during the Canadian switchover to the metric system:

At the time of the incident, Canada was converting to the metric system. As part of this process, the new 767s being acquired by Air Canada were the first to be calibrated for metric units (litres and kilograms) instead of customary units (gallons and pounds). All other aircraft were still operating with Imperial units (gallons and pounds). For the trip to Edmonton, the pilot calculated a fuel requirement of 22,300 kilograms (49,000 lb). A dripstick check indicated that there were 7,682 litres (1,690 imp gal; 2,029 US gal) already in the tanks. To calculate how much more fuel had to be added, the crew needed to convert the quantity in the tanks to a weight, subtract that figure from 22,300 kg and convert the result back into a volume. In previous times, this task would have been completed by a flight engineer, but the 767 was the first of a new generation of airliners that flew without a flight engineer and flew only with a pilot and co-pilot.

A litre of jet fuel weighs 0.803 kg, so the correct calculation was:

7682 L × 0.803 kg/L = 6169 kg
22300 kg − 6169 kg = 16131 kg
16131 kg ÷ (0.803 kg/L) = 20088 L of fuel to be transferred

Between the ground crew and pilots, however, they arrived at an incorrect conversion factor of 1.77, the weight of a litre of fuel in pounds. This was the conversion factor provided on the refueller’s paperwork and which had always been used for the airline’s imperial-calibrated fleet. Their calculation produced:

7682 L × 1.77 kg/L = 13597 kg
22300 kg − 13597 kg = 8703 kg
8703 kg ÷ (1.77 kg/L) = 4916 L of fuel to be transferred

Instead of 22,300 kg of fuel, they had 22,300 pounds on board — a little over 10,000 kg, or less than half the amount required to reach their destination. Knowing the problems with the FQIS, Captain Pearson double-checked their calculations but was given the same incorrect conversion factor and inevitably came up with the same erroneous figures.

You can read the whole story of the Gimli Glider in the excellent book Freefall: 41,000 feet & Out of Fuel, which I read on a plane trip to Florida a couple years ago.

No, I have five words for you. The other three are Mars Climate Orbiter:

On November 10, 1999, the Mars Climate Orbiter Mishap Investigation Board released a Phase I report, detailing the suspected issues encountered with the loss of the spacecraft. Previously, on September 8, 1999, Trajectory Correction Maneuver-4 was computed and then executed on September 15, 1999. It was intended to place the spacecraft at an optimal position for an orbital insertion maneuver that would bring the spacecraft around Mars at an altitude of 226 kilometers on September 23, 1999. However, during the week between TCM-4 and the orbital insertion maneuver, the navigation team indicated the altitude may be much lower than intended at 150 to 170 kilometers. Twenty-four hours prior to orbital insertion, calculations placed the orbiter at an altitude of 110 kilometers; 80 kilometers is the minimum altitude that Mars Climate Orbiter was thought to be capable of surviving during this maneuver. Final calculations placed the spacecraft in a trajectory that would have taken the orbiter within 57 kilometers of the surface where the spacecraft likely disintegrated because of atmospheric stresses. The primary cause of this discrepancy was engineering error. Specifically, the flight system software on the Mars Climate Orbiter was written to take thrust instructions using the metric unit newtons (N), while the software on the ground that generated those instructions used the Imperial measure pound-force (lbf). This error has since been known as the metric mixup and has been carefully avoided in all missions since by NASA.

Now, imagine every computer system you know being rewritten to use or convert from imperial measurements to metric measurements. All the Why1K bugs in critical embedded systems. Forget flying. Forget driving. I’ll be walking.

You might be thinking, Gee, Director, aren’t you hitting the luddite thing a little hard these days? Well, I just got a smart phone and a Roku box. It’s an instinctive pushback against my entrance to the 21st century.

(Petition link via tweet.)


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