Archive for the ‘Miscellany’ Category

Daily Goal for the Scrum Call

Thursday, August 29th, 2019 by The Director

I will not refer to the Quality Assurance Manager as a butter bars.
I will not refer to the Quality Assurance Manager as a butter bars.
I will not refer to the Quality Assurance Manager as a butter bars.
I will not refer to the Quality Assurance Manager as a butter bars.
I will not refer to the Quality Assurance Manager as a butter bars.
I will not refer to the Quality Assurance Manager as a butter bars.

Dammit, maybe tomorrow will be better.

Effective Nonverbal Communication During Meetings: A Guide

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 by The Director

It’s not just what you say during meetings that matters; your non-verbal provide attendees with information as well.

This handy guide helps you to ensure that your gestures adequately convey what you’re thinking and/or saying.

Word for the Day: Vorführeffekt

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019 by The Director

Vorführeffekt: The phenomenon that something which was previously not working correctly suddenly does work correctly when one tries to demonstrate the fault to others.

Undoubtedly, there is a word in the German for the opposite it works on my machine. If not, Google translate offers Esfunktioniertaufmeinermaschine.

Because Sometimes The User Is Effen With You

Friday, August 16th, 2019 by The Director

Geeky license plate earns hacker $12,000 in parking tickets:

Droogie decided his new vanity plate should read “NULL.” While he did this mainly for the giggles, he told the audience that there was an ulterior motive, as reported by Mashable:

     “I was like, ‘I’m the shit,'” he joked to the crowd. “‘I’m gonna be invisible.’ Instead, I got all the tickets.”

Droogie’s hope was that the new plate would exploit California’s DMV ticketing system in a similar manner to the classic xkcd “Bobby Tables” cartoon. With any luck, the DMV’s ticket database would see “NULL” and consign any of his tickets to the void. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened.

First, Droogie got a parking ticket, incurred for an actual parking infraction—so much for being invisible. Then, once a particular database of outstanding tickets had associated the license plate NULL with his address, it sent him every other ticket that lacked a real plate.

Agile too much tries to guess what the user will do and code to that.

You have to test what the user can do and log defects against that. And, quite likely, argue daily with the scrum master and others that these are really defects even if the acceptance criteria do not specifically include basic user bad behavior or negligence.

Conference Call Background Sounds That Require Some Explanation

Friday, July 26th, 2019 by The Director

As you probably don’t know, ungentle reader, your humble narrator has taken it upon himself to participate in triathlons at his advanced age because something in him seeks out hobbies that are even less pleasant than his daytime job.

So I have recently acquired a Volodyne 5000 Volumetric Exerciser to try to improve my lung capacity.

My thinking is that I can increase my lung capacity which will make me a better athlete and able to focus not so much on how my breathing hurts when I’m swimming, biking, or running, and that I can, instead, focus on the important things, such as how much I hate swimming, biking, or running.

So it sits on my desk, and every so often, I take a couple minutes to use it. If you’re not familiar with such a device, basically it measures how much you can inhale at any given time, so to use it, you inhale as much as you can and hold your breath for a couple of seconds.

Which sounds kind of like something else.

So I am afraid I’ll use it when my microphone is not muted on a conference call and where video is not enabled.

Ah, well, as I always say, it’s best not to explain to the other callers what is going on. Let their imaginations go. Cat fight on the desk? Continue talking as though nothing is happening. Maybe they’ll think it’s someone else on the call.

A Memorial to Rutger Hauer: Reposting the Rutger Hauer School of Software Testing

Thursday, July 25th, 2019 by The Director

Ruger Hauer passed away; in memory of him, I’m reposting something from 2012.


The Rutger Hauer School of Software Testing

As I mentioned on Twitter, I’m a member of the Rutger Hauer school of software testing. The Rutger Hauer school of software testing (RHSoST) focuses less on processes and procedures and more on how to wreak havoc using a varied set of tools upon a system or application regardless of its plot, I mean, its business rules.

But here are some of the primary texts of the school:

  • Introduction:
    Beyond Justice. The basic primer in software testing describes how to create user scenarios to test systems, how to understand and work within and without established processes and procedures, and how to turn erstwhile enemies into allies.
     
  • Exploratory Testing, Basic:
    Blind Fury. Even when you lack basic knowledge about a system or insight into the business rules or considerations, you can still cause damage find defects with your sword basic set of test cases that apply to any application.
     
  • Exploratory Testing, Advanced:
    Blade Runner. As your knowledge of applications grows, you can find more complexity and higher levels of business rules to test until the final deadline.
     
  • Load Testing:
    Escape from Sobibor. Learn how careful planning and execution of load tests can find the weaknesses in and actually crash the most rigid set of rules and constraints in an application.
     
  • Career Planning: Working in a Large Corporation:
    Deadlock. Learn how to find a payoff even when constrained by an explosive device bolted to your neck, figuratively speaking (and literally).
     
  • Career Planning: Working as a Test Consultant:
    Hobo with a Shotgun. This text deals with the itinerant tester and the challenges he/she faces with each new engagement, including how one fits in–or does not fit in–with the existing culture and how one can test effectively and efficiently on the run.
     

Rutger Hauer on the end of a project and the knowledge lost when a test consultant or team member moves on:

These are some of my favorite texts in the RHSoST. Undoubtedly, some of my fellow school members have their own. Don’t be afraid to share in the comments.

When Testers Go Bad

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 by The Director

Former Microsoft Software Engineer Charged with Mail Fraud for Scheme to Steal Digital Value Such as Gift Cards:

A former Microsoft software engineer was arrested today and charged in a criminal complaint charging him with mail fraud for a scheme to steal $10 million in digital currency from Microsoft, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. VOLODYMYR KVASHUK, 25, a Ukrainian citizen residing in Renton, Washington, worked first as a contractor at Microsoft and then as an employee from August 2016 until he was fired in June 2018. KVASHUK was involved in the testing of Microsoft’s online retail sales platform, and used that testing access to steal “currency stored value” such as gift cards. The complaint alleges KVASHUK resold the value on the internet, using the proceeds to purchase a $160,000 Tesla vehicle and a $1.6 million dollar lakefront home. KVASHUK made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle today and is detained pending a further hearing on Friday July 19, 2019.

I’m just kidding about the testers going bad; testers start out bad, but mostly we’re bad to do good.

Test It Like A Samurai (III)

Friday, November 2nd, 2018 by The Director

From Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai:

Lord Aki declared that he would not have his descendants learn military tactics. He said, “On the battlefield, once discretion starts, it cannot be stopped. One will not break through to the enemy with discretion. Indiscretion is most important when in front of the tiger’s den. Therefore, if one were informed of military tactics, he would have many doubts, and there will be no end to the matter. My descendants will not practice military tactics.”

The first facile quip I was going to make was that Lord Aki would probably insist that testers should not learn to code, but the real lesson here lies in the danger of being to overloaded with knowledge about a project or a piece of software that might constrain your ability to test it as a new piece of software without being influenced by too many considerations about why things are done this way and why the software is this way and why users would never do that.

Just charge in and start logging the defects.

Test It Like a Samurai (II)

Thursday, November 1st, 2018 by The Director

From Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai:

When there is something to be said, it is better if it is said right away. If it is said later, it will sound like an excuse. Moreover, it is occasionally good to really overwhelm your opponent. Also, in addition to having spoken sufficiently, it is the highest sort of victory to teach your opponent something that will be to his benefit. This is in accordance with the Way.

I have a new Objective statement on my resume, brah, and this is it.

Test It Like A Samurai (I)

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 by The Director

From Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai:

Once, a group of ten blind masseuses were traveling together in the mountains, and when they began to pass along the top of a precipice, they all became very cautious, their legs shook, and they were in general struck with terror. Just then the leading man stumbled and fell off the cliff. Those that were left all wailed, “Ahh, ahh! How piteous!”

But the masseuse who had fallen yelled up from below, “Do not be afraid. Although I fell, it was nothing. I am now rather at ease. Before falling, I kept thinking ‘What will I do if I fall?’ and there was no end to my anxiety. But now I’ve settled down. If the rest of you want to be at ease, fall quickly!”

I think this was the point of Agile before it became an industry of its own.

Detecting Agile BS

Thursday, October 25th, 2018 by The Director

The Defense Innovation Board has a handy guide to Detecting Agile BS.

Definitely worth a read.

For Your Next Team Destroying Exercise

Friday, August 24th, 2018 by The Director

A local business in Springfield, Missouri, allows you to smash things. It’s called a Rage Room.

Although, honestly, it’s really not much different than what we do every day in software testing.

And the QA lab here already has everything I need, from an electric guitar for some ill-rendered heavy metal to a heavy bag to varied martial arts weapons. So I don’t have to leave the cave and see the sunshine this week either.

Or, As We Like To Say, “Trains You For Software Testing”

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018 by The Director

How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity.

The article provides steps to help curb your negativity, but why would we want that? Better to use the steps:

  1. Have a clear purpose.
  2. Start with something positive.
  3. Be specific.
  4. End on a positive.

to write better bug reports so long as by “positive,” you say, “I’m sure this is broken” and “I’m sure customers will flood the service desk with calls unless it’s fixed.”

In Case I’m Looking For A New Career Path

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 by The Director

I posted on Twitter the other day:

Mostly as an excuse to repost one of my recent favorite animated gifs:

So apparently, I’m looking for a new career, and some recruiter was quick to seize upon it:

Recruiters who perform ill-limited LinkedIn search to blast the results with job offers usually hit me for jobs I’m way overqualified and overpaid for. It’s rare that I get something completely out of the industry like this.

But who knows what I’ll get when I add voiceover work to my LinkedIn profile. Perhaps job offers to do voices for cartoons, which is not unlike what I do daily on conference calls.

Not My Office, Naturally

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 by The Director

To be honest, I’ve worked some places where only scapegoats are recognized.

Clearly, The Graphic Designer Was Not A Ninja

Thursday, June 21st, 2018 by The Director

It’s been a while since I’ve made fun of advertisements in software magazines, but since SD Times is still sending me free copies of their buzzword-laden collection of advertisements amid laudatory stories about their advertisers, I might as well go on with the show.

Check this guy out:

I suspect the designer is trying to show a unit-testing ninja throwing a flying sidekick. But the feet are in the wrong position for it. With a sidekick, the kicking foot is horizontal with the toes forward, and the toes on the bottom foot should not be pointing straight down. The front kick features the foot vertical with the toes drawn back, and but there’s not a leaping variant where the non-kicking foot tucks up like that.

Maybe the fellow is just Russian dancing.

Also note that the product has mock right in the name. How could I not?

How Can I Improve On That?

Thursday, May 10th, 2018 by The Director

According to LinkedIn, people found my profile using these search terms:

Tower Insurance + EIFFEL + Reality Television + Alternate

Because, really, that pretty much sums up my career.

Of all those things, the only thing I recognize is that I once wrote an article about the Eiffel tower which got published.

I have to wonder how far into the list of results the searcher had to go to find me.

For a few dollars more, I could bump myself further up in the results.

The Opposite Of The Sound Of Silence

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018 by The Director

What, you expect me to turn down the Iron Maiden when I dial into the daily stand-up?

Think again.

It Was As Though Millions Of Style Guides Cried Out At Once And Were Suddenly Updated

Thursday, December 7th, 2017 by The Director

Walmart changes name, dropping ‘stores’ and hyphen, as it underscores online image:

What’s in a name? For Walmart, it will soon be a little less.

The company, which became the largest retailer in the world with a huge chain of stores, is changing its name to reflect its increasing emphasis on e-commerce.

As of Feb. 1, it will no longer be “Wal-Mart Stores” and will get rid of the hyphen and drop “stores” from its legal name.

Just kidding; please continue with the normal mishmash of capitalization when referring to corporations, especially our own clients.

Walmart has brought some confusion upon itself, with signage and logos that do not include the hyphen but the corporate name and formal documents probably did.

Ideally, internal communications would use the proper branding so that the habits built into the copy writers, designers, and other communicators would automatically use it whenever they do their jobs, but too often the shorthand name for a company works its way into the copy or iconography. Which just looks sloppy.

Nothing explains the purple Comic Sans, though. Why does the CEO do that in his emails?

A Smart Aleck and Slack

Thursday, October 12th, 2017 by The Director

When signing up for yet another Slack (and adding to the possibility that you’ll end up saying something to the wrong client or team), one sees this message regarding passwords:

However, its denial to the contrary, Slack thinks
password, 123456 or abcdef.
is a great password.

You don’t have to be a complete smart aleck to work in this industry, but you do need to be a complete smart aleck to thrive.


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