Archive for the ‘Miscellany’ Category

The V.5H Bug

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 by The Director

How prepared is your software for this sudden shift?

Venezuelans lost half an hour of sleep on Sunday when their clocks moved forward to save power, as the country grapples with a deep economic crisis.

The time change was ordered by President Nicolas Maduro as part of a package of measures to cope with a severe electricity shortage.

I’m calling this the V.5H bug.

Preach It, Brother

Friday, March 25th, 2016 by The Director

NPM & left-pad: Have We Forgotten How To Program?:

Finally, stringing APIs together and calling it programming doesn’t make it programming. It’s some crazy form of dependency hacking that involves the cloud, over-engineering things, and complexity far beyond what’s actually needed.

What’s worse is that if any of your code (or the 3rd party library code) has a bug or breaks, you won’t know how to debug or fix it if you don’t know how to program.

Events of the last week should make developers wary of third-party stuff, but they won’t.

Everything I Know About Testing I Learned From Zork

Thursday, March 10th, 2016 by The Director

Login Screen
This is a login screen before you can use the application, with an account name, password field, and a Log In! button.
There is bubbly copy and a licensed stock image of a bearded man holding a small boy.

> check copy

The copy is cheery, but not particularly informative. In a stunning turn of events, the words are all spelled correctly, AND they've remembered the serial comma.

> mouseover image

The title and alt text are set for the image and read "Welcome back!"

> type </html> into account name field.

The value displays in the edit box.

> type </html> into password edit box.

The value displays in the edit box.

> click Log In!

A Potentially Malicious Request warning displays! Oh, woe and agony! The site is eaten by a grue.

How I Became That Guy / The JavaScript Twofer

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 by The Director

I’ve set as a basic test visiting sites under test without JavaScript enabled, without Flash enabled, and without cookies enabled. It was a bit of an exercise for me, because who would visit the Web with JavaScript enabled?

Well, suddenly, that’s me.

I was running an old version of Safari on my iPhone because my client required a lot of backward compatibility testing. I don’t do a lot of processing on my phone, but I do a lot of reading, and suddenly Safari was crashing all the time. It was the ad content JavaScript, and once I turned it off, I could read on my phone again.

I’ve since updated the phone, but I’ve kept the JavaScript off because the pages load faster (if at all) and I’m using less data.

Which means I see all sorts of bad behavior. Not just counting unresponsive forms, but sites completely failing to load because they’re doing something JavaScript before page load with no alternative.

So I’ve set one of my browsers to block JavaScript by default just to see what happens when I hit a new test site. A lot of the time, I encounter something weird and start to log a defect before I realize nothing’s working because I have JavaScript disabled.

So I log a bug to indicate that the page should display a message in this case. That’s the first part of the two-fer.

Then, nine times out of ten, I retest and close that issue and open a new one to capitalize JavaScript correctly. Although I’m pretty clear in the defect, the developers type Javascript. All. The. Time. The JavaScript Disabled message is two bugs in one.

I’ve read memes and jokes on the Internet and Twitter that people who don’t use JavaScript are like vegans and CrossFit people and must tell everyone. Apparently, with this post, I have become that guy.

Oh, and I look forward to the first through one hundredth times I have to log a bug about capitalizing CrossFit correctly.

(Meanwhile, while we’re on the topic of JavaScript, also read Maybe we could tone down the JavaScript.)

QA Music – Better Relationships with Co-Workers

Monday, February 22nd, 2016 by The Director

“The Monster” by Eminem

I’m not friend with the monsters under my bed. I’ve frightened them all away.

New Software Development Employee Orientation Guide

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 by The Director

You owe it to yourself to make your new co-workers read this: Living in the Age of Software Fuckery: Ten Anti-patterns and Malpractices in Modern Software Development

Well, all except the new managers. They teach this stuff in MBA and MIS programs already. But as a good idea.

Link via iDisposable.

QA Music: One for the Introverts at the Conference

Monday, February 15th, 2016 by The Director

QA or the Highway is coming up this week, so now it’s time for our long distance dedication to the introverts at the conference. It’s Alessia Cara with “Here”:

To be honest, I’ve held entire jobs where I felt this way.

Item 1 On The List: I Can’t Finish The List

Friday, February 5th, 2016 by The Director

When you log into Slack, it provides you an inspirational message. How positive of the program. This particular item always gets me:

The first item on the list is that I couldn’t complete the list in under 24 hours.

Then we get into the physically impossible.

What, this is a rhetorical question? Then why ask it?

That Could Have Afforded A Couple Testers

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 by The Director

How to lose $172,222 a second for 45 minutes:

The tale has all the hallmarks of technical debt in a huge, unmaintained, bitrotten codebase (the bug itself due to code that hadn’t been used for 8 years), and a really poor, undisciplined devops story.

I’d always sworn I’d never work for a health devices or financial services company because the risks were so great.

Well, so far, I’m keeping half of that pledge.

I Feel Like I’m Repeating Myself

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 by The Director

Twitter is all a-tweet about this news:

Internet Explorer has long been the bane of many Web developers’ existence, but here’s some news to brighten your day: Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 are reaching ‘end of life’ on Tuesday, meaning they’re no longer supported by Microsoft.

Just because Microsoft stops supporting these things does not mean you can stop designing, developing, and testing for these old versions of IE on Wednesday.

When you’re thinking about browser compatibility, you have to judge based on actual market share and your user base’s browser statistics, not press releases.

Otherwise, you risk alienating a certain segment of your user base (“But just the uncool ones!” the kids will say) or frustrating your help desk who now has to handle the callers/emailers complaining about the site not working in IE 8.

(Actually, I am repeating myself.)

QA Music – Lee Aaron Threefer

Monday, January 4th, 2016 by The Director

I got the 1984 Lee Aaron album Metal Queen after the holidays. One listen, and I was transported back to that era amid some inexpensive smoke effects.

To celebrate, here are three Lee Aaron tracks, although only two come from Metal Queen.

“Barely Hanging On”:

“Head Above Water”:

And, of course, “Metal Queen”:

QAsmas Carols Round-Up

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 by The Director

In case you’re not following me on Twitter, allow me to round up my contribution to this season’s list of QAsmas carols:

  • We pissed off the project managers,
    we pissed off the project managers,
    we pissed off the project managers,
    & hacked off the devs.
  • The Appbreaker Suite
  • Whose Fault Is This?
  • Good Thing Wetestedthis
  • Boundary (With Excess Overflow)
  • In a Build Unstable
  • Mark the Myriad Defects Closed
  • I Logged Three Bugs
  • O Tiny Bug
  • O Test This By Day’s End (Oh, Come On, You PM)
  • Server Farms Are Crashing On Down
  • I Saw Tommy Dissing Selenium
  • Check the Calls (with POSTs of Long Strings)
  • Let’s Futz with An Open File
  • Carol of the NULLs
  • Let Us “No”

Mastering the Art of The Year-End Performance Review

Thursday, December 10th, 2015 by The Director

The end of the year is upon us, and with it comes the annual review. Before you go into your performance review, you should plan your strategy to make your case and to put your best foot forward to get the best possible result. The following video offers good tips and tricks on how to wow your boss(es) in those reviews.

My Kind of Career Planning

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 by The Director

A cartoon in Barron’s answers the interview question, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

I Voted For Willcox

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 by The Director

I visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Web site almost daily, and whenever I clear my cookies and cache, the site prompts me to take a survey before I can access the content of an article.

One day, the intra-office rivalry at the marketing department or agency got a little intense as Willcox tried to prove he was the most popular person in the staff by holding a little popularity contest embedded in the polls.

By the end of the survey, even I was voting for Willcox.

Poor Masheika never stood a chance.

Dangerous, Some Interfaces Are

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 by The Director

I’ve seen some computer interfaces that suffer from this problem:

This is dangerous, you see, because the text that says push here is the glass. Which is not really where you want to push; the user should push on the bar.

So when you’re testing, make sure to evaluate the design of the interface to ensure that the instructions are clear and that the text appropriately indicates what the user should do.

Not just close enough.

QA Music – I’m A Savage/It’s Automatic

Monday, September 14th, 2015 by The Director

Shinedown, “Cut the Cord”:

QA Music: The Choice Is Ours To Make

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 by The Director

In the 21st century:


Jeez, I need a jump front kick with guitar and some direct-to-video 80s action films, stat.

“Winner Takes It All” by Sammy Hagar. From the Stallone film Over the Top. Which was not, in fact, direct to video; it was a major theatrical release.

A Ping Pong Defect

Friday, August 28th, 2015 by The Director

While sitting in a restaurant, I saw that the closed captioning on the sports program was frequently emitting a string of random characters in the speech:

Forensically speaking, we could assume that this bug occurs in one of the following places:

  • The software transliterating the text to speech. That is, when the software encounters a certain condition, it puts a cartoon curse word into the data.
  • The network transmitting the information. That is, the transmission of the data introduces garbage.
  • The device displaying the transmitted information. That is, the television or satellite box that introduces the captions into the picture inserts the junk every two lines or so.

Okay, I’ll grant you the fourth option: That the broadcasters were actually cursing that much. However, given that the FCC has not announced fines daily, I’m willing to say that it’s nonzero, but unlikely.

The beauty of a defect that could occur almost anywhere, between disparate parts of the product and across different teams and technologies, means that it could ultimately be nobody’s fault. Well, if you ask one of the teams, it’s one of the other team’s fault.

You know, a little something squirrelly happens, you log a defect, and the server, interface, and design teams spend megabytes reassigning the defect to each other and disclaiming responsibility. It drives me nuts.

So what do you do? You find a product owner or someone who’ll take charge of it and pursue it across fiefdoms or who’ll put the screws to the varied factions until it gets fixed.

Because everybody’s got something they’d rather be working on than somebody else’s problem. Even if it’s everybody’s problem.

Apparently, The Screen Size In Production Is Different

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 by The Director

At least, I hope this is the result of the screen size being different in production than it was in the spec.

Otherwise, the implication would be that the interface was not tested.

Remember when you’re testing that the spec or requirements are merely suggestions, and you should go afield of your testing matrix as often as you can.

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