Billy Corrigan’s working life is not unlike ours, as he explains in Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”:
Apparently, the Twitter Promoted Tweet on mobile devices now features Fact Checking:
Otherwise, there’s some sort of bug displaying variable values in the tweet, and that would be impossible for a bug to make it to production like that.
Sidewalk Labs is on a mission to bring free wifi to the world
Sidewalk Labs, a startup backed by Google, has begun re-purposing old phone booths in New York City by turning them into free Wi-Fi hotspots. The startup’s initiative to improve city life through tech innovation began last month and started as a winning idea in the city’s Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge, which aimed to find a creative new use for the phone booths. The 10,000 obsolete phone booths will soon be converted into Wi-Fi hotspots and information kiosks that can be used to charge cell phones, make calls, and provide public transit information. This Google project is beginning as a trial in New York, but the giant anticipates it will eventually spread to other cities all over the world.
Engineers surpass power limits for fiber optic communication
Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have surpassed the maximum power limits for fiber optic communication. The power limit previously determined the maximum distance information could be transmitted through fiber optic cables and be accurately received. The photonics researchers compared their approach to a concert master tuning instruments in an orchestra, and use a frequency comb to synchronize the optical carriers that propagate through the fiber. The implications of the discovery are an increase in the data transmission rates in fiber optic cables, along with eliminating the need for electronic regenerators within fiber links.
Google acts on revenge porn
Google is now taking steps to remove “revenge porn” from its search results. Revenge porn is sexually explicit media that is posted online without the consent of the people they feature. The damaging content is often used as a form of cyber extortion, with sites often requiring compensation for removing the content. While Google does not have the power to remove the actual images from the actual websites they are on, victims of this assault will soon be able to submit a form to have the content removed from Google search results.
“Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results.” -Amit Singhal, SVP, Google Search
The form can be found in the next coming weeks on an update of their post.
Google adds un-do send feature to Gmail
We’ve all experienced the feeling of regret after firing off an email before it was ready. Luckily, the people at Google have probably experienced it too, and will soon be giving us the ability to take back that particular message that wasn’t ready. Google has been experimenting for years, and has now formally added the “undo send” option for all gmail users. Setting a delay time from 5 to 30 seconds will allow users a “send cancellation period” to ensure that they really wanted to send that message at that time. To try it out yourself, click on the Settings cogwheel in gmail and enable the feature on the general tab.
Recently, I had to test an animation in a Web browser that occurred when the user scrolled down the Web page, so I had to figure out as many ways to scroll the viewable area of the page to ensure the animation worked with each.
With apologies to Paul Simon, there must be fifty ways to scroll your window. Here are a few:
Press the down arrow, Barrow.
Press the arrow up, Hup.
Page up and page down, clown.
And move the view around.
You can push Home, Gome.
Roll the mouse wheel, Lucille.
Press the End key, Lee.
And it moves magic’ly.
Mobile tap and drag, Dag.
Tap and give it a flick, Rick.
Tap on the SPACE, Ace.
Make sure it’s in its place.
Click the mouse wheel and get the scroll icon, Ryan.
Keep hitting Tab, Gab.
Slide the vertical bar, Dar.
Maybe we’re carrying the joke on too far.
Also, thanks to @mrpjones and @kinofrost on Twitter; they get co-songwriting credits and will get to share the royalties when this baby charts.
The GTAC (Google Test Automation Conference) 2015 application process is now open for presentation proposals and attendance. GTAC will be held at the Google Cambridge office (near Boston, Massachusetts, USA) on November 10th - 11th, 2015.
GTAC will be streamed live on YouTube again this year, so even if you can’t attend in person, you’ll be able to watch the conference remotely. We will post the live stream information as we get closer to the event, and recordings will be posted afterward.
Presentations are targeted at student, academic, and experienced engineers working on test automation. Full presentations are 30 minutes and lightning talks are 10 minutes. Speakers should be prepared for a question and answer session following their presentation.
For presentation proposals and/or attendance, complete this form. We will be selecting about 25 talks and 200 attendees for the event. The selection process is not first come first serve (no need to rush your application), and we select a diverse group of engineers from various locations, company sizes, and technical backgrounds (academic, industry expert, junior engineer, etc).
The due date for both presentation and attendance applications is August 10th, 2015.
There are no registration fees, but speakers and attendees must arrange and pay for their own travel and accommodations.
You can find more details at developers.google.com/gtac.
Readers of my blog know my stance on UI automation. But, as I’ve forgotten my StickyMinds password, and the answer is longer than 140 characters, so I’m responding here.
This article from Justin Rohrman talks about the coolness of Selenium for UI testing. In a paragraph called, “Why the UI”, Justin wrote:
The API and everything below that will give you a feel for code quality and some basic functionality. Testing the UI will help you know things from a different perspective: the user’s.
I like everything else in the article, but that second sentence kills me. Writing automated tests for the UI is as close to a user perspective as I am to the moon (I’m only on the 20th floor). I’m going to do Justin a favor and rewrite that paragraph for him here. Justin – if you read this, feel free to copy and paste the edit.
…some basic functionality. Testing the UI is difficult and prone to error, and automation can never, ever in a million years replace, replicate, or mimic a real users interaction with the software. However, sometimes it’s convenient – and often necessary to write UI automation for web pages, and in cases where that happens, Selenium is obvious choice.
Justin – your work is good – I just disagree (a LOT) with the trailing sentence of the paragraph in question.
Back to work for me…(potentially) related posts:
It’s been a long time since I have had to talk so much, but I had a great time, and met some great people.
As promised (to many people in my talks), here are the links to my presentations.
Site Under Maintenance
Marhaban Ya Ramadhan
From : ./MR.INTERCEPTION and ./UnIX
#CUPU CREWS! SCRIPT KIDDIES GONNA KILL YOU NOW!#
I Have Backup Your index
--> In honor of this upcoming Father’s Day here in the USA, I want to pay a special tribute to my dad, Marvin Rice. I’m thankful he is still alive and I am able to visit with him. I know that many people don’t have that blessing.
When my dad was very young he worked in the broomcorn fields of southern Oklahoma. As he grew into adolescence, he showed an aptitude for working with mechanical things, so he helped support his parents and siblings by working on cars. He was drafted into the Army after WWII to go to Japan as part of the rebuilding effort. There, he was a small arms specialist.
When he returned home from Japan, he opened a Texaco station in Chickasha, OK. The building is still standing today.
I got my love of business from my dad. From the age of 8 or 9, I was helping at the service station he leased in Chickasha from Champion Oil Company (that building is still there, too). That station was location in the “bad” part of town, but the early 60’s was a different time in our country, and especially in Chickasha. I remember how the old men, both white and black, would sit around the stove in the station just shooting the bull.
I saw how my dad served people of all races and economic levels the same way. (By the way, gasoline was 19 cents a gallon then!) For those of you too young to remember, there was a time when most gas stations were full-service. Not only did someone else put the gas in your car, but you got your windshield cleaned, your oil checked, hoses and belts checked, and maybe even your tires were checked.
As a kid, I washed a lot of windows and checked a lot of tire pressure!
I saw my dad bounce back from financial setbacks, like the time someone stole all the cash from the day’s business. That would have been roughly $3,000 in today’s money.
He worked long hours, gave good service and had loyal customers because he enjoyed what he did, even though it was hard at times. He was always working to improve himself. I remember early in my life when he took a Dale Carnegie course – a big thing back then. Guess what? I listened to the tapes as well and read the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” before I graduated High School and they shaped how I deal with people.
As I got older, Dad became my scoutmaster and I learned lessons of leadership. We also rebuilt two engines! In fact, we are working together right now to restore a 1949 Plymouth that has been in our family for 65 years. That has taught me a lot about problem-solving.
Much of what you see in the work I do through Rice Consulting Services, is actually a branch off a tree with deep roots of skills, hard work, integrity, creativity, tenacity, and a strong belief in God and Country. I try my best to maintain the standards my dad has in his own life.
It is incredible, but at age ninety, he still works almost daily on sewing machines. He has a steady stream of customers. I find that both inspiring and depressing - inspiring that he still has the energy and desire to still be active and working - depressing that I may have inherited that same gene.
As I look at my two sons, both fathers, one a software tester and one an auto technician, I see his legacy forming in their lives as well and it makes me proud.
That’s what this posting is really about. Not just buying your father a card and gift for Father’s Day, but if you are able, to tell him what he has handed down to you in your life. Too many times we remember the disagreements or strife, but there were likely good times in there as well. How has he shaped your life? What is his legacy? I’ll bet if you tell him how he helped to shape your life, that will be the greatest Fathers’ Day gift of all. If you can’t tell him in person or by phone, then set aside a few quiet moments and reflect on his memory.
Have a great weekend (and a Happy Fathers’ Day if that applies to you)!
Apple is making Swift open source
This week Apple announced that Swift will soon be open source. In the keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Craig Federighi was met with the applause when he stated that Apple thinks “Swift should be everywhere and used by everyone” and stated “Today we’re announcing that Swift will be open source.” Swift will join the growing array of tech that Apple has decided to make open source as a key part of their software strategy. Federighi outlined the additional new changes we could expect for Swift 2.0, including “all new optimization tech” geared for complex applications. New language features in Swift 2.0 include enhanced error handling, protocol extensions, and interfaces as synthesized headers in Xcode. The compiler and the standard libraries for iOS, OS X, and Linux are said to be released by the end of the year.
France gives Google an ultimatum regarding the Right to be Forgotten
The “Right to be Forgotten” was a ruling of the European Court of Justice a year ago that determined that citizens should be able to request for search engines to remove links to sites from search results if they were considered private. Although major search engines established forms to submit requests in June of last year, Google has only de-indexed content for European domains. Still, Google has removed 41% of all requests submitted over the past year since the ruling. While Google challenges that the Right to be Forgotten was a European law and, therefore, should only apply to European content, the head of France’s regulator CNIL insists that “for delisting to be effective, it must be world-wide.” While the EU does not have legal jurisdiction with regards to Google outside of its domain, the EU is on a quest to protect citizen privacy. Due to the disagreement, this week CNIL mandated that Google to comply with de-indexing demands within 15 days, or face a potential fine just short of $170,000.
Net Neutrality rules go into effect today as scheduled
The FCC’s internet regulations to treat the internet as a public utility go in effect this week, after a three judge panel of the U.S Court of Appeals rejected a petition for a stay on the matter. Several cable companies, including AT&T and Verizon petitioned for a stay of the FCC’s decision, arguing the new rules were unfair and that the FCC did not follow proper procedure when the rules were created. The FCC voted 3-2 in agreement of the new rules last February, ban internet service providers from throttling or blocking connection for specific content, services, or applications. Although the regulations are going into effect today as scheduled, litigation is expected to continue, as 10 separate lawsuits have been filed.
Security fix issued for all versions of IE and Windows
Patch Tuesday released this week by Microsoft addresses 45 unique vulnerabilities, 24 of which are said to be critical Internet Explorer risks. Of those, four expose users to the risk of remote code execution when using IE, which would give attackers the ability to access and alter devices regardless of geographic location. While this may sound dangerous, this month’s Patch Tuesday is uncharacteristically light compared to recent months for Microsoft. The vulnerabilities arise as the browser’s successor begins its debut in the Windows 10 preview.
I mentioned in my last post that I has a new job at Microsoft (and I discussed it a bit more on the last AB Testing). During the interviews for the job, I talked a lot about quality. I used the agile quadrants as one example of how a team builds quality software (including my roles in each of the quadrants), but I also talked about quality software coming from a pyramid of activities and processes. I’ve been dwelling on the model for the last week or so, and wanted to share it for comments and feedback…or to just brain-dump the idea.Processes / Practice / Culture
The base of software quality (and my pyramid) is in the craftsmanship and approach of the team. Do they care about good unit testing and code reviews, or do they check in code willy nilly? Do they take pride in having a working product every day, or does the build fall on the floor for days on end? The base of the pyramid is critical for making quality software – but on established teams can be the most difficult thing to change.Code Quality (correctness)
An extension of PP&C above is code correctness. This is a more granular look specifically at code quality and code correctness. This includes attention to architecture, code design, use of analysis tools, programming tools, and overall attention do detail on writing great code.Functional Quality
Unit tests, functional tests, integration / acceptance tests, etc. are all part of product quality. I italicize, because for some reason, some folks think that quality ends here – that if the tests pass, the product is ready for consumers. (un?)Fortunately, readers of this blog know better, so I’ll save the soapbox rant for another day. However, a robust and trustworthy set of tests that range from the unit level to integration and acceptance tests is a critical part of building software quality.Automate Everything
There are some folks in software in the “Automate Everything” camp. A lot of testers don’t like this camp, because they think it will take away their job. Whatever.
As far as I can tell from my limited research on this camp, Automate Everything means automate all of the unit functional and integration tests…and maybe a chunk of the performance and reliability tests. For some definitions of “Everything”, I agree. Absolutely automate all of this stuff, and let (make) the developer of the code under test do it. The testers’ mind is much better put to use higher up the pyramid.-Ilities
Performance, reliability, usability, I18N, and other non-functional requirements / ilities are what begins to take your product from something that is functionally correct to something that people may just want to use. Often, the ilities are ignored or postponed until late in the product cycle, but good software teams will pay a lot of attention to this part of the pyramid throughout the product cycle.Customer Quality
It doesn’t matter how much you kick ass everywhere else in the pyramid. If the customers don’t like your product, you made a shitty product. It may be a functionally correct masterpiece that passes every test you wrote, but it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t provide value for your customers. Team members can “act like the customer”, be an “advocate for the customer”, or flat out, “be the customer”, but I’ll tell you (for likely the twentieth time on this blog), as a member of the product team, you are not the customer! That said, this is the part of the pyramid where good testers can shine in finding the fit and finish bugs that cause a lot of software to die the death of a thousand paper cuts.
Now, if you do everything else in the pyramid well, you have a better shot at getting lucky at the top, but your best shot at creating a product that customers like crave is to get quantitative and qualitative feedback directly from your users. Use data collection to discover how they’re using the product and what errors they’re seeing, ask them questions (in person, or via surveys), monitor twitter, forums, uservoice, etc. to see what’s working (and not working), and use the feedback to adapt your product. Get it in their hands, listen to them, and make it better.
More to come as I continue to ponder.(potentially) related posts:
Google launches a new hub to streamline security, privacy, and account management
This week at Google I/O, Google announced its new center of control for privacy and security, My Account. Google noted that security and privacy are “two sides of the same coin,” and therefore, are giving users the ability to quickly access and control both from one place. My Account brings two new options, the Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup, to simplify and guide users through the array of settings available to them. You can also manage settings normally used to enhance your search history, such as Web/App activity and location history on Google Maps. From My Account, you can also use the Ads Settings tool to adjust ads shown based on your prior searches. And, last but not least, you can control which apps are connected to your account. In addition to My Account, Google set up a new site at privacy.google.com to answer additional questions and promote
Bitcoin trading rules are finalized in New York
After an investigation into cryptocurrency that spanned two years, the first state in the US has now finalized trading regulations for virtual currency and Bitcoin. Announced during a speech at the BITS Emerging Payments Forum in Washington, the new rules will affect all traders who sell, buy, or accept the virtual currency. The new regulations require anyone engaged in Virtual Currency Business Activity apply for a license within 45 days of the regulation. The BitLicense regulations also outlines various specific conditions that must be met to keep the license updated “with regards to protections of consumers and anti-money-laundering compliance, capital adequacy, changes of ownership, and cybersecurity.” Unsurprisingly, the regulations have been met with a divided reaction.
Airbnb is making its machine learning technology open source
This week at Airbnb’s 2015 OpenAir developer conference, Airbnb announced two new open source technologies well worth checking out. Aerosolve, a tool written mostly in Java and Scala, uses “machine learning for humans” to assist with data discoveries within Airbnb. For example, Aerosolve can be utilized to easily depict the relationship between the price of a listing and the demand in the market. Airbnb also provided demos of the tool, including using
Aerosolve to teach the algorithm how to paint, pointillism style, or prediction income, based on US census data. Airflow, a workflow management platform, was used in house to streamline processes for their engineering team. The tool is built for authoring, scheduling, and monitoring data pipelines efficiently and scalably.
Both are readily available on their new site airbnb.io, which now hosts all of its open-source projects.
In January of 1995, I began some contract work (testing networking) on the Windows 95 team at Microsoft. Apparently, my work was appreciated, because in late May, I was offered a full time position on the team.
My first official day as a full time Microsoft employee was June 5, 1995.
That was twenty years ago today!
I never (ever!) thought I would be at any company this long. I thought computer software would be a fun thing to do “for a while” – but I didn’t realize how much I’d enjoy creating software, and dealing with all of the technical and non-technical things aspects that come with it. I learned a lot – and even though my fiftieth birthday is close enough to see, I’m still learning, and still having fun – and that’s a good thing to have in a job.
I’ve had fourteen managers, and seventeen separate offices. I’ve made stuff work (and screwed stuff up) across a whole bunch of products. I’ve done a ton of testing, entered thousands of bugs, and written code that’s shipped in Windows, Xbox, and more (not bad for a music major who stumbled into software).
In a nice bit of coincidence, my twenty-year mark also is a time of change for me. After two years working on Project Astoria (look it up – it’s really cool stuff), it’s time for me to do something new at Microsoft…something that aligns more with my passions, skills, and experiences – and something that shows what someone with over two decades of software testing experience can do for modern software engineering.
I’ve joined (yet another) v1 product team at Microsoft. Other than a few contract vendors, the team of a hundred or so has no software testers. They hired me to be “the quality guy”. This set up could be bad news in many worlds, but my job is definitely not to try to test everything. Instead, my job is to offer quality assistance, help build a quality culture, assist in exploratory testing, and look at quality holistically across the product. I don’t know if any jobs like this exist elsewhere (inside or outside of Microsoft), but I’m excited (and a bit scared) of the challenge.
More to come as I figure out what I do, and what it means for me as well as everyone else interested in software quality.(potentially) related posts:
The Struts, “It Could Have Been Me”