Category Archives: Personal

About me. And the tester inside.

Train Trainings, or missing the train for fun and profit

Yes, please Sir, you may take your train in platform 1 or 2 to Amsterdam Central.
These were the words that gave me a breath of confidence inside the Amsterdam Airport train station. Amidst many signs in the undecipherable Dutch language (insert jokes about Hebrew letters here), numbers are easy and I know these from tender age. Off I go to platform 1 (where a computer screen did indeed say “Amsterdam Central” in large fonts) hopping in the first train that arrives.

After a couple stations in which the small computer screen in the wagon did not show anything resembling “Amsterdam Central”, I asked the young boy sharing the bench with me whether I’m on the right direction. Turns out I was not, ha! Had to have waited for a later train in that now far-away platform 1.
In the last moments before the train left with me for another city altogether (Utrecht), I got off the train and a station operator helped me to a platform that had a direct train to Maastricht (for EuroSTAR 2015!). And I felt back in control.

Ok, not a remarkable story. Why am I breaking a 4 years blog-hiatus with such inanities (other than to humour a good friend)?
It’s because I’ll try to tie it with testing and learning. Let’s try it together:

Meanwhile I texted my Wife, explained that I’d lost time by getting in the wrong train. “OTOH,” she asked, “if you got on an earlier train and then did an exchange, you may have saved time. Right?
And that’s the point: I don’t know.

I learned a few things about Netherlands trains during the 20 minutes this happened: that platforms are used for many different lines and directions, that even though the main sign for a platform points to one destination there are smaller trains that also stop there before the big ones, that even though we are told to change trains in a station we can exchange in others… but I still didn’t know whether what I did was a delay or a lucky win. Even though I am empirically experiencing the trains first hand, I’ll have to wait to meet a friend to show me the train rails and timetables before I can start to understand more of what had happened. Either that, or opening the info by myself to make sense of it, or alternatively spending a couple days doing the trajectory between the stations taking notes.

Sitting in the train right now, it felt similar to what we feel testing software. We act, the application reacts, we do one thing and the software replies with another. Sometimes we go in a wrong direction, take notes of the new learnings and then go back. And, after a while testing, a question pops: We’ve been learning all day long, now this peculiar behavior — is it a bug or not? Is it a problem or perhaps a lucky feature?
And often we don’t know. Only after we admit that our learning is not complete, we can look for a friend to help us with the answer, or identify the materials needed to fill the knowledge gap, or decide on the next empirical steps required to elucidate the question… or at least get closer to an answer or recommendation.

Software is tricky (it’s invisible, it’s intangible) and it is infinite. Learning software is infinite as well. If we fall in the trap of feeling in control, we’ll not notice when big questions are yet unanswered.

Well, I should post this online, before I miss my station.

Lightning Talks night with EuroStar 2010 (the Rebel Alliance, a conference after the conference with beer)

I am back from EuroStar.
I’ve got lots to write about EuroStar: the people, the lectures, the Test Lab, the venue. However, if my mails are any indication, the thing people are waiting most to read about is the “Rebel Alliance” night.

This night, which went by many names (“Rebel Alliance”, “Oprørsalliancen”, “Danish Alliance”), was an informal meeting of friends. As we did at StarEast, it was “a mini conference after the conference, with beer”. We had there very special people and some famous names from the software testing world, and we spent the night talking testing, debating testing, listening to lightning talks on testing, playing games and debating some more. I am a boring nerd, so for me it was the best party ever.
The content and energy were fantastic, it was a remarkable evening. In this post I’ve collected some pics, videos and links.

Who was there? I know I’ll miss a name, but here goes a list (random order):
Jesper L Ottosen | Joris Meerts | Dorothy Graham | James Lyndsay
Bart Knaack | Zeger Van Hese | Martin Jansson | Henrik Andersson
Michael Bolton | Andy Glover | John Stevenson | Rob Lambert
Carsten Feilberg | Ajay Balamurugadas | Markus Gaertner | Henrik Emilsson
Julian Harty | Rob Sabourin | Rikard Edgren | Shmuel Gershon
Lynn McKee | Rob Lugton

Continue reading Lightning Talks night with EuroStar 2010 (the Rebel Alliance, a conference after the conference with beer)

The effect of time. And Shana Tova UMetuka (Happy and Sweet Year)

שנה הלכה שנה באה
אני כפי ארימה.
שנה טובה לך, אבא,
שנה טובה לך, אמא.(link)
“For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne. (link)”

 

Tomorrow we celebrate in Israel the New Year in the Hebrew calendar. Yes, 4 months before December ;), and guess what… we are now celebrating year 5771! The difference between the years counted in Gregorian calendar and the Hebrew calendar is ~3760 years.

New years, calendars and dates are extremely important for Software Testing.

Let me tell you a true story about value, about a bug. It was not a bug I found, but in fact a bug I had created. Continue reading The effect of time. And Shana Tova UMetuka (Happy and Sweet Year)

Yay, another Happy New Testing Year! A decade in review…

This is our fourth Happy New testing Year post, after this onethis one and this one:)

So, a few hours before January is over, I’ll transpose here an answer to Testing.StackExchange about the last decade on testing:

Question: What are the most important software testing developments of the decade?

My Answer:
The question asks about the most important developments… Not the best or the worst, the beneficial or the harmful.
I’ll try to answer here with considerations by me and others I found on the net. Not everybody will agree that all these are good — even I don’t agree with all :) — but my approach here is more of a reporter than a judge. Continue reading Yay, another Happy New Testing Year! A decade in review…

Software Testing is Funny! with Demetri Martin

Demetri Martin

One best friend of mine introduced me to Mitch Hedberg and Demetri Martin, great one-liner comedians. They are/were two funny men!! Three, actually, if you count my friend which is also funny. 

After hearing the disks for over a year, not only the jokes aren’t any less funny, but I’ve started to find subliminal testing messages in them :) .
I’m writing down these “insights” because I find value in them. And even if they fail to teach you something… Hey! At least the jokes are pretty funny! :)
So here go some favorite quotes, and their parallel in testing: 

Continue reading Software Testing is Funny! with Demetri Martin

Exploratory Shopping – An analogy attempt

These days I went to a book fair of a well known publishing house, and found there my very own analogy for Exploratory Testing.
I tell the story and analogy below for your pondering and criticism. :)


You know how these fairs are, I believe book fairs are similar everywhere: a loft filled with tables filled with books at good prices. You walk around the tables, take the books you like and proceed to checkup.        

I like books, better yet when they are good/useful books, and even more when they’re cheap :) — so I came to the fair prepared! I planned a budget (100 NIS) studied the catalog of discounted books and decided beforehand which books I wanted to buy: Continue reading Exploratory Shopping – An analogy attempt