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Showing posts from May, 2014

If This Then What?

You found a bug. Congratulations. Pause before you report it. Ask yourself whether what you saw is all there is. Perhaps it's a specific example of a general problem, a relatively benign instance of a potentially more serious issue or something that no-one who matters will ever see? You wrote a short blog post. Congratulations. Pause before you publish it. Ask yourself whether what you wrote etc etc. Erm, yeah;  RIMGEA . Image:

The Power of My Label

I see this frequently, and fall for it still myself: just because what you're looking at has a label that suggests it is something or does something or represents something, you should still check that it really is the case if what you're doing depends on it. A couple of examples: when a list of user records you have pulled from your server contains one labelled  JamesThomas it   does not necessarily mean that I have an account on your server or even that anyone called James Thomas has an account on your sever or, even if they do, that it is active or valid or has other properties you're interested in. when you're using a test object named  x_4_y_5 it does not necessarily mean that it encodes the obvious variable assignments and, even if it once did, you might want to avoid assuming that no-one edited it to have some other values because it was a convenient way to run their quick test. when you find a script called in the test data directory i

The Ticket Pocket Test

I am renowned at work for my sartorial panache (the image is from one of my t-shirts). So when I spotted a hole in the knee of my jeans on Monday last week there was no option other than to replace them immediately. Or, at least, next time I went shopping. In fact, those jeans were old and well-worn in many places, although not that funny little pocket just inside the main front pocket, which looked as good as new. I'd always known it as a ticket pocket. Others call it a watch pocket, fob pocket or even a condom pocket. I've never kept anything in one on all the pairs of jeans I've ever owned. Why is it there? Historically it apparently had some purpose but these days it's essentially invisible through familiarity, expected but ignored, unknown but non-threatening, an occasional irritation when something accidentally ends up in it and a  largely pointless  feature. And so in an unlikely analogy even for me, I find myself wondering what the ticket pockets woul

Frustrated at Work?

I'm recruiting at the moment. The beer mat was something I came up with a few years ago when Linguamatics was growing quickly and we were looking for ways to promote ourselves locally. Where might we find the hip young gunslingers of the software business, I wondered? In the pub, I thought. It didn't get used in the end. I seem to remember we advertised on the packaging and serviettes of a food van near the Science Park instead. Even developers gotta eat, right? I'm recruiting at the moment. It's always a time of mixed feelings. I'm excited about the opportunity for growing and extending our team, of bringing in someone with new skills, new passions, new approaches and experiences. Someone who's going to refine and grow what we do, teach us, challenge what we do, challenge what I do, and who's going to be excited and challenged in turn by us, by our product and by the wide range of application of our testing services across the company. And