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Showing posts from February, 2016

Bug-Free Software? Go For It!

This post is a prettied-up version of the notes for my talk at the second Cambridge Exploratory Workshop on Testing last weekend. The topic for the workshop was When Testing Went Wrong .  Cold fusion is a type of nuclear reaction that, if it were possible, would provide a cheap, clean and safe form of energy. In 1989 two scientists, Fleischmann and Pons, made worldwide headlines when they claimed to have generated cold fusion in a test tube in their lab. Unfortunately, subsequent attempts to replicate their results failed, other scientists started to publicly doubt the experimental methodology, and the evidence presented was eventually debunked. Cold fusion is a bit of a scientific joke. Which means that if you are a researcher in that field - now also called Low Energy Nuclear Reactions - you are likely to have a credibility problem before you even start. And, further, that kind of credibility issue will put many off from even starting. Which is a shame because the potential

Joking With Jerry Part 1

This is the first part of the transcript of a conversation about the relationship between joking and testing. The jokers were  Jerry Weinberg  (JW),  Michael Bolton  (MB),  James Lyndsay  (JL),  Damian Synadinos  (DS), and  me  (JT). See also Intro , Part 2 and Part 3 . --00-- JL: I wrote one joke for this. It turned up in my head and it may not be original, but it's mine. And the process of arrival is an interesting thing for me because you don't necessarily design a joke, you ready yourself for the arrival of the joke. And that certainly parallels some of the things I do when I'm testing ... where you are prepared and you've got your data and you're waiting for something to give you a hint, give you a smell, and then you might tune it a bit. So the joke, post-tuning, is this: My name is James and I'm a workaholic ... I haven't had a job in 22 years. JW: Do you get a special medal for 22 years? A little coin? JL: I know that James Thomas i

Joking With Jerry

At the tail end of his recent interview at System Smarts  Jerry Weinberg talked about the aha! moment of discovery and its relationship to humour: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Because humour ... arises from something unexpected. You start to tell a joke and the punch line [is something] people weren’t looking for and so they laugh and you laugh. And that’s the ... aha! experience.  Develop your sense of humour; your ability to look at things and laugh. My friend once said, when some work was really miserable, “some day we’ll look back at this and laugh. Why not now?” And I was delighted to hear that because I spoke on the same topic at EuroSTAR in 2015  ( slides ), noting that testers and comedians try to find ways to see the world differently and end up doing things like exposing ambiguity pointing out things that’ve been ignored in plain sight violating expectations making surprising connections I've written about it on this blog in  Pizza Chants  and  Th

What Do I Know?

My kids begged to go to the Funky Fun House this half-term. I've got nothing against these soft play barns particularly - I've been to stacks of them - but, for me, there's generally little that's funky about echoing industrial spaces crammed with primary-coloured foam, covered in crumbs and reeking of decades worth of half-eaten fish and chips. To be fair, though, this one is in a (ware) house and the girls do have a lot of fun . In fact, I used to have fun too when they wanted me to play on the thing with them. These days they just see me as the shoe and coat monitor and provider of snacks. (Oh, and somone to take the mickey out of in front of their friends.) And that's how it went down this time too, except that I was engrossed in a book called Are We All Scientific Experts Now? by Harry Collins . A book I read in its entirety at my sticky table, that blocked out the noise of the toddlers in the padded prison enclosure that I'd ended up sitting next t