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Showing posts from January, 2023

The Perpetual Apprentice

I paired with my friend Vernon last week. He mentioned it in a blog post afterwards: Watching my colleagues Lisi and James work is like watching wizards cast spells. He's very kind, and I do like a pointy hat, but there was no sorcery involved, simply intentful exploratory testing.  What do I mean by that? In this case, I mean that we started with a question and looked for ways that we could find information to help us to answer it. This particular question was very open because we didn't have a very specific oracle: can we find examples where the output of the system under test might be problematic? What did we do? CODS : Control, Observe, Decompose, Simplify. We could use the debugger to trace execution to a few pivotal functions and see what the application was doing (control, observe) but that was tiresome after a while. So we hacked the source code a little (conceptually simplify) so that variables were available to be d

A Testing Patina?

  I was in the shed earlier on, spraying the footrest I've made for my daughter a metallic purple.  As I ghosted the can back and forth, a waft of paint drifted onto the workbench adding another colourful contribution to the happenstance Pollock that's been building up since I fished the boards out of a skip in the centre of town *cough* years ago. That's not to mention the various scratches, cuts, dents, dinks, and drill holes that pepper the surface. Yes, I thought to myself, this bench has a real patina . On seeing my bench, a fellow maker and fixer would recognise it. The layers and shapes are archeological evidence of the variety of activities at different times, with different materials, operated on by different tools.  Which got me thinking: how and where am I building up patina in my work in testing? And how would anyone ever see it? And would they be able to appreciate it if they did? Edit: I followed up with a few ideas in A Testing Patina

A Qualified Answer

The Association for Software Testing is crowd-sourcing a book,  Navigating the World as a Context-Driven Tester , which aims to provide  responses to common questions and statements about testing from a  context-driven perspective . It's being edited by  Lee Hawkins  who is  posing questions on  Twitter ,   LinkedIn ,   Slack , and the AST  mailing list  and then collating the replies, focusing on practice over theory. I've decided to  contribute  by answering briefly, and without a lot of editing or crafting, by imagining that I'm speaking to someone in software development who's acting in good faith, cares about their work and mine, but doesn't have much visibility of what testing can be. Perhaps you'd like to join me?   --00-- "Whenever possible, you should hire testers with testing certifications"  Interesting. Which would you value more? (a) a candidate who was sent on loads of courses approved by some organisation you don't know and ru

ChatGPT Whoppers

Over Christmas I thought I'd have a look at ChatGPT . Not to "break" it, or find more examples of its factual incorrectness , but to explore it sympathetically, for fun. And it was fun. In particular, the natural language generation and understanding capabilities of the system are really impressive. However, even without trying it's not hard to expose weaknesses in the tool. So much so that I doubt I would have bothered to blog about what I found, except that I enjoyed the accidental semantic connection between a handful of my observations. I asked for ASCII art to celebrate my 600th blog post on software testing and got this whopper! . .: :: :; ;: .;; .;;: ::;: :;;: ;;;:

600 Bad Ideas?

That's my 599 blog posts from October 2011 to December 2022.   Well, it's one view of them, a view that demonstrates that I show up and I ship. For me, these are useful, satisfying, and creative acts.   I like Seth Godin on creativity. In an interview with Thought Economics he says: What it means to be creative is pretty simple. It’s to do something human, something generous, something that might not work. Tick, tick, tick ... I hope.    Godin is also interesting on achieving success. I don't know whether I'd say Hiccupps is successful in any objective sense. Godin's take is that you have to show up first: Commitment to the process, the practice and the method comes before the success. So, success? I wrote a music fanzine when I was younger. More than once it was described as the zine-writer's zine. Looking for a reference to that, I found this :  "... zines that stood out, such as Robots and Electronic Br