Throwback Thursday: The TV Era Prior to Netflix

PrevueChannelIn this week’s Throwback Thursday, yes, believe it or not, there was a time when there was not Netflix. Yes, kids, I know that sounds like a society you wouldn’t want to be any part of.

There was a time — gasp — that you had to sit down to scheduled programming, tethered to the mercy of the television channels and what they were programming then and there. You wanted an episode of Seinfeld? Sure. Only if you happened to be planted on your couch in front of the tube during NBC’s Must-See-TV Thursday Nights.

Binge watching wasn’t a part of the vernacular. If you wanted to do a 1990s equivalent of binge watching, it would consist of either stomaching four consecutive hours of whatever was on the channel you were on, or a VHS tape full of those great Seinfeld episodes you wanted to watch so bad (in fact, I believe I had a tape like that…replete with all the commercials and poor quality you’d expect of a tape that was re-recorded on, over and over, about 2000 times).

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Focus on Automated Testing, Discount for uTesters at UCAAT

Automation is a sector of software testing that has experienced explosive growth and enterprise investment in recent years. The knowledge necessary to learn about and specialize in automated testing is found at industry events like the upcoming 2nd annual User Conference on Advanced Automated Testing (UCAAT) in Munich, Germany from September 16-18, 2014. ucaat

The European conference, jointly organized by the “Methods for Testing and Specification” (TC MTS) ETSI Technical Committee, QualityMinds, and German Testing Day, will focus exclusively on use cases and best practices for software and embedded testing automation.

The 2014 program will cover topics like agile test automation, model-based tests, test languages and methodologies, as well as web of service and use of test automation in various industries like automotive, medical technology, and security, to name a few. Noted participants in the opening session include Dr. Andrej Pietschker (Giesecke & Devrient), Professor Ina Schieferdecker (Free University of Berlin), Markus Becher (BMW), Dr. Heiko Englert (Siemens), and Dr. Alexander Pretschner (Technical University of Munich).

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Announcing the 2014 Summer Bug Battle, uTest’s First Since 2010

Marty3uTest is happy and excited to announce that a proud tradition and competition that started in our community in 2008 is back after a four-year hiatus…the Bug Battle!

Bug Battles are arguably even more popular than they were since the last time we held this esteemed competition. Companies from Microsoft to Facebook are offering up bounties to testers that find the most crucial of bugs bogging down their apps, and putting their companies’ credibility on the line.

The Bug Battle launches right now, Wednesday, July 23. Testers will have two weeks, until Wednesday, August 6th, to submit the most impactful Desktop, Web and Mobile bugs from testing tools contained on our Tool Reviews site. Only the best battlers will take home all the due glory, respect, and the cash prizes! And speaking of those cash prizes, we’ll be awarding well over $1000, along with uTest swag for bugs that are not only the most crucial and impactful, but that are part of well-written bug reports.

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UPDATE: $10,000 Tesla Hacking Challenge Accepted…and Defeated

Continuing in the Security State of Mind here at the uTest Blog today, some of you may remember that we reported last week that teslahack1the 2014 SyScan conference was offering a $10,000 bounty for any tester who was able to remotely access a Tesla Model S’ automobile operating system.

That open challenge didn’t last too long, apparently.

According to The Register, students from Zhejiang University late last week were able to take control of the automobile remotely while it was driving, gaining access to its doors and sunroof by opening them, switching on the headlights, and, for some giggles, sounding the horn, too.

If you’ll remember, Tesla didn’t play any part in this open challenge to hackers at the Chinese conference, but it did issue a statement supporting “the idea of providing an environment in which responsible security researchers can help identify potential vulnerabilities,” hoping “security researchers will act responsibly and in good faith.” Opening the doors while the car is driving doesn’t sound too responsible to me, but that just underscores the fact that this is something definitely worth looking into on the part of Tesla.

I know a little company that could help.

 

Learn Security Testing Basics at uTest University

Data breaches, hacking, and other security leaks have been in the news for months now. Earlier this year, the Heartbleed bug affected the data security at big names like Google, Yahoo, Instagram, Pinterest, and Netflix. Organizations of all sizes from coast to coast are constantly dealing with security threats and breaches. New York suffered 900 data breaches last year, according to a report from the State Attorney General. In California, an insurance company inadvertently exposed the social security numbers of 18,000 doctors on a public web site.security-lock

It seems that the trend of big data breaches making the news is not stopping. This PC World article points out the 5 biggest data breaches of 2014 so far and the list includes recognizable names like eBay, Michaels Stores, and the Montana Department of Public Health. All of this media attention puts the security industry – and security testing – in the spotlight.

You can get up to speed on security testing using our course track, which includes:

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Testing the Limits With James Bach – Part I

JamesBach150James Bach is synonymous with testing, and has been disrupting the industry and influencing and mentoring testers since he got his start in testing over 25 years ago at Apple. Always a great interview, James is one of our most popular guests and we’re happy to have him back for his first Testing the Limits since 2011. For more on James’ background, his body of work and his testing philosophy, you can check out his blog, website or follow him on Twitter.

In Part One of our latest talk with James, he talks about a future that involves a ‘leaner’ testing world, the state of context-driven testing outside of the United States, and why you’re “dopey” if you’re a manager using certain criteria in hiring your testers.

uTest: We know you don’t enjoy certifications when it comes to testers. In fact, in a recent blog, you mentioned that ‘The ISTQB and similar programs require your stupidity and your fear in order to survive.’ Do you feel like certifications are picking up steam when it comes to hiring and if they’re becoming even more of a pervasive issue?

JB: I don’t have any statistics to cite, but my impression from my travels is that certifications have no more steam today than they did 10 years ago. Dopey, frightened, lazy people will continue to use them in hiring, just as they have for years.

uTest: Speaking of pervasive problems, what in your opinion has changed the most – for better or for worse – in the testing industry as a whole since we talked with you last almost 3 years ago?

JB: For the better: the rise of the Let’s Test conference. That makes two solidly Context-Driven conference franchises in the world. This is related to the general rise of a spirited European Context-Driven testing community.

Nothing much else big seems to have changed in the industry, from my perspective. I and my colleagues continue to evolve our work, of course.

uTest: In a recent interview, you mentioned that you see the future of testing, in 2020 for instance, as being made up just of a small group of testing “masters” that jump into testing projects and oversee the testing getting done…by people that aren’t necessarily “testers.” Do you see QA departments going completely by the wayside in this new reality of a leaner testing world? Wouldn’t this be a threat to the industry in general?

JB: I’m not sure whether you mean QA groups, per se, or testing groups (which are often called QA). I don’t see testing groups completely going away across all the sectors of the industry, but for some sectors, maybe. For instance, it wouldn’t surprise me if Google got rid of all its “testers” and absorbed that activity into its development groups, who would then pursue it with the ruthless efficiency of bored teenagers mopping floors at McDonald’s (a company as powerful as Google can do a lot of silly things for a very long time without really suffering. Look at how stupidly HP has been managed for the last 20 years, and they are still, amazingly, in business).

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Are There Enough ‘Intellectual’ Software Testers?

imagesJames Bach is no stranger to tackling heated topics, and in general, being one of the most influential disruptors in the in the testing industry.

So it comes as no surprise that in a recent blog, James provided some fodder for a great discussion in the uTest Forums, arguing that there aren’t enough intellectual testers in the field — that is, testers that are willing to challenge themselves or the status quo:

“The state of the practice in testing is for testers NOT to read about their craft, NOT to study social science or know anything about the proper use of statistics or the meaning of the word ‘heuristic,’ and NOT to challenge the now 40 year stale ideas about making testing into factory work that lead directly to mass outsourcing of testing to lowest bidder instead of the most able tester.”

While there was a fair amount of pushback to this, a surprising amount of uTesters tended to agree, including one tester that even went so far as to call it a “pet peeve” of his. However, while agreeing with Bach’s assessment, these same testers argued that it isn’t necessarily their fault — it’s a product of their environment:

“To conclude, I believe that the issue lies with how projects are managed. If no time is left for more robust testing, then it almost doesn’t matter how intellectual or technically savvy a tester is if all he/she is going to have time to do is create and execute tests against specifications. In other words, intellectual testers don’t have much opportunity for more intellectual testing. A strong tester would not be able to showcase those skills in this environment.

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Throwback Thursday: Hacking the Mainframe

If there is sexy side of software testing, it is likely Security Testing. I know this because it’s the only type of testing (aside from game testing) that Hollywood seems to care about. For some reason, the hackers portrayed in movies always are always trying to access vital intelligence contained within the mainframe.

The truth is that mainframes – which are essentially just large scale computer systems – are actually throwback tech and today most companies don’t use them. According to the Huffington Post, “the manipulation of massive amounts of data, once the hallmark of mainframe computers, can now be done by server farms which easily connect to other systems, cost far less money, and require less training to administer.”

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Stay Flexible: Top 3 Agile Development Best Practices

Note: The following is a guest submission to the uTest Blog from Sanjay Zalavadia.agile

Despite the general consensus among software developers that agile methods offer the best approach to quality assurance, many organizations continue to struggle with their implementation. Because agile practices differ so much from traditional waterfall processes, it’s understandable that some teams may run into obstacles during the transition. By keeping these top agile best practices in mind, struggling QA teams can get on the right track and begin to appreciate the benefits of the methodology.

  1. Be agile - This sounds like a no-brainer, but many programmers and testers lose sight of what it means to be agile. With all the different processes and tasks that agile teams carry out, individuals and organizations as a whole can get bogged down in the details. As IT service provider A.J. Boggs explained, it’s important to stay true to the spirit of the approach and not the nuts and bolts of the methodology. For instance, if a team is finding that its daily Scrums are difficult to coordinate and are not providing much of any value, maybe QA leaders should consider dropping them. Be agile, but don’t be beholden to the process.

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5 Ways to Learn About Software Testing at uTest

computer mouse and book, concept of online educationThe software testing world can be a complex maze, especially if you are new to the industry. There are various testing types, testing methodologies, and testing schools of thought, as well as guidance about bug reporting, project etiquette, and working on a testing team. The amount of information can be overwhelming, but we’ve outlined a few ways you can easily get your bearings and start off on the right foot in software testing here at uTest.

Read About Testing News

The Software Testing Blog is your source for news and information about the testing world. You can find posts about events, careers, trends, and specific testing types like mobile and security. The blog also features Q&A sessions with industry experts like Stephen Janaway, Craig Tomlin, and Dave Ferguson, along with upcoming interviews with leaders like James Bach.

Connect With Other Testers

The Software Testing Forums is your place to meet fellow testers from around the world and discuss the hottest topics in testing today. The forums includes over 80,000 posts in more than 5,000 topics. Take a poll, share your favorite testing quotes, or just introduce yourself to the community.

Attend An Event

The Software Testing Events calendar is a comprehensive listing of testing events happening around the globe. You can find both in-person and online events, as well as new courses available to testers. Some show organizers also offer discounts for members of the uTest Community. See event listings for more details.

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