Bug Battle Nearing Finish Line, Additional Bonus for Testers

The Olympics. The World Cup. All grand battles of human strength and wit must come to an end at some point, and the 2014 Summer Bug Battle is no dHopper-Magnifying-Gifferent.

We’re nearing the finish line for our first bug competition in nearly four years, with the days waning to get in your most impactful Desktop, Web and Mobile bug submissions from testing tools contained on our Tool Reviews site!

Testers have just six days left, until Wednesday, August 6th, and only the best battlers will take home all the due glory, respect, and the cash prizes of over $1000 for bugs that are not only the most crucial and impactful, but that are part of well-written bug reports.

As an added bonus on top of the five uTest t-shirts we’ll be giving away along with cash prizes, we have sweetened the pot even more for those that get their entries in by the end of day, Sunday, August 3rd — you’ll be eligible for a bonus drawing of 1 of 5 uTest t-shirts! But only if you enter by Sunday.

Yes, you’ll be eligible for one of the sweet uTest t-shirts you see below that Community Management colleague Andrew graciously models off for us (banana not included).

The long, nobly fought battle is nearly over, so be sure to ENTER NOW!

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Throwback Thursday: The 14.4k Modem

Every Thursday, we jump into the Throwback Thursday fray with a focus on technology from the past, like the 14.4k modem. These days, we get a little cranky when we can’t stream a two-hour HD movie from Netflix. When this happens to me, my internal dialog sounds a bit like: “How dare you, Internet, for making me watch this in standard definition! What is this, 1991?!”

We are, in fact, throwing it back to that exact year when the 14.4k modem was released.  14k_modem

A dial-up modem, for those of you who have never owned/used/seen/heard one, was the analog way to connect to the web. The word modem stands for modulator-demodulator. According to Wikipedia, it “is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information and demodulates the signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data. Modems can be used with any means of transmitting analog signals, from light emitting diodes to radio. A common type of modem is one that turns the digital data of a computer into modulated electrical signal for transmission over telephone lines and demodulated by another modem at the receiver side to recover the digital data.”

If you were using a modem at home, it typically connected through your phone line, thus making it impossible to surf the web and talk to anyone at the same time. Surfing the web with a dial-up modem took dedication and lots of alone time. It was especially great when I was waiting forever for a web page to load and someone else in my house would pick up the phone and break the connection.

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Connect With Your Favorite Testers With New Profile Features

Since the launch of the new uTest in early May, we haven’t paused to build new features and functionality that can add value to your software testing lives. We know that you’re busy and keeping on top of the latest news and information in the testing world can be a challenge. Therefore, we’re happy to launch two new features today: Follow Me and Activity Feed.

The Follow Me feature is located on all uTester profiles, allowing you to easily get updates from your favorite uTesters at the click of a button, viewing the Activity Feed of their latest contributions to blog posts, tool reviews, and more. follow button

Following your favorite uTester is easy — just look for the blue Follow Me button in the lower right corner of their banner image. With one click, you will now receive updates every time that uTester posts a new comment, pens a blog post or University course, or reviews a new tool. Don’t know the profile URL of the person you want to follow? Find it here.

The Activity Feed is your one stop to see the latest updates from the people you’re following. Your activity feed is sortable by blog comment, blog post, University course, University comment, and tool review, so you can control what types of updates you see.

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After Five Years of Debate…Tester Certifications Still a Touchy Subject

Mention certifications to testers and you’77ba97b0c4ll run the gamut of responses, from those that have found valuable experience and advancement in their careers by being certified, to those that preach that a certification is no substitute for cold, hard experience.

We all know how testing luminary James Bach feels about them, going on to say that “The ISTQB and similar programs require your stupidity and your fear in order to survive,” and that “dopey, frightened, lazy people will continue to use them in hiring, just as they have for years.” Suffice to say that James won’t be sending the ISTQB a card this holiday season.

Rarely has a topic been as polarizing and heated in discussion, to the point of after five years of the initial topic being launched in our uTest Community on the subject, hundreds of responses have been logged, along with sequel/knockoff threads (sequels that were actually still engaging and not superfluous like A Good Day to Die Hard).

Here are just a few of our favorite viewpoints from these discussions:

Are certifications bad? Not necessarily.
Are certifications that base their exams on multiple choice bad? Most likely.
Do certifications meet the needs of my organization? Perhaps.
Is there even a best practice in Software Testing? Not likely.
Do certifications tell you how good you are as a tester? Hell no.
(Glory L.)

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Three Ways for Testers to Take Their Careers to the Next Level

6a00d8341c64d253ef0120a5aa8aa3970c-800wiI had lunch recently with a few recruiters that asked me for referrals for performance testing roles. They had a number of open roles and could not find anyone suitable.

The discussion reminded me of possible ways for a tester to take his or her career to the next level. There are a few things that can be done.

Staying the Course and Improving Your Skills

The first is to continue to do what you know well and aim at becoming as good as possible. Most of the testers take this road and choose to learn mostly about manual, back box testing.

One image that comes to mind for the tester that pursues this road is the small fish in a big bowl. Since the bowl is big, there are many other fish around, and the competition for space and food is high. For testers that do just manual testing, there is a high level of competition for new jobs, the rates are not that high (due to the size of the market) and the demand is up and down.

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Latest Testing in the Pub Podcast Takes on Security

Testing in the PubStephen Janaway and Dan Ashby discuss many testing topics over a pint at the local watering hole in their Testing in the Pub podcasts, but security is one that hasn’t been brought up just yet — until now.

The latest podcast features a chat with Dan Billing, a.k.a. the Test Doctor, and gets into what has been a very active subject as of late at the uTest Blog. As we’ve previously mentioned, data breaches, hacking, and other security leaks have been in the news for months now, not limited to instances including New York suffering 900 data breaches last year.

In other words, the subject of this latest podcast couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Be sure to check out Episode 8 of Testing in the Pub right now.

Testing the Limits With James Bach: Part II

In part II of our latest Testing the Limits interview with James Bach, we tried something a bit different this time, crowdsourcing some ojamesbachf the questions from our uTest Community members. Additionally, James shows us his lighter side and which of his picks won the World Cup — of his heart. 

Be sure to check out Part I of our interview, if you already haven’t.

What is the biggest hurdle to testing you see testers struggle with? (Jeff S.)

JB: The hurdles that come with having no credibility. Gain credibility, and every external hurdle gets a lot smaller. If you ever find yourself saying, “I want to do good work, but my manager insists that I test in a stupid way, instead,” then probably the issue is that your manager thinks you are incompetent. Fix that. Then when you politely tell your manager to mind his own business, he will let you get on with your work in the way you see fit.

Do you see the tide changing for development teams modernizing their testing philosophy? Or is entrenched thought winning the day? (Jeff S.)

JB: I don’t know, really. I don’t do polls or anything. I can say that business is good for me and my colleagues, right at the moment.

Which area or skill is best to focus on first as a tester to build a solid foundation or understanding of testing? (Frank B.)

JB: I would say: general systems thinking (GST). See the book Introduction to General Systems Thinking by Jerry Weinberg. Within the realm of GST, I suggest: modeling. It’s vital to gain control over your mental models of products. Models are a prison from within which you test.

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CAST 2014 to be Webcast Live for Testers, Full Coverage Also From uTest

The 9th Annual Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST), held this year from August 11-13 in New York2014_CAST_square City, is one of the premier testing events of the year. While this year’s edition is already sold out, testers will still be able to tune into all of the keynotes and full track sessions for free from the comfort of their homes.

CAST announced that a live stream will be available from its official site on August 11 and 12, from 9am-7pm EDT each day, so you’ll be able to watch sessions and keynotes from esteemed speakers including: James Bach, Richard Bradshaw, Matthew Heusser and Henrik Andersson.

The theme for CAST 2014 is “The Art and Science of Testing.” This year, speakers will be sharing their experiences surrounding software testing – whether the experience supports testing as an art or a science.

uTest is also pleased and honored to be a sponsor of CAST 2014. In addition to the live stream hosted on CAST’s site, be sure to stay tuned to the uTest Blog and @uTest on Twitter, as we’ll not only be reporting from the event, but sharing exclusive video interviews with some of the major personalities from the show.

Three Essential Features for Test Management Products

Note: The following is a guest submission to the uTest Blog from Nicole Abrahams.

You don’t need us to explain to you the importance of working with a test management product that not only gets the job done, but is a pleasure to work with on an ongoing basis.checklist

Managing the software testing process is by no means glamorous work, and moving between different test procedures, although interesting, certainly isn’t the most exciting activity programmers ever get to do. But it’s an essential activity, and when you’re looking through all the test management products on the market today, it’s within your best interest to find one that not only looks great, but which displays the three essential features listed below.

Whether you’re an amateur tester or you’ve been working in this field for many years, three essential features you should look for (and ask about) before purchasing any test management software are:

Ease of Use

One feature you should look for in a test management product above all else is: How easy is the tool to use? It may sound obvious, but the easier a particular test management product is, the more inclined you will be to use it on a frequent basis, and the shorter the learning curve will be when moving over from another, similar tool.

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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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