To say the Appcelerator #GenMobile Party last Wednesday night was a success would be an understatement! As one of Appcelerator’s newest partners, uTest was thrilled to sponsor their annual Apple WWDC bash along with Box, InMobi and VentureBeat. Given Appcelerator’s reputation for throwing “the” party of the conference, tickets sold out far in advance.
Starting with a rush at 6:00pm, more than 500 mobile professionals starting pouring out of Moscone Convention Center and packing into Jillian’s in the Metreon for a night of celebration. Folks from every facet of the mobile ecosystem mingled, hearing about each other’s latest projects and cool innovations in the works.
The diverse crowd included developers, project managers, and executives from companies including Groupon, SAP, Twitter, and Klout, as well as investors from firms like Google Ventures. Plus, mixed among the familiar faces from VentureBeat were tech stalwarts like Don Clark of the Wall Street Journal, Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch, and Emily Price of Mashable.
If you couldn’t make it to the party, check out this video highlight reel and the photo gallery on Appcelerator’s Facebook page. And of course we can’t forget about the photo booth! Too many great photos to be able to pick favorites…
Thanks again, Appcelerator and to everyone that joined in the fun. See you next year!
We all know that developers love iOS but it’s interesting to read that, based on a study from earlier this year, iOS crashes MORE than Android per app launch. Of course, iOS 5.0.1 accounts for 28%+ of the total crashes, which certainly skews the numbers.
A few important excerpts to note:
…Many people apparently take their time updating their iPhone software or never update it at all.
…People often don’t update their apps–just as they don’t update their operating system. (Android, unlike iOS, allows users to auto-update their apps, which can eliminate some of the problems.)
The very top Android apps are achieving a crash rate that, at least in this time period, the best iOS apps can’t match.
There has been plenty of talk these days about security. The increased use of computers and mobile devices to bank, shop and communicate with friends and family has also increased a user’s vulnerability to cybercriminals. Software updates and patches are critical to keep computers secure, but some companies are having trouble getting those patches released quickly.
Like many others, Apple recently had trouble with an exploited vulnerability, when cybercriminals were exploiting a flaw in Oracle’s java application environment. While Oracle was able to release an update for Window’s and Linux rather quickly, Apple (who handles their own Java updates) took months. There was much disappointment about the delayed response from Apple, and while many chalk this up to the fact that Apple was unprepared, as Mac’s had been virtually impenetrable for years, several others also cite regression testing as a major delay in releasing critical updates and patches. According to Sue Marquette Poremba of Security News Daily:
A quick fix isn’t always a good fix.
”Updating software reliably does not only mean fixing the problem,” (Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer at Redwood Shores) said, “but also testing whether the fix plays well with other modifications included in the code, plus making sure that it does not break any functions of the software.
Having a fix that works is important, but having the vulnerability on your computer affects how your system runs and who can control it. More often than not, the average computer user has no idea that a risk is there.
Ask any of the 55,000+ testers at uTest and they can certainly tell you that bug fixes take time. To triage, locate and correct a bug is not an easy process by any means. And more importantly testing to make sure the fix is not going to break other existing features or open the application to additional vulnerabilities is critical.
We’d like to know how you feel about security updates. How long do you think security patches and updates should take?
Full Disclosure: I used to be one of those Mac users who wasn’t too concerned with malicious links and suspicious emails because, hey, I use a Mac and Macs aren’t that susceptible to malware. … Oh how I miss those days.
Mac malware is on the rise, with an estimated 600,000 computers affected but the Flashback Trojan at the moment and another exploit taking advantage of a security flaw in outdated Microsoft Office for Mac files. Here’s some information on the Flashback Trojan’s effects, from PCMag:
The Java flaw exploited by the so-called Flashback Trojan dates back to February, but Apple did not release a patch until April 3. As a result, approximately 550,000 Macs were infected, according to data released this week from anti-virus vendor Doctor Web.
Doctor Web today provided a few more details about the proliferation of the Flashback Trojan. Almost 350,000 of the affected devices were in the U.S., with about 125,000 in Canada, and 75,000 in Great Britain.
In the U.S., Manhattan-based Macs saw the largest number of traceable infections at about 5,000, followed by Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Chicago. But the whereabouts of almost 18,000 affected Macs was unknown, Doctor Web said.
In Canada, Toronto was hardest hit (14,000), while Londoners were most-impacted in the U.K. (almost 20,000). For more details, see the map below.
As PCMag’s Security Watch noted yesterday, Mac users did not have to download or even interact with the malware to become infected. Websites exploited a Java flaw that let Flashback.K download itself onto Macs without warning. It then asked users to supply an administrative password, but even without that password, the malware was already installed.
And this is how the Microsoft Office exploit works (from PCWorld):
We’re 17 days away from the new year, and far before Auld Lang Syne begins playing and we pretend to know the words (after all the champagne, who can remember the lyrics we optimistically Google’d the day before anyways?), we’re pondering what changes are in store for us the next twelve months.
In a whitepaper released by ABI Research this week, their tech analysts took a collective look into the crystal ball for 2012 and (in their words) “have drawn some bold lines in the sand on a plethora of top-of-mind topics.”
But instead of predicting what WOULD happen in the mobile and telecom space, they took a different spin on the usual list and forecasted what WOULDN’T happen. Nice twist. (And a really good read.)
One of their more interesting predictions for those of us in software testing is by Patrick Connolly, Senior Analyst of Telematics and Navigation: “Indoor location will NOT become commonplace in 2012.”
It’s easy to see how this could be true…but also surprising.
After all, for as many articles that have been written about the technological challenges in making Indoor Location Based Services (LBS) a reality, there has been an equal amount of big name, big buzz announcements about it over the past few months. There are dozens of industry-leading companies—including Apple, Navteq, Qualcomm and Nokia—tackling the challenge from every angle.
There are even some major apps launching to give Indoor LBS a jolt from vision to reality. For instance, Google announced on their Mobile blog in November that the new Google Maps 6.0 gives users (on Android OS 2.1 mobile devices) the ability to Map the Vast Indoors, vis-à-vis:
Product management specs the requirements; engineering builds it, and QA tests it
As soon as it launches, Twitter and Facebook blow up with user complaints about how the app doesn’t work; is confusing to use; is slow; or some other flaw
Everyone blames engineering and QA for launching something that sucks
So what went wrong? We need better test automation… we need to outsource testing… we need to partner our testers with our engineers… we need better product documentation… we need to move from SCRUM to Kanban. We invest thousand of hours and millions of dollars trying to create apps that work as designed — not just inside our firewall, but in the hands of users.
Problem is, we focus all of these good intentions on stuff that occurs inside the lab (whether it’s our in-house QA lab, our test automation, or a vendor’s test lab 12 timezones away). And users don’t consume our app under the sterile conditions of a lab environment. So how do companies ensure that their apps work as well under real-world conditions as they do under lab conditions? There are two ways:
Running a beta program
Push a portion of their testing out into a distributed community
And as MG points out over at TechCrunch in a recent post about Apple’s launch of Siri, the use of the “beta” label no longer lets companies off the hook with regards to app quality:
Of course, as soon as the iPhone enters the wild it seems like a flood of bugs emerge. As of earlier this week there were already close to 100 iPhone 4S’ in the community (and growing rapidly) so I’m curious to hear what else our testers have seen.
The most recent complaint is the battery drain, but there are others, as documented in this YouTube video and listed below.
I found myself deliberating on something unexpectedly the other night. I was thinking about buying the iPad–which I’ve wanted for a long time–and it occurred to me: What’s the future of Apple?
Previously, the issue was whether I should I invest in iOS and start the conversion over from a lifetime on Windows. After all, my dad was a 30-year IBM vet, which put food on the table and paid my tuition. I grew up seeing mammoth mainframes, punchcards…glowing green DOS. No Apples of any color in our Big Blue household.
But on this occasion, it wasn’t a question of brand loyalty. It was the obvious: the loss of Steve Jobs.
I still find myself processing his passing both emotionally and practically. I remember how the AP alert popped up on my phone and it literally felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. I admired him for living authentically, taking billion dollar gambles on ideas, picking himself up after billion dollar failures, and holding steadfast (stubborn?) to his vision.
I’m convinced his near-religious zeal over every minutiae of product design stemmed from the same social ethic that led to Apple’s creation: to make computers so easy and user-friendly that everyone could benefit from computing’s powerful potential. Not just the technical, highly-educated and elite. Computers for Everyman.
Attention to detail. Risk-taking. Singular focus. These are among the core values of the Apple brand. As I considered buying the iPad, I wondered: Are these values sufficiently infused in Tim Cook and the company DNA to continue on without Steve? Or will Apple employees slowly lose direction like followers of the North Star left without guide over too many cloudy nights? Read more…
Last night, the greatest entrepreneur, inventor and technical visionary of our age passed away. You will be missed Steve Jobs. We’ll be commemorating Steve – and the impact he made on all of our lives – by posting thoughts from the uTest crew throughout the rest of the day/week, but I wanted to first post a very inspiring clip from his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.
“The only way to do great work, is to love the work that you do.”
Thoughts from the crew here at uTest (if you have a quote, story or link about Jobs that you’d like to share, please drop us a comment below):
@jennymoebius –”Today just isn’t the same. Although I personally didn’t know Steve Jobs, I strongly felt the blow of not having him around anymore – to invent, to create, to amaze and to connect us all in ways no one had ever dreamed before. Steve turned every one of us from passive users of technology into true creators – and those that give us the tools to further ourselves and the human race are remembered for all time.” #thankyouSteve
@spchampion — “My first experience using a Mac was when I was in college. I had a job with the university doing technical support, and they assigned me a brand new Blueberry iBook as my work computer. It was such a simple and elegant little laptop, and I was amazed at its build quality and design. But something was missing – the iBook had a handle on the back for carrying it places, but I was still tied to the wall by an Ethernet cable.
Apple had thought of this, and inside that little iBook they had included an incredibly cutting-edge piece of hardware that would let you use Ethernet wirelessly. This was new and risky – no other computer manufacturer was doing anything similar. In fact, this technology was so innovative that only one company made the base-station needed to create a wireless network: Apple.
When Apple launched the first generation Airport (itself a very elegant piece of hardware), I bought one immediately and set it up inside my dorm room. Then I detached my iBook from the wall, took it outside, and sat down on the grass in a nearby courtyard. I checked my email. I surfed the web. I saw the future.
Eleven years later, I came home from work one night, picked up my iPad, and sat down on my couch. I asked the iPad to load CNN, and the wireless network in my house (a second-generation Airport) happily dispatched the request and delivered the result. The news stunned me: Steve Jobs, the man responsible for all this innovation at my fingertips, had passed away.
Before Steve Jobs’ return, Apple was a company that made respectable but odd hardware. They used a proprietary keyboard connector called Apple Desktop Bus. They used SCSI for their hard drives. Their networking was done with AppleTalk. None of these technologies were particularly bad, but none of them changed the world either. What Steve Jobs did for Apple was to force the company to push the boundaries of technology and hardware in a way that would change the world for their customers. The original iBook was a brilliant example of this vision. It combined innovative hardware (an 802.11b radio) with a wildly iconic design, included high quality components, used emerging standards for connectivity (USB), and sold at a price that every college student could love. It was a computer you could use anywhere and connect to anything. It changed my world.
Thank you, Steve. I hope that we can keep pushing ourselves and our civilization as well as you did. ”
@edlavalette – “Steve Jobs had a unique ability to envision solutions to problems before us mortal users knew we had these problems.”
@matjohnston – “They could (and will) write libraries on Steve Jobs’ career — the break-through products he envisioned; the entirely new categories he created; saving Apple from the brink; saving the music industry; reinventing a big piece of the movie-making business. But what stands out to me is Jobs’ utter disrespect and disdain for the status quo. This man simply could not play by the rules that govern most execs and brands in modern times:
Manage expectations… tamp down what customers, competitors and media expect from you. Jobs and Apple continually raised expectations to frothy heights — and then met or even beat them.
Stick to what you’re good at… brands and execs are taught to focus on their core competencies and not to stray from it. Jobs and Apple were never constrained by the preconceived notions of “experts” about industry lines, price point or market segment. And we have the iPod, iPhone, iTunes and iPad because of it.
Give the market what they want… we look endlessly at market research, customer satisfaction surveys, web analytics hoping to uncover what the market wants. But Jobs connected with the market on a deeper level and knew where tastes were heading before anyone else — competitors, media, or even consumers themselves.
Play nice… in this hyper-connected world, brands and leaders are afraid to make a mistake or ruffle someone’s feathers, lest a customer, employee, or blogger take to Twitter and lob a critique at them. Jobs made an art form of autocratic-yet-engaging leadership. He proved that you don’t have to stoop to benign platitudes and empty talk to reach an audience — that people can and will rise to a challenge.
Be bold… Many execs and brands play it safe these days (too often, this includes uTest). But Jobs put it all out there — in his vision for technology & design; in his management style; and in the tenor of his yearly Stevenote addresses at Mac World.
Thanks Steve. Thanks for showing us that we don’t have to choose between form and function. For inspiring a new generation of tech leaders who have a similar single-mindedness and audacity of vision. Here’s hoping we all remember to #ThinkDifferent
@Mahhcc – “My first experience with an Apple product was in the 1st grade, and since then I’ve owned 2 iPhones and numerous Mac computers, all of which I’ve loved. Although I didn’t know him personally, I will always admire Steve for creating products that people love and for turning Apple into the company that everyone races to catch up to.”
@jamesc_utest– “It’s an unfortunate thing to lose a mind like Steve Jobs, especially to such a heartbreaking thing like cancer. Someone with so much more he could’ve accomplished in technology with more time. We could’ve been sitting here 10 years from now, talking about how Steve jobs innovated the first Apple Car (iCar), for all we know. I was always a fan of Apple products, but never really understood my fanboy obsession until after college when in my first job I was given a macbook for every day use.
The ease of being able to pick up a product and just use it is something that wasn’t just Steve’s mantra, it was true in every sense. With Steve gone, I think one of the most lasting quotes I want to remember is when he said “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”
@roysolomon — “For me Steve Jobs represents what entrepreneurship is all about, a lot of ups and downs, but if you stick to your truth and you are really gifted then you can change the world. In many ways we are like those in the 1400s who had the privilege of living in the age of Leonardo Da Vinci.”
Actually, in this 2005 commencement speech for Stanford University, Steve Jobs offers timeless advice for people in all professions. But seeing how this is a software testing blog – and seeing how Jobs has recently stepped down as Apple’s CEO – it seemed fitting to post these words of wisdom with our testing audience in mind.
My favorite quote from this speech: “The only way to do great work, is to love the work that you do.”