Software Bugs, Know Sense of Timing

If it can go wrong, it will go wrong (and at the worst possible time). This famous dictum from Murphy’s law should resonate with the greater software community – especially testers – as illustrated by the following videos.

First, let’s say you’re the CEO of a company that specializes in video-conferencing software and you have been invited to discuss your products on a video-conference interview for a popular cable news program. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Think real hard and then fast forward to 1:20 in the video to see if you were right.

Of course, this was certainly not the first (or worst) gaffe of its kind. Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us:

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Microsoft DLL “Bug” Creates Headaches

Pardon my American “gun-loving” nature while I start this blog post with an analogy about guns. Let’s say that I’m interested in learning how to shoot a gun, so I go visit my local shooting range for instruction. The people who run the shooting range (which is fully licensed and very reputable) give me extensive safety training before finally issuing me a gun with some ammunition. While standing in front of the target, I carefully load the gun, point the barrel at my foot, and pull the trigger.

So whose fault is it that I just shot myself in the foot? Is it the shooting range’s for not issuing me special bullet proof boots or for not training me even more thoroughly about the dangers of shooting my extremities? Or is it mine, for shooting myself in the foot?

A recent Windows “bug” has put Microsoft in the position of the shooting range. I put “bug” in quotes because it’s hardly the shooting range’s fault that I shot myself in the foot, but it’s still their problem in the end. Same with Microsoft who must now deal with an annoying flaw in their DLL loading behavior that isn’t their fault but has become their problem. Ars Technica explains the problem very well, but here’s a quick summary of the issue:

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Click Fraud Climbing – Up 18.6 Percent

According to tech analyst firm IDC, U.S. companies paid a record $14.2 billion for paid keyword-driven contextual ads in 2009, with Google dominating 55% of that revenue, Yahoo 9% and Microsoft 6%.

More dollars = More fraudsters. Period.

The company Click Forensics just released a report on the overall click fraud rates for the paid search industry. According to SearchEngineLand, the report said click fraud was up from 17.4% last quarter to 18.6% in Q2 of 2010. Traffic across 300+ ad networks is reflected in the data.

In addition, it was found that the countries outside North America with the greatest volume of click fraud were Singapore, Pakistan, Japan, Ukraine and China respectively.

Recent research by marketing intelligence company Visual IQ came out with similar numbers earlier this month. The company estimates marketers lose an average of 16.7 percent of their pay-per-click budgets to fraud.

So why is click fraud slowly trending higher and higher? The CEO of Click Forensics, Paul Pellman, stipulates that “the main reasons appear to be the continued sophistication of botnets and malware prevalent in the fast-growing search marketing space.”

According to Inc. Magazine, click scams use the following techniques:

  • Manual clicking. Workers might be paid to click to run up totals.
  • Software clicks. Automated clicks.
  • Bot networks. Using malware to harness unsuspecting users’ computers, criminals can create large networks of computers employing programs that imitate clicks.

Despite detection innovations, click fraud rates show no signs of slowing. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated. Criminals are making more money. So what can we do? Any advice out there on how to mitigate it?

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

What’s the Best Mobile Operating System? Android FTW!

The mobile wars are heating up! Microsoft is aggressively luring app developers for its Windows Phone 7 OS, while Android quietly gains market share. Blackberry expects big things out of OS 6, while The Big Apple deals with antenna issues, the yellow screen of death and the (remote) possibility of a recall. Interesting times indeed.

As part of our newly-launched “What Do uThink?” series (more on this shortly), we decided to ask our community which mobile OS they considered to be the best. Here are the results:

  1. Android – 38%
  2. RIM Blackberry – 28%
  3. Apple – 16%
  4. Symbian – 12%
  5. Windows Mobile – 6%

“What do uThink?” is a weekly poll, where we’ll be asking the uTest community their preferences and feedback on various apps, operating systems and other technologies. To encourage voting, we’ll be awarding monthly and quarterly prizes to randomly selected participants. This quarter, for instance, we’re giving away an iPod Touch. The weekly polls open every Tuesday afternoon and voting takes place in the uTest Forums available to registered testers) as well as on our Facebook page. Got it?

Good. Now back to the mobile OS results…

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Apple Winning the Bug Marathon

Take that Oracle! You just let Apple capture the lead in the 2010 Bug Marathon, otherwise known as Secunia’s Half Year Report (PDF). Worth the read, the 20-page report identifies the ten largest vendors with the most vulnerabilities (in all their products) and ranks them for the first half of 2010 – great entertainment for those who like to track bugs and keep score.

I mean, the World Cup is over and nobody really cares about baseball until September, so perhaps this could help fill the competitive void in the meantime…

Here are the current “standings”:

  1. Apple
  2. Oracle
  3. Microsoft
  4. HP
  5. Adobe Systems
  6. IBM
  7. VMware
  8. Cisco
  9. Google
  10. Mozilla Organization

As noted earlier, this is really more of a marathon than a sprint, so it would be useful if we went back a little longer than six months to crown a winner. Thankfully, Secunia did just that as part of their key findings:

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing