Twitter Bug — The Tweet That Doesn’t End (@ 140 characters)

The Twitter bird has been seen a lot more than the Fail Whale in the past few month — a testament to the company’s investments in infrastructure. But now, a third species has jumped into the Twitter spotlight: the bug.

And while this particular bug has since been squashed by Twitter’s engineers, it’s still an interesting defect. As all of the major new media heavyweights noted, this Twitter bug briefly enabled the brevity-challenged among you to stretch your legs and break free from the shackles of 140 characters. To put it more plainly, let’s bring in Alexia Tsotsis (@alexia) from TechCrunch:

The Twitter bug which has left many befuddled is exploiting a length limit flaw in the new t.co URL shortener, allowing users to tweet out non-URL links of outrageously more than 140 characters

If you’d like to reproduce the effect, and it seems to be catching, you can visit http://twitter.com/share?text=&url=yourtext, add whatever you want in place of “yourtext,” copy and paste your new t.co URL to Twitter and long tweet away.

Update: Looks like the nimble engineers at Twitter have disabled the feature within the hour this post went up, much to everyone’s dismay. Scripting News’ Dave Winer went so far as to create a web app for the Fat Tweets.

For those of you who follow Twitter (sorry, couldn’t resist), check out the entire TechCrunch article, as well as Mashable’s take.

1,000 Twitter Followers & 500 Facebook Likes Later…

Today I read a story about a woman who, while following Google Maps’ directions, was run over and is now suing Google for damages. So, my question to you is: Who are you following — and why?

At uTest, we’re just scratching the surface of  what’s possible in our “social media” efforts, but we’re excited that this past weekend we passed 1,000 Twitter Followers and 500 Facebook Likes!

So this post is simply to ask YOU — our terrific community, friends and readers — a few questions about what makes a company worth following or more interesting to you in the realm of social media:

  1. What type of content do you like most? Is it breaking news; thoughts from industry gurus; inside info from the company; jokes and funny stories; special promotions; or other?
  2. What makes you want to follow or “like” a company — particularly a B2B brand?
  3. Are there other B2B or SaaS companies who are doing cool stuff and making all the right moves?  Give ‘em some love and tell the world about them in the comments!

We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and insights around this topic. And if you have a moment, please follow us (we promise we won’t run you over!).

Testing the Limits with Lanette Creamer – Part I

Next up in our Testing the Limits series is Lanette Creamer. Known to many in the QA blogosphere as “Testy Redhead”, Lanette has over ten years of experience in the software industry, including her current role as Quality Lead with Adobe. Like many of our guests, she writes a popular testing blog, publishes technical papers and has been known to speak at a conference or two. And yes, she’s on Twitter.

In part I of our interview, we get her thoughts on testers vs. hardware; the idea of “quality advocacy”; why unemployed testers should study The Price is Right;  life as a shift manager at a charity bingo parlor; and much more. When you’re done with one, be sure to check out part II.

uTest: What’s the biggest trend/challenge in testing that no one’s talking about yet?
LC: Testers are breaking out of the office like William Wallace, but with laptops, not swords. How much more affordable is it for a company to buy a great laptop every few years than all sorts of different hardware? Let someone else manage the machines so we can focus on the testing. Of course, this isn’t appropriate for every context, but I’m interested in going beyond multi-boot systems, local images, and to truly getting out of the business of managing hardware. I’m interested in cloud-based imaging. Part of my personal strategy of investing in one laptop that can run multiple operating systems is the temping ability to verify the scope of a bug on one machine. To do that without even rebooting with more built-in logging and debugging tools is really the next step to freedom from hardware and location-reliant testing.

uTest: In the last year, we’ve noticed you blog about the prospect of unemployment. What advice do you have for other testers who find themselves in this situation? Should they just wake up at noon, watch The Price is Right and eat nachos until a hiring manager comes knocking on the door? Or should they try to keep their skills sharp? If it’s the latter, then please elaborate on how to go about this.
LC: The Price is Right can teach you something amazing about interviewing. Have you ever noticed who they pick? It is the most enthusiastic people with the best stories. Come on down, job candidate! You’re the next contestant on The Job is Right. Can you imagine what The Price is Right would be like if they picked a contestant who was just above it all? Laughed at the fabulous prizes? Ignored the host? Win or lose, play the job interview game with style and be memorable. Also, I do like nachos. Layer the cheese and make them in the oven.

Well, rather than bouts of unemployment, I’ve been facing one very long pending layoff. I’ve not yet experienced the unemployment part, so maybe your readers can help me out with their advice when that happens. As a part of the CS5 team, my layoff isn’t effective until June, and it impacted every tester on my current team. The day I first became aware of my pending layoff, I felt a bit powerless. I realized that it was really up to me to decide what to do next. I decided that I wanted to end well and finish the project, and I really wanted to complete my 10 years at Adobe. I am proud of my work for my entire career at Adobe, and that hasn’t changed with my layoff notice.

Here’s what I recommend for those of you working in a job that you know is ending:

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Top 20 Software Testing Tweeps

According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Twitter now has 105,779,710 registered users—and is adding 300,000 new users a day. Attempting to weed through all of the fluff can be daunting! So, if you’re interested in jumping into the Twittersphere or are just looking to follow the leading journalists and thinkers in software testing today, check out our “Top 20 Software Testing Tweeps” list below (in no particular order)!

  1. James Bach — @jamesmarcusbach
  2. Michael Bolton — @michaelbolton
  3. Testing At The Edge Of Chaos (Matt Heusser) — @mheusser
  4. Tester Tested! (Pradeep Soundararajan) — @testertested
  5. StickyMinds.com (Better Software Mag) — @StickyMinds
  6. SearchSoftwareQuality.com (Yvette Francino) — @yvettef or @SoftwareTestTT
  7. Google Testing Blog (Copeland/Whittaker) — @copelandpatrick or @googletesting
  8. Testy Redhead (Lanette  Creamer) — @lanettecream
  9. Test Obsessed (Elizabeth Hendrickson) — @testobsessed
  10. SD Times — @sdtimes
  11. Jon Bach — @jbtestpilot
  12. Software Test & Performance Mag –- @STPCollab
  13. Software Testing Club (Rosie Sherry) — @rosiesherry or @testingclub
  14. Lisa Crispin — @lisacrispin
  15. Fred Beringer — @fredberinger
  16. uTest (shameless plug! ;-)) — @uTest
  17. Weekend Testing (Santhosh/Parimala/Ajay) — @weekendtesting or
  18. Santhosh Tuppad — @santhoshst
  19. Ajay Balamurugadas — @ajay184f
  20. Parimala Shankariah — @curioustester

Update! Thanks for everyone’s recommendations. Here are a few we missed: @sbarber, @QualityFrog, @dailytestingtip, @sdelesie, @Rob_Lambert, @chris_mcmahon, @hexawise, @marlenac, @shrinik, @sbharath1012, @sellib, @TestingNews.

Please feel free to add any active Tweeps you think we may have missed in the comments! We welcome your recommendations.

This Twitter Bug Is About YOU

You – the second person English pronoun.  You are the one reading this article. You were Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2006. You are special. You rock. Our company name is all about you and testing.

You have also been very naughty. Check out this Twitter entry written by you:

I kill people who nudge me

Wait, that wasn’t written by you? It was written by someone else named You? Oh, our mistake. And apparently it was Twitter’s mistake too according to this article on TechCrunch.

Twitter likes to tell you who is doing what and when at the bottom of each tweet. For example, a post description might tell you that it was retweeted by a friend.  Or if you were the one doing the retweeting, then the post description should say that it was retweeted by “you”.  But what happens when a buggy hyperlinking algorithm decides that anything after the words “Retweeted by” should link to a Twitter profile?

“Retweeted by you” becomes “Retweeted by you” – as in twitter.com/you. And you sounds cranky.

There are a lot of good lessons here for testers and developers, but I want to highlight a few particular:

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It Doesn’t Make Census: Software Bugs Slowing Count, Raising Costs

It’s back to the basics for the US Census. After several failed attempts to “modernize” the national headcount with hand held computers, officials are now blaming the resulting confusion, delays and costs on – wait for it – software bugs. You can read more about it here. To save you some time, I’ve summarized the progress made along the way with some telling quotations from those in the know:

Phase I: “Critical software errors are increasing; system performance is still lagging and testing continues to be compressed. A shortfall in testing portends potentially significant technical problems in the field.” – John Thompson, former associate director of the Census Bureau

Phase II: “The testing of the system is continuing to reveal critical defects.” – Todd Zinser, Commerce Department Inspector General

Phase III: “The performance of this system is not taking the load we’d like. It’s not going to accept the load that we will need to get it in about a month or so.” – Robert Groves, Census Director

Results: “They have prepared to do the follow-up using pencil and paper, and they’re very good at that.” – John Thompson (again)

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Testing the Limits With Jon Bach – Part II

In part II of our interview with Jon Bach, we get his thoughts on testing metrics; common tester stereotypes; the merit of certifications; the testing blogosphere; inventing Twitter in 1986, as well some rapid fire Q&A. We think you’ll like it. By the way, did you miss part I of the interview?

uTest: You have some great tips on how to handle bloated testing numbers and statistics: “Any number, any statistic is like software. It can be tested.” What other tips can you give testers when it comes to having the courage, diplomacy and patience to slow things down and get to the truth?

JB:  For me, the magic words that often make me feel more courageous, diplomatic and patient are: “I have been fooled before.”

No one will argue with that because it’s true.  Scammers often confess that the hardest person to fool is somebody who says “I can be fooled.”  So many times I’ve been so sure I was right just to meet someone who convinced me differently, sometimes in a matter of seconds.  So now say “I could be wrong”, and use other safety language like: “it could be”, “it seems like”, “it looks as if” and “maybe…”  That way, I don’t feel stupid when I’m shown refuting evidence to my claim.  If you practice that, chances are good that you will appear to be a kung fu master who, after having floored your 50th assailant with your skills, slowly backs out of the room on guard for the 51st.

Remember that testing is a craft.  It involves thinking about how things might be different.  Remembering to say “I have been fooled before” is consistent with that spirit.

uTest:  Testing certs: worthwhile or window dressing?

JB:  The only thing worthwhile about them is the debate they provoke.  Window dressing is an apt metaphor because it’s only meant to enhance a window’s *appearance*.  When there’s a flood or a storm or some other strong test of the window, the dressing often gets destroyed. Outside of the flood, people may prefer the look of the dressing; I just want to be a stronger window.  Passing multiple choice tests about so-called “best practices” don’t do that for me.

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Lady Gaga And The Death Of The Login

These days, it’s hard not to know about Lady Gaga (and if you don’t know her, here’s her latest music video to get you started).  She’s become one of the hottest pop acts in the world, all by combining music, fashion, and a little bit of “Andy” (either Warhol or Kaufman – take your pick).  So what does this have to do with software?  Well get this: an astonishing 89% of the people who create an account on LadyGaga.com choose to do so using third party authentication from Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace.

Just think about that for a second.  That means that nearly 9 out of 10 people creating special purpose web accounts are doing so using their social networking platforms (skipping all those annoying new account questions like password, age, location, and favorite pet in the process).

This is huge, and it represents a big shift in the way people are going to interact with your website in the future.  If 89% of users are doing this on a mass market website like LadyGaga.com, then I guarantee they’re going to be doing it on other sites as well.  So what does this mean?

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Post to Twitter, Get Robbed

Sometimes new technologies can inflame old problems.  For example, consider location based social networks.  Many sites like Twitter and Foursquare make it easy to post both what you’re doing and your current location.  This is a great concept, and as technologies go there are huge possibilities for combining location information with social networking.  But there’s just one catch: if you’re out and Tweeting about it, then you’re probably not at home.  And that makes your home a perfect target for robbery.

To help people become more aware about the ramifications of announcing that their plasma TV is unguarded, a new site has appeared called Please Rob Me.  Using the magic of social search, they track various networks and then list the posts from people who are clearly not at home.  Of course, this has caused quite a stir online as many have wondered whether or not something like this is legal, ethical, or even right?

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Social Networks Pose Security Threats (& An Intro to Tina Fey’s YouFace)

It’s no surprise to our community that social networks have the potential to pose big security threats this year. During the “Battle of the Social Networks,” uTesters found a combined 718 bugs in Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn; and an additional 300+ bugs were discovered in the top five Twitter desktop apps during the Q2 bug battle.

To add more fuel to the fire, today the company Sophos, which surveyed 500+ organizations, came out with a new report stating that in the past year:

  • 57% of users report they have been spammed via social networking sites
  • 36% of users claim they’ve been sent malware via social networking sites
  • 72% of survey respondents think social networks are a danger for their companies (see Mashable article)

What’s the solution? Tina Fey, in her show “30 Rock,” recently spoofed social networks with her creation of “YouFace” (combo of Facebook & MySpace). Terms such as “finger-tagged,” “weirdsie,” and “pho-lo” (for photo and hello) had many ROFL. See video clip after the bump!

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