5 Must-Have Apps For Your iPhone 4

As the new iPhone 4 hits stores in Israel later this month, more and more attention will be given to the iPhone’s most remarkable feature: APPS! Of course, apps are one of the primary reasons for the latest mobile phone frenzy that has taken the industry by storm. They have revolutionized the cell phone into a portable computing powerhouse. As mobile phones move away from simple communication devices, apps are transforming the mobile phone into a multipurpose tool that can affect every facet of our lives.

So with that in mind, here are the top 5 apps that you must have on your new iPhone 4:

  1. Ha’aretz: Stay connected with what’s happening in the world around you! Receive the latest breaking news and headline stories in real time with this app as it happens in Israel and throughout the world.
  2. iTranslate: Konichiwa….. Salaam……. Ariverdechi. Translating words from Hebrew is a breeze with this unique app that lets you translate words and sentences from over 50 languages. Impress your friends and loved ones the next time you order something from French restaurant or when your order in Chinese.
  3. Aroundme: Find anything from dairy restaurants to gas stations. This app uses GPS technology to find your location and then lists the nearest locations of your search. Your travel experiences will never be the same as everything you could want or need to find using a map or the Internet is now at your fingertips wherever you go.
  4. Yad2: From homes to cars to LCD TV’s, you can buy anything your heart desires with this app on Israel’s most famous online 2nd hand store. This app lets you scroll through the thousands of 2nd hand items for sale with a simple to use GUI.
  5. Israel Money: This app will allow you to make calls from your iPhone in Israel to over 20 countries overseas with absolutely zero charges. There are no charges! No commitments! And no registration!

What’s your favorite iPhone app? How has it helped your daily life? Share with the community which apps are changing the way we use our phones.

(This post was written by Hillel Hurwitz, Community & Content Manager, at Blonde 2.0.)

Version 3.0.4 (The Sequel) – Introducing Social Sign-In

A couple weeks ago, we rolled out v3.0.4 of our platform. And now, after a little extra time in the oven, we’ve launched another feature designed to make it quicker & easier to access your uTest account.

Social Sign-In
Let’s say you’re like millions of other people around the world and you have an account on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. And let’s also say you’re tired of keeping track of passwords, remembering to sign-in everyday to all the websites you like, and are yearning for something simpler. Starting today, we have a solution for you, at least when it comes to your uTest account (we can’t speak for anyone else). Now you can log in to the uTest platform using the credentials from your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts.

Setting up this linkage is simple:

  1. Get started by visiting our platform and clicking the button for your favorite social network(s).
  2. Then sign in to your social network and confirm the connection.
  3. And that’s pretty much it. The next time you visit the uTest platform, just click that same button and you’re in.

Enjoy!

Version 3.0.4 – Smarter Tester Selection, New Bug Trackers, and More

For the past several months, we’ve been knocking off some highly sought-after platform features, and v3.0.4 is no exception. And with this latest release, we’ve made it even easier to choose the perfect testers for your project and integrate with more of the top bug-tracking systems.

Easier Tester Selection

When our customers create a new test cycle, we want the process to be as simple as possible. But we also want to put the highest degree of power and precision in their hands when it comes to building their testing team. One of the more common feature requests we’ve heard is to make it even easier to select testers for private test cycles. Our product crew has heard your cries, and we’re pleased to introduce a dramatic overhaul of the tester selection process when creating a test cycle.

We realized that every customer has a different set of needs when it came to finding exactly the right set of testers for their product. So we made it easy to search within testers and handpick the best candidates. After a test cycle has launched, the tester selection will even tell you which invited testers have accepted your testing invitation. Need more testers in a certain region? Finding and adding more will be a snap. Check it out!

More Bug Tracker Integration
More and more companies are using bug tracking systems, and we’ve long made it easy to move bugs from uTest into several popular systems. Until recently, we’ve supported Bugzilla, Jira, and Rally. With this release, we’re adding support for Mantis. We’ve also added support for Jira Studio, and we’ve improved our support for Rally. Lastly, our engineers have even built integration with the bug tracking systems of some of our biggest customers.

Is your favorite bug tracking system not yet supported? Let us know, and we’ll add it to our list.

More Handsets for Tester Profiles
If there’s one thing that’s true in this world, it’s that gadget makers never stop making new gadgets, and that gadget lovers never stop buying them. We’ve added a whole bunch of new devices to our database, including the iPhone 4, the iPad, and more. If you are a tester who has the latest and greatest mobile phone or tablet, make sure you update your tester profile with that information so we can assign you projects.

All the Rest
That’s not all! We’ve also worked on a couple of other smaller, but still important features:

  • Search for test cycles by their ID
  • Misspelled words are now highlighted in text boxes
  • Dozens of bug fixes and behind-the-scenes improvements

Have a great idea for our future product releases? uTest community members can join our tester forums and check out our Platform Feedback section. Customers can contact their project manager directly or drop us a line.

Top 20 Crowdsourcing Tweeps

Whether you’re a crowdsourcing critic or devotee, it’s worth hearing all the angles from the experts and from those who have built crowdsourcing business models. Check out the Top 20 Crowdsourcing Tweeps (experts and companies) to follow on Twitter below (in no particular order). Also, here are a few recent articles to hopefully spark even more debate — The Huffington Post’s Does Crowdsourcing Threaten Your Job (or Offer New Opportunity)?, Entrepreneur Magazine’s Crowdsourcing: Opportunity or Time Suck?, and Network World’s Could designer bras be a natural fit for crowdsourcing?.

  1. Jeff Howe, @crowdsourcing (coined term crowdsourcing, quiet this summer)
  2. LiveOps, @liveops
  3. Neil Robertson, @nielr1 (co: @Trada)
  4. John Winsor, @jtwinsor (co: @VictorsnSpoils)
  5. Ross Kimbarovsky, @rosskimbarovsky (co: @crowdspring)
  6. Dwayne Spradlin, @InnoCentiveCEO (co: @innocentive)
  7. Tim Thomas, @imstarboard (co: @localmotors)
  8. Community Roundtable, @jimstorer & @rhappe (co: @TheCR)
  9. 99 Designs, @99designs
  10. CrowdFlower, @crowdflower
  11. uTest, @uTest (shameless self plug ;-))
  12. Chokha, @chokha
  13. Mike Martoccia, @mmartoccia
  14. Top Coder, @TCJim (co: @_TopCoder_)
  15. Threadless, @threadless
  16. Chaordix, @chaordix
  17. Peter Lamotte, @peterlamotte
  18. Genius Rocket, @GeniusRocket
  19. SmartSheet, @crowdwork & @mcolacurcio
  20. Tongal, @tongal

Update! Apologies for those I may have missed. Here are more recommendations straight from the community: @crowdsourcecap, @ArticleOne, @crowdsourcerisk, @fergusdyersmith, @OpenRunway, @crowdsourcery

More can be found on our actual Crowdsourcing Twitter list. So, who do you follow on Twitter to find the best crowdsourcing advice and breaking news? Did I miss anyone? Please let us know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

To Cert or Not To Cert: THAT Is The Question

“Certifications are a farce – they simply test your ability to cram for an exam,” cries one tester in a recent uTest forums exchange. “No way – certifications are extremely valuable and establish credibility to the testing world,” replies another tester.

And it goes on and on… As a witness to the ongoing debate, it’s clear that there may never be a meeting of the minds when it comes to certifications. It’s certainly been thought-provoking and entertaining to read through the vicious cycle of pros and cons supporting both camps. Here are several to spark more debate!

Pro-Certifications Camp:

  • They provide a base level of knowledge for those interested in the field, including terminology, processes, etc.
  • They help testing newbies get their foot in the door of the testing world
  • Certain organizations prefer to (or only) hire certified testers
  • Passing a certification means that one is serious about testing
  • Having a certification differentiates you from the crowd of software testers

Anti-Certifications Camp:

  • Certifications bodies take in top money to create certs that simply test your ability to cram for an exam and at best possess knowledge – as opposed to your problem solving skills and how to test
  • Passing such exams does not prove anything about testing skills & should not get your foot in the door for a job
  • Organizations that prefer certified testers are simply lazy about their interviewing process – looking for a piece of paper or label on the resume vs. looking at the candidates skill set
  • Passing a certification simply indicates that you are willing to take the time and money to complete a task
  • There are so many certified testers – so what differentiates one from another? More advanced certs? Where’s the limit?

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Version 3.0.3 – Attachment Viewer, Interactive Test Cycle Reports and More

New Englanders aren’t known for doing well in hot weather, and a recent heat wave has kept us all inside in the air conditioning. Since our engineers can’t go outside without melting or vaporizing, they’ve been inside keeping busy creating some cool new features. Let’s take a look:

Attachment Viewer
Our testers love uploading attachments with their bug reports.  Whether it’s a screenshot or a video, testers know that an attachment can make a bug report easier for our customers to understand and visualize.

Until now, customers have had to download every attachment individually and then open them on their desktops. To make this process faster and easier, we have launched a nifty new attachment viewer that works inside our platform. Now customers and testers can view video and image attachments with a single click, toggle between them easily, and download the ones you want to keep. And for non-multimedia files like spreadsheets and documents, we still make it easy to download the files and open them from your desktop.

Take a look at this short 30 second video showing off the new attachment viewer:
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This video requires a more recent version of the Adobe Flash Player to display. Please update your version of the Adobe Flash Player.

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Mobile Developers: Addicted to Beta Testing?

Safe to say that mobile app development has greatly outpaced mobile app testing over the last few years. In other words, while the applications and platforms have seen tremendous technological advances (iPhone 4 bugs notwithstanding) the same cannot be said of mobile testing methodologies.

Case in point: The majority of mobile app developers remain overwhelmingly reliant on internal beta testing.

Here with proof is VisionMobile, who recently published a fascinating report on the growing mobile app ecosystem – a must-read for anyone involved in the space (developers, marketers, users, etc). From a QA point of view, the report further establishes that although testing innovations will ALWAYS trail those of development, the gap need not be so wide.

Here’s an excerpt that sums the whole thing up:

Internal beta testing is the most popular technique used by the vast majority (nearly 70 percent) of respondents, with beta testing with users and peer reviewing the next most popular techniques. Only 20 percent of respondents use focus groups or research of their own. Overall, North American developers are somewhat more sophisticated in their application planning, with 97 percent using beta testing as a standard part of application development and with broader use of a portfolio of planning techniques as well.

Yet, small development firms have limited means today to beta test and peer review their applications with a crosssection of representative users. Given the hundreds of thousands of mobile apps, we believe that efficient (crowd-sourced) testing of apps in a global market of users is considerably under-utilized. This presents an opportunity for the few solution providers in this segment – Mob4Hire and uTest.com, for example – but also for network operators, who can generate a channel for testing applications with end users, and provide an open feedback support system back to developers.

Other notable findings included:

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uTest Makes ‘Top 100 Private Companies’ List (On Both The East & West Coasts!)

What an exciting way to wrap up the week here at uTest. As we continue to grow (and by grow, I mean in all aspects, including cool customers, brilliant testers and amazing staff) and expand into new areas of testing, the most renowned awards organizations are taking notice.

Late last night in San Diego…after an extensive review of our track record and our CEO Doron Reuveni’s on-site presentation, uTest was selected as a winner of the 2010 Red Herring 100 North America Award. The list honors the year’s most promising private tech ventures from North America. The companies were selected based on their technological innovation, management strength, market size, investor record, customer acquisition and financial health. Congrats to all other RH 100 winners, including our good friends at SOASTA!

This past Monday in Boston…uTest was also honored as an AlwaysOn East Top 100 winner, a list comprised of leading East Coast companies pioneering in cloud computing and SaaS technologies. uTest’s Matt Johnston was invited to present at the AlwaysOn East event (a.k.a. Venture Summit East) as part of a select group of top execs showcasing their technologies. Here’s the presentation below in case you missed it!

Thanks to all for following our adventures across the country this week!

Testing the Limits with James Whittaker – Part II

In the second part of our Testing the Limits interview with James Whittaker, we tackle Google vs. Microsoft; dogs vs. cats; why SCRUM is just a name; his advice for college graduates; bad habits of exploratory testing and more. If you missed Part I, you can find it here.

If you want to read more of James’ work, bookmarking the Google Testing Blog would be a good place to start. You can also read his 2009 book Exploratory Software Testing or check out some of his uTest eBooks and webinars.

uTest: The Microsoft vs. Google battle continues to play out very publicly in the media. Just last week, Computerworld wrote this story: “Microsoft: No Matter What Google Says, Windows Is Secure.” Having been at both companies, we think you have a unique perspective on this one. Any thoughts?

JW: Let me say right away that I enjoyed my time at Microsoft and admire the company and the smart people who work there. As a resident of Seattle, it is in my best interest for Microsoft to prosper! But the two companies are vastly different regarding the way their talent is managed and their products are built. Google is an engineering-centric company where innovation comes from individuals who are empowered to do whatever they need to get ideas into production. Much has been made of Google’s game-theory approach to managing people where rewards are given quickly for impactful behavior. It works. Morale is high and people work very hard and take quality very seriously.

Does this mean we produce more secure or more reliable products? We try hard to do so; Microsoft tries equally hard. I think we have the advantage of less legacy and a more modern and reliable platform (the Web as opposed to client operating systems) to work from. But the secret sauce at both companies is the same: hard work and due diligence.

uTest: You shared with us (as the pioneer of Testing the Limits posts) that your first assignment at Google was “To raise the level of testing precision and diligence.” So, how did it go?

JW: It didn’t take long. Google was mostly already there so I can’t really take credit for it. Now I am busy raising the bar further.

uTest: Top tester Glory Leung is curious: What are your views on SCRUM testing in general? Are people doing it properly? What is the ideal situation?

JW: Scrum is just a name. I don’t like names, they feel too confining and people have their own ideas of what they mean. I took a lot of flak for using the name ‘exploratory testing’ for my book. People love to confine you to how they view a specific named idea or technique. Flexibility is required.

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And Action! uTest Hits The Road: Boston to NYC to San Diego & Back

Whoever said “things slow down in the summertime” does not know uTest! Over the next couple of weeks, uTest is hitting the road again — trekking from the E2.0 Conference in Boston to the Venture Summit in NYC to Red Herring in San Diego and back!

Today @ 3:30pm: Matt Johnston will speak at the prolific Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston on the topic of — “You Say Social Media, I Say Community: Does It Matter?”

Panelists and community experts Eran Barak (Thomson Reuters), Michael Petillo (W.L. Gore), Megan Murray (Booz Allen Hamilton), Matt from uTest (of course!) and Moderator Rachel Happe (The Community Roundtable) will discuss the important distinctions between ‘social media’ and ‘community,’ and how they approach the challenges of utilizing social media and online communities in different types of organizations.

Thurs, June 17th @ 10:00am: Doron Reuveni will present at the exclusive 2010 New York Venture Summit. He will also be accepting — for the second year in a row — a “Top Innovator Award” by youngStartup Ventures, which recognizes cutting-edge private companies driving the future of innovation, especially in the tech sector. This event will be held at The Hotel Penn in New York City.

Stay tuned for next week’s adventures to San Diego and more from Boston!