Saturday, October 2, 2010

Does it help being / (posing) as ignorant ?

Surprised to see the title ??

......the truth is "YES" it helps least my experience says "YES" for me.....

Learning :

As I started growing up the career ladder, my responsibilities started to take new dimensions professionally..... and a very important lesson I learnt with this progression was to retain my urge to learn and learn more.

The day ego takes a higher place and you think that now you know most of all ....... you start your down fall on learning..... this also impacts on you holistically as a person as you are closed towards imbibing anything new coming your way.

One of the key approaches I take today towards new projects coming on my plate is to reuse my existing knowledge and experiential learning. The second is to improve on my existing knowledge.

Traps :

But much before I took to these approaches as practice, there were some attitudinal traps that I fell into. Some of them were 
  1. I know it all :
  2. What new can I learn beyond this ?
  3. Everything is similar in this field, what will be the new challenge ?
  4. If I can do it one way, I can do the other too
 Relating it practically as -
  • As soon as I see a work item-I think this is easy job and 'X' # of artifacts and learning's from my last project can be reused here. No considerable thought at start point was given to the rework involved in customization of these reusable artifacts
  • Oh! this is so easy and similar to what has been handled earlier by me
  • This is the same old technology what can be the challenge here ?
Believe me ...... once the project started and we started to get deep into work ...was when I realized that though things are similar; use same old technology but the implementation and the legacy system handling always makes it different. To add to the complexity is the system architecture which will define the complexity in its own way.
Many a times I also realized that reuse was futile and total waste of effort trying to re-engineer. Ultimately it was only my learning that helped me craft and structure things better in the new environment.

An approach of playing "ignorant" also helped me ask most of the wrong questions at the right places and hence helped me identify my roadblocks much in advance than I actually would have.

Now ....big or small or old ......each time I get something on my plate.....
My approach is the same ......
Oh!! new work..........Let's EXPLORE !!

..............and I am still improving and working on sharpening my skill sets.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Pear Tree & Testing !!

An interesting story I read recently and it relates so much to the testing .........
If you are passionate about testing can relate every word to some activity you do as a tester ....including the lessons learnt !!

The Pear tree!!

There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall.

When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.
The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise.
The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.
The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but only one season in the tree's life.

He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be Measured at the end,when all the seasons are up.

Lessons learnt :
If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall!!

Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest!!

Don't judge life by one difficult season… don’t judge a person by one single incident!!

Managing Traceability - yes / no ?

In my opinion, managing traceability is difficult especially if the product is very complex in architecture.

Though it is tough, I do not perceive it as impossible.

The only place this falls through the cracks is when the product starts to grow and people do not have time to maintain or reuse it efficiently and effectively.

One of the easiest ways to maintain it for the benefit of all groups in SDLC is to maintain it centrally. Have a few people team working very closely with architects who track each and every impact.

The methods to track can be either through something as simple as an xls or through various tools available in the market. BPM and BPT(Business Process Modeling and testing) can be one option.

A small tracker will need to be maintained further as a subset of traceability tracker to know proper coverage of: Positive tests, Negative Tests, Performance/Load/Stress, usability... etc ..etc based on your needs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Learning's from Interview Board

Read an interesting post from Pari
it reminded me of many interview panels that I have been part of ........
It is always so easy to be on the other side of the table can ask anything and pass off with it.......and that is the imagination with which many an interviewee walk in ....... (BTW - I usually interview people with 8+ yrs of experience only)

Just like Pari resorted to asking a potential employee (I prefer referring them so till I do not reject them officially post an interview :)) if he could test a marker ....... I have used many similar simple examples like a coffee vending machine; swipe in/out machines; login on a home page;  etc

People are usually caught by surprise coz they come prepared for heavy questions with equally weighty answers :)

Where does it helps me ?
  • To identify a genuine testers and ensure not a checker is hired
  • Identify the concepts of the person
  • Identify the gaps that he brings to table as a heavy weight in his thought process

Few easy areas (read traps) where people get confused and easily get caught are -
  • Metrics and Measures - What are they collecting and reason to have them ?
  • Software Testability and Usability
  • Test Scenario and Test cases
  • Test Oracle and Test Heuristic
  • Why Automation ? - When and where to use it ? What is the thumb rule to decide on automation ?
  • What are they doing now in their current job profile and why are they doing so ? Why did they not use an 'XYZ' approach ?
  • Reliability of their test cases 
  •  ..........
[You thought I'll leak my complete questioning skill here ;) ...who knows when I'll interview you next !!]

Long and short of it .......we seriously lack thinking testers amongst the community .......... there are also people who have achieved a lot but will still struggle when subjected to such questions ....

The testing community needs a lot of change in thought process and we need to be the change .....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Negative and Positive Test Cases

It was interesting conversation between James Bach and Michael Bolton last week over twitter where the topic was focused around - Negative and Positive Test Cases.

One of Michael's comment "When you read a newspaper, do you *count* the stories? Count good news stories vs. bad news stories?" ....made me think why we as testers get swayed to the thought of classifying our test cases in such a  manner .......

Yes, when I read a news paper ...I do not classify my stories nor count them but then what becomes so different when I write test cases ???

Putting my test manager's cap, the few immediate things / reasons that came up -
  1. How do you ensure that you have your test scenarios totally covered ?
  2. Can you maintain an exhaustive checklist ?
  3. Or is it easier to classify them as negative and positive for the team to build easier understandability around what is expected from them ?
  4. Does it take me away from micro management ?
In my opinion the completeness of test cases covering a scenario is bound by both the negative and positive aspects required to test. So based on my experience and assumptions I feel that it is the ease of tracking that has got these terms of negative and positive in the scene and somewhere the thought process got lost and it started to become more of a process meant for tracking and keeping a count rather than measuring the value add in totality.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gracious Jon Bach

How many people will have the courage to own up against their perception and post a blog titled " To India, an apology"............. This blog note from Jon Bach is a gracious post that explores his perception handling on Indian Testers and how he overcame it ...

Cudos Jon !! I appreciate !!

Proves only 1 thing ....If you want a solution to any problem, you'll always find one ..........If you want a change, be the change yourself.

Read the blog post at Jon's page at

To India, an apology

By jbtestpilot

I’m back.

At the behest of a colleague named Lanette Creamer (a fantastic blogger worth following), I just went ahead and decided to just get busy, just get over myself, and just post an entry.

A few things went through my mind as to what to say after such a lapse, but the ideas seemed shallow — pet peeves, annoyances, ramblings, diary stuff. Nothing worthy.

Then I thought of Lanette’s reliable, refreshing honesty and openness in her blog, and the idea came out of nowhere.

An apology.

To testers in India.

And here’s why…

For years, I put you in a box and closed the lid. I labeled it “Indian Testers” and shelved it, thinking I knew everything I needed to know about you. It was easy to do this. For years when I worked for a local (Seattle) test lab, you were a competitor. I believed what others said about you because it made it easier to believe that the lab could compete with your testing companies despite being lower cost. Even though I left the lab last year for a bigger company with more challenges for me, I found out a few months later that you were replacing me and most of my staff, taking jobs away from my country when we most needed them.

Nevermind that it was not your fault, nor that the few Indian testers I had worked with in my 15 years of testing were pretty good. I dismissed that as an anomaly. Besides, those testers lived and worked in the United States. I considered them “American”, and let that other folklore rule my perceptions about testers who still lived in India.

Folklore said you had no passion or skill or curiosity or personality. Everywhere I went, people agreed. They said you were too compliant. You appeared to do only what you were told, and you always seemed to agree and understand, nodding your head and saying “yes, certainly sir.” You only wanted the software to work (not to fail) and your shallow tests only confirmed that.

So like the others, I tended to see you as commodities and machines. You were only good for running easy conformance tests that required no skill — good for tests that no one else wanted to do. I would see short, strange emails from you that said “Kindly send me a sample test plan for the testing, please.”

This was more evidence for me that Indian testers didn’t think outside the box or have much imagination. They were not critical thinkers. They stuck to the test procedure, even if it was badly written. They wrote bad procedures themselves. They didn’t ask questions. They didn’t take initiative. They said yes to everything and rarely lived up to promises. While very polite, they had the “no problem” syndrome. They did not push back when something was difficult, or impossible.

In May when I last wrote a blog in this space, the company I worked for announced layoffs and told us that we had to train our replacements for the next few months. In that time, the new Indian staff would have to be as good as we were even though most of my staff had many years of experience with the product.

As a trainer, manager, and coach, I had fun teaching technical skill and product domain knowledge. But what I CAN’T train is curiosity. I cannot train someone to have a hunger to learn and discover and explore. Either they have it or they don’t. After all, remember that the folklore told me that companies who went to India to outsource their testing were coming back because of the poor quality. The trend even had a name — “backshoring.”

When I was told about the layoff and told I had a few months to train my 3 teams before our exit from the company, I knew the transition was not going to go well. The Indian replacements would surely fail, and my career would go down with them, I was sure. It was not a good time to be a test manager. There had to be a way, but I couldn’t think of anything. Maybe by being a son-of-a-bitch boss, I could take these Indian folks and scare them into being good testers. It was against my nature to do that, but I had no choice. I didn’t know how else I could turn people who didn’t want to learn into those that did.

A month after the layoff announcement, I was right. The transition classes for one of my teams’ projects had started, and the Indian testers were mechanical and uninspired. They asked few if any questions despite the product being complicated. When asked if they had questions, they said no. It was going badly, right on schedule, just as I had predicted, just as the folklore said it would.

Just before the transition classes were about to start for another of my project teams (the biggest and most complicated), I learned about a class available for whoever on the team wanted to go. It was called “Doing Business in India”, taught by an outside firm. I was too depressed and burned out from training the previous day to do any real work, anyway, so I figured I go to the class and have an onsite “vacation day.” The class would surely be full of boring, useless platitudes – a great place to escape for awhile. It was a free day away from the rigors of transition of our work to India, at a time when my great staff would soon be out of a job.

I felt like a problem child in that class. I sat in the back row and defied the guy to teach me anything. This wasn’t like me at all, but on this subject, I thought I knew what I needed to know about Indian testers.

But he did a strange thing. He did not talk about platitudes. He explained that he had been a cultural anthropologist, having lived and worked in India for 25 years. He talked about why the generalities and perceptions of Indians were so pervasive. He validated my perceptions, talked about their history and why they seemed to be so complicit.

I went up to him at a break and told him more about my perceptions (listed above). I eventually said “Listen, I just want one thing from this class: tell me the key to unlock their souls.” I smiled when I said it, but he seemed to know that I wanted his help to break through the veneer of their politeness and complicity to expose if they had real personalities and talent like the few “American-Indian” testers I had worked with.

I was being glib, but he answered me plainly.

“Such a key does exist, Jon,” he said with a serious look. Then he looked away. “I’ll mention that when we reconvene.”

And true to his promise, when class reconvened, he said: “If American-cultured testers are 80% business and 20% personal, flip it when working with Indian testers. Focus a LOT more on the personal than you ever thought you could stand. You’ll get the productivity you want.”

He was talking right to me. He almost dared me to try it.

So in defiance, I did.

When transition started for that bigger, more complex product – ushering in a new group of Indian testers — I took them team to lunch. It was July 3, the day before Independence Day. I asked them about Indian independence. The talk quickly turned to ideas of freedom and culture and … well, marriage. After all, weren’t all marriages arranged over there? How could that be freedom?

Even though one of them was from an arranged marriage, another was from what they called a “love” marriage. That surprised me. I asked each of them to tell me more about that. The one in the arranged marriage said “You grow to love them.” Being married for 10 years, I had to admit that I understood that. There are things about my wife that I have grown to love over the years, even though it did not start out that way.

He later said that his wife was joining him the next day, and what he said next surprised me.

“From what you said about your Independence Day in the United States, when my wife arrives tomorrow, it will not be Independence Day for me.”

I didn’t understand at first, but then he smiled. Ah, a joke!

As a married man, I got it. And right there, I had my first success. I saw a personality under the veneer, and I liked him right away.

The next day I went to my other team, the one I was not having much success with. I decided I would start over. I gave one of them a task. I agreed to learn something I thought he might be interested in – cricket – in return for him learning our product – a database for attorneys and other legal professionals to store and review legal documents. I made him a deal: build me a database (using our product) of documents about cricket. He learns the product, I learn about cricket – same database. He said yes and that it was a fine idea and smiled.

I asked the other tester to do the same. He reacted flatly. Then I caught myself.

Ummm, maybe not ALL Indian testers like cricket…!

So I asked him. “That is, if you’re interested in cricket.”

He said he was not, but that he would do it anyway. As I walked away with the first guy (the one who complied), I said “I guess I blew it there. I should not assume everyone likes cricket.”

“Oh no,” he replied. “Anir loves cricket. He was messing with you.”

I couldn’t believe it. That little event was yet another key turned in a lock, showing me promise of a personality and productivity, and it happened in an instant.

That little idea started a chain of other small ideas.

I had a room full of Indian testers who had just flew in the day before. It was 8:00 am in a new time zone. It was hard for *me* to get up early, much less think about flying across the world the day before.

So I put a 3 ft x 3 ft map of India on the wall so they could each tell me where they were from. As the pushpins were going in, a magical thing happened. I realized India was a BIG country. Next to it, I put a map of Washington. Then it dawned on me – most of Washington they would never see. Yakima, Wenatchee, Bellingham, Long Beach, Spokane, Moses Lake, Orcas Island, Mt. St. Helens. Politically, Washington is mostly a “red” state, mostly Republican. The Seattle population, however, skews it so that Washington is almost always considered a “blue” state (Democrat) in national elections. They wouldn’t know that.

Then I thought of Seattle. There are parts of Seattle that are wealthier than others, that have different value systems. Capitol Hill tends to be liberal. Beacon Hill is conservative, and they are a mere 3 miles from each other.

It stands to reason then, I thought as I looked at the map, that India must be the same way. Maybe a tester from the south is not the same as a tester from the north. Tamil Nadu in the southeast is conservative. Coimbatore is less so. Maybe this collection of people and their personalities would come out in different ways, but maybe the key toward getting them to show that to me was the same – make it personal.

The next day in a training class I was hosting for them, I brought up Google Maps and projected it on the wall. I zoomed in on Coimbatore where they were from and asked each to show me on what street they lived. That way, maybe they’d be less homesick, and I’d learn about their city. No testing got done in that two-hour session. No training got done. Nothing business, nothing productive, nothing measurable. But all personal.

What really got done in that session was me getting over myself. I was building a team, accidentally, on purpose, and I was seeing smiles and jokes, and shyness fading. The next session when we got into learning the product, the jokes carried forth – not always by me. I set the tone that it was ok, and they slowly followed suit. It began to be fun.

At the next session, the walls melted a bit more and we played one of the testing-thinking games me and my brother are famous for.

A week of this, and none of them were machines. They were people just like me, just like my existing teams that were being replaced.

I saw them thinking more and more above and beyond my expectations. They were hungry and wanted to learn more. While still polite, the veneer dropped despite the jet lag and the homesickness. They learned on their own, as a team, after business hours. They took pictures of me with them, shared their family pictures with me, shared the pictures they took when they explored Seattle that past weekend. They went places (in MY city) that even I hadn’t gone yet.

We got down to business, but it was personal. That was the key. They dove into their feature assignments just like my team did. They loved exploring, were not shy, talked over each other, even gaggled like kindergarteners eager to show each other as if it was show-and-tell time. It was amazing, and it was as easy as a key being turned in a lock, just like the instructor said would happen.

And, you know, I suddenly realized that I was the same manager I was with my existing staff. This was me, my style. This is what I had done with my staff well before the Indians came in to be trained. The only difference was my perception that Indian testers were not as capable as my staff. For that, I was just plain wrong.

So, India, consider me schooled. I have some keys now that I didn’t have before and my perception is different. Like a good tester, I ran a different set of tests on you that revealed new data well beyond the folklore.

Still, let this be my apology.

My response to Jon ...........

A very nice post …I just chanced upon a link today while browsing and it led me here …..though this is an older post by you, I could not help writing a note

I have been working across borders for all my professional life and find every country and their people mesmerizing in multiple perspective.

Just like you had perceptions about Indians and their behavioral attitude ….. People in India have some too  …….from the ones that I have found amongst people when I interact with them, I’d like to share some key ones with you…….

I could take these learning’s and was able to see it visibly effective in non-US-UK…(non English speaking) countries to be similar in many respects …….

When initially people start interacting….. they face a few challenges like :

1. They are little unsure on how to maintain the cultural balance during discussion

2. The language and pronunciation at times are difficult to immediately pick up (Remember – English is still a foreign language)

3. They feel that if they ask questions, they might be considered ignorant and unskilled

The above 3 I significantly relate to as a barrier in European countries too where English is a foreign language.

For India there is a 4th one too

4. Cultural upbringing that says do not question your teacher upfront. You can initiate dialogues later. Indians strongly believe the saying ” Guru Govind dou khade, kake lagu paav…Balihari guru aapno Govind diyo milaye” that means…. “if both God and Teacher stand in front of me, whom should I bow first? …. It has to be the teacher coz it was he who taught how to understand and unite with God”.

Family – anyways rules as the first law in india !!

It is really nice to see that all of us are now trying to break these cross cultural barriers and trying to understand perspectives of others and in return learn something from them as well !!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Amazing Discussion

I had the opportunity to have an amazing discussion with James Bach today which also involved mentoring on positioning oneself.

My take away's post discussion  -
  • Believe in yourself
  • Understand your strengths
  • Position your flairs
  • Do not hesitate to ask for what is legitimate

Women in IT ? ....Why not ' Women and IT' ????

Last few days there has been fire on twitter & Blog spaces ....... fiery remarks have been made to individuals and group of it justified ??
Few links for you to read around the same at Jon Bach's blog

I have but one question .....
Why is the world so worried about gender at work ?????
Why is everyone worried about "Women in IT/Agile/Testing /........." ?????????
Why is the focus on "Women in IT" ???

Why can't people think and realize ????

Why are you not emphasising on "Women and IT " ???

In my viewpoint, the later will make more sense for all those kids who are looking for pointers towards decision making.

Role model does not always help to follow blindly.

But a career guidance with what all you can do substantiated with examples of "Women achievers in IT" may help them better to make right choices towards their careers.
I also do not understand how to relate "diversity" and "Women in IT"....... for me "diversity" without a context is meaningless. In professional world diversity is linked to multitude of factors.
In this specific case also it is linked to thought process and individuals capabilities.

I also ask why do you think you should be treated differently ? In the professional environment
1. You do the same work

2. You get paid the same

3. You have similar skills

4. You spend similar amount of time at work

5.You get the same career graph

Thoughts to ponder :
  • What stops me to stand up and voice my thoughts and speak my mind in sync with the work I do ?
                -----My internal fear of rejection / inhibition or my inability or something else
  • Can I not improve my skills as others (men included) ????
              ---------- The opportunities are sitting there, dont I just need a mindset to go and acquire it ?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

James Bach has something nice on heuristics posted on his blog titled The Essence of Heuristics.

Very thought provoking simple read......the questions that he asks at the end are that I directly relate to being a good manager

  1. Do they teach you how to tell if it’s working?
    Do they teach you how to tell if it’s going wrong?
    Do they teach you heuristics for stopping?
    Do they teach you heuristics for knowing when to apply it?
    Do they compare it to alternative heuristics?
    Do they show you why it works?
    Do they help you understand when it probably works best?
    Do they help you know how to re-design it, if needed?
    Do they let you own it?
    Do they ask you to practice it?
    Do they tell stories about how it has failed?
    Do they listen to you when you question or challenge it?
    Do they praise you for questioning and challenging it?
Give these questions a good thought and it will help you answer many confusion and unhide many unknown corners during testing.

few chapters from Jerry's book- 'mistress of molecules'

above path is the source link

About Jerry

Chock full of clever ideas and wry wit, Gerald Weinberg's Mistress of Molecules
explores the forces that bind chemicals, societies--and people. A fun, thoughtful read. - Steven Mohan, Jr., Author
What I love most about the best science fiction is that it can be read on (at least) two levels: the surface story, and the underlying manifesto. Mistress of Molecules fulfills that definition of science fiction in spades. Recommended. - Michael Hunter, Blogger
MISTRESS OF MOLECULES: sample chapters
(You may print these pages for more convenient reading.)

Chapter 1.
Before the instant I launched my crocus-laden balloon plane, I had never doubted that I was my father's daughter. Now, parked in Clifton Plaza waiting for its return, my body, and my confidence, shook with fear. Nicolas Valois never feared anything. He had been solid as one of the Star Chamber's marble pillars, even as he'd stood before the Pope to receive his death sentence.
Although I was not yet born at the moment my father's molecules were disassembled and scattered, I know my father quite well. The vid of his show trial is part of the school curriculum. I have watched it hundreds of times.
Father was smarter than anybody in the Church. He must have known the Church would distribute the vid as moral lessons for the unfortunate inhabitants of our poisonous planet. So he used the trial, the vid, to communicate his own moral lessons, not to everyone, but only to me, his unborn daughter.
The Ministers caught Father with a kilo of crocus—less than my balloon plane now carried. They kept him out of public view for twenty-one days, no doubt torturing him until they placed him on public trial before our Pope. His Holiness served as judge, jury, and prosecutor. Sitting in full regalia—gold-trimmed purple chasuble over ivory alb and stole, a tall gold mitre decorated with seven purple crosses—he asked Father whether he had stolen the crocus.
Father stood tall and proud, though bruised, chained hand and foot, and dressed in baggy, wrinkled, orange prison clothing. "No, sir, I did not steal it."
After I had watched the vid a dozen times, I noticed the Pope flinching slightly when Father refused to address him as "Your Holiness," as was required of everyone in the court. I had seen a bailiff begin to move toward Father, probably to chastise him for this breach, but a wave of the Pope's finger motioned him away.
"Then you bought it?" asked the Pope.
"No, sir, I did not buy it."
"Then you smuggled it, perhaps from Earth?" The Pope looked down to check his console. "The record shows that you recently visited Earth."
"Yes, sir, I did. I was sent by my employer, the Telenergy Corporation."
"And upon returning from that trip, you smuggled the crocus from Earth?"
"No, sir, I did not. As far as I know, there is no crocus on Earth. Their air is not poisonous like ours, so Earthers have no need for it."
That statement, I knew, was a key part of his message to me.
The Pope continued. "So you know where all the crocus is in the galaxy?" He smiled knowingly for the audience, having put this arrogant criminal in his place.
"Everyone knows, sir, that crocus exists in only two places: here on Precursor, and on the Zgaarid home world, wherever that may be. I have never been there, nor has any other human, to my knowledge."
"And just how do you possess this vast knowledge of galactic affairs?"
"By logical deduction, sir. If the Zgaarid did not have a monopoly on crocus, and if the Church and the corporations could not use crocus to control our people, then we would not be held in docile slavery. But since we are no more than miserable slaves, the monopoly must exist. Why else would your church make it a crime to distribute a life-saving substance?"
"Hah." You could hear the smirk in the Pope's voice. "There, young man, you display even more ignorance. Even little children know that slavery is forbidden by the Church. That the Holy Church is your father protector, dedicated to your welfare and the welfare of your immortal soul."
"You would have to be a little child, sir, to believe that falsehood." Another message to me, I'm sure.
The Pope waved his hand dismissively. "Enough of your nonsense. If you did not steal the crocus, and you did not buy it, and you did not smuggle it, … " He rolled his eyes heavenward. " … then how did you obtain it?"
Father followed the Pope's gaze toward the ceiling. "God gave it to me, sir."
The Pope turned red and angrily banged his gavel on the bench. "That will be enough. Bailiff, gag the prisoner. And Clerk, you will now add blasphemy to the list of charges."
Before the bailiff could insert the gag, Father shrugged his shoulders and said, softly, "Fortunately, you can only murder me once."
Those were Father's last words before his body was disassembled into its component molecules. I know they were a message to me. They could only kill him once, but others would carry on his work. Others like me.
And what was that work? Again, that was clear from his testimony, though everybody else was too blind to see it. If he hadn't bought, stolen, or smuggled the crocus, he must have made it, which is what he meant when he said that God gave it to him. That is, God gave him the power to do chemistry, to make molecules. Molecules like crocus would free our world from both human and Zgaarid slavery.
Perhaps in another age, Father's ability to synthesize crocus would have been obvious to everyone. By now, however, humans had become so intimidated by Zgaarid technology that nobody even attempted to create things. Yes, there were people called chemists—my father was one, after all—but they were all simply technicians trained to operate pre-defined Zgaarid processes.
All, that is, except Father.
And, of course, me. The coward.
Chapter 2.
I shouldn't have been afraid, waiting for my balloon plane. I knew Minister Jackson of the Clifton ministers would probably show up on his usual beat and question why I was parked here, so there was no logical reason why my stomach clenched when he pulled up alongside my battered old Fargo. Perhaps I was nervous because after a lifetime of preparation, today's plane flight was to be the first step in carrying out Father's vision.
I knew Ben Jackson would ask what I was doing sitting there breathing the polluted outside air at six on a bright-morning. I was prepared, so this whole caper should have been much safer than making nitro in my lab, but I couldn't keep my hands from shaking. I hadn't figured on the shakes.
Though I was over sixteen and legally entitled to be out through the entire dark-day, I had dressed in a rather childish, pink party dress. I wanted to look like a more vulnerable girl out after a late dark-night date, looking for someone to father a child and earn her first birth-bonus. Minister Jackson had been Father's friend, and he hadn't renounced their friendship even after Father was disassembled. But he never believed Father was making his own chemicals, because nobody had done that for three generations since the Zgaarid showed up with their advanced technologies. Even back on Earth, and that was the only place where human-use chemicals were still manufactured. Everything we synthesized here on Precursor was for export to the Zgaarid, perhaps for sale to other species in their trading network, though some of the products could be used for human purposes, too.
Jackson had always been protective of me, maybe more because of snitch's guilt than ministerial duty, so I figured he'd cut me some slack. As he walked over, I did my best to look like a fatherless little girl, not ready to breed, and needing a minister's protection and consolation.
"Well," he said, with mock surprise in his voice. "Good morning, Libra. Or is it still good evening?"
"Hi, Ben," I sparkled at him, knowing I would have to satisfy his curiosity before he would move on. "It's still 'good evening'—though it wasn't as good as I hoped."
"Something wrong?"
"I'm okay," I said, trying to sound as if it wasn't quite true. "I was at a party in Center. A guy … " I could make myself blush, but I didn't think I needed to. "… well, you know how guys can be. So I wanted to sit here a while and think a bit before going home to take care of Mom."
Ben Jackson knew my mother, too. He had helped her settle in after she arrived here on precursor to find her husband no longer existed. Mentioning Ma was carefully calculated to remind him that it wasn't very nice for a young girl to be saddled with a widowed mother who everyone in Clifton knew to be an alcoholic 'tardy. And everyone said I would be better off if Marianne could only pull herself together, and wasn't it a shame that her brain had been damaged when she quilted over from Earth. And that I was too young to have to work all the time to support her—that I should be out having fun and looking for a man with suitable genes who still had viable sperm.
I could see that Minister Ben was likely to be thinking all those thoughts. How serious I was. How it was only natural that I wanted to be alone once in a while. Or have a little fun—but not like some of those other kids he had to deal with, messing around with psychems, getting in all kinds of trouble, then having their parents come down to Church and bail them out. So I gave him a few moments, then said, "It's all right, isn't it Reverend Jackson, to park here? I mean, it's not immoral to use the parking lot, is it? I was just a little afraid to park on the street all alone."
I motioned to the two other parked cars. "I mean, the bakers are inside working already, so I thought it would be safe."
"Sure, honey. You can just sit here as long as you like. And nobody's going to harm you as long as I'm around, you can count on that."
I knew this was true. Nobody in Clifton—not even gang members—would dare to face a Minister's firepower. But right now, I preferred to be alone. My balloon plane had enough fuel to circle for at least two hours. And it would be light even before then.
Chapter 3.
On Precursor
Alone in Boss's car, Manny was glad it was early, and dark—not that much light ever penetrated Precursor's cloud cover even during bright-noon. Dark or light, there was no way he would allow his boys to see how nervous he was as he wheeled his car across Bridge 214. If this slag dump island had a name, he couldn't think of it. Just "Bridge two-one-four," the only way on or off unless you were willing to risk a boat in the sludge Precursor called water.
But there was already more than enough risk for Manny. Ordinary missions—heists, intimidation, assassination—never made him feel this way. He wasn't afraid of killing, and never thought of the possibility of being killed. He was untouchable, but this job was different. Full of unknown quantities.
Manny was clever enough to imagine some of the possibilities, which was why Boss chose him as point man. He was proud of that, but even Boss hadn't been smart enough to know who had sent the package. That might be the hardest part of his job, finding out who was behind the package, but someone had to do it. Anyone who was cunning enough to lay his hands on that much pure crocus was someone to be reckoned with.
The plain package had contained a full kilo of the orange powder, enough to provide hope of long life for ten-thousand sick workers for a month. Wholesale, it was worth $100,000 cache—cache because it could never be sold for traceable money—cash. Retail, it would bring five times that much. Maybe more, because everybody knew crocus, like most human biologics, could not be manufactured on Precursor and had to be smuggled through the Quilt—which was not easy with the Zgaarid controlling the trade.
The note in the package had asked for $10,000 cache, a modest price indeed. Of course, Boss knew he could just keep the goods and chalk up a pure profit, but if this "Joe Green" really had a source, it wouldn't pay to settle for a mere kilo. Besides, Green might start dealing with someone else, which could cut into business. And so, Manny thought, as he patted the bundle of tens and twenties on the seat beside him, he had better come out of here knowing everything he could about this mysterious Joe Green. When he did, Boss would think the ten thou cache had been well spent, and Manny would be rewarded.
He pulled into the dump and watched the faint shadows for any movement in the dim light ahead of the car. Although he couldn't make out anybody else among the slag mounds, he knew that Jack and Randy had been discreetly parked near the dump entrance for the past twenty-two hours, ever since dark had begun. If anyone had arrived but departed, Jack and Randy would have reported it.
Later, as soon as Manny gave the electronic signal that the pickup had been made, his boys would tail the next vehicle that drove out. And, in case the first one was a decoy, Zig and Sammy had parked outside the dump an hour ago, to back them up.
Manny was a planner. He had covered all the bases. If Joe Green or his messenger arrived by boat, Cap and the rest of his crew were holding the launch just offshore, but out of sight. The potential here was too big to take chances. If Joe Green really had a wide open source, Boss had to control it.
Boss himself, of course, would be arriving at Mass just about this time. Joe Green had done his research, scheduling the drop early in the bright-morning. Boss liked to have at least two ministers and a gaggle of pious women to provide an alibi whenever anything risky was taking place elsewhere. It was a piece of professional courtesy for Joe Green to fit Boss's schedule. It showed respect. In this business, respect was important.
It also showed that Green was a pro, and a pro would expect to be tailed. And would make provisions to shake the tail. Manny's job was to follow instructions to the letter—both Green's and Boss's. He only hoped that they wouldn't be contradictory. Manny liked to think of himself as a pro, too, but he despised contradictions.
He reached the designated spot—the flattened mound of purplish lumps the size and shape of human ears—without seeing anyone else in the dump. Not that he expected to, at this hour on a bright-morning, but you never knew. Besides, there was an almost infinite number of hiding places among the poisonous slag mounds.
Manny scanned the mounds, not really expecting to see anything. He couldn't even make out the true colors of any that were more than ten meters away. It occurred to him, then, that Green might not try to take the money out at all, but just wait in the dump until there was enough traffic to cover his exit. If bright-morning had fully dawned by then, the cloud-penetrating satellite scans should show all the comings and goings. Still, Manny would remain alert on the ground. Any tiny clue might be as useful as following someone right out of the dump. There weren't that many possible Joe Greens to eliminate.
The note's instructions had been disturbingly simple.
Have the money securely tied up in a ration box—in tens and twenties cache.
Come alone.
Stop the car by this purple waste mound.
Get out of the car.
Wait for further instructions, exactly five meters north of the mound.
Manny checked his shoulder holster and his ankle backup just in case. If this whole thing was a minister trap and he was caught carrying, he was out of luck. But Boss couldn't imagine the Church sparing a full kilo of crocus for a trap, and Manny trusted Boss. Generally, the ministers kept one eye closed to the illicit crocus trade, as long as there was nothing too obvious or the price became too competitive. Too many people would stop working for the corporations if they could get their life-saving drugs elsewhere.
He checked the time on his implant, adjusted his nasal filters against any particularly noxious fumes, then lifted the box and popped open the side of the car. After making one inspection tour around the car, he checked the time again. Five minutes to six. Exactly on plan. He placed the box on the car's collision shield, popped a scrubber in his mouth, and activated it with saliva. He had a feeling that Joe Green would not be late. He wanted his mind perfectly clear.
At one minute to six, he sucked the scrubber one last time, then spit it out and circled the car once more. He felt that something had changed, but he couldn't pin down what it was. The sun's greenish light was beginning to crack the horizon, but he could see nothing in any direction. Still, the feeling grew. What had changed?
Chapter 4.
If everything went well, my plane could have been returning any time. I had to get rid of Ben Jackson. Quickly, but without arousing suspicion. Even fully loaded with $10,000 in small cache, it would be quiet, but maybe not quiet enough. It wouldn't land until I activated the command button hidden in my bra, but I wanted to get it down before the markets in the Plaza opened and too many people were milling around. The plane might be small enough, and perhaps silent enough, so it wouldn't be noticed by eager shoppers, but I didn't want to take any unnecessary chances. I needed to get rid of my self-appointed guardian, and quickly.
I decided a little embarrassment should do the trick, aided by my repellant pheromone. I dabbed my left pinkie with a drop of saliva to activate the scent, then waved it under his nose as I leaned out the window and gave him a daughterly kiss on the cheek. "Thank you, Reverend Jackson. Thank you for everything. Sometimes things are pretty difficult for a girl, you know."
The kiss and the chemical had the desired effect, as I knew they would. Most Ministers, popular though they might be as breeding studs, were prudes—in public anyway, in uniform. They were afraid of losing their jobs, which sure as heck beat slavishly following Zgaarid chemical procedures in one of the factories.
He shuffled backwards, quickly looking around to see if anybody had seen the kiss. It was still too dark to be sure, but I thought he was blushing. "That's all right, honey," he stammered. "I'm just doing my job, so you just stay here as long as you like. I've got some other people to protect and console. I'm sure you'd rather be alone anyway."
I decided to toy with him. I know I shouldn't do that, but I never can resist teasing men. They think they're so powerful, so in control, especially the ones with top gene scores, which most of the ministers had, given the protected environments of their churches. But that arrogance makes me so angry at the same time it makes them so easy and tempting to tease. "Oh, no. I'd love to have you stay and console me, as long as you'd like."
But he had already retreated to his patrol vehicle and opened the door. "I really have to go now. Say hello to your mother for me."
"I will. And say hello to everyone at Church for me." I knew he would certainly tell all his colleagues at Church about me, going over the story once more about how Father had been an irresponsible fool to think he could smuggle chemicals and not be caught. How he'd been one of those troublesome cases who couldn't withstand the reprogramming so had to be disassembled, and now his daughter was suffering for it. How maybe one of them should get busy and give me a baby, so I'd have some income to ease the suffering.
Well, it hadn't been all suffering, and I didn't need any birth-bonus. I had a paying job, even though it paid less than I would get for three babies. Better than that, the ministers had left Father's lab intact, not even believing such a place could exist. So, I had a playroom filled with equipment and a fair number of supposedly harmless precursors. It wasn't hard to convince 'tardy Ma not to sell any of it, and to stay out of the lab when she was home, so I had free rein for my own experiments. And the ministers needed no convincing that two mere women were no threat to the corporations.
Well, their blind spot was good cover for me, so I couldn't complain, but as I sat there waiting, I couldn't help reflect that maybe somewhere there's a man who didn't think he was master and commander of all women in the universe. No, I decided, not if he was raised on Precursor. There couldn't be a worse planet for women in the entire Zgaarid galaxy.
Chapter 5.
Though I was named for Brother Andre, the faith healer who encouraged his followers to accept their suffering, I could never accept mine. Much of my early boyhood on Gemariah is an undifferentiated fog, spent as it was in Perfective Solitude. The Lock, however, stands out clearly, for it was my first real teacher. My mind holds many sharp pictures of The Lock, arranged in the chronological order my developing brain constructed them. Earliest, of course, was the burnished gray metal interior faceplate. Only the faceplate was visible to the untrained eye of a three-year-old with nothing more interesting to do than study it. Not to study for purposes of escape. Not yet. Simply because The Lock anchored the doorway to the forbidden world outside my Perfective Solitude cell.
By age four, my passion to understand how things worked was already well developed, and I already knew every line and scratch of the faceplate. By five, I understood that though the lines and scratches contained innumerable patterns of interest, none provided the slightest clue to opening the forbidden door. I don't recall exactly when I understood, but by five, certainly, because by then I was already far advanced in my vocal mimicry, a skill that would later become one of my most useful tools.
Memorizing the key phrase was easy enough. It was, naturally, taken from the Holy Scriptures, which I had already memorized before I even knew how to read. Before I was even supposed to know there was even such a thing as reading. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Although I was already a good mimic, I failed to realize that my juvenile voice could never hope to capture my father's bass pronunciation. Only on rare occasions did Mother control the lock, so I was perhaps six before I put aside my futile efforts to mimic my father's voice. Mother used a different key phrase—also Scriptural, of course—but her squeaky voice was well within my boyish range. Only a few months of incessant practice were required to put the lock under my control.
The first time I succeeded with my new skill, my father was unable to believe that a mere child could conquer the Perfective Solitude Interdictions placed by the Holy Church of Yahweh's Tender Touch. He assumed that Mother had neglected to lock my cell door, earning her Yahweh's tender touch with my father's cane—the worst beating I had yet been allowed to witness. For my own good, of course.
My own beating—for taking three tentative but forbidden steps into the hall—was much less severe, though severe enough that I made no further excursions unless my parents were away.
Fortunately for my education—as opposed to my schooling—they were often away on church business. Whole days, sometimes weeks, at a time. By age eight, when my own church responsibilities began, I knew every detail of every object in our tiny house. I knew exactly where it was placed, how it was oriented, and even the dust patterns that had to be restored when it was moved for my examination. Not that Mother would ever allow dust to accumulate on anything my father could see. She may not have been as devout as my father, but she was devout enough to avoid unnecessary torture for the sin of slovenly housekeeping.
She was also heretic enough to know which hidden nooks were unlikely ever to be examined with my father's white glove. To refurbish the undisturbed pattern for these areas, I collected my hidden cache of dust—always accumulating in my cell. Looking back, I wonder where the dust came from. Gemariah, at least where we lived, would have been a desert without irrigation from the mountain snows, but with no window and an always-locked door, how did the dust get inside?
Yet somehow the dust accumulated. No need for white gloves, either. With the only furnishings being a hard cot, a straight chair, and an extractor, any dust I missed was always visible grounds for punishment. So, the Lock taught me to be meticulous in my personal habits—not from the Holy Church's admonitions about cleanliness, but from Mother's sin of slovenliness. I was convinced that this slight taint on Mother's soul was the genetic origin of my own heresy. Certainly, there was no such taint on my father's side of the family. My father, like his father and his father's father, was a Minister.
Part of his duties as Minister, over and above enforcing the Law, were to maintain a collection of banned books so he could learn to recognize the various Heresies in their infinite forms. Opening the collection's physical lock was child's play, but since I'd never learned to read, the contents of the books remained locked to me for several years. The pictures, most of them, I grasped immediately, but the words, even the letters, were strings of mysterious, meaningless, patterns to my untrained mind.
My first break was the letter O. It reminded me of the glyph on my Console—Ouroboros, the snake eating its tail—meaning "repeat the lesson." Of course, Ouroboros was the embodiment of filth—not just touching its nether parts, but touching them with its mouth—but that was appropriate. Only the poor student—the filthy, unclean, unhealthy student—would lack the concentration and religious dedication to memorize the lesson in a single presentation. So, whenever I happened to touch the O, my Teacher would punish me by chanting, in that blaming tone Teachers do so well, "O-ro-bo-ros. O-ro-bo-ros." Mouthing the word, I could hardly miss the association of shape and sound.
Looking at my description, I realize that this learning process sounds too easy. It wasn't. Nothing on Gemariah was easy, even the things you were supposed to be doing.
"Labor is pure." Growing up, I heard this admonition a hundred times from Mother. A thousand times from my father. A million times from my Teacher, my virtual friend in the Console in my wall. More important, it was written in gray letters on the translucent white glass of the oculus above the altar in the Church. Eventually—I think it took months, but I had nothing but time—I figured out that the "bor" sound in "la-bor" was the same as the sound in "Orob-bor-us." I had strayed off the strait and narrow way to virtue, treading the crooked path to sin through reading.
The pictures and diagrams helped immensely, because I knew the names of things mentioned. "Bed" led me to isolating the "b" sound, which led me to "ball" (not that I had a ball to play with, but I often had to "follow Teacher's bouncing ball.") The difference between "ball" and "bed" provided the idea of vowel sounds, and "ball" and "hall" and "wall" taught me a couple of new consonants.
By the age of nine, I could make out the sounds of many new words, though irregularities in some of the old spelling led to embarrassing mispronunciations later in life. But, at the time, my reading was of necessity silent. Hence, I learned the physics of levers, fulcrums, and loads without knowing that "load" was a one-syllable word, with a silent "a."
But pronunciation didn't matter. I could actually test what the book said about mechanical advantage without knowing how to pronounce the "ch." And test I did. I could indeed move heavy objects—like my steel bed—by creating a class one lever with a short arm and a long arm separated by a fulcrum. With a class two, I could crack my hard nutritional biscuits without risking my teeth or soaking them in my water ration. Cracking them was essential if I wanted to avoid biting into an occasional burrowing mealworm.
The Holy Church of Yahweh's Tender Touch teaches its followers that all strength came from health, and all health came from faith and purity. But physics taught me that some strength came from thought, and faith had nothing to do with it. Physics had cracked my faith, just the way it had cracked my biscuits.
It was only a crack, though. Before I was ten years old, some articles of faith were so firmly set that they couldn't be cracked by books. I read about how babies were made, but I simply couldn't believe it. If women didn't have a "thing" down there, how could they use the extractor? Without the extractor, they would fill up with urine until they exploded and died. No, I wasn't to unlock the truth about women until much later, when I served my time in the seminary.
Unlock. Oh, yes, I was describing my father's locked collection. One of my greatest discoveries was a book on circuit theory and electronic systems. Studying this tome during long Church weekend retreats allowed me to form my third picture of the interior of The Lock—a circuit diagram. Actually, it was a collection of homeomorphic circuit diagrams—all logically equivalent to the black box observer that I, born in sin, was condemned to be.
But I keep getting ahead of myself. I've given a glimpse of my early education, the origin of some of my personal tools, but I haven't really explained why I needed these tools. For that, I will first have to explain about the uniquely human church disease that infected Gemariah, our isolated agricultural planet in our isolated arm of the galaxy.
If you are a reviewer for a regular publication and would like a review copy of this novel, email me with your request for a reviewer copy.
To purchase the paperback version:
• Directly from the publisher:
• From

enjoy the game !

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Preview : New Automation Tool - Automation Anywhere

I recently had a chance to preview another automation tool in the market. It is relatively new and not much advertised.
I was impressed. Felt very comfortable navigating through it. It seems to be a combination of HP tools like BPT+ QTP + Sprinter (alias manual runner. Yet to be launched) + Web Testing Tool (Still under development). It has multiple features. They also have feature where the nuances of Object properties can be eliminated. Object properties are one of the biggest pain points of QTP.

I still need to do a PoC to realize the exact benefits this tool has over the ones existing otherwise. The first impression however at the macro level was very impressive.
The website is very easy to navigate and provides on line solution forums & user forums. Has availability to interact with fellow product users and their product team to learn from their experiences.
link to website
freedownloadable trial version of their tools available
check out demo at

From their website and the presentation given, collated the following info -
Automation Anywhere Server
It is an intelligent automation solution allowing users to automate business and IT processes easily, swiftly and intuitively. It centralizes the setup and maintenance of automation tasks, ensuring consistency, eliminating setup time and maintenance effort whether it be a single machine or multiple machines across a division or enterprise. A centralized server console allows for better control and lower costs. Easily edit automated tasks at any workstation, then upload or download the automated task onto multiple locations to seamlessly run automated tasks across users. Unparalleled performance and scalability leads to greater efficiencies in automation.
Automation Anywhere is a no-programming required, intuitive and intelligent software. Powerful, in-built features include
· a SMART Windows recorder,
· SMART Web recorder,
· job scheduling,
· 495+ actions,
· award winning drag and drop task editor,
· a Web data extraction tool,
· Excel integration,
· data transfer wizards, to name a few.

They claim that it is used by everyone, whether they are IT professionals or savvy business users, it is the software of choice for thousands of customers, Fortune 500 companies, small and medium sized businesses and individuals across industries, in over 90 countries.

Key Features Includes
ü Workflow Designer
Visually create business and IT process workflows. Flowchart entire processes for better deployment, communication and intra-company documentation
ü Visualize automation
Innovative 'Visualize' technology provides a screenshot visual of every step of an automated process. Storyboard the view of an entire task or capture images on-demand
ü Image recognition
Simulating the human eye, this powerful feature recognizes and captures images on any application screen, allowing for unparalleled automation
ü 3 recorders and editor
Task recorder, Web recorder, Windows Object recorder. Editor with 495+ actions and expert view for advanced users
ü App integrator
No-programming required integration using simple drag and drop. Integrate between any applications
ü User collaboration
Multiple users can upload / download automated tasks

Capabilities of the robust solution are
ü Scalability: add users as needed
ü Seamless information flow
ü Centralized systems: backup, security and resources
ü Save resources, time and cost
ü Better collaboration between employees and divisions
ü Reduce human error on repetitive, time consuming tasks
ü Streamlines setup and maintenance of automation tasks
ü Consistent practices across users
ü Knowledge capture – central repository to easily share/store automated tasks

Solutions Provided

As a testimony to its reliability, power and ease-of-use, Automation Anywhere is used for a variety of tasks, across industries.
1. Provides Ready Solutions for
ü Web automation
ü Windows automation
ü Network automation (LAN/WAN)
ü Excel automation
ü Database automation
ü ERP automation
ü Remote desktop automation

2. Manages Common Tasks like
ü Business process automation
ü IT automation
ü Web data extraction
ü Business intelligence
ü Screen scrape
ü Data integration / Data automation
ü Automated testing
ü Application Integration
ü Job scheduling
ü Batch processing
ü GUI automation
ü Email automation

3. Provides Industry Solutions towards
ü Finance / Insurance / Banking
ü Technology
ü HealthcareGovernment / Education

HP IGNITE at Goa - 19 May to 21 May 2010

Attended HP IGNITE at Goa - 19 May to 21 May 2010.
beautiful venue, beautiful stay, well charted program..... Very good folks ....
This was a partner connect and met myriad of people across industry from India and HP in particular.

Was not so impressed by the tools and solutions they show cased as upcoming from HP. My own current employer has much better solutions that we are using for years now. HP has just started to think about them :(...........and I realized there are many more areas where they have not yet started thinking. ( Sat through sessions wondering .....WHERE IS THE LEADERSHIP THEY CLAIM)

Was not even impressed on the tools presentation side. Just a high level theory and probably a few snapshots (only for limited cases) did not satisfy my appetite. Would have loved if they had some trial versions or Kiosks available to immediately try out the tools and give a first hand feedback to the HP leadership present there.

The questions I had around ROI benefits from using some of the upcoming tools specially Agile testing ones, did not get me satisfactory answer. I directly spoke around these to Noam Sharon who heads their R&D and Roi Carmel who heads the architecture group.

The Agile testing solution proposed therein seemed more like 2 sections of testing where in first part a QA team works very closely with Dev team (my interpretation of this was a peer review. Could no where relate to QA activity) then a systems testing phase (where I perceive some testing will be done). But in any case no proof if this proposed development method with tool usage will bring any tangible ROI benefit on the table for the end user against usage of traditional development methods prevalent currently.

All in all event wise technical take away was not as per the expectation that I had from the program.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Preview on HP Manual Runner

I had an opportunity to do a sneak preview of an upcoming HP Testing tool called Manual Runner this week.
The key USP's I liked of the tool were for Exploratory testing and for multi browser combo's & environment settings.
These would give a significantly good reusability and result in magnitude of saving leading to a considerable impact on ROI improvement.

Key Features -
  • Can work as stand alone as well as with QC. There are many other options on how it can be used
  • Record every activity you do as test on the fly
  • Creates manual test cases step wise as in linked to QC
  • Captures screen shots of every entry
  • Defects can be called out, separately captured and showcased with annotations
  • Perfect for unit testers as they explore and finalize the testcases towards functionality fitment
  • Very helpful for regression testers
  • Most usable - Can open mutiple virtual machines and run the same test from primary host to multiple secondary hosts having different environments simultaneously.
  • All results can be captured at the primary host level
  • Can link to QC same as any other HP Tool

There are multiple suggestions given on enhancement and now I wait to beta test it !!

Yet to see final version of it to take it to clients.......

Frustrations of testing a product where there are no validations built in

Last Saturday (10 Apr 2010) I joined the EWT session to test a site. This was calculations around the parking meter for parking in the premises of his space.

My results are as below ....

Matt's Blog has one good write up on the same

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The new year .... to do or not to do !

Opened the blogspot today and realize that no posts this whole year and a quarter gone !! Hah !!

So here I am ......Let me talk a little about the fear(s) I have faced as questions from fresher's setting feet into world of software testing ........
  • I aways wanted to be a programmer...they pushed me to do testing ....this is not what I want to do ....... when can I get a change from here

And mind you .......this guy as yet does not even know what is meant by the 'T' in testing !!

  • Do I really have a career in testing ?

Did he not know that all companies have an independent vertical on testing now ??

  • Will I really have an opportunity to do something nice as 'tester' ?

You need to taste the sweet before you can comment on degree of sweetness in the same.

  • Do you think this is a respectable job profile ?

Why do you think so ? Did you not read basic softare engineering while at tech school ?

I'll answer these in the next post ..... with my opinion around these qs !!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Testers and Newton's Laws !!

Let me firstbegin by stating the 3 laws of motion of Newton. The below content about the Newton's Law was taken from ""
Let us begin our explanation of how Newton changed our understanding of the Universe by enumerating his Three Laws of Motion.
Newton's First Law of Motion:
I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
This we recognize as essentially Galileo's concept of inertia, and this is often termed simply the "Law of Inertia".
Newton's Second Law of Motion:
II. The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector.
This is the most powerful of Newton's three Laws, because it allows quantitative calculations of dynamics: how do velocities change when forces are applied. Notice the fundamental difference between Newton's 2nd Law and the dynamics of Aristotle: according to Newton, a force causes only a change in velocity (an acceleration); it does not maintain the velocity as Aristotle held.
This is sometimes summarized by saying that under Newton, F = ma, but under Aristotle F = mv, where v is the velocity. Thus, according to Aristotle there is only a velocity if there is a force, but according to Newton an object with a certain velocity maintains that velocity unless a force acts on it to cause an acceleration (that is, a change in the velocity). As we have noted earlier in conjunction with the discussion of Galileo, Aristotle's view seems to be more in accord with common sense, but that is because of a failure to appreciate the role played by frictional forces. Once account is taken of all forces acting in a given situation it is the dynamics of Galileo and Newton, not of Aristotle, that are found to be in accord with the observations.
Newton's Third Law of Motion:
III. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
This law is exemplified by what happens if we step off a boat onto the bank of a lake: as we move in the direction of the shore, the boat tends to move in the opposite direction (leaving us facedown in the water, if we aren't careful!).

Have you ever thought how these Laws impact our day today life as testers ? (Y/N)
Y- I would look forward to hear your philosophy around it
N-Try to relate these to your day today activities and let me know if you can see a relationship

I see multitudes in relation !! ..... will write about them shortly !