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Will curse for money

 
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:25 am    Post subject: Will curse for money Reply with quote

I do it all the time anyway. Honestly, I find software to be typically so poorly performing, that it is frankly unusual if I'm not cursing within minutes of using a website or computer application.

Software and web design companies typically maintain a department, team, or function for doing QA (quality assurance). Based on my experience with conferences centered on this subject, most participants feel marginalized, and underappreciated. "Testers" are not a high status constituency within organizations, usually.

The result is that there is an inequality of status between testers and developers. That leads to a constriction of communication, and a deference and a softening from low to high status individuals. Instead of being told how poorly they've performed at making their systems usable without work-arounds, useless extra steps, and syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic errors, developers get it sugar-coated. After all, the "talent" can be temperamental, and they are harder to hire and train.

The result is that I, the user, encounter problems that never should have existed. I who have less voice, less status, and less incentive to convey my diagnoses to the developers, I feel beset, and powerless to do anything but persevere or fail.

It makes me angry, and I think that a rational society would find a way to compensate me so that I would express my anger to software developers to the end of letting them recognize the multiple ways that their systems fail, and all the extra stresses that their users are experiencing.

If you paid me, I'd do that: produce a running commentary and analysis of interface failures and stress points.

Just keep in mind: I'm not your "tester". I'm your frustrated, pissed off (hypothetical) user. Nice costs extra. More than you can afford (hypothetically).

"QA w/an attitude"
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you familiar with the Agile Manifesto and/or its implementation, Scrum methodology?

Quote:
Scrum is an iterative, incremental framework for project management often seen in agile software development, a type of software engineering.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_%28development%29

It's become more common now to elevate the QA or Build Engineer to a position above simple Developer because they are expected to "make it work" rather than just code up something that is functional. But in Scrum its more of an "everyone push" method that uses lots of customer input and rapid turnaround cycles...
Quote:

During each “sprint”, typically a two to four week period (with the length being decided by the team), the team creates a potentially shippable product increment (for example, working and tested software).

The set of features that go into a sprint come from the product “backlog”, which is a prioritized set of high level requirements of work to be done. Which backlog items go into the sprint is determined during the sprint planning meeting.

During this meeting, the Product Owner informs the team of the items in the product backlog that he or she wants completed.

...

After a sprint is completed, the team demonstrates how to use the software.


Even more towards your paradigm of making someone responsible is a system that I believe my own group falls into which is DevOps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DevOps

DevOps takes it further by not separating Development and Operations into two separate things....especially with Web Development where its such a mixture of scripting, compiled server side code, javascript client libraries, middleware, databases, XML, JSON streams and now HTML5 video and websockets...
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agile and Scrum are often touted, in software quality conferences I've attended, as cures to some of the systemic problems companies face in producing software. I, personally, have used them only at a very superficial level, so I am happy to defer to your description. On the other hand, it is not unusual that I have been the sole creator and supporter of an application.

I will stipulate that products I made under my sole "proprietorship" might have bad qualities that I am too close to perceive. So, the question then becomes, are these poorly made software / websites I see not made using the techniques you describe, or do these techniques still lead to such substandard results?

If the latter, how are we to explain such bad results from such putatively good techniques and technologies?

============================

My prediction is that you have already internalized such a sophisticated capability of a work-around mentality, that you secretly believe that I exaggerate the problem. I don't enjoy the prospect of being patronized, so if that's what you think, please don't hesitate on my account.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not that, it's just that when you write about "testers and developers" it sounds like someone that's been out of The Industry for decades. At this point, even giant software factories like Microsoft tout Agile as their methodology...and many methodologies have gone beyond Agile as even it is old in Software Development years!

Maybe you could cite some specific software products and the issues you are experiencing.
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brian-hansen
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You couldn't?
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is one really big one...one that I have never understood in all the years its been happening (and it still does).

How can a web page crash a computer?

It seems impossible to me. Well, maybe in the early days...maybe when scripts first started, or java.

Somehow, somewhere, something would "leak" outside the Operating System, with all it's layers of protection and get into somewhere it shouldn't....use up some resource.

But now? With all the years of experience? It would seem an impossibility. It's as if now, in the year 2011, I were watching TV during the mid-afternoon, and suddenly it would go all staticy, and an Indian head would come on the screen, with a loud piercing noise and the words PLEASE STAND BY. And it would happen at least once a day...still!

And by the way, it happens even on my most modern of completely different Operating Systems....Android on my phone?!

Where is the isolation? How can this happen?

This more than anything makes me want to sympathize...
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I go to take a "Security Awareness" online course for work.

I use the Chrome (Google) browser on Windows 7 (Microsoft).

Both are state of the art products from leading technology companies.

I click on the link from the umpteenth email I received telling me to take this course.

It launches a tab in Chrome (my companies preferred browser).

I log into the courseware site, thankfully remembering the password I set up months ago when I did the last course.

I bang around the menu looking in My Courses, foolishly thinking some administrator would have set up whatever it is I'm supposed to take in there.

No such luck, back to the instructions. Oh yeah, I am supposed to click Compliance. I do and a browser with some text pops up and a link saying Click To Launch Compliance Connection. I click and click until I notice a small line at the top alerting me that popups are blocked.

I select allow popups for this site (which since I clean my cache a whole lot, is information that will be soon lost. How about this -- no more popups. No more modals. Just use another web page. ) and then a java appish looking thing appears with the course, the lessons and the tests in an outline format. After scanning for several minutes I see there is a big "play" type button in the lower right. But before I can click on it, everything locks up. And I mean everything -- the whole trail of open popups and browser emails, the mouse...I can't even run Task Manager to kill it without doing Ctrl-Alt-Del -- I do that and sink the whole thing.

The year 2011.
The software -- the best from the best.
The result -- disaster.

(Oh and to add insult to injury...there's a right click menu hovering at the top of my screen that is related to changing the graphics properties ... I must have summoned it during my "try everything" set of key clicks once it all went south...but now this menu overlays everything. I might have to reboot....)
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course then there is current maelstrom in which I am swirling where we are building a web site using the latest and greatest platforms and technologies...those that disperse functionality across servers, using web communications. Much of the "building" is configuration (another trend...swapping programming in some areas...for highly configurable built in services).

The problem comes with all this distribution is that traditionally you used to have really smart guys writing programs, who basically did it all...from opening a socket to managing threads. Now you have guys (like me) who staple building blocks together, and place it on top of game boards (configurable servers) which hopefully have the right combination of tokens and paper money so that when the dice rolls your app lands on the right square. So, you have to have these moderately qualified guys all along the way to add some permissions, or install a component. Problem comes when they don't show up for work, or you make it a bit too hard and everyone throws up their hands.
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get an email for a conference in GMail.

I click on the teleconference number to bring up Google Voice, which lets me make the call without using my cell phone minutes.

As I am letting it dial, I click on the volume control to make sure it's right.

However, as software tends to do...when it completed the dial, it came back to the foreground...so as I was trying to set volume, I clicked a number on the keypad and it then said "Invalid conference number".

Part of the problem with software on the desktop is that there is so little context. The whole "screen" is a virtualized something or other...breaking down applications into hardware units like smart phones or mobile do-hickeys might be the answer.

Sometimes I wish I had an Internet Radio in my car...with a round dial that I could turn...moving through all the IP addresses (or domain names) for music...
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jabailo



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Sign in with Twitter (Facebook, etc)"

You make a comment, and now, instead of having to register, you are offered the chance to sign in using your Twitter, Facebook or other Big Social Media account.

Yet, it seems 50 percent of the time, selection one of those sends you off to Etherland, where nothing ever happens. Most of the time, you get back to a popup that says "If you are not redirected in the next lifetime, click here and..." Even if that does happen, I get back to the site, and I'm still not logged in, or put into a state where I can complete my post...it still wants to validate or log me in.

It does work sometimes and its a great convenience, but quite frankly I prefer using Disqus (a comment service that you can build into your website and which gives you control over your commenting image).

Still it's "one of these things" that is put out there like a be all and end all, one which partners with the Biggies and yet it simply fails way to many times...and who do you complain to...the site...Twitter or some other entity with no customer service?

Oh, and another one is, I try to post a comment to a site where I already have an account, and I get a choice...login with my account, or use Facebook, ... So, sometimes I think, why not use Facebook so I don't have to remember usernames, passwords, and so on. I select Facebook, login, and it comes back and asks me to select a screen name. I pick the one I always use and it tells me its "already in use". Yes, by me!! So, now I'm conflicting with my own account even though the point of this was to "link up" my accounts.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I go to print a web page.

It looks about one page long on the screen.

Pages start coming out in reverse order, the first 3 nearly blank.

One of these three has some scrunched up text at the top...about an inch worth.

Finally the last page has the meat of the content.

The web has been around for 15 years.

PC printers have been around for 25 years.

PCs have been around for 30.

Operating Systems and drivers about the same.


Yet...30 years later...I'm still wasting paper.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To return to the OP...here's an interesting article that correctly identifies the big problems with Wifi and offers solutions to some of its current shortcomings.

<b>Why Your WiFi Sucks</b>
http://wlanbook.com/why-your-wifi-sucks/

Quote:
Your Overlapping Channels Suck – Go here to learn how to avoid this faux pas. I have stayed at many hotels and even on a Disney Cruise where the channel plan for 2.4 GHz was 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
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