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"The Software Testing Commandments"

Reader Discretion Advised

Readers of this site who are unfamiliar with software testing ethos or uncomfortable around software testers may find the following material objectionable, immoral and/or disturbing. Well tough. Testing isn't for choir girls and altar boys. It is a demanding craft that requires of its practitioners: deviousness, a desire to cause harm and a general disdain for rules and regulations. Click the Back button to retreat to moral high ground.

So here are the commandments without interpretation. All my testing students should be able to perform the interpretation after taking my class. Each commandment represents good advice for testers. Can you interpret them?

1. Thou shalt pummel thy app with multitudes of input

2. Thou shalt covet thy neighbor's apps

3. Thou shalt seek thee out the wise oracle

4. Thou shalt not worship nonreproducible failures

5. Thou shalt honor thy model and automation

6. Thou shalt hold thy developers sins against them

7. Thou shalt revel in app murder (celebrate the BSOD)

8. Thou shalt keep holy the sabbath (release)

9. Thou shalt covet thy developer's source code

Figure this out for extra credit: Why are there only nine?


"Tester's Golden Rule"

Do unto others until they hate you


"On Trees and Manatees"

I had a dream the other night

The Manatees were driving the boat

I wonder what happens when rednecks are run over,

Do they sink or do they float?


I wish trees could wield knives, then they could go around carving their names in people. Seriously though, after years of tramping forests from the east coast of Florida to the Olympic peninsula in Washington state, I have become convinced that tree are sentient. It's a good thing for us that they don't walk though or we'd probably get our butts kicked. Imagine a couple of Redwoods (pun intended) who've had a bit too much to drink:

" Hey Piney, let's go cut down that city of humans."

"Oh I don't know Oakley, it's kind of nice the way it is...pretty lights and all that."

"Oh come on, I'm not talking about slaughter, I need the bones to build a new floor for my thicket."

"Ooooh, solid bone floors, that is to die for! But it seems ashamed to waste all those human just to make a floor."

"What's the big deal you human-hugger, they're just people!"

"Hey, what if we grind up the fleshy part for fertilizer? My roots just thrive on that stuff."

"I like it, full use of our natural resources...now that's conservation!"


"The Student"

[Camera slowly pans to a small, cluttered office. A recently young professor is hunkered over a machine that has several orders more capability than he is able to properly use (but his operating system requires it). He has the look of extreme concentration, easily mistaken for boredom or the fact that he was a teenager for far too many years. In walks "the student."]

"Doctor, I have a 68 average in your class and I want to know if that's an A?" [Professor's expression is similar to that of a parent who has just been told that their child is ugly.]

"Hmmm, well, ah." The professor retorts, never unprepared, but the student interrupts this stream of wisdom.

"You see sir, I planned to get an A in this class and all through the class, that plan has never changed. Also, may I say that I enjoyed this class very much and that I learned more than in most classes which I have gotten A's." [This long speech has given the professor the few moments he needs to formulate the inevitable analogy.]

"Do you ever watch baseball? Well, students are like batters. When they first step up to the plate they are starting fresh. What's in their minds before that first pitch? Home run, of course. But things don't always turn out that way. You see, as a student batter, you swung and missed my first pitch, a mighty swing granted, but you whiffed it big-time. Strike one. I think you can learn a lesson from what a batter does in this situation: they stop and take stock of the situation, perhaps give tug here, a scratch there and, of course, spit; then back up to the plate. Now the next pitch is received with a lot more caution. But in your situation, another clear strike. Perhaps you tugged when you should have scratched, or even tugged once too often, but the result is the same: you're two down, pissed off at the pitcher and worried about that home run. But did you learn anything from those first two strikes? Did they make you more capable of cranking the next one over the wall? Or, did they just make you want to hurl your bat at the pitcher, bitch at the umpire, or spit again? Let's look at the third pitch....hmmm....ball one. Well now your confidence is back up.You stared down a hard curve ball and resisted the impulse to swing. It's 1-2 and you feel invincible. But why? Did you forget those two strikes so quickly? Let's see, the fourth pitch is hard and fast but right down the middle: strike three bub, you're out. Now, what does the baseball player do? Turn to the umpire and say: "what's the chance that that last pitch was a homer?"


"On Minivans"

Why is it that when people have their second child they buy a minivan? "Convenience" they claim. I beg to differ. Minivans are the epitome of surrender. They make the statement: "you win kid, we give up...our life is yours." No one buys a minivan because it looks good or drives well or for its cargo room. Minivans are for one thing and one thing only: hauling rug-rats from here to there. Style: gone. Individuality: out the window. What's left is a couple who have thrown in the towel: "our life is over, we live to serve our kids." Will the kids grow up and appreciate it I wonder? Or will the scene be: "uh, mom could you park the minivan here...I'll walk the rest of the way to school."


Test Aerobics

Page updated 19-Aug-2003