Monthly Archives: March 2010

What is software testing

We just concluded a lab week at CIM that was awesome. No other short way to put it. Read Jon’s post for the details.

For this lab week I worked with folks from QA exploring a tool (a MIT research project called “Sikuli”) for its applicability in functional testing. I’ll have a post sharing how well it went soon. We learned quite a bit, had a great exchange of experience across a departmental boundary, and now have an additional tool in the tool belt that we will be using in some cases.

I had an interesting mountain to climb to become familiar with the challenges faced in QA. What helped set the stage for me was a great Google Tech Talk by James Bach on becoming a Software Testing Expert. His video is really about becoming an expert in almost anything but the slide on “Perfect Testing” made me take pause (literally – I paused the video to consider the slide because it is so expansive and almost poetic):

Perfect testing is…

Testing is the infinite process

of comparing the invisible

to the ambiguous

so as to avoid the unthinkable

happening to the anonymous.

In other words, perfect testing is a challenge.

That’s quite a statement!

Bach goes on to fill in the picture around this statement. Watch the entire video for the context.

After taking part in this lab week, a lot of what James Bach said in this presentation has sunk in further.

I had thought I was empathetic to the work that is encompassed in software testing. What I found out was I wasn’t even close, and this experience has left me a bit humbled and inspired.

I have a feeling some of this applies to becoming a better communicator overall

NYTimes: “Building a Better Teacher”:

But what makes a good teacher? There have been many quests for the one essential trait, and they have all come up empty-handed. Among the factors that do not predict whether a teacher will succeed: a graduate-school degree, a high score on the SAT, an extroverted personality, politeness, confidence, warmth, enthusiasm and having passed the teacher-certification exam on the first try. When Bill Gates announced recently that his foundation was investing millions in a project to improve teaching quality in the United States, he added a rueful caveat. “Unfortunately, it seems the field doesn’t have a clear view of what characterizes good teaching,” Gates said. “I’m personally very curious.”

When Doug Lemov conducted his own search for those magical ingredients, he noticed something about most successful teachers that he hadn’t expected to find: what looked like natural-born genius was often deliberate technique in disguise. “Stand still when you’re giving directions,” a teacher at a Boston school told him. In other words, don’t do two things at once. Lemov tried it, and suddenly, he had to ask students to take out their homework only once.

It was the tiniest decision, but what was teaching if not a series of bite-size moves just like that?

Related:

Uncommon Schools

Change This: Jon Wortmann: “The Best Communicator in the World”

I bought a Kodak ZI8

I love this thing. It’s not perfect, at this low price point ($170) nothing is, but I’ve been able to take some amazing short videos so far. I maybe will post something to YouTube someday soon. I’m running out of excuses with this level of convenience. Speaking of that – the billing is that this has one button posting to YouTube – but you only get that if you install software from Kodak (free) on your machine. Still, the videos are pretty much upload ready right from the camera, which is awesome.

Kodak – Steve’s Digicams Forums

Kodak HD on Vimeo

Adam Westbrook: Kodak Zi8: the tool to change video journalism?

Homebrewed Music: “Kodak Zi8 – Pocket HD with Audio Input”