Chopper Ride – A memorable experience

Last month, I got an opportunity to be in a chopper. It was a four + two (driver, co-driver) seater one and we flew from Delhi (Indira Gandhi International Airport) to Faridabad (Escorts’ some Factory) and then back. About 30 minutes of air time + 20 minutes of snack break at Escorts.

From the terminal 1B, we were taken in a Innova to the embarking point. The chopper was all ready. While its difficult to explain the experience, here are some pics.

Me and Aditya.

Thats the chopper

Look at the no of those circles. Its a tough job.

Trucks lined up at some construction site. They seemed like ferrying stone or something like that.

Some housing apartments.

Golf Course

Gurgaon Toll Point

Hope you enjoyed the trip.

Dual personality – Being a tester and an end user

As Software testers, one of the big responsibility we all share is being acting like a user. While most of us love it and use this for our and user’s advantage its not a very natural thing to do. If it had been, then probably you would be that user and not really a software tester. The only way, we can most truly act like a user when we are testing either a bug-reporting application or a test-case-automation system or like wise. If we happen to be testing these applications then we are in a better situation but In real world, we end up testing banking and insurance application, graphics and document applications, storage management systems and so on. I work in a product based company and my area of testing falls under ‘Consumer Photo Applications’ so even though I click lots of photos and I spend time on them, I am not really someone who would buy a USD 100 software to manage my ever growing library of photos, correct them, share them over e-mail or cut DVDs and so on. So I am not really a true user.

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Squabs at my house – Pics of a Pigeon babies

Its been a while, infact a long time I wrote something here. So better late then never.

In my house, we have this long tunnel kind of thing just next to our bathrooms. This is the place where you have all the plumbing things going on. I stay on 8th floor. So in this place, me and my wife recently discovered that a Pigeon has hatched eggs and we could see two little squabs.

Over time, I tried to take some pics. Notice that how they are growing bigger over time.

Shot on – 24th Feb, 2008
You can see the egg crusts and the mouth of the babies. They are still under Mother pigeon. I have more pics of this time.

Shot on Feb 29, 2008 morning. I know that I should have taken more pics and should not have waited for a week. Now you can see babies very clearly, also mother Pigeon is away.

Shot on 8th March, 2008.
Now the skin/feather color is getting closer to what a Pigeon looks like.

Shot on 15th March, 2008

Shot on 19th March, 2008.
The interesting thing that both remain together.

Shot on 24th March,2008.

That was the last time, I saw them.

I wished I would have clicked more pics. The interesting news is that about 2-3 weeks back I again observed a Pigeon and after some time I saw two eggs. Till this morning the eggs were not hatched. I have clicked some pics, so hope to share more over time.

Five Things towards a Happy Test Lab

Large software organizations have the luxury to invest in labs, or test labs to help their test engineer better test a software. These labs could range from a setup having racks and racks of machines of various configs or could be just a big room with 10-20 machines. Having worked in a company (Legato Systems, now EMC) which creates Enterprise Backup Solutions (Legato Networker) I have been fortunate to see a lab which really had these large cupboard sized machines, fiber-optic powered SAN (Storage Area Network), really cool racks which support multiple machines with same keyboard, a display which would slide out and then go vertical. Probably it was done since it was needed. At the same time, out here at Adobe, we usually have a set up where a bunch of standard desktop machines are present running all kinds of operating systems, various locales and so on. Probably the reason we do not have racks is that our users do not have racks. Though I am sure that having racks might be more space efficient but thats for another day.

Some of these labs are powered by Image servers, the ones which can spit a OS image and do a raw-copy on local disk by booting the machine through network, while others may rely on OS installation through shiny disks. At some places, you have a check-in/check-out register for each of the machine, so as you get in you can work on a machine which is available and then as you go, you let go of the machine. I am sure that during your work experience you might have seen a different kind of lab as well. Also, some of you must have spent long nights in one of these labs trying to isolate a bug or just getting done with your part of test coverage. Sometimes these are also fertile grounds of new associations, more so since these are not too crowded, fall in a neutral zone (its neither harry’s office nor sally’s cubicle) and there are always many reasons to ask for help, there would always be something which is not working. Before your mind takes off and before you get nostalgic , let me come back to my intention of writing this post.

My intention here is to try to capture some of the best practices, best methods and general good housekeeping tips to harness most from a test lab. A happy test lab is key to success of test-case-execution and here are some things which you can employ to make your lab happy. These are not in any order but feel free to ask back incase it appears fragmented.

Five Things towards a Happy Test Lab

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Dont love your product too much, rather hate it

As software testers, we have to find faults in our own creations. Even though its lot of fun and a lot more sadistic pleasure to send a RED report every week to management on how buggy our own software is,  we can’t be holding on to  it till eternity. This is more of a problem for software managers like me then what I was few years back, a Test engineer. Somehow it never occurred to me as a Test Engineer that all my RED reports are actually not a good news to my manager and nor to company in general.

So as we like it or not, there is a time when there are very few bugs which deem a fix and we have to ship the product. Once a version is shipped, the whole game reverses. The same shortcomings which looked so much on the face are now ‘Known Issues’ or ‘Cosmetic’ and suddenly the average test engineer Mr. Joe starts to take full ownership, the same feature which he scoffed at since it was sort of developed by someone else is now something which he blessed. Any fault which gets reported later is looked at with suspicion and an explanation is tried then gladly logging them in the ‘Bug Reporting System’. Over time, the whole problem of maths-n-science and of finding logical bugs becomes a OB (Organizational Behavior) and psychology thing. What is now happening is that a tester has started to love his product too much and not able to see faults.

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