Sunday, October 9, 2011

Shocked for not feeling an electric shock

Warning! Don't try this at home or outdoor

What's the scene in between the story?

Have not come across the person so far who is daring enough to take an electric shock, despite seen such people on Television and News Papers. Last Friday my father said he was sensing electric shock in ground floor gate of our house. I did not take that seriously as I opened, closed, climbed, leaned and played with that gate often. Yet moved my hand over each area of the gate and did not feel the shock.

Next day evening father kept staring at the gate with slipper on his feet. It is the sight which I had never seen. Could sense the emotions in his face and words he spoke saying, he felt mild shock again. This was enough for me to wake up and look what actually is happening.

Unexpected actions in the scenes of story

Trying to recollect what changes my father agreed for to install that gate, I looked around the welding done to walls. Having no slipper in my feet inserted the key to gate, did not sense shock. Tightened my right hand palm on the key but could not sense the shock. Moved my hands over the bunch of keys in the key chain and took it in tightened right hand palm.

Ah! Electric shock... sensed like I'm receiving mild electric shock. I did not remove my palm from that bunch of keys. For few seconds my right hand experienced numb senses.

This inferred me to know that a daunting problem exists here. But how could that happen was the question I had. As there was no wiring in that part of the wall to which the gate was welded by threading a bit of supporting rods. Starting to study gate structure, properties and appearance which I never did so keenly, observed interesting things.

Evaluating the actions in story

  • Gate was of 11 feet in height and 4.5 feet in width. Moving hands over the gate did not feel shock. As visible and hand or finger reachable areas of the gate was painted.
  • Used electrical instrument 'tester' to see the flow of electric current in gate and other metal bodies in the surrounding place of house. 'Tester' instrument did not indicate flow of current. But still faced shock. Why and how?
  • Keys were of stainless steel and key chain ring was of brass kind of material. Not sure whether it was of brass or copper coating on it. Sensed electric shock on that ring and keys that touched it. OK, then why I did feel shock when I held just one key in my hand fastening it in palm? All keys in key bunch appeared to have coating of steel.
  • Other metals in wall did not impart electric shock or mild electric shock. Besides 'tester' too did not show the flow of electricity in them.

Twists in the scenes of story

  • Requested father to control the central electrical switch board of our house while I was getting ready to take shock.
  • Inserted the key into gate and fastened my right hand palm to other keys and felt the mild shock.
  • Asked father to switch off basement power control and still could sense electric shock. So this power control unit probably had no influence for shock I'm getting. Later this power control unit was turned on.
  • Next was to turn off first floor power control unit and still could sense electric shock. So this control unit probably had no influence for mild shock I was taking. Turned on this power unit.
  • Next was to turn off the power control unit of water sump. Doing so I could not feel the mild shock I was taking. Turning it on, sensed mild shock again. Looked like I got source of problem i.e. mild electric shock and wanted to cross test it yet again.

Tracing twists in the scenes of story

  • Recollected how and in what way the wiring for water sump motor is done from central power control unit of house.
  • Took help of father to know whether path of wiring for sump is right or not.
  • Observed the iron bit being inserted at bottom of gate frame. This bit of iron was fastened to ground and it was probably on path of wiring.
  • Switched on the motor of water sump and it pulled out water. This showed there was no short circuit as motor was running.
  • Father suggested an idea to pull the wire at motor terminal to see if that iron bit is not piercing the PVC pipe which has cable for motor. Observed that cable of motor was coming smoothly. This inferred, piece of iron rod was not blocking the cable.
  • This flashed me idea to test "will I now sense the shock?" As the cable is pulled by couple of inches, should not feel the shock if the wire is skinned out slightly at time of drilling the iron rod to support frame of the gate. And now the slightly skinned out cable will not be in contact with iron rod.
  • Switched off and switched on the power control unit of motor. Inserted the key into gate and fastened the palms covering the bunch of keys. Did not feel the shock.

Strategic end of story

  • Looks like we identified the cause of mild electric shock from the tests I did together with my father.
  • This testing will know if its tests did identify the actual problem, when an electrician comes this Sunday to house and pulls out the cable of water sump motor.
  • I and father have not faced electric shock so far inserting the key and holding the bunches of key in palm.

Anyways this happening has not reduced the anxiety in me when some one says 'Electric Shock' and it is helping me to learn useful skills to test.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cows growled 'Are you seeing us?'

Practicing testing today looked into Weekend Testing website to update myself with learning I get from there. Words 'Chasing' and 'Spotting' caught my attention there, among other words. These two words were in Weekend Testing Americas session practiced on 3rd September 2011; more details about this, is here.

I had played a dice game once with Pradeep Soundararajan and was not able to crack it. Reading the experience report of this session, I was tempted to play this puzzle now. Read the mission what the facilitator had mentioned and it was 'about pattern analysis and note taking using a bulls and cows game.' Continuing to read further, read the mission provided as below:

  • Try, practice and learn about the "Bulls and Cows" game.
  • Compare the differences in a gameplay with and without notes taken.
  • Report (in a form of discussion during debriefing) your findings and ideas on using note-taken in exploratory testing.

Reading the experience report, tried to understand what is this game with an example given by session facilitator. I did not have a partner to play the game, so opened the online version of it. Looking at description of game got more idea of it and selected 7 digits game.

Number -- 1208175 was populated and I did not know from where and how to start game. Looked back to mission provided then looking at the game I got questions which I took it out on a notepad. Those questions are written below:

  • I have played games such as Hangman and Dots with friends. What I did there?
  • I have to make 7 digits in a sequence formulated by an algorithm. How shall I start?
  • What details about those 7 digits I have with me now?
  • If I do not have them or have partial or/and ambiguous details, how will I know it?
  • What should I do now with the data I have?

These helped me to plan and strategize the moves in finding that digit by putting numbers in appropriate places. Plan was to find those numbers in steps that I'm comfort with and note down why I'm choosing it. In parallel, document what I'm doing and use it further to find better step in finding the digit chosen by algorithm.

Moving ahead my mind went blank and it was yet to get started. So what I wanted was those 7 digits and how will I know the 7 digits, was the question running before starting to play. With hard push on self, started saying, "my first move will be to identify those 7 digits among 0 to 9." In between a spam SMS dropped in to my cell phone inbox. Sender had repeating number in the sender number. This triggered a question, I have never thought of number repeating more than once. This helped though I took of my mind from the mission to identify the possibility of repeating numbers in 7 digits.

Kick started to design the tests for identifying those 7 numbers. Entered numbers 0 to 9 that repeated for 7 times, for ex: 1111111. This showed the numbers that were present in the 7 digits. Found a number repeating twice in 7 digits number with help of 'Bulls' count. Finally got those 7 numbers and made note of it.

Next task was to place them in an order; started to play with those seven digits. Felt like it was not so easy. Waiting for a moment, got an idea of using the number that was not available in the 7 numbers identified to find the appropriate position of them in the digit picked by an algorithm. Meanwhile, continued to take the notes in parallel playing the game. This idea of using number not available in the 7 digits number, helped to place the numbers appropriately together with assistance of notes made in course of playing the game.

Strategies kept evolving as playing of game progressed. Have a feel that strategies used to assist and match up with the plan plotted to finish the game, was reasonable at this point of time. If I had used my observations better to look at 'Cows,' probably would have got the all seven 'Bulls' in 3 or 5 steps lesser. Tempted to see how I played? You can see it here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Patch latching of Testing Challenge 1.2

You might have read the previous post. If not, it is here. It can help better to know the context of latch work that I'm about to do now. As per the author of this post, there is a major bug underlying in this work. As the word reads, "There was a major bug in Toughest Testing Challenge 1.2" – it also imparts meaning of just one bug i.e. major bug. I cannot take that word, as the author hasn't provided any ground work for knowing that number or how he derived at that figure.

Trying to know what that one major bug is, will get a smell of an unpleasing emotion triggered by pop up dialogs and/or its contents in web application. How did I know that was web application? By reading the URL in dialog title bar and touring that website. Doing so it asks me another question, "that dialog is used as an example to show technical writing stuff for ease of understanding the action or response; where's the problem which Dhanasekar is talking about in the dialog module?" This makes the exercise interesting for me to work on it.

Catching the patch

Now the management has come with idea to give this task for two vendors. Vendor one is asked to come up with test ideas which "*can* be executed in 15 minutes and time is nonnegotiable in this context. Vendor two is asked to estimate time required for testing the dialog module and then generate test ideas for the time estimated. The phrase "generate test ideas for the time estimated" is ambiguous one here. Does it say to arrive at ideas how the time is estimated or to come up with test ideas to test dialog in estimated time? Not sure; I go with second thought now – to come up with test ideas to test dialog in estimated time. I will not work on how I estimated the time required instead I will work on test strategy alone.

Assuming that client has communicated to Vendor One and Vendor Two what the problem is, can start of the exercise. What if the problem is not communicated and asked for the testing service?
  • In either case, I would like to transpect the client asking her or his time for 3 to 5 minutes in knowing what makes that application more interesting and competitive from business view. Not sure can I get information what I'm looking in those 3 to 5 minutes. Besides I keep reading the client, so I can get the trust of her/him and ask what makes the person to feel concerned about the dialog module and collect few words of it. If I can get few words on these, it helps me. Had you noticed my strategy for testing is already started trying to talk with client in knowing what is bothering them. If client does not give time to talk, we both cannot help each other to the best whatever it is possible.
  • Know what the client understands for 'dialogue'? Is it same as 'dialog' box I understand? Do we both have same understanding of this?
  • What types of dialog box or windows exists in application?
  • The problem described in dialog module is actually from the dialog implementation? Or the problem of else where is being observed in dialog(s)? How will I know this? What is causing the client to be so bothering with dialog?
Before going beyond from here, I will let you know what I understood for word 'test strategy'. I practice it as collection of ideas helping me in building the tests needed. My test strategy will connect the tests I perform and the purpose of the testing carried out.

Latching the patch

Context of tester at vendor one:

A client has approached tester for test ideas that can be executed within 15 minutes of time. Assumptions made here are – client wants immediate service; tester has no time to detail out the service request; and, tester is not aware of what the application is.

Who will be executing test ideas in 15 minutes which I give? Is it me? Or other person and will I part of it? Nothing is specified. This looks like more of imaginary request from client. It cannot be neat job for the context what the customer is in now though if it is delivered as a quick job. Hence I would keep off from testing dialog module in this context. Being a tester I want to be useful for those who hire me and educate them, when it is needed.

If stakeholder(s) wishes to speak further on this job, I will provide free consultation of 15 hours in identifying potential problem(s) in dialog module. Testing is not 'about convincing' or 'to convince'. It is with providing information which critically matters to stakeholder's who have vested interests and seeking testing.

Context of tester at vendor two:

A client has approached tester for a service asking estimating for testing the dialog module. Also to write test ideas for testing in the same estimated time provided by vendor two. No mention of time restrictions explicitly made to tester. From this I can also understand that tester has the time by which the testing has to be stopped.

Strategy of vendor two:
  • Build the mental model of what will be tested. Sketch it out and use by updating it consistently. This to be in simple representation so that a person who is related to application being tested will understand it with minimal words.
  • As said will talk to client about what's the concern in dialog. Know about the most important part of application per business needs. Know the potential users of the applications.
  • Work to know whether the concern with dialog is functional, UI, UX, hardware, software. This can tell me where should my tests focus and look out probable risks and problems.
  • Use FAILURE heuristic of Ben Simo which may be handy tool in this context.
  • Try to collect all programmed messages or contents displayed by application along with context. Trigger the condition such that all programmed messages are shown in the dialog. Assess the problem in dialog by this action and extend it beyond to find impact from this behavior if any.
  • Note if any messages that are not programmed and still seen in form of a dialog box in application. Know its context and evaluate the potential problem. Look what can be done to avoid if this behavior is pestering user.
  • Collect any specific data or probable data which pops up dialog on screen while using this application. Use such test data in testing and evaluate the context to know the problems from dialog.
  • What types of dialog boxes exist in the application? Work with programming team or technical person who knows about this.
  • Look for any prototypes available for dialogs available in application. Think of problems that may arise from it.
  • What kind of controls exists on dialog box, if any? Does it make sense to user for having it on dialog though it appears as per need and functioning?
  • Do the buttons or GUI controls are relevant about the actions it does or information it provides? Ex – naming pattern, display of control names.
  • Does the sentence or phrase or text tell importance of dialog box shown in simple words? Is this understandable by any users who use application?
  • Is the user is educated what to do when not sure what to do seeing a dialog box while using the application? As application cannot be tweaked to comfort for each user who purchased a license or using it, educating user can help.
  • Any option exists to stop or avoid or show or to show later, the dialog which user does not want to see?
  • Enabling and disabling of GUI control should be contextual and can it be understood by the user why it is so then?
  • If any default values or options available in dialog and it is selected. Will it create problem to user or business in later stages? Any intimation about this while selecting such options?
  • Content area and spacing of dialog box to be appropriate for various resolutions, screen width and devices.
  • Collect the count of dialog that user will have to go through for validation of entry made in a web page.
  • What kind of information shown on dialog box? Can user follow it? Is it interactive enough to fulfill purpose of dialog box? Will it communicate as it is talking to me?
  • Do dialog helps me take decisions with affirmative questions and/or words and GUI controls?
  • Does dialog structure have all its details? Ex: Title, type of message or dialog box, action, GUI controls etc.
  • Can dialog box be minimized, maximized, re-sized? Is it modal in a context where it requires being modal dialog? Is it a non-modal in a context where there is no need for a modal dialog? Will it intimate the user visually when a non-modal dialog exists and trying to use application? If user returns after a while and have modal or non-modal dialog is it easy to identify that?
  • How the dialog box is identified in online help or contextual help? Can user easily identify and know about this from Help or from customer support or by any other means that suits to context?
  • Any picture or video or voice in dialog available on dialog? What does it tell to the user?
  • Accessibility of dialog box. GUI controls in dialog and problems of having it, if any?
  • Each GUI control has unique name so it helps in identification of it while debugging, investigating, and customer support helping the user?
  • Which character is used as shortcut key? Is that character is visible enough to know that it is a short cut character for that particular GUI control?
  • Does clicking on GUI control in dialog box take user to other place from current page? If yes, how does the user come back to the page which was being used? Will data entered be persisted?
  • Is user intimated of navigating from current page on clicking any GUI control in dialog and its impact, if any?
  • Indication of action initiated by using dialog box is success or failure?
  • Is dialog shown for every single validation or user error? Is there any alternate for showing the message and reduce the mouse clicks or keyboard actions?
  • Showing the related items in a dialog box according to context.
  • Whether the repetitive controls and contents in dialog box is avoided or reduced in appearance?
  • Look what actions are invoked using the GUI controls on button? Are those actions as expected?
  • Look for the data transferred or persisted or modified or updated or left unmodified using a GUI control on dialog box. Any sensitive data or information is under threat in a context by creating problems with costs?
  • What protocols are invoked using dialog in the application? What problems can it create here?
  • How the post and partial post back happen using the GUI on dialog, if any such scenario in application?
  • Can the actions of dialog box be tweaked from possible places where it can be done?
  • Is it possible to bypass the dialog box operation which is mandatory in an application? If yes how? What are the problems doing so?
  • If I have any other tester(s) worked/working on these will sit with together and brainstorm ideas how we FAIL if we did not meet purpose of this testing. Collect the ideas how to build our tests and prioritize those per information needed from testing by client.
  • Collect the contexts where and when the dialog will be displayed in an application. Ex: OS, browser, screen resolution etc. With this I'm focusing on concern by learning application and its users.
  • If accessible/allowed, will try to get the data from bug tracking system of client to know what kind of problem or behavior is described for dialog shown. What is the decision of management and technical team for such bug? Talk to customer support, sales and marketing team and go through reports of them for dialog problem written if any. Refer online or/and contextual help of dialog in application if any. Search on web and social media if any word has been put out on this application's dialog or similar application or other application.
  • Recollect testing practice experience to see any such contexts. Make note and tweak it to the present context on finding any such work to present purpose of testing.
  • If allowed use testing friends who have expertise in this kind of testing on obtaining permission from client. In case not allowed will talk to such friends providing generic example from any one open source application. Learn how they tackle such related problems with the questions I'm finding hard to find answer. Respect to NDA is maintained by adhering to it.
  • Gather information from test regarding whether dialog shown from application being tested or any other application interacting with testing application. Identify scenarios where the dialog and content in it matters most. And know who are the potential users of this application and think of what would they do. This will ensure I'm practical in terms of executing the tests.
  • Keep reviewing and updating the strategy to the context so that it benefits the client and tester.
Will explain this strategy to client who wants me to execute the test ideas in the time I will have for testing.

Estimate: I test till the stakeholder is less interested in information that she or he is looking from testing and asks me to stop testing be it for any reason, or I break the contract of job. If I'm not involved in testing with these little ideas, need to talk with client to know more about the how the contract of work will be.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Peaking Testing Challenge 1.2

All stuffs are worth looking at it but few are to be enjoyed not just looking at it. Go here enjoy the stuff and come back to this page. Observations from the dialog are as below:

  • The dialog has title ''.
  • Going through the blog content in, noticed it is focused on UX or User Experience.
  • The image given by Dhanasekar is available at URL -- and .
  • What I infer from actual blog post from where the dialog is being picked, the author of post is more interested in the simplicity of message which relates to edit actions along with user experience though not said literally in words.

I'm trying to construct the functional tests for UX and message, to know does it do what it is supposed to do and what it actually does.

Test Ideas:
  • What does the dialog shows if just one item is selected? Will it say ‘item’ or ‘items’?
  • Does the same dialog and message will be shown on selecting other content available in other module of application? In that case will the word ‘items’ will confuse the user?
  • What kind of message it is from application? Is it warning, informative, error or a question for a user? That is not available in the dialog displayed? Dialog is not saying what kind of message is being displayed to user.
  • Do this dialog and other dialogs in application will be displayed in all other browsers, OS and devices? Does the dialog, message, font type, font size, font color, background color will appear to be same in them? Does the title bar read same in all the above said?
  • Are there any accessibility standards available in this dialog and others? If yes what are they and will it had to UX value of this application?
  • The message does not tell whether it deletes the file permanently from database or not. It just says ‘Want to delete the selected items?’ Can the user get back the item(s) deleted later if needed? This is not highlighted in the message, though message is simple and clear.
  • Looks like the theme is MS Windows Classic theme. If yes, then it should meet the standards of Microsoft UI and UX guidelines.
  • If the user machine is not MS Windows but using classic Windows theme, later changing the theme should show GUI and controls appropriate to the changed theme. Is that happening?
  • What kind of application is this? So that the default action in the dialog can be decided. If it has important and critical items or files, the default action in the dialog would be ‘No’ and not ‘Yes’.
  • If I change the screen resolution, does the dialog and controls in still remain pleasing and intact with its functionality?
  • What happens If I leave the dialog as it is for a time period? Will it close itself with an informative message left behind to a user?
  • In what all ways I can close this dialog without performing the action of deletion?
  • How this dialog appears to users who are visually challenged?
  • What if the user zooms in or zooms out, the screen? Will this dialog appears to be pleasing and does its job still?
  • Will it show any other dialog or message on clicking button ‘Yes’ and ‘No’? If yes, what are they and how will they are presented? Ex – time taken to delete is beyond expected; unable to delete the file; file is already deleted by other user or same user in other instance; or the file being deleted is being opened or edited; file being deleted is already deleted.
  • If display properties of system – Windows and buttons, color scheme and font size is changed, will the dialog remains functional from its UX and UI aspect?
  • What if the color system is changed? Will font color of text and the size of dialog will have any impact on UX functionality?
  • Does the border and sizing of spacing in and around the dialog is consistent? So that it does not irritate or strain the eyes more of user. Will screen tool tip displayed will also be appropriate and contextual for the changes happened or happening?
  • Message in the dialog need to be conversational with user. Does that message in dialog is more conversational? Does the message tell the impact of action?
Stopping here for now.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Is your cup overfull?

Most times, a person trying to be a student and mentor or coach or teacher, does not practice or forgets the lesson I learned in a book 'Turning Numbers into Knowledge' by Jonathan G Koomey. I have been blessed to keep learning from teachers (who are students too) who spark the questions within the student or questioner rather than discouragement. One of the strong strength of these teachers is keeping their mind open and transpecting the questions asked to them by learning the mind of student or questioner. I see the replies from those teachers will be a question that motivates the questioner to continue the work in more energy and passion with self motivation.

Unfortunately few of us wanting to be a student and mentor or coach or teacher, fail to spark the questions in the other person and gradually inhibit the growth of the questions in other and self. May be that questioner will not turn up unless he she or he has strong strengths to bear those laughter, teases, and overseeing discouraging words. However skillful the person is and wants to be a student and mentor or teacher or coach, if not skillful to know his cup is open enough or overfull to fill the questions she or he gets, it does not help.

Below is the excerpt from the above said book:

A Japanese Zen master received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. It was obvious to the master from the start of the conversation that the professor was not so much interested in learning about Zen as he was in impressing the master with his own opinions and knowledge. The master listened patiently and finally suggested they have some tea. The master poured his visitor's cup full and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the cup overflowing until he could no restrain himself. "The cup is overfull, no more will go in."

"Like this cup", the master said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"


Being or(and) pretending to be rude and having belief that have given enough information to crack is not going to help, unless one has seeded questions in questioner and making the learning fire to sustain, provided questioner is back to you with questions. If I'm right, remember hearing the words from Jackie Chan, in a movie "Karate Kid" of Tamil release that looked like this if I have said it correctly, "There are no bad students, there is only a bad teacher."

Another English movie "The King's Speech" shows the power of effective student and coach or mentor or teacher. Geoffrey Roy Rush, plays the role of Lionel Logue -- who is a speech therapist from Australia. I see the character of Geoffrey Roy Rush as a student and coach or mentor or teacher. Despite few discouragement from the person who wanted his help, he never stops himself from sparking the questions and hope within the person he wanted to help to speak better. If he had said I have given enough information to crack the things together with time and turned down, one and first among the greatest speech from Prince Albert who was Duke of York and later became King George VI, would not have been so popular and inspiring or probably impossible.

At end would like to say do not discourage or stop one from questioning by comparing it with your or others skill sets and potentials. If at all did that, one will be blind enough to never know the questions that are worth more than the treasures one have come across or can never come across. Questioning is the mother and an essence of all other skills one masters and practices. Kindly do not kill this mother.

Is your cup overfull?