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.