March 28, 2008

Funny - WinTask for Writing Movie Scripts?

There are scripts, and there are scripts.

According to their web site, is "one of the leading, film industry resources for connecting film crews with film jobs."

Perhaps. But apparently, the folks at aren't all that good at checking the relevance of the articles they write.
WinTask Script Writing Software

WinTask is a number one script writing software program. Whether you are a novice or expert with script writing, you will find our script writing software quick and easy to use. In addition, our script writing software can be used in any Windows applications.

A unique feature of the WinTask script writing software is that you can automatically generate scripting language. With the recording mode, you can also record all of your actions, as well as avoid repetitive tasks.

As a script writing software program, WinTask includes a powerful VB-like language. Plus, with WinTask, you can create an automatic installation script for any program you want to install on thousands of PCs.

If you are looking for a top rated script writing software program, try WinTask today!

The list of script writing software doesn't end here, there are many programs to help script writers from beginners to professionals. Be open to your options when it comes to selecting a script writing software to help, it may take you where you want to go.
Hey - I know WinTask pretty well. Maybe I should move to Hollywood?

March 23, 2008

Cheeseburger in Paradise!

We spent our vacation in Florida last week.  We were there last year too, but this time we explored a bit more.

We stayed in Fort Myers, went to some local beaches, and took in the Red Sox's final Spring Training game of the season at City of Palms Park.  The Red Sox were preparing to jump on a flight to Japan, so it was interesting to see all their luggage and boxes lined up beside the batting cages, and being loaded into the trucks for the ride to the airport.  Lots of Japanese media there as well.

We drove to Pier 60 in Clearwater, so my son could play volleyball for the afternoon with some friends from Chicago.  It was a great day for the beach, and we got to drive over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

We went to the beach at Lover's Key State Park in Bonita Springs.  What a beautiful, quiet beach!  Lots of nice shells.  And just $1 per person to park.

We took the "Key West Express" boat ride to Key West.  Unfortunately, the water in the Gulf of Mexico was very choppy that day, and the ride was "uncomfortable".  Actually, it was awful.  I've never gotten sick on a boat ride before.  But this time most of us aboard this 140 foot boat left our breakfasts (and anything else that happened to be in our stomachs) in small white bags.  Ugh.

Key West was fun, though.  We walked around and saw some sights.  We checked out the Key Lime products at Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe, bought some Raspberry Habanero Honey Mustard hot sauce at Peppers of Key West, walked to Cupcake Alley, and ate at CheeseBurger.  Fortunately, the ride back wasn't as bumpy.

Later in the week, we drove to Naples, and saw their "5th Avenue" shopping area.  On the way back to Fort Myers we stopped at an outlet mall that housed 140 outlets.  (My wife enjoyed it - too much shopping for me).

We had absolutely fantastic weather - mid 80's every day, and really got to unwind for a week, before it was back to New England and the cold.

March 13, 2008

Testing the "Dan The Music Man" Web Site

I do this stuff for fun!

I'm lucky enough to have a good friend on my QA Team.

Dan is not only a terrific QAer, but he's also a great DJ and party host, and has his own business.  So when he asked me to take a look at his web site, I was more than happy to help him out.

His old web site was sorely in need of an upgrade, and Dan was eager to get started.  We took a look at what he had, made a few suggestions, and Dan was off.

After just a few weeks of work, he totally transformed his site.  I think it came out great!

And of course, in the spirit of "the one who develops it, shouldn't also test it", I offered to test the site for him.  It still has a few glitches and typos, but it's coming along quite nicely.

It's fun on occasion to take on a testing task without any formal business context.  And it's fun to help out a friend while doing something you enjoy.

Check Dan's site out at and let us know what you think.

Perhaps They Should Have Tested More - Carbonite

Carbonite glitch disconnects users from hosted backup service

After completing a major data center upgrade, some uses of Carbonite's online backup service lost their connection to the service, and were unable to recover until they reinstalled the Carbonite software.

Dave Friend, Carbonite's CEO, didn't sound all that concerned.
"It was just one of those things," said Friend, adding that he could not recall which specific end-user "process" triggered the bug to cut off the connections.
Apparently, Carbonite wasn't able to detect this problem internally.
He said the company wasn't aware of any problem until disgruntled users began calling customer support.
Perhaps they should have tested more.

Read more at:

March 8, 2008

Perhaps They Should Have Tested More - Cosmi

Apparently an inappropriate word made its way into a typing tutorial product.

Woman Shocked As 'N-Word' Appears In Typing Test

SACRAMENTO (CBS) ― A woman was stunned and a software company apologetic after an offensive word showed up on a computerized typing test. Monica Loadholdt was using Perfect Typing Pro, a software program made by Cosmi, when the 'N word' showed up in one of the typing exercises.

"I just stopped," Monica remembers. "I said, 'What did I just type here?'"

Monica quickly sent an e-mail to the Cosmi Corportation. Cosmi replied to CBS station KOVR-TV in Sacramento, saying, "It is in no way something we would ever desire to have in our software. It was a mistake not caught by our quality assurance team.'"

They also indicated that they offered Monica an apology, but she says she hasn't received any reply. "I would appreciate a response, I think I deserve that," she said.

Cosmi has already made a fix. A patch is available that removes the offensive passage from the program.
My friend Jean, who is a Senior Software Quality Assurance Specialist in Minneapolis, brought this to my attention.  She was offended by the company's statement.  She didn't like the phrase "It was a mistake not caught by our quality assurance team."

Jean's feeling is that this could not have been a "mistake", but the term must have been inserted intentionally.  Jean feels that it is unfair to place the blame on the QA team.

I wasn't as offended, although I do agree that it's probably unfair to mention only QA.  These kinds of problems are seldom the fault of one group, and certainly someone put the word into the software.

I don't know what Cosmi's quality practices are.  I would hope that the list of test words included in the product's content is checked before it it finalized.  Perhaps the group that checks it is called Quality Assurance at Cosmi.

When I have worked on consumer products such as these, my QA team was responsible for checking the master CD images before manufacturing began.  While we didn't have word lists in the product, my team was still responsible for ensuring that there were no viruses included.  If a virus ended up on the CD, I would have felt responsible.

I worked at another company that developed and hosted on-line auction systems.  The system was set up such that individuals could upload items for auction, along with descriptions.  We implemented a system which automatically scanned the descriptive text as it was uploaded, and removed offensive words.  It wasn't perfect (people can get very creative when they intend to be offensive), but it worked reasonably well.  Still we planned for cases where offensive words slipped through, and needed to be removed later by our Support team.  In that case, QA had no responsibility for the words - other than to ensure that the offensive-word-removal system worked as designed.  In that case if the CEO had placed any blame on QA when an offensive word slipped through, I would have been offended myself.

An update.
I wanted to investigate for myself how this word could appear in a consumer product. So I went to the Cosmi site, and downloaded a trial version of Perfect Typing Pro.

It turns out that the typing tests included in the product are based on classic literature - "The Iliad", "The Odyssey", "Through the Looking Glass", etc.

I ran a quick scan of the text, and sure enough, the offending word shows up in two of the exams - one based on "Three Partners" by Bret Harte and one based on "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain.

The text used for each exam is simply an extract from the original book.  I read the text - it hasn't been altered.  There's no software bug here.  And if the requirement was to ensure that the text in the exam matches the text in the corresponding book, then there is no bug in the content, either.

I suspect the Producer for this piece of software chose classical literature, and didn't consider that some older literature used terms that were considered appropriate for the time when it was written (1897 and 1912 respectively), but that may no longer be considered appropriate.
(You can read the books for yourself at and )

Is this a failure of quality assurance?  Is this a failure of requirements?  Or both?

One more note - Perfect Typing Pro comes with a feature where you can have the system updated over the internet.  When I ran the "Check for Updates", nothing was updated and these offending texts were not removed.