August 23, 2009

The Sea Was Angry That Day My Friends

The sea was angry that day my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli.
- George Costanza, Seinfeld

 Jenness State Beach - Rye, NH

We drove to Rye, NH today, to Jenness Beach.

Hurricane Bill had passed by the coast and left behind some much larger than normal waves - a treat for surfers like my son. Unfortunately, shortly after we arrived, the incoming tide and the undertow made it too treacherous, and the life guards closed the beaches.

We stayed and watched the rising tide, and the debris washing in. My son and his girlfriend spent the time grabbing buoys that were snapped loose from their lobster traps (they snagged two nice ones).

And we saw some fools decide to ignore the lifeguards and go out with their surfboards anyway. New Hampshire State Police arrived to deal with them as they exited the water.

I understand wanting to see the big waves. The ocean certainly looked strong and beautiful. And it was exciting to see it crashing up and over the sea barriers.

But I don't understand breaking the law, and risking your life, by going out into waves declared unsafe. Foolish, and setting a bad example for the children watching.

August 16, 2009

Villanova - Saving The Country Billions... One Certification At a Time

Have you been receiving a series of emails from Villanova?  I have.  I've been getting emails fairly regularly for the past year or so.  And the Subject is getting increasingly (how do I put this?) dramatic.

This month's edition: "Software Testers Can Save Economy Billions".

Now, I'm not one to shirk my duty as a citizen, so if there's a way for me and a few of my tester friends to save this economy, I'm all for it.  Somehow, I'm guesssing that completing three courses (even courses "presented by Rex Black"), won't make much of a dent in an our economy, much less a Billion Dollar Dent.

Here are some of the claims in this month's email:
Recession-Proof Yourself With New Credentials Online!  I know some certified folks.  And I know some who are not certified.  I cannot say I see a difference in their recession-proofedness.  Perhaps the laid off friends who own credentials can tell me otherwise?

Software testers can earn up to $135,000.  Oddly, the source they appear to cite has a salary survey that is over five years old, and appears to reference exactly one outlier who made that much.  It does make you wonder what that one person is doing these days?

Software bugs, or errors, are so prevalent and so detrimental that they cost the U.S. economy an estimated $59.5 billion annually, or about 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product.  If this isn't an indication of a certification-starved country, I don't know what is!

An estimated $22.2 billion worth of error costs could be eliminated by an improved testing infrastructure that enables earlier and more effective identification and removal of software defects. Hmm, does this certification improve my testing infrastructure?  I thought people did that?

Currently, over half of all errors are not found until "downstream" in the development process or during post-sale software use.  Over half?  I've never worked any place where that was even remotely true.  Maybe I've just been lucky all these years, one of the fortunate uncertified few.

By becoming an ISTQB-certified tester, you will distinguish yourself as someone who knows how to apply sound software testing techniques and principles to reduce defects, improve quality and enhance business success.  Must be all those "indistinguishable" testers dragging the economy down, huh?

Certification acknowledges that you have mastered the newly acquired subject matter and demonstrates your commitment to professional excellence.  Well, it acknowledges that I have memorized enough to pass the certification exam.  Oh, and paid the fee, too.  (I've been fairly committed to my profession for a while now, thank you.)

By earning your Master Certificate in Software Testing from worldwide leader Villanova University and obtaining the stature of an industry-recognized certification like ISTQB’s Certified Tester, you will come away with a feeling of prestige, respect and accomplishment, along with the potential to instantly increase your earnings.   Stature is good.  So are feelings of prestige, respect and accomplishment.  I wonder - are these feelings the same thing as actually having prestige, respect and accomplishment?  Perhaps not.  But everyone always has the potential to increase their earnings, right?

All these things sound quite wonderful.  But I'm still guessing that the economy will go whichever way it goes without being much affected by marching hordes of newly certified testers.

Thanks, 'Nova - but I'll pass.

August 9, 2009

Patriots Training Camp 2009

I took a trip down to Foxborough to see this year's New England Patriots Training Camp.

They held both a morning and afternoon session. It was a warm, humid day weather-wise, and a lot of fun.

A few observations:
  • Tom Brady looked fine coming off of his knee injury - no limp, no problems throwing. Other than the black brace on his left knee, he looks just like the Tom Brady of the 2007 season.
  • Fred Taylor looks terrific. He was faster than I expected, and was making some terrific cuts in one-on-one drills versus the linebackers. He' going to be a great addition to an already good running game.
  • Jerod Mayo is a beast. Perhaps because of the year of experience, or just some fantastic offseason conditioning, but he looks even faster and stronger than last year.
  • Adalius Thomas is amazing. In drills versus the running backs he was able to either run around them or just run through them. He couldn't be stopped.
  • Randy Moss was just being Randy Moss. When he catches a football, it seems to touch only his fingertips and hands - never his body. He is so smooth to watch.
  • The offense looks really solid. With the exception of the tight ends, virtually every position is covered with both high-end talent, and depth. They could be quite special again this year.
  • The defense, and particularly the defensive backfield, will look very different this year with all the acquisitions and draftees. If these two practices were any indication, it will be much better.
Football season starts soon. It should be fun. Go Pats!