Archive for August, 2006

How to avoid the .com typo-squatters


The typo-squatter top level domain .cm is being used to take your .com typo of .cm and give you a page you didn’t really want (e.g. instead of Here is an easy way to avoid the .cm typo in IE:

  1. Type the domain name minus the suffix in the URL  (e.g. microsoft)
  2. Press the keys: CTRL+SHIFT+Enter

A www. will be added to the front of the name and a .com will be added to the end. Avoid the .com typo-squatters with IE shortcuts!

An adventure with blog traffic


I pay a lot of attention to what brings people into and I have to say I’m surprised, disappointed, and flabbergasted by what people are interested in…

I want people to be interested in due to it’s Quality Assurance and testing tool posts, and I’ve done my best to market it that way by doing things such as allowing my content to be blog farmed at so that the posts sit next to other popular QA peoples in the industry (Bret Pettichord, James Bach, etc). Doing this has helped bring in readers and traffic (which is great)! But what bugs me is that my shocklog entries are the traffic drivers for!?

Check out how my post Six reasons why Robert Scoble is Mini-Microsoft caused a surge:

And how Death toll rises due to FireFox made a mountain out of a mole hill.

I don’t get it… People would rather read my gossip and fiction over a QA related post? Hey now, I know, I know. Yes, QA can be boring. Yes, QA doesn’t apply to everybody but gossip and fiction sure does.

I like to write both (fact and fiction) but the fiction is hard to swallow because I didn’t create the site for that. What are your thoughts? Do you want more “Enquirer” type posts? Should I move those type of entries to a separate category? Should I not change a thing?

Web Service testing tool contenders


I’ve been testing Web Services with Parasoft’s SOATest for over a year now and I’ve been pretty happy with it. I have only one complaint, but the complaint can’t be resolved by any Web Service testing tool that I can find. My complaint is that I need a test tool that supports WSE 2.0 SCT (Secure Conversation Tokens). Philippe Cheng, a developer on my team, has created a work around for me by wrapping our Web Service requiring SCT with another Web Service that feeds it the SCT it needs.

Naturally, while trying to figure out how to solve my SCT issue I started paying closer attention to other tools and have noticed two promising tools:

1. AdventNet QEngine
2. SoapUI

I haven’t installed QEngine yet but I did play around with SoapUI a couple of weeks ago and it was pretty shiny. Each of the applications seem to have cool little features that make me think “Ohhhh, that’d be cool if SOATest had that“. I’ll post my thoughts/comparisons on the 3 eventually, but I just wanted to throw them out there in case you are shopping for a Web Service testing tool.

Oh, and AdventNet has a feature comparison chart for the Web Service test tools QEngine, SOATest, SoapScope, and WebServiceTester.

Internet Explorer 7 RC1 released


Internet Explorer RC1 is available for download. High level changes include:

The Internet Explorer 7 RC1 build includes improvements in performance, stability, security, and application compatibility. With this build, Microsoft has also made enhancements to the fit and finish of the user interface, completed CSS platform changes, added language support, and included an auto-uninstall feature in Setup, which automatically uninstalls prior betas of Internet Explorer 7, making installing the new build even easier.

Internet Explorer 7 keyboard shortcut cheat sheet


A while back Leslie Franke posted a FireFox cheat sheet in a pretty little format suited for printing and hanging on the wall next to your computer. The IE team has done the same for IE7. View and print the Internet Explorer 7 Quick Reference Sheet here. Impress your friends and coworkers with blazing fast surfing skills using only your keyboard!

Death toll rises due to FireFox


Amity, Oregon and surrounding communities have been destroyed by what officials and scientists are claiming “FireFox aliens”. The death toll is 17,000 and still counting. Officials estimate the toll to rise to 24,000 within the next few days as they survey the rest of the damage.

Surviving residents are enraged with officials since evidence of alien activity emerged as early as August 13th when an a farmer’s wheat field in Amity was discovered to have a crop circle that appeared overnight. Survivor Jace Thomeas left town on a hunch, warned officials and contacted local news warning “get the people out, FireFox is coming”. Mr. Thomas’s warnings went ignored and were actually scoffed at by neighbors.

Few photos exist of the actual destruction as it occurred, simply due to the fact that the devastation brought forth by alien aircraft wiped out electronic devices using electro-magnetic-gamma-particle technologies. Officials have released one color distorted image obtained from a 30MM camera found under and overturned water truck. Those who survived describe the same awful scene as seen in the released photo. “A red and orange orb emerged from the sky and moved along the inhabited terrain destroying everything in it’s path using some sort of invisible force that had the power of a tornado”. “The sound was terrible, the screaming and crying as people ran from the spaceship was unbearable”.

The survivors are thankful and seem to have one thing in common that was key to their survival: they use Internet Explorer as their Web browser. One IE 7 Beta 3 user can’t understand the reasoning behind the destruction of non-IE users: “It’s like these FireFox aliens are cannibals, they are evil, they seem to be the type that would punch themselves in the nose just to spite their fox like face.” He goes on to say “Much like when the FireFox browser touted itself as more secure”. Surviving artist Timothu Olhan has submitted an illustration of the FireFox alien to news crews to help make other non-IE users aware of what they are up against. “As the thousands of aliens made their way across the terrain ripping and tearing through human flesh I was surprisingly spared and only stared in frightened awe as the landscape and people turned into a living hell. I hope we can prevent this from happening again. If you value your life make sure that Internet Explorer is on your PC. In the mean-time be on the look out for the creatures I’ve recreated in my illustration”.

Officials are aware of the advice but aren’t relaying it until their investigations are complete. Meanwhile, uninformed surrounding towns are trying to get as far away as possible. The massive rush to escape has clogged interstate-5 and traffic is at a halt. Desperate families wanting to survive are leaving cars in the middle of the highway and moving North by foot.

Nearby OSU students are trying to dispel the few facts that are slowly working through the towns with propaganda stating that the “Firefox Crop Circle project shows that we have so much passion for Firefox that we want it to be visible from space”. The propaganda comes too late for surrounding towns as they are now seeing and experiencing the pain of the once beautiful, neighboring town Amity.

If you find yourself reading this article using FireFox, save your own life, download and install the latest verion of IE immediately. It’s only a matter of time before those FireFox thingies will be back.

Restore your copy-paste functionality for remote desktop


I don’t know about you but I’m always losing my copy-paste functionality between my Remote Desktop Connection and my desktop (always as in at least once a week). This is a pain in the ass from the testing perspective because I do a lot of copying and pasting. Over time I’ve discovered that the best way to repair this is to kill RDPClip.exe on the machine you’ve remoted into and then restart the thread:

  1. Open Task Manager, highlight RDPClip.exe and click the “End Process” button
  2. Click the “Applications” tab, click the “New Task” button, and type the text “RDPClip.exe”

This works for me 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time it won’t and a reboot of the machine you’ve remoted into will guarantee the fix. I know, SUCK. But hey it’s only 5%, and thats better than 95%.

Here’s a forum where people claim the issue is UserDump.exe, but it never has been in my situtation.

Using IE to validate that sticky sessions work with your Web app


Using Internet Explorer, how can you test and validate that your Web application works when sticky sessions and multiple Web servers?  Here’s how I do it:

While on call this weekend an issue arose where a user would get an error in the browser when their request was moved to different Web server in the farm. The user would authenticate against one Web server (establishing an online banking session and an aspnet session) but when the user made a 2nd request it was routed to a different Web server and that Web server was saying “Who the hell are you? I didn’t give you that aspnet session!”. and an error would be displayed to the user. This error/behavior was intermittent because the user will not always be directed to a secondary Web server (depending on load and/or load balancing configuration).

As a tester how can you recreate the issue every time when you are forced to use a domain name in the URL and using IPs in the URL isn’t an option? It can be done by using the hosts file on the browser’s machine (without a load balancer). Here is where the 2nd problem enters though: A hosts file change isn’t always recognized by the browser while it is open. However, you can force the browser to recognize changes in the hosts file by closing and restarting the browser. But in our case we have established an online banking session (via logon) and we need to keep it so we can’t close the browser. The trick…There is another way to force the browser to recognize the hosts file changes without closing it; here are the steps:

Step 1: Clear your browser cache and close all instances of the browser. If you don’t, the page you are requesting may be in cache it will read it out of the cache or go to the IP that was set before the hosts file change.

Step 2: Add the IP/hostname entries to the hosts file. The second entry will be commented out (see the bottom of this blog post to find out where your hosts file is located). For example:

Step 3: Using IE, navigate to and logon (because of your hosts file entry, you will be hitting Web server

Step 4: Change the entries in the host file to point to the 2nd Web server:


Step 5: Open a command window and run the command: nbtstat –R
(this purges and reloads the name cache)  

Step 6: Wait 3 minutes for IE to consume the change. Don’t ask me why but it refreshes at exactly 3 minutes.

Step 7: Conduct your next operation in IE (the request will be go to Web server

…and that’s how.

Hosts file locations for various Windows OS:
Windows XP = C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc
Windows 2K = C:\Winnt\System32\Drivers\Etc
Win 98\ME = C:\Windows

WatiN: Web application testing using .NET languages (inspired by Watir)


Coworker Scott discovered an up and coming alternative to Watir called WatiN. What is WatiN?

Inspired by Watir, I started developing WatiN in December 2005 to make a similar kind of Web Application Testing possible for the .Net languages. Since then WatiN is grown to a feature rich and stable framework. It consists of about 50 classes, wrapping all major HTML elements. It can manipulate elements in the IE HTML window, and in modal and modeless HTML dialogs. It handles alert windows and supports a basic but extensible logging mechanism. A great deal of the code is covered by unit tests but there’s room for improvement in that area. WatiN is developed in C# and aims to bring you an easy way to automate tests with Internet Explorer.

Further details can be found at:

As Scott said, this is something to keep your eye on. But since there is no recorder functionality (yet?) I will definately be sticking with SWEA.

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