Archive for January, 2007

Hunt in PDX and win an 8GB iPod Nano


A couple weeks ago, Jeff pointed me to a Web site and game that his friend created . The site provides clues to finding a sticker located somewhere in the Portland area and if you find that sticker you win a prize. The first prize was a Nintendo Wii, the 1st hunt is long gone and now they’ve moved on to Hunt #2 with a prize of 8GB iPod Nano. Monkey Treasure is where you can sign up and get involved on the 2nd hunt. Here is the buccaneer recruiting blurb from

Buccaneers Wanted!

Embark with us on an adventure to find stolen pirate treasure. Our treasure ship was stolen by a group of Monkeys, and we’ve managed to follow them to the Portland area. We want you to become a buccaneer and help us recover our treasure. It won’t be easy, as these monkeys are very devious. They like to taunt us by leaving clues. We’ve been close, but they’ve managed to stay one step ahead of us. We’re offering great rewards for leads that get us closer to capturing them!

They’ve done a great job so far, the clues make you think pretty hard, and if you put the blog clues and forums under massive scrutiny you could find yourself the winner of the iPod Nano that’s up for grabs.

Ready for the challenge? Enlist here.

How much is an "ass-load"?


Today I had one of those conversations. You know, the mildly creative, useless, on the verge of non-pc, feeling giddy, make you laugh conversations. The conversation started with Matt saying something along the line of of “I can’t wait to get a new PC so I can have an ass-load of hard drive space”.


Wildly amused and curious how many bits of drive space equate to a ass-load I asked Matt: “How many terabytes is an ass-load”? Aaron chimed in with “I think 4 terabytes is an ass-load”!

Now, exactly when did ass-load become a unit of measurement ?

Alex offered up the biblical time frame and the possibility of how much an ass (donkey) could hold. Hmmm…So if the term was born around the birth of Christ, “were baby Jesus and mother Mary an ass-load”? Was Joseph more than an ass-load and that’s why all the illustrations show Joseph walking next to or leading the ass?

Lets figure out the poundage in an average ass-load. Now, naturally this is going to be an estimate because each ass’ load is definitely going to vary due to age, diet, genes, mental and physical abuse, terrain, attitude, altitude, etc.

Baby Jesus = 8 lbs

Mother Mary: 140 lbs

Given the combined weight of Jesus and Mary an ass-load is going to be roughly 148 pounds.

A hard drive weighs in around 3.5 pounds. 148/3.5 = 42 hard drives that an ass could bear. Forty-two, one terabyte hard drives equates to 42 terabytes. An ass-load of hard drive space, in 2007, given our latest PC technology, is 42 terabytes.

Dream on Matt, you won’t be able get an ass-load of hard drive space in your PC for years to come.

I’ve got to go, I’ve got an ass-load of sleep to catch up on.

SWExplorerAutomation (SWEA) is now at


I went to check up on Alex Furman tonight (creator of SWEA) and got redirected to Wow, I haven’t talked to Alex in a little over a month and he’s obviously been busy. SWEA has gone big! It is now owned by Webius, comes in a pretty box, and of course the price has gone up a bit. 

This is great news. Alex has created a well thought out and powerful product and it seemed to me that the one thing holding it back from becoming a huge hit was marketing. Hopefully Webius will help make this happen. Congratulations Alex!

How does SWEA help your testing world? See what I do with it here:

Automating Web UI testing with SWEA, C#, & NUnit

Stupid Testing Trick #3: Avoid the Start Menu with the Run window


I’ve been enjoying the new Start menu “Start Search” feature in Windows Vista which seems to be a cross between the Run command and a Search with intellisense (like Google search). It’s pretty much abolished my old ways of using the Start Menu which was slow and cumbersome: click Start, click Programs, search through a mile long list of programs, click the program menu, and FINALLY click the program. Yeah, like I said… slow. The Vista “Start Search” process is: Windows Key, start to type the program name (intellisense finds it), hit enter (notice, no mouse clicks).

Using this feature and seeing how it fast it can be makes me wonder why I don’t use more of the very similar Run command window in XP or Server 2003 while testing. It’s similar, but not nearly as smart with it’s lack of intellisense.

When testing I spend quite a bit of time in certain Windows applications and navigating to those applications is painful after being spoiled with the Vista feature. The pain grows from a mild finger ache to a flat out flat out smash your finger in the car door throbbing when you do it on a VPC! Working between multiple VPCs, setup different ways, leaves you sometimes without the shortcuts you may have placed on the desktop for speed.

Enter the Run command. Its simple, and I’m almost positive you’ve used it before:

Run command

Windows key+R, type the app name, hit enter. No mouse clicks. Just one caveat: You need to know the app names. I got a list of the application names for my most common apps used during testing and am getting myself in the habit. After an entire day spent in VPCs I’ve decided this the way to go. I’m hooked. To help me get my favorite app names memorized I’ll be putting a tiny cheat sheet on the corner of my monitor. These are the app names I’ll be committing to memory slowly but surely:

Control Panel Apps
System Properties: sysdm.cpl
Add/Remove Programs: appwiz.cpl
Automatic Updates:  wuaucpl.cpl

System Apps
Performance Monitor: Perfmon
Services: Services.msc
Event Viewer: eventvwr
Computer Manger: compmgmt.msc
Task Manager: taskmgr

Common Testing apps
MS Word = winword
MS Excel = excel
MS Paint = mspaint
Notepad = notepad

Again, simple, fast and efficient:

Windows key+R, perfmon, Enter key

Almost like Vista, just a little extra brain power is all.

If you’re not doing it already, get in the habit and save yourself some time. Yeah, yeah, this stuff has been around a long time I know. It’s just hard to get in the habit. Sounds like a fun little QA New Year Resolution doesn’t it?

Here is a large list of Run commands for 117 apps.

Here is a list of all the commands for the Control Panel.

IE Developer Toolbar Beta 3 Available for Download


The IE team has released Beta 3 of the IE Developer toolbar. I played with it for a while and found that it’s getting better. In prior versions I (and others I talked to) couldn’t get the Outlining functionality to work. It appears to work now in Beta 3, but it’s still a bit buggy. On a page off of Google news the toolbar was incapable of outlining all the images on the page. On a positive note, the new feature “Select Element by Click” is pretty dang slick and I could see it being really helpful in developer troubleshooting or testing investigation. The feature allows you to click any element in the Web page and that element’s details and position in the DOM will be displayed in Developer Toolbar’s DOM explorer. From there you can also view the source for that element too (with colored syntax).

If you haven’t already, start warming up with the beta 3. Once complete, this tool will be a must have in your developer and testing tool toolbox.

Get update information and screenshots of changes at the IE Blog. Download IE Developer Toolbar Beta 3 here.

Free trial of VM Converter


Invirtus, the company that gave us VM Optimizer, is now offering a new product VM Converter. This little gem converts physical machines to VMs (P2V) and also does virtual to virtual conversion (V2V). If you have a need for this in you testing world you download a free trial here.

I don’t have a need for VM converter myself since my VPCs are typically built from scratch with an OS and SQL base and then saved off to be built upon under a new VPC name, but I thought it might fit into your testing world?

Five things you (seriously) didn’t know about me


I’ve been tagged by Greg and now I’ve been held accountable to post Five things you (seriously) didn’t know about me. I usually ignore this stuff when it comes around in email, but I think my readers deserve to know a little more about me. I suppose it could make me more personable? I’ll put a little twist on it by giving you 5 astonishing deep, dark, juicy, closet like facts and 5 light, ho-hum, boring facts about me (minus the gory details). Ten little snippets in all. If you want details, then let’s talk!

Dark and Juicy 5

  1. I search for and watch youTube videos with keywords “fist fighting”. Some caveman-like part of me finds guys beating each other up intriguing.
  2. I like danger. I own a Yamaha YZF R1 Sport Bike and it currently fulfills my danger desire (when it accidentally goes over 110 MPH in few seconds).
  3. I had a son that was born at 26 weeks and lived for 2 days. It changed my life in so many ways, and lessons were learned by OHSU that helped to improve neo-natal care.
  4. I live in and hate the city. However, I have a hard time swallowing change when it impacts my family; so I can’t get out.
  5. I’d rather manage cattle, mend fences, and ride a horse all day than be in high-tech.

Ho-Hum 5

  1. I was construction worker and construction business owner for 6 years. Trades of tile, painting, and finish carpentry.
  2. I owned my own small, mall bizness named “Twisted Pretzel”. It failed because the location was crappy. The product was like a bagel in pretzel form. Tasty…
  3. I have 4 kids. I love ’em like crazy, even though they drive me crazy!
  4. In high school I graduated in the top 10. There were only 26 in my class… Shut up! Top 10 is the important thing.
  5. I drive an oxidized 1993 Isuzu Rodeo with 160k miles and balding tires because I want to. I wash it only once a year because its so ugly you can’t really tell when it’s clean.

Part of the tagging game is that I need to tag 5 others. I choose Dror, RosieJohn, Antony, and Brian. Tag, you’re it; please give us “Five things you (seriously) didn’t know about me” 🙂

18 popular testing posts you might have missed in 2006


Its been a little over a year since I rolled out with my just starting, blogging beginner, writer wanna-be Hello world post. If you’re a recent subscriber or just happened to stumble upon the site you most likely missed my top 18 Quality Assurance & Testing related posts in 2006. Why 18? Why not? Why do you find defects when a developer says “only a tiny change was made, you don’t need to test it”? Because that’s just the way it is. None the less, here’s the 18:

Automating Web UI testing with SWEA, C#, & NUnit
Virtual PC 2004 Differencing, Undo and Fixed Disks
Using HTTPWatch for Web application testing
Managing IIS from the command line
Using WatirNUt to create tests to run with NUnit and NAnt
Configure FireFox preferences
Spoofing user agent strings with User Agent Switcher
Password harvesting with AutoComplete and JavaScript
Internet Explorer shortcut keys (IE7 too)
Kleptomania (copy the uncopyable)
XSS cheat sheet
The search for the perfect Web Service testing tool
Test cookie poisoning
Inexpensive Web page automation
The good and bad of defect screenshots
View textbox maxlength with one click
Viewing ASP.NET viewstate with ViewState Decoder

How to execute and prevent buffer overflows

A wonderful year it has been, I’ve learned a ton about blogs, blogging, testing, QA and QAInsight visitors.

How do I feel about blogging after 1 year of doing so?

First off, I haven’t lost that initial thought the day I started dreaming about blogging: I really don’t care to write about “Quality Assurance” process or methodology, I prefer to talk about “Testing”. I feel “Quality Assurance” has been driven into the ground and I’m just plain tired of hearing about it. Don’t get me wrong, process and methodology is important but it just gets old when you hear the same thing over and over, each with a little, unique twist to it. I’ll leave that to the other guys, testing is my love.

Second, writing about testing doesn’t drive hoards of people to your site. Duh… it’s boring unless you are in QA and are sincerely interested in improving your testing.

Third, when writing about testing it often requires technical details with detailed steps. It is REALLY REALLY hard to show personality and humor when doing this (at least for me).

Fourth, I enjoy creative writing far more than writing technical posts. Writing a testing post requires note taking, procedural step documentation, and just plain TIME. Creative writing I can spit out in 20 minutes with little thought or fret. For example, my post Death toll rises due to FireFox got a TON of hits and I wrote it on the fly without having to think like a robot. People gobble this stuff up! I love writing like this, and will be doing more of it in the years to come.

Fifth, leaving comments on other blogs or sites and those comments just happen to point to your site will help drive traffic. For example: Six reasons why Robert Scoble is Mini-Microsoft. Granted, calling somebody out on something helps too. 😉

Sixth, Google Adsense drives traffic. When you write a post, Google notices, your content is indexed quickly, and can be found through Google search.

And last but not least, the blog software Dasblog is the way to go. It works and it works well. If you’re thinking about about starting a blog, do yourself a favor and set yourself up with Dasblog.

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