Retailers have long been accused of secularizing Christmas by using “Xmas” in signs and advertisements; therefore, I suspect many of you will be surprised to learn that “Xmas” has a religious origin.
In Greek, the letter “chi” is written as an X, and chi is the first letter of the Greek word for “Christ.” Greeks sometimes abbreviated “Christ” as “X.” For example, they abbreviated “Christ savior” as “XP.” (“P” is the symbol for the Greek letter “rho,” which is the first letter of the word “savior” in Greek.) The Oxford English Dictionary shows the first known English use of “Xmas” in 1551. As for appropriateness, “Xmas” may have a religious origin and fit better on signs, but many people — both those who use “Xmas” and those who complain about its use — are unaware of the religious origin. If you choose you use “Xmas,” you should know that some people will be infuriated.
Wow, now that’s really got me thinking… Generation X = The generation of Christ? Whoa! Deep. Now I’m sorry I talked so much smack about ’em. 🙂
Improve your grammar and learn little bits of info like this from Grammar Girl yourself, sign up for the Tip of the day here.
The votes are in and it’s official. Brent Strange has been crowned “The Best Software Tester In the World”. Over the course of the 27 day voting period the software testing world was quite a buzz. Articles, blog posts, forums, and clubs have been consumed with facts, opinions and skeletons for the 7 candidates over the last 4 weeks. QA hubs such as StickyMinds, TestReflections, SQAForums, and SoftwareTestingClub were overtaken with this “best in the world” shakedown as QA professionals and interested developers voiced their opinions. Oddly enough, the recent and parallel presidential campaign even took notice.
An interview in the to be published June edition edition of Better Software Magazine between Vimh and Brent bring to light why the community’s decision on this heralding QA Engineer was not just Internet viral:
Vimh: So Brent, how does it feel being declared the “Best Software Tester In the World”?
Brent: I’m speechless Vimh. I don’t deserve this. I test. I do my job. There is no Best Tester In the World. We all bring Quality Assurance to the table in our own unique ways. Honestly, this award should go to the entire Software Quality Assurance community.
Vimh: The people have spoken Brent. You are the “Best Software Tester In the World”. How do you think the community came to that decision?
Brent: I’m not sure. I’m guessing that those that I’ve worked with past and present voted for me, others I assume were followers of my small footprint in the QA community with my blog QAInsight.net. If not acquaintances or followers I suppose it was just viral.
Vimh: Is it true that you once found and reported 70 defects in one day?
Brent: [Laughing] No… it was 59 defects, but technically 14 of those were enhancement requests.
Vimh: That’s a sign of somebody thinking outside of the box I suppose.
Brent: Inside and outside. You’ve got to be both places at once in this business.
Vimh: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Brent: Testing. Writing software to making testing easier and faster.
Vimh: How about 10 years?
Brent: White sand beach with Corona in hand.
Vimh: [Laughing] Sounds like a great goal!
Brent: It’s not a goal Vimh. It’s destiny. The Internet is gold mine my friend.
Vimh: Agreed. If all goes well I’ll see you on that beach with my trophy wife.
Brent: See you there Vimh. I’ll see you there…
Vimh: So now that you are empowered with the title “Best Software Tester In the World” do you picture yourself strutting into a developer’s cube and saying “listen to be me beeeaaaatch, it’s not “function as designed”, it’s a freakin’ defect and you’re gonna fix it”.
Vimh: How about: “Hey dumb-ass, you ever heard of unit test?”
Brent: Dude, not funny. We’re all on the same team. [Pretty pissed off sounding] Listen, turn this interview around or I’m going to have hang-up.
Vimh: Okay, I apologize….Brent, you’ve had a few “skeletons in the closet” exposed during the last month.
Brent: Yes, 2 of them to be exact. I have the “never went to college” and “has no testing credentials” monkeys on my back.
Vimh: Do you think that hurt or helped your campaign?
Brent: [Laughing] Call me a “Rocket Scientist”, my “un-educated” guess says “help”.
Vimh: Why do you think that is?
Brent: The reality of it is that a QA Engineer’s greatest skill is the openness and ability to lean quickly and then apply it towards quality initiatives. You don’t need a degree or certificate to do that. Matter of fact, I don’t even know of an entity that teaches that skill. I think the SQA community recognizes that. James Bach has brought that to light for us.
Vimh: Interesting. So you’re saying that anybody can be a good tester?
Brent: Not “anybody” but “anybody that is open to learn anything, has the ability to lean quickly, and then apply it toward a given task”. Software is “anything”, it changes daily. SQA Engineers have to stay on their toes and be able to use anything to help prove something.
Vimh: I never thought about it like that. Wow, “anything” is a lot to learn! That’s respectful. It’s known that you don’t care to manage QA. Why?
Brent: I’m a tester AND teacher at heart. Historically a QA manager relentlessly fights the quality assurance battle all day and often times compromises due to budget, schedule and company ignorance. His/her persistence typically pays off in the long run (several years sometimes) though. But…Have you ever taught a fellow QA Engineer something they didn’t know and then see that twinkle in their eye when they envision using that lesson in their testing tasks? It’s awesome! To me, that’s finding more defects by teaching other people to find defects. We BOTH just made software better…together. [Loudly] AT THE END OF THE DAY!
Vimh: [Laughing] Is it true you once said you knew the LDAP protocol to gain a Development team’s confidence and respect for testing, but you really didn’t know anything about it?
Brent: ONCE? [Chuckling] QA is often looked down upon because they are the 2nd tier information receivers and are expected to magically know everything right off the bat, which is near impossible. A developer can sit, stew, learn, and write code for a new technology for days, weeks, or months and then simply hand it off to QA expecting them to know the same AND know how to test it. To ensure quality and gain respect of that developer I need to be “open to learn anything, have the ability to lean quickly, and then apply it toward the given task”. The Internet is my best friend. So, yes. Quite often “I am clueless, I make sure I project confidence, I go learn the subject after the fact, and then complete the task”. There is no harm in that is there?
Vimh: No, I guess not. Especially when you hammer a project with 70 defects in a day.
Brent: [Laughing] Yes, especially when you hammer a project with 59 defects…
Way back in the day we only knew people from personal recognition after seeing that person.
There was a time when an event could only be experienced by witnessing it. If you missed the event you were left with little to go by.
There once was a generation that spread knowledge and commodities by foot.
Those days are long gone, time has passed and we have evolved:
Seeing a person, turned into a description of a person, descriptions turned into drawings of a person, drawings turned into pictures, and pictures turned into computer bytes.
Experienced events turned into word of mouth, word of mouth turned to hieroglyphics, hieroglyphics turned to scrolls, scrolls turned to books, and then books turned to computer bytes.
Traveling by foot on a weak path turned into traveling by animals on a beaten path, animals turned to engines on paved roads, and engines turned into computer bytes via the Internet (in some cases).
You, my digital friend, have become a digital signature in this world. LIKE IT OR NOT. Much of what you see, say and do is digitized and stored. Storage creates historical record, historical records can be analyzed for events, paths, and patterns. YOU ARE MAKING HISTORY. Consider yourself a star! Paul Revere and the midnight ride? BAH! You are the new history.
Just for the record “you” digitally is: 101110010110101 (rough estimate… geeks don’t correct me, I don’t care). Yeah, doesn’t make much sense to me either, but somehow or other this fabulous computer brought that definition to you (101110010110101).
Where was I? Oh yeah…
Here you were worrying and waiting for the mark of the beast to be forced on you:
“He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead.” Revelation 13:16″
Hehe… You fool! The mark is your forehead and right hand, and now it’s digitized and posted on the Internet (remember that picture you took with Grandma last Christmas that clearly showed your forehead and right hand, and then posted to your MySpace?). Yes, you’ve been marked, and oddly enough, you are the one that published your mark to the world. Sucks for you. Dang… Me too.
Scary huh? Oh, don’t be afraid. Everybody is in the same boat as you. The wonderful part is that when the boat sinks we’ll all be going down together.
YOU and the INTERNET are the end of the world. The Internet is the fast track to spreading the digital blasphemy we’ve created.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Internet. It puts food on my table.
I just wanted to let you know. I hope I didn’t ruin your day, it wasn’t my intent. I just wanted to make you aware. I’m going to go check my email now.
I ran into this quote from Albert Einstein today: In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself.
I have personally lived this many times over the years in my various careers. I’m going to venture out and say that I’ve been pretty successful at working my way up to an immaculate member in few cases. I chalk my success up to what I call “working in, and reporting from the trenches”, and also, not to ever remove myself from the trenches. I believe that your success amongst your sheep/peers is highly dependant on staying extremely in tune with the trenches, and most importantly the people in the trenches. Once you remove yourself from those trenches, you are not eating the same sheep food, and I consider you a shepherd. Don’t get me wrong, shepherds are a good thing, and shepherds do tune in to the trenches. But they don’t always spend 8 hours a day in them because they have shepherd things to do! I try my best to walk the fine line between sheep and shepherd. Am I shepherd in sheep’s clothing?
Shepherd, how do you stay in tune with your trenches to gain or maintain an immaculate sheep status?
Back in January I defined an ass-load of hard drive space. Pondering that subject left me with another item in the “To Blog” list that I’m finally getting around to.
What exactly is “half-ass”?
Back when I was young, when it came to doing my chores my Mom consistently claimed that I did them half-ass. More specifically: “You’re not done. THAT’S HALF-ASS”.
The flashbacks to those days where I was scrubbing toilets with tooth brushes will certainly cause me to weep as I write this post, but the tears of pain will turn to tears of evil laughter as I remember using my brother’s tooth brush to scrub the toilet.
Back to my point. Err.. Starting my point that is.
A donkey cut in 1/2 horizontally?
A miniature donkey?
Exerting force with only one butt cheek?
A donkey cut in 1/2 vertically?
Half the load that an average donkey can carry?
Honestly Mom, what the hell do any of those that have to do with me pulling weeds in our 1/4 acre backyard, for 4 hours, for $1.00?
Ah, yes. My work was half-ass, as in definition #2, “Not done with quality”
Ironic isn’t it? The Quality Assurance Engineer, Brent Strange, did his chores…
(e.g. family laundry, empty the dishwasher, mowed the lawn, trimmed the edge of the lawn on his hands and knees with a cheesy Black & Decker edge trimmer, weeded the bark-dust, weeded the garden, baby sat his brother, vacuumed the house every other day…yeah I was 8, but I’m not bitter)
…so that they were “Not done in quality”
And here we come to the end of yet another career limiting post. Thank you for your time. Get back to work you half-ass.
Still here? You have a real motivation problem. Time for a reality check… Is your ass half full or half empty?
I’ve been using Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap. After a couple weeks of using it in the morning I realized that it truly invigorated me and that it was really nice to have my morning caffeine intake (2 cups) before I even got out of the shower. I was clean, caffeinated, bright eyed, and didn’t have coffee breath. During the two week trial I noticed that the Caffeinated Soap also accelerated my body hair growth. Whoa. What the?
How to use such a powerful concoction…
The hair on my head is thinning.
ALRIGHT. I gotta a HUGE freakin’ forehead with no hair on it.
It’s not my fault, I’m pretty sure it’s the radiation from the 20 CRT monitors surrounding me in a 100 foot proximity.
I’m a genius. You don’t even know. Well..you might. But just act like you don’t. I don’t want people to know.
Needless to say, another 2 week supply of Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap was promptly ordered. It arrived. I’ve been using it… On my head. Being careful not to get it on my ears, nose, eyes or teeth. Hairy ears, eyes, nose and teeth is not attractive.
FRANKLY, HAIRY EARS, NOSE, EYES, and TEETH IS WEIRD.
Here it is two weeks later after the shiny, caffeinated soap/shampoo arrived on my doorstep via next day air. I have hair on my forehead. My life is changed. Co-workers ask me to take my wig off. I laugh at them and ask them to take it off for me. THEY CAN’T, BECAUSE IT’S NOT A WIG. Girls do double-takes when I walk by. Guys do double takes when I walk by. People yell at me on the street “GET A HAIR CUT YOU LOSER!” People ask what product I use to get that lustrous look for my hair. I smile, wink, and say Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap.
THIS SOAP/SHAMPOO IS A FREAKIN’ MIRACLE. Check this out:
YEAH. The real deal. I’m not even joking. FOR REAL.
WARNING: Results may vary. Possible side effects may include but are not limited to:
Hyperactivity. Hair loss. Anxiety. Depression. Sneezing. Hives. Boils on the legs. Shirt hem unraveling. 101 degree temperature for 21 days. Green skin. Receeding gums. Vomiting. Hunger. Insomnia. Mouth sores. High blood sugar. Low blood sugar. Heart palpitations. Accelerated finger nail growth. Eyelash loss. Varicose veins. Feet itching. Excess ear wax. Sweating. Thirst. Blinking. Loss of mobility. Greed. Lust. Vanity.
Red tape. Where do these people buy it at? Costco? Heck, the Costco bulk size isn’t even large enough to cover the amount I see. They’ve got to be going factory direct. It’s the only way they can afford it. I’m sure of it. Cases and cases of red tape line 10 wide and 4 high in each superiors’ secret red tape storage closet. How do they dispense it so fast? When do they dispense it? And most of all…why?! I’m pretty sure when you’re not looking they pull out one of those packaging tape dispensers and run precise circles around your needs. I bet some of them stay late into the night working extra hard at mastering the taping process. Drawing the tape out as far their arms will allow them to stretch, flipping the wrist back to gain that extra inch of red tape. Sticking the tape precisely where it’s due, running their fingers over it back and forth, back and forth, pressing hard to ensure the bond is snug. Long strands, of well bound, red tape. Sporting a Grinch like smile…a smirk with a touch of evil. Their hearts race with excitement as the dispenser cuts that strand on completion. Race with the excitement of knowing how they have strangled the process, canceled the hopes of productivity. No rest until the twisted desire subsides; subsiding only when everything is wrapped neatly in red tape.
I have a secret to share with you. I have a red tape removal service. Shoot me a message and I’ll take care of the red tape. Note: I can’t take care of the unwrapped and stuck red tape, I will only take care of the red tape in the secret red tape storage closet.
You have two service options to choose from:
Option 1:I’ll dye the red tape green.Using my insider knowledge about the secret red tape storage closet..don’t ask, I won’t tell you a thing. I can’t. If I did I could risk exposing the ENTIRE operation. Anyway… using my highly secretive knowledge I would utilize ninja skills to infiltrate the closet, unwrap each roll of red tape, soak it in my portable 3 gallon Tupperware container full of green dye, and kindly place the fresh rolls of green tape back into the boxes. Now, I know what you’re thinking: They are going to notice that it’s green the first time the go to use it. You are so wrong. I have tested this, they don’t notice. I have two theories on this: 1. To qualify as a superior you must be color-blind. Or 2. The sheer greedy desire of strangling your productivity leaves them oblivious to the minor detail of red vs. green. None the less, it works. I’ve validated it 3 times now. No worries. They just keep taping…but this time with green tape. Green equals go. Instead of restricting red, you can sprint for the finish line marked with green tape. Imagine yourself running in a race, sprinting for the finish, the finish line with green tape, your strides long and unrestricted, your pace surprising fast, as you approach that line you stretch forward crooning your neck to get that 1/10th of a second advantage.
Option 2:I’ll melt the red tape into a giant red superball. Using my inside knowledge about the secret red tape storage closet..yada yada…I’ll crazily unwrap each roll like a 4 year old on Christmas morning, place the tape in my “red tape cauldron” and MELT it down to a sticky red tape base. I’ll take that base and pour it into my giant superball mold (approximate size of superball varies but averages 1.35 foot). Once the formerly red tape and now red superball is firm, I’ll break it from the cast and do with it what you request. I’ve had some pretty interesting requests in the past, one of my favorites being the gal that took said giant red superball and used it as an ergonomic ball chair. Very constructive she was.
Neither solution is permanent, more red tape will be purchased using the red tape budget, but the temporary productivity increase and spiteful satisfaction will be worth the price. Contact me for price and schedule availability.
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.