Tidbits, Pt. III

Saturday, March 9, 2013

One last item, to close out this little series with a grace note.

One of my favorite co-workers is A, our lead tester. A moved to the United States from China, where she grew up. She is brilliant, a hard worker, and one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. 

As lead tester, she is responsible for testing the software we create and managing the resulting defects (or bugs, as they're known). 

That includes documentation defects. Most of our bugs are simply tracking devices so the team knows when something is documented and appears in the build. 

Because of some quirks in how our tracking system works, many of my bugs don't fit into the standard workflow. As a result, I am constantly having to check with A about how to handle them. She manages testing for three separate products, so I always feel guilty doing so.

A is always cheerful and never complains about my constant queries. She has a sweet tooth, so the fact that I constantly bring in goodies for her from a local bakery likely helps. :c) (And of course she is skinny as a rail.) But I think she would help no matter what.

On Tuesday she called and asked if she could stop by my desk to show me how to handle several bugs. 

As we sat, she noticed the brace I wear on my wrist. She asked me what it was for.

I explained that it was a result of the hit and run back in January, and showed her the brace I wear on my ankle as well.

She was horrified; she wasn't aware of the hit and run.

"You also had the flu for nearly a month around the holidays, didn't you?" she asked. "And you collapsed back in September and were out for several weeks."

"Don't forget that I fell and broke three ribs the day I got this job either," I added with a grin.

"Oh, you poor thing!" she said, touching my arm.

"It's been a tough year," I allowed.

"Well, that was last year," she said. "So you are all clear!"

"Thank you, A," I said. "But actually, the flu and the hit and run were this year."

She shook her head.

"Not in the Chinese calendar," she said. "Our New Year was on February 10th."

She stood up.

"So you see, your hard times are already in the past," she said.  "And that means this year is going to be extra wonderful. Because you deserve it!"

A doesn't know it yet, but she earned *two* brownies for that lovely sentiment. :c)


Here's Richard Thompson with a track from his brilliant new album, Electric:


Becca on March 10, 2013 at 12:46 AM said...

I hope the bad times are in the past ! So when are you going to get those eyebrows threaded ? Sounds like it would really help.

Don't you just love testers :-)

Cassidy on March 10, 2013 at 12:24 PM said...

Hi Becca!

Me too! :c)

I'm hoping to go this week, actually; more likely this weekend. I'm getting my hair cut this week - well, trimmed, since I'm letting it grow now - and I'm going to see if they can squeeze me in for that as well. I'll let you know how it goes!

Yup, testers are way cool! :c) My dear friend R, whom I wrote about, was a tester, in fact.

I enjoy testing a lot, mostly because I'm a natural at breaking things. Usually it's assorted body parts, but sometimes software too. lol No, it's fun to discover a problem and then have to figure out how to reproduce it. I like puzzles, so that makes sense, I guess!

Thank you for the comment, sweetie!


P.S. Just left a comment on your most recent post. Feel free to drop me a line privately if you like. :c)

Stace on March 10, 2013 at 3:11 PM said...

I got an interesting quote from the conference in Holland that I went to this week.

What is the difference between developers and testers (and why don't developers make good testers)?

Developers create things
Testers destroy things

Sounds nasty, but it's really not. A developer does not want to break their code, they will test to make sure it works.

A tester wants a successful test. A successful test is one that breaks something (otherwise it's a wasted test ;p).

I don't know... I create beautiful, fluid, scalable and flaw free code and you two seet ou to destroy it! :D


Becca on March 10, 2013 at 3:19 PM said...

We are only there to take the blame when the code falls over in prod. It's about the only use for my broad shoulders ;-)

Cassidy on March 10, 2013 at 4:38 PM said...

You two are cracking me up! lol

I think the *real* problem in the industry is that no ones lets we technical writers run things the right way: we write the documentation, and then you kids get to implement and play with it. (Or play video games, since it will be a gleaming gem that requires minimal effort.)

And I think Becca will agree with me on this point: we have the hard part. All Stace has to do is slap around a bunch of ones and zeroes! And how difficult could that be, really?!? ;c)

Of course, we all know who the REAL culprits are: PMs! How many times do we get the "no, don't do it that way; I'll tell you when it's what I want" treatment?

Oh well. We always have the standard fallback position (say it with me, kids):

"That's not a bug; it's a feature!"

Yours in nerd-dom,

Becca on March 10, 2013 at 5:43 PM said...

That's where we are going wrong ....no technical writers ! I will tell those 4 (yes four) PM's tomorrow that every phase has gone in late because you are not in London. You need to get over here and get started

As for developers you are spot on .... It's the binary that's caused me so much grief all my life.

You know the real trick with those bugs/features is to get the customer to pay for the upgrade. In our company always blame the business :-)

Cassidy on March 10, 2013 at 10:17 PM said...

@ Becca: I am booking a seat on the Concorde right now. How much extra for an IV drip with tea, would you say?

Developers... sigh. It takes SO long to train them properly, doesn't it?

When all else fails, btw, I bring out the nuclear option and threaten them with soap. Hey, it could be worse: I *could* make them talk to a girl. And we know what would happen then:



== Cass

P.S. That is also how customers react when their post-upgrade bill arrives...

Becca on March 11, 2013 at 3:41 PM said...

I am told developers can't be trained ...they are just born.

Yes talking to a girl would be a bug no know. They might need to speak loudly and explain things like on/off buttons. Still they do look nice eh ?

Cassidy on March 11, 2013 at 10:23 PM said...

So basically poor Stace just can't help herself. Got it. ;c)

On the plus side, as a girl she no doubt uses her feminine wiles to get her underlings to do what is needed. Nice going, Stace! I may need to consult with you when I go full-time...


== Cass

bashashhazbaz on March 12, 2013 at 1:45 PM said...

i hope that the future is a lot brighter than the recent past! your co-worker has a nice view of things in that way! i hope you are healing well after the hit and run!

Cassidy on March 12, 2013 at 5:06 PM said...

She does. Being Irish, the natural inclination is to view life as the interludes between disasters. ;c) Nice to see that some people don't see it that way.

She is actually a bit unhappy with me at the moment. I had promised to bring in a cranberry walnut bread for the weekly triage meeting, but at the last moment I found out I need to work in the main office. I went over and mock-apologized. She said it's going to be an extra-long triage, because she just discovered 50 Priority 1 documentation defects. Sigh. lol

I'm on the mend, happily. I managed to work out three days in a row for the first time in a year. Not at anything close to my usual level, but it's a start!

Thank you for the comment! Have a great day!


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