Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Third Annual State of Testing Survey for 2016 is Now Open

I'm happy to help spread the word once again that the State of Testing survey for 2016 is up and ready for you to participate!

The survey is sponsored jointly by the QA Intelligence – Testing & QA Management blog by PractiTest and Tea-Time with Testers.

This is the third year of the survey. You can also see the results for the 2015 survey.

Why participate? You can help give some insights as to how testing exists in your corner of the world, and how it compares to other testers. What is unique to your environment, and what do you share with other organizations? What challenges do you face? Are there others with similar issues? Take the survey and find out when the results are tabulated.

If you find the survey helpful, tell your friends and coworkers about it and encourage them to take it, too. Feel free to grab this entire blog post and repost it on your blog if you would like. Regardless of how you do it, let's get the word out and encourage our fellow testers to let their voices be heard :).

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Aedificamus: Product Review: Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer

I can only imagine a few of you are looking at this and saying "Oh, good grief, what is TESTHEAD doing now?!" To those, I can say "look at the title". If you see "Aedificamus" in the title, it's related to food, diet, exercise, and other activities associated with it. Eating is a huge part of the fitness puzzle, and in my opinion, it's probably the most important part. Having some simple tools to help with food preparation can make for a much more positive experience.

One of the discoveries I have made this year is the process of making "vegetable noodles". I enjoy pasta, but a lot of the time, what I am really enjoying is the various sauces. The noodles often don't really have much in the way of flavor by themselves (there are of course exceptions, but generally, plain noodles are bland). It's with this idea that the egg and wheat noodles can be replaced with a variety of vegetables cut into noodle sized strips. Some of the best vegetables to do this with are a variety of squashes, potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc. Of course, getting them into the shapes of noodles can take some doing... or it can be as simple as buying a spiralizer.

Spiralizers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are motorized and can attach to other appliances. KitchenAid makes one that attaches to the front port on their stand mixer products, but that's a pricy commitment for many, especially since a prerequisite is owning a KitchenAid mixer. For those who want to experiment with this approach, and don't mind a little hand cranking, the Paderno Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer is a nice, affordable rig to play with.

On one side is a corer spindle (about three quarters the diameter of a dime) and blades that make up a "blade insert". The Paderno unit comes with three of these:
- a straight blade, which will create long, uninterrupted flat ribbons.
- a shredder blade, with small triangular prongs that make slices and result in thin, spaghetti sized noodles.
- a chipper blade, with larger triangular prongs that make for bigger chunks (think french fries or curly fries).

On the opposite side is a hand crank with a prong attachment to adhere to the back end of the vegetable being cut. The crank sits on a platform that can be slid back and forth, with a handle that can fold out to help guide the process of spiral cutting. All of this sits in a housing with suction cups on the legs that, when pressed down, holds onto the counter or another surface so it doesn't slide around.

I tested this out last night with chayote, which is a squash variety from Mexico. It held against the corer and the crank handle securely, and cutting the strips with the chipper attachment worked cleanly. There was no binding or forcing the cut. The blades made short work of the chayote and the result was "noodles" that boiled up fast, blended well with a basil tomato sauce and opened up a nice new way of consuming squash in a quick to cook format. This is the method that is often touted for making "spaghetti squash" and I intend to give that a try later this week.

Clean-up is easy, just pull out the blade insert, run it under hot water, and place in some soap solution and hot water to sterilize, wash and dry the rest of the spiralizer, slip the blades into the base for safekeeping, and then the whole unit packs away in the same space as a stack of dinner plates.

Bottom Line:

Many kitchen tools are either cheaply made and cumbersome to use, or they are elegant & well designed but expensive. The Paderno unit fits in a nice in-between space. It's an affordable unit that works smoothly and feels sturdy (and safe). It packs down nicely, doesn't require a lot of space to store, and is styled in such a way that, if you are one who likes having their kitchen gear on display, would not feel odd just leaving it out on the counter.

Ultimately, any kitchen tool needs to feel comfortable and encourage use, and at that level, the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer is a winner. If you are considering entering the fray of replacing traditional pasta with vegetables (even if just occasionally) this is a nice tool that definitely gets the job done.

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year, New Weekend Testing Americas, Come Join Us!

Normally, these announcements would go up on the Weekend Testing website, but the site is down at the time of this posting, so I am taking matters into my own hands and posting it here until that gets resolved.

With that out the way... Happy New Year, everyone! Here's wishing you all a  happy and healthy and productive 2016, and what better way to get into the groove than with your friends at Weekend Testing Americas (well, sure, you can join a session of any of the other Weekend Testing Chapters, but why not come to our first ;) ). Without further ado, here's what's happening, and when/where:

WTA-68:  Mobile Website Testing
Date:  1/9/16
Time:  1pm EST/10am PST - 3pm EST/12noon PST (check your own time zone for start and end times)
Facilitator:  Jean Ann Harrison

As websites are being overhauled for viewing on mobile devices, are we checking a normally viewed website viewed on a device?  What should you consider important to tests?  Can we automate all these tests?  Yes, and we can talk about what tests can and should be automated and those that can be done faster manually.

For this weekend testing session, we're going to focus on the type of user who uses the Weather Channel website on  mobile devices.

This means we'll be using the browser on the device and not downloading any apps.

1.  What is the first thing any user expects to be able to view?
2.  What kind of view is the user expecting?   Fill the screen?  Scrolling?
3.  Is the font readable? Or does the user need to do something to make the website readable?
4.  Can the user view the videos?  Can the user pause the video and rotate the device and continue viewing the video?
5.  Is the website easy to access the various pages?  Think about the size of fingers or is a stylus needed?
6.  Is it easy to find the latest news?  How to navigate to the news page?
7.  How is the response time?  How is the painting of different pages?
8.  Is there a balance of content and ads?


You may RSVP to the event by sending a request to "weekendtestersamericas" on Skype and letting us know you wish to take part in the session (if you have not initiated a Contact Request, please do that and mention in the body of your message that you would like to participate in this Saturday's session.

On Saturday, January 9, 2016, please be online and ready to connect to the session about twenty minutes before the start of the session. We are willing to add latecomers, but it gets distracting if we have to reiterate everything that happened in the earlier part of the session, so we generally limit new attendees fifteen minutes after the start of the session. We may add more people at that point, but will likely not go back and review what was covered beforehand.

Also, if this sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday to you, perhaps share this message with a number of your friends and encourage them to participate as well.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Your Weekend Testing Americas Facilitation Team
(Albert Gareev, Jean Ann Harrison, Michael Larsen and Justin Rohrman)