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Categories: Software Testing

Bad Meaning Good

James Thomas' blog - Sun, 23/04/2017 - 11:07

Good Products Bad Products by James L. Adams seeks, according to its cover, to describe "essential elements to achieving superior quality." Sounds good! As I said in my first (and failed) attempt to blog about this book, I'm interested in quality. But in the introduction (p. 2) Adams is cautious about what he means by it:
Quality is a slippery, complex, and sometimes abstract concept ... Philosophers have spent a great deal of time dealing with the concept of quality. This is not a book on semantics or philosophy, so for our purposes we will simply assume that quality means "good." But, of course, that leaves us with "good for whom?" "good for what?" "good when?" "good where?" and if you really like to pick nits, "what do you mean by good?" I won't go there, either.My bias is towards being interested in the semantics and so I'd have liked not to have seen a concept apparently so fundamental to the book being essentially dismissed in the space of a paragraph on the second page of the introduction. Which isn't to say that quality is not referred to frequently in the book itself, nor that Adams has nothing to say about quality. He does, for example when thinking about why improving the quality of a manufacturing process is often considered a more tractable problem that improving the quality of the product being manufactured (p. 25):
characteristics of good products, such as elegance, and the emotions involved with outstanding products, namely love, are not easily described by [words, maths, experiment and quantification] - you can't put a number on elegance or love.Further, he's clearly thought long and hard about the topic, and I'd be surprised if he hasn't wrestled at length with definitions of quality - having spent no little time exploring my own definition of testing, I have sympathy for anyone trying to define anything they know and care about - before deciding to pursue this line. What's reassuring to see is that Adams is clear that whatever quality or goodness of a product is, it's relative to people, task, time and place.

He references David Garvin's Competing on the Eight Dimensions of Quality, which I don't recall coming across before, and which includes two dimensions that I found particularly interesting: serviceability (the extent to which you can fix a product when it breaks, and the timeliness with which that takes place) and perceived quality (which is to do with branding, reputation, context and so on).

I was reading recently about how experiments in the experience of eating show that, amongst many other factors, heavier cutlery - which we might naturally perceive to be better quality - enhances the perception of the taste of the food:
... we hypothesized that cutlery of better quality could have an influence on the perceived quality of the food consumed with it. Understanding the factors that determine the influence of the cutlery could be of great interest to designers, chefs, and the general public alike.Adams also provides a set of human factors that he deems important in relation to quality: physical fit, sensory fit, cognitive fit, safety and health, and complexity. He correctly, in my opinion, notes that complexity is a factor that influences the others, and deems it worthy of separation.

A particularly novel aspect for me is that he talks of it in part as a consideration that has influence across products. For example, while any given car might be sufficiently uncomplex to operate, the differences in details between cars can make using an unfamiliar one a disconcerting experience (p.91): "I ... am tired of starting the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal."  He admits a tension between desiring standardisation in products and wanting designers to be free to be creative. (And this is the nub of Don Norman's book, The Design of Everyday Things, that I wrote about recently.)

It's not a surprise to me that factors external to the product itself - such as familiarity and branding - govern its perceived quality, but it's interesting to see those extrinsic factors considered as a dimension of intrinsic quality. I wondered whether Weinberg's classic definition of quality has something to say about this. According to Weinberg (see for example Agile and the Definition of Quality):

  Quality is value to some person.

And value is a measure of the amount that the person would pay for the product. Consider I'm eating a meal at a restaurant: if my enjoyment of the food is enhanced by heavier cutlery, but the cost to me remains the same as with lighter cutlery, then in some real sense the value of the food to me is higher and so I can consider the food to be of higher quality. The context can affect the product.

Alternatively, perhaps in that experiment, what I'm buying is the whole dining experience, and not the plate of food. In which case, the experiential factors are not contextual at all but fundamental parts of the product. (And, in fact, note that I can consider quality of aspects of that whole differently.)

Weinberg's definition exists in a space where, as he puts it,
the definition of "quality" is always political and emotional, because it always involves a series of decisions about whose opinions count, and how much they count relative to one another. Of course, much of the time these political/emotional decisions – like all important political/emotional decisions – are hidden from public view. Political, yes, and also personal. Adams writes (p. 43)
Thanks to computers and research it seems to me that we have gotten better at purely technical problem solving but not necessarily at how to make products that increase the quality of people's lives - a situation that has attracted more and more of my interest.And so there's another dimension to consider: even a low quality item (by some measure, such as how well it is built) can improve a person's quality of life. I buy some things from the pound shop, knowing that they won't last, knowing that there are better quality versions of those items, because the trade-off for me, for now, between cost and benefit is the right one.

Bad product: good product, I might say.
Image: Amazon
Categories: Software Testing

Deeper Testing (2): Automating the Testing

Michael Bolton - Sat, 22/04/2017 - 15:55
Here’s an easy-to-remember little substitution that you can perform when someone suggests “automating the testing”: “Automate the evaluation and learning and exploration and experimentation and modeling and studying of the specs and observation of the product and inference-drawing and questioning and risk assessment and prioritization and coverage analysis and pattern recognition and decision making and […]
Categories: Software Testing

Walking the Lines

James Thomas' blog - Sat, 22/04/2017 - 10:12


I recently became interested in turning bad ideas into good ones after listening to Reflection as a Service. At around that time I was flicking through the references in Weinberg on Writing - I forget what for - when I spotted a note about Conceptual Blockbusting by James L. Adams:
A classic work on problem solving that identifies some of the major blocks - intellectual, emotional, social, and cultural - that interfere with ideation and design.I went looking for that book and found Adams' web site and a blog post where he was talking about another of his books, Good Products Bad Products:
For many (60?) years I have been interested in what makes some products of industry "good", and others "bad". I have been involved in designing them, making them, selling them, buying them, and using them.  I guess I wanted to say some things about product quality that I think do not receive as much attention as they should by people who make them and buy themI hadn't long finished The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman but didn't recall much discussion of quality in it. I checked my notes, and the posts (1, 2) I wrote about the book, and found that none of them mention quality either.

I'm interested in quality, generally. And my company builds products. And Adams is saying that he has a perspective that is underappreciated. And he comes recommended by an author I respect. And so I ordered the book.

Shortly after I'd started reading it I was asked to review a book by Rich Rogers. Some of the material in Good Products Bad Products was relevant to it: some overlapping concepts, some agreement, and some differences. I don't think it played a major part in the *ahem* quality of my review, but I can say that I was able to offer different, I hope useful, feedback because of what I'd read elsewhere, but only been exposed to by a series of coincidences and choices.

I continue to be fascinated by chains of connections like these. But I'm also fascinated by the idea that there are many more connections that I could have made but never did, and also that by chasing the connections that I chose to, I never got some information that would allow me to make yet further connections. As I write this sentence, other ideas are spilling out. In fact, I stopped writing that sentence in order to note them down at the bottom of the document I'm working in.

In Weinberg on Writing there's a lot of talk about the collection and curation of fieldstones, Weinberg's term for the ideas that seed pieces of writing. Sometimes, for me, that process is like crawling blind through a swamp - the paucity of solid rock and the difficulty of finding it and holding on to it seems insurmountable. But sometimes it's more like a brick factory running at full tilt on little more than air. A wisp of raw materials is fed in and pallets full of blocks pour out of the other end.

Here's a couple of the thoughts I noted down a minute ago, expanded:

Making connections repeatedly reinforces those connections. And there's a risk of thinking becoming insular because of that. How can I give myself a sporting chance of making new connections to unfamiliar material? Deliberately, consciously seeking out and choosing unfamiliar material is one way. This week I went to a talk, Why Easter is good news for scientists, at the invitation of one of my colleagues. I am an atheist, but I enjoy listening to people who know their stuff and who have a passion for it, having my views challenged and being exposed to an alternative perspective.

It's also a chance to practice my critical thinking. To give one example: the speaker made an argument that involved background knowledge that I don't have and can't contest: that there are Roman records of a man called Jesus, alive at the right kind of time, and crucified by Pontius Pilate. But, interestingly, I can form a view of the strength of his case by the fact that he didn't cite Roman records of the resurrection itself. Michael Shermer makes a similar point in How Might a Scientist Think about the Resurrection?

Without this talk, at this time, I would not have had these thoughts, not have searched online and come across Shermer (who I was unfamiliar with but now interested in), and not have thought about the idea that absence of cited evidence can be evidence of absence of evidence to cite (to complicate a common refrain).

I am interested in the opportunity cost of pursuing one line of interest vs another. In the hour that I spent at the talk (my dinner hour, as it happens) I could have been doing something else (I'd usually be walking round the Science Park listening to a podcast) and would perhaps have found other interesting connections from that. I could have started a different book; I have several more queued up, including:


Another concept often associated with cost is benefit. any connections I make now might have immediate benefit, later benefit or no benefit. Similarly, any information I consume now might facilitate immediate connections, later connections or no connections ever.

Which connects all of this back to the beauty and the pain of our line of work. In a quest to provide evidence about the "goodness" or "badness" of some product (whatever that means, and with apologies to James Adams it'll have to be another blog post now) we follow certain lines of enquiry and so naturally don't follow others.

It's my instinct and experience that exposing myself to challenge, reading widely, and not standing still helps me when choosing lines of enquiry and when choosing to quit lines of enquiry. But I may just not have sufficient evidence to the contrary. Yet ...
Image: Wikipedia
Categories: Software Testing

The Impact of Internet of Things on Healthcare

Test And Verification Services Blog - Fri, 21/04/2017 - 07:11

IoT is constantly offering new tools as well as efficiencies that make up an integrated healthcare system with the view of ensuring patients are cared for better, health care costs are reduced significantly and treatment outcomes are improved. This article summarizes the factors that impact the growth of IoT in healthcare.

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Find how T&VS Healthcare IoT services help manufacturers and customers to securely design and develop smarter healthcare systems.

The post The Impact of Internet of Things on Healthcare appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

How does the Internet of Things affect data security?

Test And Verification Services Blog - Fri, 21/04/2017 - 07:06

The growing number of connected devices multiplies the amount of potential points of vulnerability and provides hackers with many ways for breaking into corporate databases. These potentially vulnerable devices can be easily exploited because by their design IoT devices are built with lightweight security, and being connected to the internet also makes them highly susceptible to intrusion and attacks.

This article outlines how organizations should manage the vast amounts of generated data and ensure that it is secure and describes the impact of IoT on data security.

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Find out how T&VS IoT Security services help companies to efficiently and effectively address the threats of security vulnerabilities.

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Categories: Software Testing

Software Driven Test of FPGA Prototype

Test And Verification Services Blog - Fri, 21/04/2017 - 07:02

The design landscape is changing rapidly through the ever-increasing amount of embedded software that is crucial to the operation of heterogeneous multi-processor designs. In parallel, the design verification methodologies are more and more dependent on software.

It is wise to reuse as much of software developers work as possible to verify the hardware. This article describes how Aldec addresses the needs of many designers and verification engineers who demanded a compact and self-contained FPGA platform to implement software driven embedded testbenches.

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Learn T&VS services that help you know why FPGA technology is making new inroads as demands increase for better integration between hardware and software.

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Categories: Software Testing

Is IoT Just Too Hard to Secure?

Test And Verification Services Blog - Thu, 20/04/2017 - 08:49

The growth of IoT is occurring at an incredible rate, raising alarms about security and privacy issues as users become increasingly reliant on these intelligent, interconnected devices in their lives and businesses.

At the same time, manufacturers that are rushing to create new, connected devices lack the capabilities to properly prepare for, deploy, and support IoT solutions in a secure way. This article from DZone explores why are IoT devices so hard to secure and outlines the tips to secure the IoT.

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Find out how T&VS IoT Security Services can help IoT device manufacturers and those enterprises deploying IoT solutions, to increase security in their IoT landscape.

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Categories: Software Testing

Software Testing is All about Adding Value, Not Just Finding Bugs

Test And Verification Services Blog - Thu, 20/04/2017 - 08:43

This article from Software Testing Solutions outlines the prime objectives behind software testing and why is it given such prime importance in software development life cycle which increases the ROI of the software, adds value, quality, and reliability to the product.

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Find out how T&VS Software Testing services help you to establish a cost-effective software testing facility that delivers improved quality and reduced time-to market.

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Categories: Software Testing

Web Application Security Testing should be part of QA Testing

Test And Verification Services Blog - Thu, 20/04/2017 - 08:18

As more and more vital data is stored in web applications and the number of transactions on the web increases, proper QA testing is necessary to discover and mitigate the vulnerabilities in web applications.

This article explores why security testing of web applications and any other sort of software should be included in the software development life-cycle (SDLC) with the normal QA testing to ensure there are no web application vulnerabilities.

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Find how T&VS Web Application Security Services enable you to prevent breaches by protecting and securing your data against web attacks, and vulnerabilities.

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Categories: Software Testing

Are you connected formally?

Test And Verification Services Blog - Thu, 20/04/2017 - 08:11

A large System on Chip (SoC) has tens of thousands of connections between modules and pins. Checking that these connections have been made properly is a crucial step in the verification process. This article from Techdesign forum outlines how the techniques of formal verification helps to verify these type of complex SoC designs and gives a much stronger proof that the connections between inputs and output chip blocks are connected as expected and offers a solution that is quick, exhaustive and allows for efficient debug.

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Join T&VS Formal Verification Training to learn why formal verification is going mainstream for verification methodologies.

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Categories: Software Testing

Internet of Things (IoT) in Automotive Industry

Test And Verification Services Blog - Wed, 19/04/2017 - 11:12

With connectivity and smart devices becoming a norm in automobiles, the manufacturers in this sector are upping their game with suite of technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) to tap the potential business benefits that come in with this digital revolution. This article outlines why the IoT be called the foundation for central opportunities and disruption in the automotive industry.

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Learn more about how T&VS Automotive Verification and Test solutions help to address the challenges of delivering safe, secure and compliant automotive products.

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Categories: Software Testing

How Consumer Experience Testing Helps in Achieving IoT Success?

Test And Verification Services Blog - Wed, 19/04/2017 - 10:34

With the advancement in the field of IoT there are exciting opportunities as well as the challenges that lie ahead for both consumers and business. Security is key another concern that consumer technologies face. This article from 360logica explains why IoT infrastructure must be comprehensively tested to ensure the optimal performance of IoT must be reliable, scalable and secure and summarizes the principles to ensure end-to-end quality in IoT consumer experience.

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Find out how T&VS IoT Testing Services help securely protect and manage devices and communications, and counter growing security threats in the IoT eco-system.

The post How Consumer Experience Testing Helps in Achieving IoT Success? appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

ISO 26262 – Addressing concerns around emerging technologies

Test And Verification Services Blog - Wed, 19/04/2017 - 08:19

The rapid deployment of ADAS and fully autonomous connected technologies, together with the associated cybersecurity threat has seen growing inadequacies in the original iteration of ISO 26262. This article from AutomotiveIQ describes how ISO 26262 strengthen the focus on semiconductor requirements and ensure the standard remains relevant when applied to systems commonly used in ADAS and fully autonomous driving architectures.

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Find out how T&VS Functional Safety services help you to improve the safety & security requirements in electronic and electrical systems.

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Categories: Software Testing

Portable Stimulus – The First Verification Model

Test And Verification Services Blog - Wed, 19/04/2017 - 07:42

The objective of Portable Stimulus is to be able to write your verification intent once and can use it at all stages of silicon realization. This article from EDA Café summarizes the reasons that states why portable stimulus is the first true verification model. A single Portable Stimulus model can be used as an input to synthesize tests for a variety of target execution platforms, including UVM, simulation, emulation, post-silicon validation, etc.

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Find out how T&VS portable stimulus specification addresses today industry verification challenges.

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Categories: Software Testing

IoT Apps Pose Unique Challenges

Test And Verification Services Blog - Tue, 18/04/2017 - 10:47

The Internet of Things(IoT) opens exciting new opportunities in the world of software development, and the implementations has raised concerns and challenges around data privacy and security.This article from EETimes describes the solutions to overcome the challenges of IoT in the world of security.

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Find out how T&VS IoT Services help securely protect and manage devices and communications, and counter growing security threats in the IoT eco-system.

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Categories: Software Testing

Is Crowdsourced Testing Right for My Team?

Test And Verification Services Blog - Tue, 18/04/2017 - 10:26

Crowdsourced testing is an emergent method of QA testing which leverages a dispersed, temporary workforce to test software applications quickly and effectively. This article from DZone summarizes the best practices that help you decide why crowdsourced testing is the right for your team and outlines why crowdsource testing can be a powerful tool for optimizing your workflow.

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Find out how T&VS services let you integrate crowdsourced testing into your development workflow to ensure higher quality and more accurate test results.

The post Is Crowdsourced Testing Right for My Team? appeared first on T&VS.

Categories: Software Testing

Development Testing for Safety and Security

Test And Verification Services Blog - Tue, 18/04/2017 - 10:14

The safety and security of IoT devices are heavily dependent on the software and applications that manage them, putting software development and testing teams on the cyber frontline of being able to develop secure IoT applications.With widespread appetite for IoT devices, the challenges of safety and security is also gradually increasing. This article from Electronic Design outlines safety and security need to be addressed early in the design process and so should testing.

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Find out how T&VS IoT Services help securely protect and manage devices and communications, and counter growing security threats in the IoT eco-system.

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Categories: Software Testing

The Rise of Transaction-Based Emulation

Test And Verification Services Blog - Tue, 18/04/2017 - 10:10

Transaction-based verification has become the emulation mode of choice because of its unique ability to keep pace with the growing verification support requirements of the latest high-performance, industry-standard interfaces. This article from SemiWiki explores how transaction based verification with emulation offers design teams a unique opportunity to accelerate SoC verification.

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Find out how T&VS Hardware Emulation services allow verifying the robustness of a design and helps optimize the design for improved performance.

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Categories: Software Testing

Join T&VS partner 42Gears at GES2017 – 17-20 April. Greater Noida, India

Test And Verification Services Blog - Mon, 17/04/2017 - 12:16

Join T&VS partner 42Gears Mobility Solutions at the Global Exhibition on Services (GES 2017) event to discuss how we can help your business go mobile.

GES is a unique initiative by the government of India to showcase the strength and potential of the Indian services industries.

  • Find 42Gears in: Hall 7, Booth 110
  • 17-20th April
  •  India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida, India
  • GES 2017 Website
Discover How We Can Help

Through a strategic partnership with 42Gears Mobility Solutions, T&VS customers now have access to leading-edge Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that have helped thousands of companies secure and efficiently deploy mobile applications on wide variety of devices such as tablets, smartphones and IoT devices.

  • Simplified Enterprise Mobility Management for SMBs
  • Comprehensive Solutions to Manage, Secure and Monitor
  • Trusted by over 6,000 Companies across 100+ Countries
  • Used in education, construction, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, transport & logistics, retail, IoT and other verticals
GES 2017 – Book a Meeting

If you would like to sit down with 42Gears at the show for an informal chat to discuss your requirements please get in touch with T&VS so that we can arrange a time and place to meet that is convenient with you.

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