Test Information Space

Journal of Tech, Testing and Trends

Archive for August, 2007

Xy-Note

Posted by cadsmith on August 23, 2007

It turns out that in the fast-paced world of web development it is often infeasible to have a separate testing phase due to time or cost demands. This gets users a lot of free software which may or may not be labelled as beta. Some of it includes attempts to maintain high quality, e.g. through agile-based utilities for which the test methodologies are evolving. All of it demands tight-coupling between the producers & users with the latters’ actual behavior driving the direction of effort.

A couple of other forms of collaboration include tags & work-in-progress (WIP).

Tags are used for unstructured indexing of items. These allow users to search across items under the tag heading, display density of tag usage, & list tags to indicate the folksonomy.

As an example of web search, blinked a dozen or so of these together for the tag “art”. Each entry in the list itself is tagged for search on that site. Types include blogs, bookmarks, books, maps, music, multimedia, news, novels, photos, & videos. This does not preclude having a popular tag repository dedicated to artwork. tagsahoy searches several of the user’s login sites. A free desktop tag & search utility, tag2find, is available to try this type of organization on local storage media. This is easy to use & is able to tag across filetypes, e.g. documents, music, pictures, movies, and so on.

Combinations of the two domains, web & desktop, seem useful, so perhaps these will develop soon if they don’t already exist. From the surface perspective, one would be able to cross any storage or format boundary unless the items were marked private or only available to a selective group. It allows people to creatively explore using semantic exceptions more than rules, add to the list, & perhaps work on the items together. Multilingual translations, synonyms, & thesaurusi would possibly also add utility.

Good examples of the WIP sites involve musicians. Users can play online instruments & mixers, by themselves or with others, on indabamusic, jamnow, splicemusic, jamstudio, & drumsynth.

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A Pragmatic Schematic

Posted by cadsmith on August 17, 2007

Users don’t have to be immersed in a multiverse world to complete a guided quest. With the help of the SW, proxies, handy devices, & 3D, their everyday experiences become more adventurous.

Dynamic knowledge capture functions currently may begin with screen scraping, scripts, logs, tables, spreadsheets, relational DBs, APIs, hyperlinks, operating systems & services. People then like to be able to project their own perceptual & imaginative capabilities into the systems that they have to use. This can be seen, for example, from the popularity of user mods that videogame vendors offer where the player can sometimes wear a developer hat.

Take a tablet PC with the capability of recognizing its position & orientation so that it can be held up as a lens into relevant information domains & dynamic metadata flows. These become mobile scopes that allow interactive tactile changes to display scales & styles among spatial/temporal/energetic descriptions, with augmented digital or actual data capture in real environments, ability to markup & annotate scenes possibly using handwriting or voice, with easy gestures for survey, snapshot & splash, power sources adapting to surrounding constraints & they can be operationally loaded from dataspace for new functions given authorization mechanism. These & more static displays also allow reviewing databases & sources using different perspectives & lenses on the H/I/D/E axes.

There may be several common types of trusted worlds now seen on desktops & web 2.0 ports. The office might offer exploration of a communication model among contacts, tasks, schedules, journals & media. The lab has test plans, reports, summaries, resource types, equipment & vendors. Homes have entertainment domains overlapped for media, art, music, movies, finances, maintenance & repair. Other human or software proxies roam the information formats to alert the user & each other about interesting occurrences. They run apps, configure devices, act as a PDA, spot trends, & identify dilemmas. Network admins keep the thing running smoothly. The user is also a proxy for their specialties & responsibilities in the professional & social networks.

This evolution from the organization to the web portal to the users themselves presents a monster mashup of capabilities that can mix & match sources to provide new utility & better meet the needs of customers & markets. Online standards & methodologies help maintain a consistently improving quality of service. Standards overlap with semantic search. Questions occur about what exists, how is it used, what are the issues, & what’s missing. Add the ongoing edits, membership additions & balloting procedures. How does language adapt, e.g. will one have a sense of invertigo when there is an IM from btube addressed from a germinator about a need reported by the xy (pronounced “zee” as in proxy) & further described immersively in hali? There are examples from the semantic traits of musicians & artists where there are often crossovers or orthogonal influences so that roots develop in new directions & previously unfulfilled ontologies emerge to gain popularity, e.g. the future of classic techno metal in a digitally synthesized naturally emoted world. Holding the tablet up might selectively reveal scenes from many different performers occupying the same locations in various slices with lyrics, tunes, graphics & moves linked between their own & others’ pieces over time.

With respect to test systems, these are often loosely coupled within & between departments & organizations. A semantic solution would have a way to discover where things are, such as networks, relationships, & activities which can be pre-defined, ad hoc, &/or short-term. It is useful to be able to formalize results across subsystems, e.g. labs, benches, computer rooms, hardware, SQA, support, service, & manufacturing since it is possible to have a lot of changing of staff & roles as well as equipment & components under test. Vendors offer rental measurement equipment & virtual computer platforms. Firms may have local formats for planning, analysis, reporting. It is good to have ways to compare across locations, e.g. for benchmarks or similar pieces or factors. Some industries may have regulatory conformance rules that design, development & test are serial or parallel phases of. They would look for improvements in quality, efficiency, & costs. Coordinating offshore sources, or providing services for remote locations is also beneficial. Industries track interactions for their own finances, associations & markets track across industries. This constructs a notion of a test ecosystem to complement issues experienced in practice, e.g. in emerging markets or developing countries seeking broader distribution. Online methodologies make it easier for local people to adapt to their requirements, or else contributors travel as skills migrate across projects. Information feeds back to prediction about product & service experience over time, so that they are built to fit markets better & improve quality to cost ratio. Technical mathematics & economic models that support these activities may also be of interest in research. The ongoing balance that arises among the proofs, conjectures, media, discussions, tools & users invites further efforts at making the good things happen.

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Cobwebs SWept

Posted by cadsmith on August 10, 2007

When new platforms are envisioned, people tend to wonder what the killer app will be. In the case of the semantic web, where proof is structured in, a sweet spot for applications & services might be prediction. In general, some long-standing questions might have a mode where they remain asked over time, e.g. status type inquiries. These might have links to dependancies so that the answers need only be updated when the underlying significant data changes.

The status of the s-web itself at any particular time is also interesting. Built-in tests might describe how well the mechanism itself is working before it is actually used for other purposes. If one such web utility is down, there may be alternates available. Metadata for each instance of an SW would indicate its readiness & appropriateness at the time. There might be a management layer across these SW’s to handle the reporting & selections. They may not all be created alike, however, so results may change based on access to the content, & the state of the ontology, schema, rules, logic and so on. There may also be layers of users trying different approaches & experimenting with new techniques which may be outside of the most reliable choices used in the past.

If one had access to the results of the testing effort to date, then common questions such as “Is it done yet?”, “Does it work?”, “Is it fast?”, or “What’s wrong?” may be directed at the web. The system then reviews its general knowledge, results data, or user context & responds or asks for more specifics. Users trace why the system draws conclusions, & the same might occur the other way around to get a web-generated mix of qualitative & quantitative information. Answers then become customized to that effort, e.g.

  • h/w & s/w were done, but OS has new version available, or
  • 80% of the functions have been used okay, remainder unknown, or
  • Seems to meet specs 90% of time, but need more memory to do better, or
  • Passes diagnostics, but configuration has gotchas.

Additional annotations & opinions of testers would also become available as part of the answers. This system can then be polled prior to attending a product meeting where feedback would result in further staff tasking. Driving this from merely in-house use to tech support might add value if done correctly. Gaps in testing & analysis might be highlighted if these types of systems can interact at the methodological layers. An additional feature might be how to choose presentation, e.g. selecting type of graph & effective & most relevant data.

Beyond that, there is the possibility of development of further test-centric languages that recognize test-related ontology, tolerate multiple types of data nodes & agree on communication protocols, e.g. as digital radios do. It is convenient if the result data is stored in common format, interpretable by RDF-enabled services.

There may be new hardware components that are created to take the SW out of the research stages. This has precedent in the software industry, e.g. competition by the big economies involving the playstation, xbox, & wii. Also music semantics drive new players, & may lead to new types of instruments. SW device affinities might be along the lines of encryption, biometrics, storage, ISPs, translation, etc. Also the applications might concentrate on physical distribution, finance, disposable goods, food, medicines, infrastructure, etc. Various countries would emphasize industries that need shoring up.

Is there a future in semantic sports? Now is a good time for movements that cross boundaries. Perhaps one can ask the SW…
> Write the book on who looks good in version 3.

Readings:
[1] “The Semantic Web as the apotheosis of annotation, but what are its semantics? “,
Yorick Wilks, 2005
http://www.dcs.shef.ac.uk/~yorick/papers/AAAI_Paper.pdf
Discusses the origins of the SW including AI knowledge representation, natural language processing, & trusted databases.

[2] “The semantic Web : a guide to the future of XML, Web services, and knowledge management” by Daconta, Oberst & Smith, 2003, ISBN 0-471-43257-1.

http://www.wiley.com//legacy/compbooks/daconta/sw/
Talks about how businesses might apply SW capabilities.

[3] W3C Semantic Web Activity page:

http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/

[4] Wiki discussion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_web

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You Are Here

Posted by cadsmith on August 3, 2007

Some further consideration of surfaces.

Edges and corners are where these meet. There are studies of topological problems that effectively yield to solutions where these occur, e.g. paths or interconnects, & power laws.

The players in the semantic world themselves form surfaces, e.g. humans, information, devices, and environment (H/I/D/E). Each of these classes can be combined using one or more instances. The user can also be seen as a consequence of these systems, e.g. follow single-user, multi-user, trusted-user, remote-user, profile, social-network, & proxy developments. The connections between surfaces might include the exhange files, schema, interfaces, protocols, & controls. Testers find their way through the seams identifying anomalies & occasionally reporting neat tricks or workarounds. Failures ironically lead to improvements in the systems. Users also enact this role, possibly involuntarily. Affinity groups of individuals & organizations usually form from members with common interests & complementary strengths. The Semantic Web may eventually be such a user.

An interesting paradox seems to arise when one considers that it would be Web Science that would be considered responsible for disproving the existence of the Semantic Web.

We can assume that the web exists since the source of this is a blog post. Characterizing the exact identity remains difficult since the contents are often replaced and only a tiny fraction are searchable, the servers vary, the domain names change, entire new continents of users are being added. However, the fact remains testable, and almost always leads to a positive conclusion.

The term “the semantic web” may be interpreted by some as an oxymoron since, without the users, the system would be meaningless. The contents would continuously be reified until all of the rules and logic have been exhausted, then the information is as perfect as it gets and the game is over. This can be extended by plugging in sensors to the physics of the environment so that additional data is added, assuming there are some ontology generation mechanisms for the system to throw new theories at itself. It either probably continues to find out how they fail or it agrees on the ultimate truth. In the former case, it did not fulfill its function, therefore it has not achieved the label & in the latter case, it is again deterministic which seems to be a contradiction in terms. External users might displace it to several locations in the universe in order to increase confidence in the result or vice-versa. If users are not involved, it can forego the etymology & other human factors which would seem to simplify the problem. Of course, it could then also then pick a different name, other than semantic web & declare itself triumphant, e.g. the beginning of The Engine.

Web science may or may not be reflexive. It may be considered a science of the web, i.e. concerning it but not contained by it. It may be able to comprehend formalizable theories.

It is likely up to the SW creators to define what will become the classic tests, as Turing had previously done for his computer design. Incidentally, the term “test” did not appear in one of the proposals:
http://www.nowpublishers.com/getpdf.aspx?doi=1800000001&product=WEB

An RDF version of this argument might be a longer. It might be solvable within the context of particular domains as special cases. Having to deal with the media, wikis & blogs that can add a mass of data to counter perceived biases might make the general solution an ongoing effort. They have various measures of reliability for web-generated-content.

(BTW, an additional factor for the Trusted Menu might involve nutrition as the news about demographics, health & quality of food-processing emphasizes.)

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