Test Information Space

Journal of Tech, Testing and Trends

Archive for October, 2007

Posted by cadsmith on October 31, 2007

Reviewed SharePoint 2007: The Definitive Guide, Pyles and others, 2007. Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server (MOSS) 2007 provides remote team collaboration as well as content management security and privacy to construct world-wide work facilities. The functions include web 2.0-like social networking and collaboration, email and office application integration, enterprise search and rights management, and business process intelligence and forms. The book shows the changes in the architecture since 2003 and walks through details of installation, configuration, site design, web part use and creation, document workspaces and libraries, meeting workspaces, and a variety of security measures. Elements can be used to maintain a company branding style look. It handles server farm topologies of small to large sizes. Small consists of 1 or 2 boxes containing Web Front-Ends (WFE), app server and db server. Medium consists of db server, app server running MOSS, and 1 or 2 front-end web servers running MOSS or Internet Information Services 6.0 (IIS). Large consists of 2 or more clustered db servers, several load-balanced front-end web servers, and 2 or more app servers. The size factors are number of users, number of documents, fault tolerance and allowable downtime. Database servers can also have a failover. Performance limits are shown for individual components, e.g. a soft limit of 2000 items per view for quickest response by web services. Screenshots display interaction options. Many links are provided for online documentation and some third-party options. The system also stores and allows communication using IM and audio/video. Levels of administrative rights and site permission can be set for groups, members, owners, visitors and viewers. Server home page.


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Posted by cadsmith on October 29, 2007

Reviewed Nanoconvergence, William Sims Bainbridge, 2007. Video from 2006.

Convergence of nano, bio, IT and cognitive (NBIC) sciences leads to human transcendence. The history, state-of-the-art, luminaries, and grand challenges of each field are discussed. Nanotech is immediately a multiplier and eventually a unifier. Social science may be more popular going forward than computer science was over the past half century. Imagines how convergence might occur and what its effects would be, e.g. on government. A challenge is that a lack of scientific evidence results in a false unity of ideas. A convergence cube is proposed to connect conservation, indecision, configuration, interaction, variation, evolution, information and cognition. Nanotech began with NASA space manufacturing research, so book looks forward to future space systems. Other applications such as personality transfer modules are also illustrated. It shows what individuals can do to get expertise and contribute research, suggests R&D for scientists and engineers, and defines the factors of a social movement. Author’s link.

The personality archives seem to have different assumptions than research which finds genetic components, e.g. in results from identical twins versus fraternal ones. Another direction of study might be along the lines of synthetic personalities created by using reasonable results from the population of all possible element settings. These personalities can be combined with eachother using different relation models, e.g. competition, cooperation, curative, constraint or other capacities, to form teams or groups. How these evolve over time might indicate new factors.

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Posted by cadsmith on October 28, 2007

Reviewed Ajax on Java, Olson, 2007. Asynchronous Javascript and XML (AJAX) adds desktop application responsiveness to hypertext browsing. This book discusses the technique citing example code such as a character decoder to display the decimal value of a key, a servlet that computes the value and sends to the client, a zip code lookup form, and a shopping cart form with database and autocompletion of fields. Chapters discuss Ajax use along with a variety of application frameworks including XML and Javascript Object Notation (JSON), tag libraries (AjaxTags, JavaWebParts, AjaxAnywhere) , Struts, Javaserver Faces, Google Web Toolkit (GWT) and libraries for dojo, rico, direct web remoting (DWR), scriptaculous and prototype. Describes ways to build an XML document using Java Document Object Module (JDOM), dom4j, and Simple API for XML (SAX). The reader is assumed to have knowledge of HTML, CSS, XML and Javascript. Code examples use the JDK, Apache Ant and Tomcat. The link to the original article by Garrett seems to have moved to http://www.adaptivepath.com/ideas/essays/archives/000385.php.

Wiki page.

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Posted by cadsmith on October 25, 2007

Reviewed Software Testing, Ron Patton, 2nd edition, 2005. Testing goals are finding bugs early and verifying that they were fixed. Begins by describing a set of infamous software bugs such as 1999 Mars lander and 2004 Jpeg virus. Bugs are usually caused by the specification, then design, code or other factors. Specification terminology checklist identifies categories of words that need to be clarified since they are misleading or vague, e.g. always/never, obviously, sometimes, fast, processed, if-then without else, ”and so forth”. Testers verify that software meets the spec and validate that it meets the requirement. Software development lifecycle models covered include big-bang, code-and-fix, waterfall, and spiral. Website testing approaches and categories are discussed. Ways to measure test coverage are shown as well as some commercial automation tools. Localization issues are outlined. Talks about standards such as IEEE 829, CMMI, ISO9000 and has links for a variety of organizations. This book has been referenced by other texts which assume basic, general knowledge of the field as of 2005.

Wiki page.

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Posted by cadsmith on October 24, 2007

Reviewed Software Testing Techniques: Finding the Defects that Matter, Loveland and others, 2005. Finding the software defects that disrupt enterprise computing environments is the goal of the tester. Not all bugs will be found, so effort is directed to making the testing count. The development models covered include waterfall, waterwheel, common element, agile, spiral, evolutionary, test-driven, reactionary and iterative. There is a chapter on how teams can be used to test complex software. The various sources of information to seek when one is getting up to speed on the system design and operation are presented. Testplan contents are outlined. Test tools that can be bought or built are looked at. Common errors that might be found include specifications, data corruption, recoverability, and customer workloads. This also talks about simulators and virtual computers. Useful bug fixing metrics are listed, the highest priority measure being what impacts customers adversely. Scheduling tradeoffs are explored. IEEE standard 829-1998 defines software test documentation. The case studies in each chapter talk about realworld experiences which are useful to understand the issues that may not be obvious from merely an abstract test technique. A brief description of a web self-service corporate pension plan system is included.
This book discusses testing of software that is built to run on computers and clusters. Some networking terms are briefly discussed, but other sources would be useful if this is the focus. Similarly for embedded devices. Test equipment vendors might also provide additional information to fill in particular details of this comprehensive text. Actual software components might also add techniques, e.g. operating system toolset. Tests customized for specific hardware would need additional sources. Underlying hardware defects are out of the scope of this book. New technologies invite innovative software approaches and may also thus require testing advances.

Wiki page.

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Posted by cadsmith on October 21, 2007

Reviewed Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy, Moisés Naím, 2006. Globalization has attracted smuggling on the grand scale. The profit motive from the distribution of contraband drives an international industry estimated to value in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Significant sources are “geopolitical black holes” where trafficking flourishes without sufficient constraint. The market is anywhere on the globe. National prevention efforts, e.g. by protection of borders, has actually increased the profitability to stateless organizations who sometimes collude with governments or business. Sectors include at least arms, drugs, humans, IP, counterfeiting, money laundering and organs. The fastest growing segment is human trafficking; drugs are the most profitable. International legal standards have begun to form this decade to control the threat and this has economic and political effects. Tech solutions discussed are RFIDs, package tags, biometrics, detection devices, surveillance, software, tracking and biotech. Real solutions will require reducing the profitability and adding new ideas about globalization.
This book illustrates a high-level cross-section of global trade sectors. Details about particular efforts and specialists, or current statistics would require additional sources.
http://www.thetruecosts.org has a video interview with the author and announces an upcoming documentary series from National Geographic.
Author’s blog.

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Starter Sites

Posted by cadsmith on October 20, 2007

As users flow to the web in the wave of social networking, there are at least two directions that they tend to go in. Casual users may try the free hosting services with limited bandwidth and storage capacity; organizations seek premium services for efficiency. This entry compares some of the sites in the former set. These allow creation of home pages and blogs. The ones that host pages include a basic page editor. Microsoft introduced Windows Live Writer (WLW) as a desktop WYSIWYG front end for blog entries and it is compatible with blogger, spaces and some of the other formats. They also have the online editor Popfly to make it easier to mashup media and effects using Silverlight.

A comparison between popular sites is shown in the table below. Email-to-blog indicates that the user can create and submit an entry remotely via web or mobile email. Facebook’s notes can be imported from a blog, or be entered from mobile device along with pictures and video. IM audio and video within some socnets is possible using desktop devices, and can be attached to emails. Since mobile device demand seems to be at about 20-50 times that of computers, this class of users is quickly growing and is being offered touch-screen phones, or services utilizing voice input.

Site Page Blog Email-to-blog WLW Host
Blogger Y Y Y Google
GooglePages Y Google
Spaces Live Y Y Y MS
Popfly Y MS
Yahoo 360 Y Y Yahoo
Facebook Notes Facebook

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Posted by cadsmith on October 18, 2007

Reviewed The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Benkler, 2006. Social production is an invisible though ubiquitous factor of economics. The notion of commons as applied to the information space also has political ramifications. The internet democratizes. Authority is decentralized so that the public can act on its own behalf, as individuals and groups, without capital contraints or state control. This results in enhancing peer production without a limiting price mechanism. Technological determinism was never proven; results have depended upon where and when it was introduced. The question of how to measure wealth includes the technology, social relations, and freedom of action. The economy is centered on information and the internet. There is a shift from mass-media to public sphere, from reliance on authority to forming provisional judgements individually. Decentralization allowed SETI@home to flourish based on scale of small systems beyond what IBM & NEC did while competing for supercomputers. The law adds control-based models while, in practice, society and markets push back toward freedom and productivity. For example, media copyright protection requirements for hardware enforcement have been met by countervailing forces including self-configuring devices and networks, and free software or content. Security concerns can be an issue with the latter. Current network topologies are discussed and their results observed in various industries or in academics. Many web phenomena are reviewed. Various business models are compared. Major topics also include autonomy, cultural freedom, justice, development, social ties, and institutional ecology. The author’s site has further articles, videos, reviews and a wiki.

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Web Toast

Posted by cadsmith on October 16, 2007

Monster.com recently had a requirement for SQA. Our consulting department completed their monsterworldwide.com contact form, then received an email that the information was undeliverable to corporate communications at monster.com. Was able to workaround using the hiring.monster.com form. Their recruiter then emailed a request to send a resume. Sent them a copy of what is stored in their user accounts. Turns out they need “strong web testing experience”. (A question might be where to send your results.)

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Posted by cadsmith on October 12, 2007

Reviewed Hardware Design Verification: Simulation and Formal-Method Based Approaches, Lam, 2005. Digital logic design includes verification that the specification is met. This book covers the theory and application of industrial design verification based on simulation and formalism in about 600 pages with exercises for each chapter. Simulation utilizes a test bench and scenarios. Formalization encompasses mathematics and graph algorithms, decision diagrams, model checking and symbolic computation. Examples use Verilog hardware description language (HDL). Points to http://www.verilog.net/free.html to get started, and discusses value of tools such as waveform viewer, coverage, bug tracking, HDL linter, model checker and equivalence checker. Bibliography has 297 entries.
Wiki page.

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