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Friday, July 18, 2008

James Whittaker visit and presentation

Well, its been a whirlwind couple of days - which I am pleased to say have been a lot of fun.

James Whittaker has been with us for a couple of days, and today gave a presentation that knocked some socks off, and gave everyone a number of opportunities for belly laughing. ( )

What was he talking about? The future of software and the evolution of testing! What did I think? I'm still trying to work it out!

Some stuff that was very cool: The ideas that Microsoft have for the future of software and how things will look, feel and integrate with the world. Interfaces on computers, embedded sensors, RFID on steroids and a seamless integration of it all into a world that reduces geography and improves our lives.

Some stuff that made me think: How to take the role of testers and testing into being part of solutions for the wider world.

Take a look at: for some more insights from the mind of Dr W.

Something I want to start giving some serious thought to is the topic of visualisation. How to visualise how code is changing, how defects are clustering, how test coverage is developing and where things need to be done. That was a fantastic part of the talk today - with examples from all over the place include xbox games, that really brought the point home. I can see some huge advantages to our industry from moving down this route. I wonder if these new MS test tools will do it?

It was a pleasure to host James for this event, and great opportunity to catch up with him, meet Sharon (his wife) and to hear about his latest visions.

There was a great attendance at the event, with people from (no particular order to this list):

Orange UK
Neural Technologies
The Exeter University Innovation Centre
Scholarship students from Boston University and Exeter University
Quick find IT recruitment
Independent contractors
workroom productions (
Circle Executive Recruitment
Sound in Theory
Test and Verification Solutions
SNS Systems

It was brilliant to see this group mingling, networking and building a community. It wasn't forced - it just happened :)

We also had a great time at our latest PEST (Pub Exploration of Software testing). What a PEST it was too.

Over 40 testers competitively testing four apps for over 3 hours. It was brilliant!
We tested our PEST portal - developed by interns during their summer internship, we tested a digi makeover kit - a commercially available toy, we tested a wordpadlike application in which we had set up a dozen defects, and we tested a large coffee vending machine which had been picked up on e-bay for just £1. Defects galore!!!

Seeing Dans face (the intern who had a big hand in the PEST portal) as all these testers crawled all over his site was absolutely priceless - but most impressive of all was the energy of everyone involved.

Passion for testing. Passion for the teams. Passion for finding defects. A brilliant event! Huge kudos to Martin Mudge for setting up the best PEST so far, by far!
Check out for more information about future events and to share knowledge with people at PEST.

If you are wondering about what sort of stuff we were doing then take a look at this video of Jon Bach who explains about Exploratory Testing

I'll post some pictures of our event when they have come through from Kate and Clare.

Also, take a look at: if you get chance. This is quite an interesting idea and is pretty exciting if you are an exploratory tester or someone seeking some variation & new challenges.

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