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All posts tagged bugs

Windows 8.1

Now that all the hullabaloo has died down over the update from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 I thought it time to weigh in on my overall impressions and a couple of specifics.

As you know Windows 8.1 is the first major update of the OS and ground breaking at that for those with Windows 8; you simply open the Windows Store and run the update from there.

Windows 8.1 - StoreWindows 8.1 Instore UpgradeWindows 8.1 Instore Installing

The install was seamless and I optimized the download speed by running it hardwired to the router and not over WiFi.

Windows 8.1 gave us The Return of A Start Button, integrated search from the Search charm and a slew of improvements to include several Apps.

Was it Worth It?

In a nutshell… yes. As good as Windows 8 was, the UX is improved and performance seems to be too. Windows 8.1 is even better.

For all of you who enjoy the recurring jokes and memes about Internet Explorer online I have this to say,

Internet Explorer 11 is not your Dad’s IE.

This is a geometric improvement that leaves its competitors in the dust. It provided a robust browsing experience (mostly) coupled with speed that makes browsing the pleasure it should be. IE11 doesn’t seem to have the thirst for CPU / RAM that some if it’s greedy competitors do, nor does there seem to be the necessity for update du jour (you know who I mean).

The only two web applications I have seen issue with are Tweetdeck for the Web which occasionally needs recovery when returning to the App from another tab and the great social music App Serendip where a scripting bug prevents music videos from playing but only in one’s own music library. Obviously, I reported the bug on discovery and got a nice response from the team at Serendip.

IE11 is also available for Windows 7 (different language and 32/64 bit versions can be found here) and I give it a strong recommend.

Bugs Or Features? Workarounds Too.

  • After installing Windows 8.1 I was pleased (yes pleased) to discover the onboard WiFi card was not supported. This forced me to choose between waiting for a driver update (who knew when) or upgrading to a faster WiFi USB dongle. Obviously I opted for the latter and received a smoother, faster wireless internet connection in the process. Since then the issue has been resolved but I’m too happy with the Edimax USB dongle to test the fix.
  • Those who have used the Metro / New Windows UI Apps in Windows 8 will be familiar with minimize > right-click > close to exit the App. In Windows 8.1 the App does not close until you go to the Task Manager and terminate the App from there. These Apps do not have a noticeable footprint or performance impact but nonetheless this is a bug that needs fixing.
  • The User Libraries (Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, Downloads etc.) have an interesting bug; any folder containing media generates a Thumbs.db system file and by default these Libraries seem to be set to Read Only. The user cannot delete these folders but can delete their content, leaving a mess of empty folders.

There are several workarounds for this bug: –

  1. Select the folders from the Library and cut them (CTRL-X) then paste them (CTRL-V) in a non-Library folder e.g. C:/Temp. You can select and delete the folders from there and will receive the same warning about the folder containing Thumbs.db. In a non-Library folder you can select the checkbox in this dialog “Do this for all current items” and it will delete as expected.

Windows 8.1 Thumbs.db Delete Bug

  1. Using a ZIP tool like WinRAR select the empty folders in the Library and select the option to delete all folders after compression. Once they are save to the ZIP file they are successfully deleted and you can easily delete the ZIP file; goodbye empty folders.
  2. Unlocker is a neat app that allows you to select files or folders that Windows locks, preventing deletion and with a right-click you can unlock and delete them. The only restriction I’ve found is that I could only unlock one folder at a time.

The Warptest POV

To keep things in context these are the only bugs I’ve seen since I upgraded. By and large the Windows 8.1 experience is good and I am simply able to get on with my work without excessive tweaks or clicks.

The OS performs well and everyone I have shown Windows 8.1 gets it and even finds it intuitive. Microsoft made a huge effort to absorb the users’ comments from Windows 8 and continue to deliver a great UX.

For those who do need the extra help the boffins at Redmond provided the Help and Tips app with Windows 8.1, sadly not Ms Dewey or Cortana but let’s see what the near future brings us. This App will certainly get you up and running.

Windows 8.1 Help and Tips App

Windows 8.1 is here to stay and it’s impressive and easy to work with as long as you hit the power on button with an open mind. If you have only read negative reviews and are surprised by what you read here then get in touch for more details why the trolls are wrong about Windows 8.1

In the meanwhile I’ll report these bugs and see if they are known issues and or if there is an ETA for anticipated fixes.

angry tester

Software Testing…

…can often be perceived as much as an art as a science but there are certain patterns and phrases that reproduce from project to project: –

Image thanks to Office365.

  1. This bug doesn’t reproduce in my Development Environment. The flip side of this is, “It’s a known bug”: when either of these are uttered you can pretty much assume a unicorn just died… horribly.
  2. Automated testing will solve all our testing issues and find all the bugs.
  3. We have a zero tolerance attitude to bugs.
  4. Unit testing? We don’t need that here, it only slows things down.
  5. Who is Manuel Testing?
  6. Can you please stop talking to the developers about bugs? It stops them working.
  7. We invented Agile but we have a unique blend of it with Waterfall and bits of CMMI.
  8. No, no, no! I’m telling you. It’s a feature not a bug.
  9. Why do you need to understand how the customer will use the software? You’re Testing not Product or Sales.
  10. We maintain a proprietary Bug Tracking System we built on top of Excel.

But my all time favorite for real world testing albeit not software testing is:

Here’s your bulletproof vest. If it doesn’t work then bring it back and we’ll exchange it.

Think … about … it. (This really happened to me).

The Warptest POV

Whilst these are amusing to encounter they are also warning signs particularly for the Software Testing professional who works on projects. It is beyond importance to be aware of the work culture and management buy-in / comprehension of what Testing entails, why a specific tool or methodology is being recommended and whether all your efforts will result in a positive change or not.

When I was doing my certification as a Scrum Master the group were asked the best response to this scenario:

Your team are working successfully and to schedule based on their commitments. A manager walks in and takes two members of your team away mid-sprint. When you discuss changes to the schedule due to loss of resources the answer you get is, “We expect you to cope and meet the deadlines regardless”.

Many of the class came up with creative responses involving negotiation, refactoring schedules etc. but the Agile Coach giving the class responded,

“You are all wrong. You update your resume.”

There are software testing jobs like any other jobs that you simply shouldn’t take unless you are prepared for failure on the way.

Sometimes it is possible to pull a testing rabbit out the hat but it requires a strong team and most likely a high level of collaboration from the Developers you are working with.

Is this something unique to Software Testing or have you encountered this elsewhere?

Twitter logo

Twitter Goes All Medieval on the Tweetdeck Product Line

Last week Twitter, the owners of Tweetdeck posted on their blog about the discontinuation of several versions of Tweetdeck.

The thrust of the article is that old technology is going the way of the dinosaur and the focus is going to be on better web experience.

What Got Deadpooled?

Deadpool from Marvel Comics

In a nutshell these four things will cease functioning by May:

  • Tweetdeck Air for Desktop
  • Tweetdeck for Android
  • Tweetdeck for iPhone
  • Support for Facebook integration

Keep in mind that this still leaves us with Tweetdeck in the browser, Desktop and or the Chrome app.

When I started using Twitter seriously I got into Tweetdeck Air and other than certain bugs that seemed to regress every few versions I loved it. This was just about the only app I needed Adobe Air for but it was worth it. With a standalone Windows Client it was time for the Air version to go.

Adobe Air

Tweetdeck Desktop on Windows 7 is an awesomely good Twitter client but in Windows 8 I experienced a consistent resource leak leading to hangs / freezes / crashes.

Windows 8

Windows 8 has MetroTwit which was a great alternative to Tweetdeck but the Metro / New Windows UI version doesn’t entirely do it for me. I like having 8 or more of my Twitter lists open so Tweetdeck Web in Internet Explorer 10 was my next choice. (MetroTwit if you are reading this and I’m mistaken please comment on how to add extra columns, I couldn’t find it).

Warptest POV

It’s not all bad news.

Twitter is streamlining their product line and whilst dropping support for Facebook integration is at face value a loss of major functionality, why should they support a competitor platform for content distribution? At the end of the day fewer products to support should mean more investment in new features and better quality. Hopefully Twitter will get their act together and provide a robust and consistent user experience regardless of mobile platform.

With that in mind, Twitter finally released an updated Windows Phone App whose UI is in line with the designs of the Android and iOS Twitter Apps (the minor UI difference in iOS is the menu-bar is below not above the tweets).

 comparison of twitter cross-platform

After testing it I discovered that: –

  • The new Twitter UI on Windows Phone looks gorgeous and works nicely with slide enabled between major screens.
  • Finally, finally, finally Twitter on Windows Phone gets reply all. This was the single most frustrating missing feature. Well done.
  • There is a known issue with Twitter Live Tile; it doesn’t seem to work unless notifications are enabled and the counter only goes up to 1. Lame.
  • Twitter cannot find my location even when other apps can (including Rowi… see below). Worse still, trending topics detects my location incorrectly and so I get topics in Turkish, thanks but no thanks.
  • Twitter on Windows Phone did not get photo filters as in the Android version.

The main competitor to Twitter on Windows Phone is Rowi with a Lite (free but ad laden version) and a Pay (ad free version). Rowi has a slew of nice features and for as long as I’ve been using it has reply all and uses Aviary photo filters. Rowi has long been considered the best Twitter App on Windows Phone.

rowi twitter app

The basic functionality of Twitter on Windows Phone has caught up with Rowi and the sleek UI makes it tempting but the presence of bugs that QA should have caught and the absence of photo filters detracts from the whole package.

So come on Twitter, fix these bugs and give us some photo filter love. You still have some work to do before users get the same experience regardless of mobile platform.