Thursday, October 19, 2006

StarWest Post #2

Today (Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006) we had three great keynote sessions.

First, Harry Robinson of Google spoke about "How to Build Your Own Robot Army". I thought this was one of the best presentations I have heard at a conference. The main thing I took away from Harry's talk was that test automation can move beyond just repeating carefully constructed scripts to test a variety of functions repeatedly and somewhat randomly.

I think this could find many more defects than the way we currently test and perform test automation. Also, the cost of testing using robots can be many orders of magnitude less than anything we are currently doing.

Do you know anyone who would test for $1.25/hour USD? Plus, you can share the robots with developers to advance testing in the development process, which reduces defects found in testing, and makes life better for everyone.

You can learn more about Harry's work at

Gary McGraw of Cigital spoke on security testing. It was a great presentation as well. The main things I took away from the talk was that 1) the more code, the more bugs there are, 2) bad guys exploit bugs to gain access to systems, 3) to find these bugs, you must think like an attacker.

Finally, Lloyd Roden of Grove Consultants (UK) spoke on the Top Ten Myths and Illusions of Testing. Lloyd is a good friend and I greatly enjoyed his address. His talk was thought-provoking and entertaining. Just a few of the myths and illusions he covered were: anyone can test, senior managers are interested in bug counts, and quality can't be measured.

It was a good day with lots of great ideas and information!

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