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September/October, 2006

Featured Article

What is a Glitch?

By Randall Rice

I try to keep my rants to a minimum, but I reserve the right to rant at least once every six months. I claim my right to rant this month.

I read an article a couple of weeks ago that the Social Security Administration fell victim to a “glitch” that resulted in about 230,000 Medicare recipients getting checks that erroneously reimbursed them for monthly premiums they have paid for prescription drug coverage this year. The amount of the error was estimated to be about $50 million.

To me, a $50 million dollar mistake is not a minor one. Sure, in the grand scheme of government spending this is just a drop in the bucket. However, if I owed $50 million dollars to the government I’m sure it would be a big deal. Just ask Willie Nelson.

[Read more here]

Need CPE Credits?

I just received my notice that I need to submit recertification documents for my CSQA and CSTE certifications. If you need those additional training hours for 2006, don't panic. My e-learning can be just the answer. You can receive this training anytime, anyplace. Our participants consistently give our e-learning courses high reviews and you get exactly the same content as in a "live" class. All of these courses are narrated by yours truly, Randy Rice, and have interactive quizzes and exercises. We have courses on Basic Training in Software Testing, User Acceptance Testing, Gathering, Documenting and Testing User Requirements, Deliverable Reviews, and Unit Testing. Click here to see more details and to experience a tour and demo of our interactive web-based learning environment. We have multi-person discounts for teams. I'm working on others soon to be announced!

Of course, if you would like for me or an associate to come to your company and train your entire team, I'll be happy to do that as well.  Just contact me here for more information. Click here to see a list of our courses.

My goal is to make it as easy as possible to get the training you need!

I know that my training qualifies for QAI Continual Professional Education credits. If you have a certification from another organization, be sure to check with them to make sure they will accept my e-learning courses for CPE credit.

Book End-of-year Services Soon

If you need training or consulting delivered before the end of 2006, contact me soon. There are still available dates in my calendar for October through December. This is a great time to be thinking about spending those last 2006 budget dollars and building your team's testing skills!

Listen to Podcasts about Software Quality

You can now download mp3 audio programs at  Whether you listen on your computer or on your iPod, you can learn more about testing and software quality. In fact, I think this is the first podcast devoted to the topic of software testing and software quality.'s totally free!  Click here to go to the podcast page. 

New Online Course!

Actually, this is like a "mini-course. My newest e-learning course, A Short Course in Performance Testing is less than two hours in length (for the recorded narration), but can get you up to speed quickly on performance testing processes and tools. Act now to take advantage of a special $39 introductory price on this course! Add to cart

Coming Soon

Also nearing completion is the online version of a course many of you have been asking for - Applying IEEE Standard 12207 for Software Lifecycle Processes. This course will be less than 6 hours in length and will give you a good understanding of the standard. This is a great course for people looking to acquire or develop an effective software lifecycle process.

On My Blog...

At you can read my tribute to Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter). What did Steve have to do with software quality?  Read the blog article to find out!

Upcoming Events

I'll be speaking at StarWest 2006 in Anaheim, CA again this year. I'll be doing a full-day tutorial Monday, Oct. 16th on Becoming an Influential Test Team Leader. If you are a test team leader and have never been to this session, I really encourage you to attend. You can learn more and register at .  I'll also be presenting a track session on Friday, Oct 20th titled "Keeping it Between the Ditches: A Dashboard to Guide Your Testing"  If you would like to have a practical and effective way to keep your test projects on track, this is a great session to give you some ideas.  

On Friday, November 17th, 2006, I'll be delivering a keynote address at QAI's International Software Testing Conference in Orlando, Fl.  The topic will be "Credibility - A Tester's Key to Success." You can learn more and register at

Finally, I'll be at EuroStar 2006 in Manchester, U.K. the week of December 4th - 7th, 2006.  I'll be presenting a half-day tutorial on "Becoming an Influential Test Team Leader" and a track session on "Developing Efficient Test Cases Using Orthogonal Arrays and Use Case Scenarios."

I hope to see you at one of these events!

Another event you may be interested in is taking place in Tulsa, OK  is the Tulsa Techfest 2006 on Saturday, October 14, 2006. There is a special track on Test Driven Development and Agile Methods. You can learn more at .  I am not speaking at this event, but encourage you to check it out.

Join Our Community!

Part of being a better tester is to network with other testers and contribute ideas to help others. At you can participate in forums that cover a variety of topics, including test automation, lessons learned in testing, security and security testing. We also have job postings and a place to post resumes on the forum. I really need your help is starting some threads and getting the discussion going!

We need you to be a part of our community! Click here to join today - It's easy to join and is totally free. 


"It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all." - Edward de Bono

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing."  - George Bernard Shaw

Book Review

Weinberg on Writing by Gerald Weinberg

Product Details:

ISBN: 093263365X
Format: Softcover, 208 pages
Pub. Date: July 2006
Dorset House Publishing

Jerry Weinberg is my favorite author in the Information Technology field. I'll never forget where I was when I first read "The Psychology of Computer Programming" as a senior in college. As a student just getting ready to enter the real world of programming, that book gave me about a 10 year head-start in understanding the mindset of software development. Since then, his books have always been helpful to me and have always shown keen insight to the core issues.

As a writer, I was very excited about the prospect of learning from Weinberg himself his thoughts on the writing process. I was not disappointed.

This book set me free as a writer. The fieldstone approach gave me the freedom to use many of the articles, quips, replies to e-mail questions, and other smaller writings as a basis for books.

The basis of the approach is that instead of working from an outline or trying to write something from beginning to end, you approach the project like someone building a structure from natural stones. These are not the nice, neat stones you buy at the home improvement stores or stone dealers. These are the stones of all shapes and sizes that you find in the ground. When organized in the right way by someone who knows what they are doing, the result can be a beautiful and sturdy wall, home or other structure.

A great benefit of the fieldstone approach is that writer's block is eliminated. Even when the streams of text don't come to mind, I can still write small thoughts. You don't have to search for the perfect opening line, or any line for that matter. You can write what you know and then re-write later.

I also learned much about words and the power they have. I have started using more colorful and exciting words as opposed to the "mushy" words that are very ordinary and boring.

I firmly believe that one of the best and fastest roads to success for anyone is to write well. The better you write, the more exposure and credibility you get. I recommend this book to anyone who writes, who may aspire to write and also to those that are intimidated by the thought of writing.

Readability - 5
Coverage of topics - 5
Depth of coverage - 5
Credibility - 5
Accuracy - 5
Overall - 5

Reviewed by Randy Rice

25 Ways to Win With People

     "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

           "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

Links of interest

All of these links are very informative...check them out!

The IT Profession 2010
Ruby programmers to get Visual Studio link
In Depth IT Looks to Halt Clashes Between Users, Developers

These links illustrate that computer security is not just a technical issue:

Ohio University CIO Resigns Following Security Breaches
Q&A Former VA official cites cultural issues for agency's security woes

"You've got to go out on a limb sometimes because that's where the fruit is." - Will Rogers

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill

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