This week saw the release of most sought after smartphone on the planet, the iPhone 4, but a fatal flaw was quickly discovered – that holding the gadget in a certain way kills reception, which means making phone calls or downloading games is rather difficult.
Here’s a video of the issue, courtesy of TechRadar –
Apple’s statement brushes off the defect as a common issue that is found in most devices.
“Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas,” it says.
“This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”
So, if you’re having problems, hold the phone in a different way or spend more money to fix the issue preventing the device from performing its primary function. That’s that then.
TechWorld reports that ‘One user saw a boost in signal strength after wrapping the phone in a Ziploc bag, call it a super-cheap alternative to Apple’s $29 bumper. Another post on Apple’s forums recommends covering the sides of the phone with InvisiShield tape. But as one official Apple forum-goer noted, “Apple needs to fix this problem, we should not have to rig a fix for a brand new phone.”’
Thorough testing should have uncovered this bug, but how are Apple now going to appease the thousands of customers who not only queued up for up to 32 hours to get the buggy phone in the first place? One speculation is that Apple are going to release a propeller for the iPhone 4 so that it can hover next to your ear while you make a call!
Wipro employee fraud repercussions
A news story last week on Silicon India has caught my attention – Wipro employee commits $4 Million fraud. The Indian IT services outsourcing firm has lost millions of dollars due to one of its employees embezzling money over the last three years. The employee stole a password and transferred funds from Wipro’s bank account.
This will undoubtedly have major implications for the company. Confidence in Indian outsourcing firms is at a low following the recent scandal at Satyam Computer Services. Satyam served as the back office for some of the largest banks, manufacturers, health care and media companies in the world. The fall of Satyam was supposed to have created a big opportunity for Wipro but with the latest news, not only has it lost its chance of monopolizing on this, but a big shadow has been cast over the company’s credibility and trustworthiness.
Commenters on the news story at Silicon India have the measure of the situation.
“Think about the Client INFO…… If wipro not able to protect their own money how will they protect client’s data ? This is truly a shameful situation.” RanjeetMemane 18 Feb, 2010
“This is really Shameful, A reputed company like Wipro cannot be so careless in Financial matters. when they are not able to protect their company information how they can protect other client’s data?” Arun Kumar PB – 18 Feb, 2010
Perhaps the worst thing is the slur that these companies have cast over Indian outsourcing as a whole. It has built up to be a billion dollar business with some genuinely great and reputable service providers out there doing a fantastic job, such as our partner AppLabs. I do hope that they are not all tarred with the same brush.
Faulty Software Caused Car Troubles
Poor Steve Wozniak, it wasn’t very nice for Steve to find that his accelerator pedal went crazy whilst he was driving his new 2010 Toyota Prius!
It seems this issue of software quality, or lack of quality, has finally made it to the vehicles we commute in. Reading stories about big companies being sued or fined over data breeches because of a software bug, does not top being almost killed in your car by a software bug!!
The message here is, get your software properly tested before it really does kill someone!
Tell us what would be the worst software glitch that could happen to you? I’ll start with one…the worst software glitch in my everyday life would probably be if my Sky plus software did not record Star Trek Voyager! Okay, sounds tame, but I really don’t like missing episodes.
How about you??
The pains of poor testing: Loss of customers, blocked airways and public ridicule
Computerworld reported that the Co-operative bank was ‘losing customers’ through system problems.
Co-operative Financial Services has severe system problems that are causing it to lose online customers. Users told the BBC they were unable to access their accounts at times, and that transactions online often do not work.
Marc Palmer, from Gloucestershire, who runs a small business, told the BBC: “A lot of the time you can’t even log in. Other times, you can’t see your bank balances or any of your accounts listed. There comes a time when it’s damaging to your business.”
The bank is now set to upgrade its systems in response to the complaints of customers, who vowed to move to a competitor, BBC Radio 4’s Money Box programme found. John Hughes, director of retail products at the bank, apologised for the “inconvenience, difficulty, frustration and irritation we’ve caused our customers”.
FAA Computer Glitch Delays US Flights
Flights ground to a halt throughout the USA on Thursday morning, reported Stickyminds, after a mysterious computer glitch hampered a key Federal Aviation Administration flight processing system.
The system electronically inputs pilots’ flight plans to computers, telling air traffic controllers the anticipated route and altitude of each flight after taking off. ABC News, who originally broke the story, said Controllers they spoke to had to enter those plans manually, resulting in a slowdown of takeoffs and landings.
Bird Brain Collider
Oh, and because it made me chuckle, I’m including a tweet this week, courtesy of @danfusion – http://twitter.com/danfusion/status/5460071784. Speaking about the latest in a string of failures concerning The Large Hadron Collider, he says ‘Thinking about software testing: How many times has an app broken because of a bird brain with bread?’ If you haven’t read the story, It seems that the billion dollar piece of machinery has yet again gone caput, this time due to a bird dropping a piece of bread on a section of the accelerator!
Software Testing Hall of Shame: Big Blue Red Faced over poorly tested congestion charging debacle
This week IBM step up to the podium in our Software Testing Hall of Shame. Computerworld UKyesterday reported that London’s congestion charging payments system crashed after IBM took over the contract.
London drivers were unable to pay the congestion charge online on Monday, following a system glitch after IBM took over the work from Capita. The problem emerged after IBM began a “significant upgrade” to the transport agency’s computer systems. IBM had spent the weekend – when no congestion charge is applicable – migrating data from Capita’s databases to its own systems, as it took over the work.
It looks as though the IT giant was not very ‘rational’ in its approach and did not fully test the system before go-live on Monday, as Computerworld reported “there were issues with the new systems and some of the data matching between different programs.”
A spokesperson at Transport for London, which operates the congestion charge, apologised for the online problem and insisted no registered drivers would be penalised if they had had problems paying. She added that the glitch was “resolved by the afternoon and all of the new IBM systems are up and running as they should be”.
The IBM system upgrade is aimed at saving TfL £200 million on running costs by 2018, but so far IBM has only cost the company, in terms of lost revenue.
Software Testing Hall of Shame – Survey reveals hidden price of software failures
Apologies for the lengthy gap between posts - I’ve had to hold off from blogging while our new look website and blog were launched. We’re really happy with the look and feel of the new site and would welcome any feedback from our visitors. Please get in touch and share any thoughts with us.
This week’s Hall of Shame entry isn’t an actual company for once, but rather lots of them! A new survey uncovers the hidden cost of software failures and the importance of testing.
The survey, announced this week, reveals that a quarter of projects overrun or are delayed due to technology failures, adding on average 90 percent to the original budget and seven months of extra work.
The importance of testing was highlighted as a critical but underestimated element of good project practice.
“We found that people that suffer long delays, often have small, or no annual budget for testing,” said Professor Pentel, founder and chairman of the research group, Customer Experience Foundation (CEF). “Testing is an afterthought service rather than actual key element.”
Software Testing Hall of Shame: Sears grilled over web blunder
We have a new entry to our Software Testing Hall of Shame this week , this time courtesy of Justin Dessonville. If you don’t already follow his iamdez blog check it out, it is a good read.
He reports “It’s a well-known problem with websites that if you trust user-submitted data that you will get burned.”
Sears literally did get burned by their own incompetence when their website started promoting ‘Grills to cook babies and more’.
“The problem wasn’t a huge lack judgment by the Sears product team, but rather a lack of understanding about displaying variable names and values in the URL. A lot of sites do this by default, but the Sears site took it one step further. If a specific page became popular, the results were cached and displayed to users.” he says.
Representatives from Sears said they were victimized by “someone visiting” the company’s Web site. But it seems that the unusual listing was due to technical flaws in the mechanics of the company’s own website and not a ‘defacement’ at all. As one of the commentators on Reddit puts it – “it was pure incompetence on the part of Sears, and not a malicious hack.”
Software Testing Hall of Shame: Software Glitch Grounds UK Chinooks
The UK Ministry of Defense is taking flack for eight Chinook helicopters that have reportedly been grounded since they were purchased (8 years ago) due to a software glitch. Sky News reports that the Ministry allegedly tried to save money by writing their own software for the aircraft, reports the Aero-News Network
An MoD spokesperson told The Independent “We have repeatedly admitted we have made errors in the specification of the software package within the contract. This has already been subject of much parliamentary and media comment. Problems with the original procurement of the eight Chinook Mk3 helicopters are well documented. Although the eight aircraft were delivered to specification by the contractor in December 2001, there were capability shortfalls which were largely due to insufficient evidence to demonstrate the avionics software met UK Defence Standards – the Chinook Mk3s featured unique cockpit avionics which were a hybrid of analogue and digital systems.”
The paper also quotes Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey, who said the MoD had showed “disastrous incompetence” in buying military equipment. “Shamefully, it is frontline troops, not ministers, who are paying the real price for this Government’s failures.”
Software Testing Hall of Shame: Visa redfaced over the $23 quadrillion error and Mobile Phone Directory Website Stumbles At Launch
IT Pro Portal reported that the controversial mobile phone directory website, 118800.co.uk, has been hit by a serious glitch that has prevented the service from operating properly after its launch.
Utest’s Software Testing Blog speculates about the reports flying around about people using their VISA debit cards and seeing errors on their billing statements for charges of $23,148,855,308,184,500. That’s 23 QUADRILLION dollars. Ouch!
Just Giving added to our Hall of Shame
Another week, another Software Quality Hall of Shame entry. This time it is the charity donantion website JustGiving.(www.justgiving.com)
They have recently under taken a complete web redesign. In my opinion the design is worse than the old one for numerous reasons, but that is not the point of this blog post. The point is that they didn’t test the website properly before it went live. As a result, the website was practically unavailable for a week in June whilst the problems were fixed retrospectively. This meant millions of people couldn’t donate money to their chosen charities.
In an act of desperate reconciliation, Zarine Kharas, the CEO of Just Giving has publically apologised for this complete disaster, admitting they ‘didnt test it (their website) extensively enough…’ She has compensated all charities the 5% commission her company takes for all donations given during the problems, which on paper is a nice gesture. However, judging by the 100+ comments to her blog post, the vast vast majority of people’s charity sites (including mine by the way – I had numerous people email me to say they had tried and failed to donate) were unable to accept donations so this gesture is practically worthless.
All in all this is a stark warning as to the perils of software quality. If you get it wrong you will have problems. In this case there is a huge financial loss for both Just Giving and the charities that trust them to collect on their behalf (my guess is they collect about £1m a week) but more than the money, there are thousands of angry people out there who have lost trust in this company, many are vowing never to use them again. You just have to read some of the comments on this blog post to get an idea of the feeling that is running high among its customer base. I am sure Just Giving’s competitors are rubbing their hands….