Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chrome 16 released with sync, user profile features

Google pushed the last major update of the year to Chrome, now version 16, to users. Aside from a number of bug fixes, the new version of Chrome also comes with a couple related new features: syncing across platforms and multiple user accounts within the browser.

The Google Chrome blog explains the sync feature as allowing you to save bookmarks, apps, extensions, history and other settings to your Google account and then sync it back down to other devices with Chrome. To facilitate this, they've also added a feature allowing you to sign in to your Google account right in Chrome. This will also automatically sign you into anything linked to your Google account.

This leads us to the other new feature: adding user accounts within the browser. The idea here is to keep each user's preferences separate and to easily switch between synced profiles. The blog entry makes a note of the fact that this is a convenience feature and not a security feature.

The Google Chrome blog explains more about both features and even has a nifty video. If you want to see the list of bug fixes, head over to the Google Chrome Releases Blog.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Opera browser updated to 11.60

Opera 11.60 has been released by Opera Software for Windows, OS X and Unix. The major changes include a new, faster engine, an improved address bar and a major update to the browser's integrated mail client.

The new engine should offer "improved website compatibility, faster page loading, and a higher level of overall stability when browsing," while the new address bar features improved prediction and an ability to quickly bookmark pages using a star in the address bar. The mail clients update includes "a cleaner layout, message grouping, a more intuitive view in your inbox and easier navigation."

Check out the updated Opera at their download page, or hit the jump for the full, long list of changes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ARM releases Development Studio 5 for Android NDK

ARM has released DS-5, a new version of it's Development Studio suite of Eclipse-based tools. The suite is meant to aid in the development of native code for the ARM architecture, currently the most widespread processors in the mobile field, using the Android NDK, which was recently release by Google in it's seventh revision.

Along with the usual bug fixes, ARM has included new debugging based enhancements, including, "automated connection to Android targets for NDK-generated native code, Instruction trace support for Cortex-A7 processors, CADI support to permit debugger connection external simulation models and the ability to capture instruction trace for selected segments of code." However, as Ars Technica points out, now may not be the best time to heavily invest in coding hardware specific apps.

The other major changes include:
  • Support for Ubuntu Desktop Edition 10.04 32-bit hosts
  • ARM Compiler
    • Support for Cortex-A7
  • Streamline
    • Support for annotations from kernel space
    • Sub-millisecond resolution for capture events, such as annotations and context switches
    • Command line interface can now export timeline data
    • Points of interest on the timeline charts can be pinned for easier result comparison
  • Configuration Database:
    • Pre-configured debug support for these additional platforms:
      • ARM ARM1156T2F-S CoreTile, Versatile Express Cortex-A15x2 SMM
      • Atmel AT91SAM9G25 and AT91SAM9X35
      • Mindspeed Transcede 4000
      • NXP LPC3131, LPC3141 and LPC3152
For a list of the full changes, head over to the DS-5 change log.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Highlights from GTAC 2011

Videos from the 2011 Google Test Automation Conference have been made available. 2011 marks the 6th iteration of this annual gathering of some of the brightest minds in test development and theory. This video features two developers who touch on the latest and greatest open source web testing tools from Google. They address how to effectively streamline the more labor intensive and repetitive testing tasks, allowing testers greater creativity and freedom.

Primarily featured is progress with BITE (Browser Integrated Testing Environment), a testing tool integrated with the Chrome OS. One important function of BITE is the ability to record and playback the test procedure with support for outputs in JavaScript, "Plain English" translation of each action, and image capture. BITE also features a streamlined interface for making procedural updates to deal with changes such as new product builds, allowing testers to easily fix broken tests due to outdated code.

The video also discusses the development of quality bots and how to effectively harmonize bot and crowd testing.

You can view the complete collection of videos from this conference here.
Read more about BITE here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mozilla releases "new, faster" Firefox Beta 9

Less than a week after Firefox 8 went live, Mozilla has released Firefox Beta 9 to the Beta channel for testing. The main aim of this version of Firefox is to increase the overall speed of the browser through increasing the efficiency of JavaScript and by enabling chucking for XHR requests.

In addition to the speed increase, Firefox Beta 9 adds support for Mac OS X Lion and increased privacy settings. The additions to Mac OS X Lion support include application toolbar and icon styles, 2-finger swipe navigation and easier detection of multiple monitors. As for the privacy settings, a new option called Do Not Track has been included to instruct JavaScript that the user wishes to opt-out of behavioral tracking features.

Head over to the main Firefox Beta 9 site for the download link, available in Windows, OS X and Linux flavors.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Apple releases 10.7.1, the first Lion update

According to Apple, the 10.7.1 update is recommended for all users running OS X Lion and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability and compatibility of your Mac, including fixes that:

• Address an issue that may cause the system to become unresponsive when playing a video in Safari
• Resolve an issue that may cause system audio to stop working when using HDMI or optical audio out
• Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections
• Resolve an issue that prevents transfer of your data, settings, and compatible applications to a new Mac running OS X Lion

For detailed information on this update, click here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mac OS X Lion Roars tomorrow? points out today that Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer let slip that Lion will finally be released tomorrow.

Unlike previous OS versions, Lion (Mac OS 10.7) is only available as an update through the Mac App store. For users not yet familiar with it, Apple has provided a tutorial online describing how to upgrade to the latest OS.

Do be sure you hang on to your Snow Leopard discs in case you ever need to restore your Macintosh!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

STAR West 2011 - Google Tools

James Whittaker will be giving the keynote at StarWest this year. We always enjoy seeing Mr. Whittaker talk about his ideas on testing; his books How to Break Software and Exploratory Software Testing have been a core part of our test engineer training for years. But as he points out, there is another enticing draw at StarWest this year: back to back testing tutorials from Google.

"Ankit Mehta has the afternoon session on "Testing Rich Internet AJAX-based Applications...Jason Arbon and Sebastian Schiavone are presenting a track talk on "Google's New Methodology for Risk Driven Testing" and will be demonstrating some of the latest tools coming out of Google Test Labs." Read his full post here.

Effective testing is fundamentally an exercise in risk reduction, and Arbon and Schiavone will present the methodology they use at Google called ACC: Atributes, Components, Capabilities. Should be a fascinating presentation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Koder: Write code on the go

Ever find yourself sitting on the beach, enjoying your summer vacation, when suddenly an inspiration hits you about how to improve your code? Now you can act on that inspiration immediately, before it fades from memory, with Koder from iCodeLabs.

Gizmodo featured Koder as an App of the day this week, and says "If you code, you'll love Koder."

Friday, June 17, 2011

WWDC 20011 Keynote

Apple rolled out some key new technology at WWDC earlier this month. As demonstrated in the keynote, developers were excited about the unveiling of iOS 5, iCloud and at the potential of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, is now available online.

iCloud, in particular, has some interesting testing ramifications. Especially in developing the best compatibility matrix, ensuring apps properly share data across various devices.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How is a security expert like a QA tester?

Testing and security are two sides of the same coin: that's the message of a WIRED editorial by security expert Bruce Schneier and a follow-up by fellow security expert Colin Percival. They think they're talking about security - but they're also talking about testing. Both fields of expertise have to look at similar problems, and the mindset that makes for a good security professional, can also make for a good tester.

"Good engineering involves thinking about how things can be made to work; the security mindset involves thinking about how things can be made to fail," says Schneier.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Non-Traditional Way Of Stress-Testing Hard Drive Arrays

Tremendous amounts of computing are now moving to the cloud. Those of us old enough to remember not just before the Internet, but before the personal computer, may remember that the cloud used to be called "mainframes." Like mainframes, the modern server farms that make up the cloud have unusual problems sometimes: here, engineer Brendan Gregg demonstrates how to reproduce one failure condition that you're not likely to run into at home.

Brendan has his own writeup of the error, which shows the diagnostic screens more clearly.

It's important to remember that even though computers are deterministic, they're still complicated enough that a given error can come from wildly improbable causes. The reason that we need monitoring systems is to observe errors as they happen, and to be able to to try and prevent them, even if we can't directly look at the underlying cause. Monitoring and testing let you answer the "what's happening?" question without requiring that you answer the "why is it happening?" question.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Five Things You Need To Test In Your iOS 5 App

At this week's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud are debuting, and they all look astonishing. The new services that Apple is offering are handing developers one enticing possibility after another with their new APIs. The possible apps that can be built on those APIs are amazing, and yet it'll take a lot of work to get from here to there. It's easy to get caught up in how cool the possible apps are and to overlook some of the questions that have to be answered in order to make an app that fully lives up to the promises of the iOS 5 APIs. So in order to help you get from API to all-star app, here are five aspects of an iOS app that should be on your list of things to test.

  • What happens to your app when the device doesn't speak English?