šŸ„§ Pie Mail - apologies in advance for this very immature newsletter šŸ„§

published16 days ago
3 min read

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Kia Ora everyone!

Time once again for your regularly scheduled pie-mail.

This month, I'm participating in Movember - a fundraiser for research into testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and men's mental health.

In the spirit of this, here's this weeks comic:

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If that made you laugh, please consider making a $3 (or more) donation! (If it didn't make you laugh, I'll try harder next time. You could still make a donation, though).

On with the show!


šŸ¤¬ The Scunthorpe Problem šŸ¤¬

This week my team bumped in to the Scunthorpe problem.

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What's the Scunthorpe problem, you ask?

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There's an old story about AOL implementing a content filter on their website. The content filter would prevent users from registering accounts that contained bad language. They used a block list to list 'forbidden' words, and if you tried to register with one of those words, it would fail.

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Which was fine... except it prevented users from Scunthorpe, UK from registering - because Scunthorpe contains a substring that is a bad word!

Hopefully you can work it out without me explaining!

People that live on Cockburn street in Auckland would have the same problem, as would anyone from this unfortunately named Austrian town. I even found out that NZ's own Whakatane had this problem once!

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In short, the Scunthorpe problem is when content filtering has unintended side effects.

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It's a classic case where shallow testing might prove the feature works - it filters out the bad words as expected.

But some deeper testing would reveal that it's not that simple - that the feature works too well, and filters out legitimate use cases.

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So, the next time you need to test text fields or content filtering - be sure to test for the Scunthorpe problem!

ā€‹The Big List of Naughty Strings has some great cases for this!


āœØ Some interesting links āœØ

Codingfont:

One of lifes toughest decisions - what font to use for your IDE? CodingFont is a tool to help you make that decision.

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Lost in Space - an API puzzle hunt:

Postman have put together this puzzle hunt for API enthusiasts. I don't know exactly what it means, but it sounds intriguing - I'm going to try and pull some of my team members in this week to give it a go.

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Use AI to improve your error messages:
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AI Weirdness is still one of my favourite blogs. Check out some error messages generated by AI.

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Building product and engineering teams at Pushpay:

The second part of the Six Four interview with some of the early Pushpay team is up. Have a listen.

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ChaosDB explained - an Azure vulnerability explained:

ā€‹A great read from wiz.io on how they managed to achieve unauthorized, unrestricted access to Azure databases. This one is a powerful reminder that one small vulnerability in itself is never the problem. It's a series of small vulnerabilities, that might seem innocuous, that can add up to becoming much bigger problems.

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Michael Bolton reviews Katalon studio:

One of the first things I did when I started my role at Fergus was get rid of Katalon studio. I'm glad I did.


šŸ§© Puzzle time šŸ§©

Seeing I've already brought the tone down to the gutter this week, here's another rude word problem that can happen.

This popup looks fine when it's open:

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But, when it's minimised? Whoops:

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So, question:

Bearing in mind that the title is customisable, what could you recommend to prevent something like this from happening?


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šŸŽŖ Events coming up šŸŽŖ

Women in Venture Capital (Nov 25):
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Startup Grind presents a panel discussion with three amazing venture capitalists - Samantha Wong, Lauren Fong and Heather Gaddoniex - come and get tips and advice on all things VC!

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We Scare because we Care - a DevOps guide for Testers (Nov 23):

Would I get up at 5am to hear Maaike Brinkhof talk testing and DevOps? You bet I would. Don't miss this one.

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Career crafting Masterclass (Nov 23):

I really like the sound of this masterclass from Ministry of Testing. Lena Wiberg on crafting your career, and aligning your goals with your aspirations. Can I attend two events in a single morning? I think so.

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How Tyro does Quality Assistance (Dec 2):

Quality Engineering Sydney will be hosting Mithun Kanchi from Tyro. He'll be talking through the 'Quality Assistance' model they use at Tyro. For my money, 'Quality Assistance' is a much better title for most 'QA' people today - if you'd like to know more, definitely check this one out.

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šŸ‘‹ Thanks for reading! šŸ‘‹

Hope you're all doing well out there! Sorry for bringing the tone down this week, I hope this email hasn't been picked up by your content filters.

Take care, and reach out to me any time on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Cheers,

James a.k.a. JPie šŸ„§

ā€‹https://jpie.nzā€‹


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