Presenting a Data-driven API Testing Webinar with SmartBear on October 28

October 15, 2015 Comments Off on Presenting a Data-driven API Testing Webinar with SmartBear on October 28

As long as computers are incapable of interacting telepathically, APIs will continue to serve as the predominant approach for cross-system communication over the Internet.

Alas, comprehensive API testing continues to occupy a distressingly low position on the software development To Do list. This is a shame, because there are some fantastic technologies and associated best practices that make it possible to quickly, easily, and thoroughly evaluate APIs for reliability, accuracy, and performance.

Since data-driven probes are some of the most effective techniques to determine if an API is ready for production, Paul Bruce from SmartBear and I will be presenting a technically-focused Webinar on how to employ winning data-oriented strategies in your testing.

To register for the Webinar, click here.

Das Auto, der Algorithmus, und der Smog

September 19, 2015 Comments Off on Das Auto, der Algorithmus, und der Smog

Looks like Volkswagen is going to have some ‘splainin’ to do: the company has been ordered to recall 482,000 diesel-powered vehicles (including Jetta, Golf, Passat, Beetle, and Audi A3) by the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Justice, and California Air Resources Board.

VW is being accused of implementing an algorithm that detects when the car is being smog-tested and then applying full emission controls so that the vehicle will pass. At other times (like during normal road operations), the emission controls were programmatically relaxed and the car belched out much higher levels of pollutants such as nitrogen oxide.

You can read the violation notice here. Wow.

And as algorithms become more prevalent in everyday devices (i.e. “the Internet of Things”), there should be all sorts of entertaining stories to come. Some will involve felonious behavior, while others will just be the natural outcome of poor design or shoddy quality control.

Not scared of algorithms? Perhaps you should be.

August 27, 2015 Comments Off on Not scared of algorithms? Perhaps you should be.

A while back, I wrote about a run-in I had with a rental car company, or to put it more accurately: a rental car company’s algorithm. It’s quite frightening to think about the implications of “lights-out” algorithms making important decisions that can affect all aspects of your life. And as someone who witnesses – first hand – the often abysmal job that enterprises do when testing their APIs (which frequently have algorithms running beneath the covers), I’m particularly concerned about what this will spell for the future.

If you’d like to learn more about these possible repercussions, check out the extremely well written article by Frank Pasquale on aeon.co.

Cyberspace is no longer an escape from the ‘real world’. It is now a force governing it via algorithms: recipe-like sets of instructions to solve problems. From Google search to OkCupid matchmaking, software orders and weights hundreds of variables into clean, simple interfaces, taking us from query to solution. Complex mathematics govern such answers, but it is hidden from plain view, thanks either to secrecy imposed by law, or to complexity outsiders cannot unravel.

If you’d like to read more of my posts about Big Data, click here.

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