Shellshock shows that we have to be always vigilant

New vulnerabilities are no longer surprising or shocking. It seems like they come out every day. Shellshock is interesting to me because the underlying bug was introduced 22 years ago, but it only being exposed now.  Imagine how many code reviews, how many regression tests, how many signoffs happened in those 22 years – and shellshock has been waiting all this time.

How many times have we heard, “this code hasn’t been touched in years”, or “this bug was found internally, but no customer has complained in several releases”.  Shellshock, to me, is a reminder to always be vigilant, keep an open mind, and to keep focus on high quality – even for the old and stable components of our system.


Saint Patrick: Patron Saint of Software Quality Engineers

March 17th is Saint Patrick’s day, a celebration for the Patron Saint of Software Quality Engineers. Today will be a great day to lift a glass for your efforts in chasing snakes out of your software.

Saint Patrick, Patron Saint of Software Quality Eningeers

Saint Patrick, Patron Saint of Software Quality Eningeers

Of course, Saint Patrick lived before computers and software (he died in 464 AD).  He is known as the patron saint of engineers because he brought innovations to the way churches were constructed in Ireland. Saint Patrick is more famous for chasing the serpents out of Ireland.

Imagine if Grace Hopper found a small snake, instead of a moth, in the Mark II computer, we might call defects “snakes” instead of bugs. In this world, the connection to software quality and Saint Patrick would then be more direct.

Who better to represent software quality than the man who chased all of the serpents out of Ireland?


Book Review: Present Yourself

Present Yourself book coverI have a speaking gig coming up, and wanted to pick up tips on making a better presentations.  Also, I wanted to learn how I can more effectively share these presentations on the web and my blog. These goals led me to Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business by Kit Seeborg and Andrea Meyer.

The book description seemed perfect for my needs: “This practical book demonstrates how you can use this visual language to make the story of your organization, brand, or initiative effective and entertaining—and how social sharing networks like SlideShare, Prezi, and Scribd can present your story to a worldwide audience.”

Did the actual book meet these expectations? The results were mixed for me.  I found the chapter on creating and delivering presentations to be pretty light on practical advice. The concept of “Generation C” was thought provoking, but the book didn’t provide many examples or strategies to deal with multi-taskers in the audience.

Chapter 2, Getting Started with SlideShare, felt like a waste. The chapter was largely composed of screenshots for the sign-up workflow of This could have been streamlined with a pointer to SlideShare and a checklist of suggestions for setup.

Enough complaining, the rest of the book was pretty valuable to me. These chapters showed how to use SlideShare to get your message out to a wide audience, whether the audience is an industry trade show, internet marketing, research, or careers (job hunting & recruiting). Especially valuable was the section on social networks and the value of content curation.

Overall, I’m glad that I read the book. At first glance, it appeared scattered and I was put off by all of the screenshots, but after the first read, I learned a lot from chapter 3 onwards.

Note, I received a free copy of this book for review. I will not receive any other benefit or compensation.