Software Sleuthing

Software Testing, Development, and Related

Blog - About

About Software Sleuthing

This blog has been retired. Future posts can be found here: http://joshpoley.blogspot.com/

Software Sleuthing is an MSDN technology blog which focuses primarily on testing and development. As with most blogs, items covered are typically subjects which are at the front of my mind at the time. Aside from tech related posts, there may be an occasional random entry on items of interest or job related topics.

Opinions here are those of the Author's and do not constitute the opinions of MSDN or Microsoft. 

  • Software Sleuthing

    Blog Migration

    • 3 Comments
    For more flexibility in my posting options, I'm moving off of blogs.msdn.com. New posts can be found here .
  • Software Sleuthing

    Your Password is Too Secure

    • 3 Comments
    For obvious reasons, Microsoft employees are asked to refrain from bashing other teams or products in their blog posts. But with the dismantling of the Money product line a couple years ago, I feel the statute of limitations has expired and I can share...
  • Software Sleuthing

    WinDbg / i386kd Primer

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    A handful of people on my team are working with the Windows code base to ensure we don't break them with compiler changes, and since some of them were new to kernel debugging, I put together a rather quick introduction to windbg/i386kd . The slide deck...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Console output with a transparent background color

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    In Windows land, if you want to print out colored text to a console, you will probably end up calling SetConsoleTextAttribute to set the desired color, then calling it again to restore the original settings. Unfortunately the documentation doesn't make...
  • Software Sleuthing

    How Testers Test versus How Users Use

    • 2 Comments
    With the emphasis on SDETs and generic Engineering teams, I've seen a growing disparity in how products are being tested versus how users actually use a product. Because it is often very easy to crank out more test cases (especially ones which just iterate...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Hex Conversion via a Batch File

    • 3 Comments
    Occasionally, when something bad happens, an application will return an exception code (which is occasionally an NTSTATUS value). Unfortunately dumping out %ERRORLEVEL% can give you a negative value which makes looking up the error a little harder. Since...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Common Process Termination Values

    • 2 Comments
    When your application does something the OS (or the application itself) doesn't like, often the floor gets yanked out and the process is terminated in an abrupt manner. If you don't happen to be running with a debugger, often the easiest way to get an...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Batch File String Substitution with Nested Environment Variables

    • 1 Comments
    The SET command has some nice extensions that let you do various manipulation operations on environment variables. One said operation is the string substitution feature, which is often used to perform basic pattern replacements such as stripping out quotes...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Limits of OLEDB and Access Passwords

    • 1 Comments
    People that know me know I hate useless error codes. During code reviews if I see someone attempting to return E_FAIL I will often launch into a blistering remark about how they are being lazy and making other developer's lifes harder all at the same...
  • Software Sleuthing

    The Many Faces of Visual C++

    • 2 Comments
    Microsoft has an uncanny ability to confuse and befuddle users with the ever changing names of products across versions. Visual C++ is no stranger to this concept and I'm often left with trying to interpret some innocuous sounding statement into something...
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    Magic Numbers: Integers

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    After many moons of sitting in a queue somewhere, the MSDN Tester Center just posted my intro article on special numbers you probably want to think about when running tests. The paper addresses several interesting domains of integers (all the way up to...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Test Plan Template

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    While looking at some of the traffic statistics for the MSDN Tester Center , I noticed that a bunch of people arrived at the site as a result of doing a Google search for "test plan template". The primary starting point for a template is really the IEEE...
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    The Brute Tester

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    A co-worker of mine was working on a tool to watch our release share for the appearance of a test result file, for which he would then publish up to a TFS server. The "trx" results file in question is actually being created on the Xbox console by our...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Crashed Conference Room (ɯooɹ)

    • 3 Comments
    So we have these fancy touch screen displays on the outside of our conference rooms which will tell us when the room is booked (and by whom). They are definitely handy as they help resolve the inevitable conflict when multiple groups arrive at the same...
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    Upcoming Testing Conferences (2nd half of 2009)

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    Here is my semiannual post on testing conferences that will be occurring later this year. CAST July 13 - July 16 Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA ISSTA July 19 - July 23 Chicago, Illinois, USA ...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Finding Database Connection Strings

    • 0 Comments
    For a simple tool I was working on I needed to talk to a Microsoft Access database from my program. Now, most of the database work I've done in the past has been against SQL Server, so I needed to dig up the magic voodoo which represents the "connection...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Communication is Optional

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    Clear communication is essential to our jobs and yet it always amazes me how poorly we do it. I received this chart in an email (about stress results). Now, the interesting part: I've just given you as much context as to the meaning of the...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Top 25 software errors

    • 1 Comments
    SANS, along with a coalition of individuals and software organizations, just released their list of top " 25 most dangerous programming errors ". There has been some talk of making these a "requirement" or some sort of logo program to help protect customers...
  • Software Sleuthing

    New Black Book

    • 1 Comments
    Before the holidays, there was a big re-organization of personnel here in Xbox land. As a result, I figured that this would be a good time to update my Black Book and have some more copies printed out for all the folks which are now a part of our new...
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    MiniDumps and "Bad" Stacks

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    A fellow reader sent a comment outlining the following problem: I'm using the DMPSTK example from the Debugging Tools SDK. If I generate a crash dump from within Visual Studio 2005, I can see the call stack perfectly. However, if I create my own...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Upcoming Testing Conferences (1st half of 2009)

    • 1 Comments
    Here are the links and dates for some of the testing related conferences which are approaching.   Future Test February 24 - February 25 New York, New York, USA Swiss Testing Day March 18 Zürich, Switzerland ANZTB March 23 -   March 25 Sydney, Australia...
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    New Xbox Experience

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    This blog has been pretty quiet for a while since we've been busy doing the last push getting the " New Xbox Experience " polished and ready for release later this month. The new UI is pretty cool and is a nice break from the "Blade" interface which I...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Off to StarWest

    • 1 Comments
    I'm off at StarWest , so the blog will be a bit quieter this week. If you happen to be in Anaheim, look for the pale bald guy.
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    Save My Image File's Metadata

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    The relatively new " Metadata Working Group " just released their first publication on guidelines for making the metadata stored in image files more portable across applications and file formats. Ever since I started photographing with a Digital SLR camera...
  • Software Sleuthing

    Running 32bit dependent scripts in a 64bit world

    • 1 Comments
    As seen earlier , it can be problematic to run scripts which rely on 32bit COM objects on a 64bit platform. To make things easier, I wrote basic some script code to detect that the wrong scripting host was run and fork out to the correct one. This just...
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