"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Story of how a hang becomes a crash (because testers love reporting crashes)

I am doing my first exploratory testing workshop for 2011 and first from Moolya Software Testing Pvt Ltd. and I am excited about it. You can find the details by clicking on this link . If you are in India and plan to attend it, please do it quickly. I usually don't take a lot of participants although I know I'd gain more money out of more participants. Ever since I announced it yesterday, there are 4 seats that got filled within 5 hours.

Now, I am going to tell you a story that I had been hiding for quite a while. Not intentionally hiding but was planning to blog about it and the time is right now :)

I provide many applications to test in my workshop. At the end of a testing session, I check with the participants if they found any crashes with the application. Not to be surprised, a room full of testers, they do report crashes.

I ask them to reproduce it with me watching what they do and here is a shocking information; most of what they report as crash weren't crashes at all. What you are about to read is also a great example of confirmation bias that I have witnessed.

Here is what they are doing: They are performing an input constraint attack or providing a large set of characters as an input to a field and hits the "Submit" button. They wait for 10 seconds to see what the application does and on seeing the application in not responding state, kill the application and report that as a crash. 

Awesome! Isn't it?

Now, I got conscious of the fact that testers seem to be reporting a hang as a crash and was keen in looking at live projects during my consulting assignments. I get access to the bug tracking system during my consulting (wow) and I see patterns of such reports. 

I go filter out some of the crash reports from the bug tracking system and try to attempt what the tester did to report that type of a crash and bang, that's a hang.

I have made this point to testers who attend my workshop in order to help them be more conscious of what they are seeing versus what they are reporting versus what they are eager to report versus what they should be reporting. 

It seems to me that testers have an anxiety to report crashes. There's nothing wrong in it but it goes horribly wrong when you report a crash by fooling yourselves and the people around you. I recently blogged about the Obsessive Checking if being mentioned disorder that I was suffering from and here is a relevant excerpt from it, "Months later, I started replacing every word by my name till I saw my name on others post. So, I may have read a few posts without actually learning anything from it because all I saw is "Pradeep" & "Tester Tested" on those posts."

Now, why is that relevant to this post? I see that the testers I have witnessed who report hangs as crashes also appear to have a similar problem of obsession towards reporting crashes that they appear to not see a hang but see a crash. I would love if you ask if these testers ever report a hang? Yes, they do. If an application recovers before they kill, that's a hang.

I understand that an application might have hanged because it has crashed but how do you know? Oh yeah, allowing the GUI to fool you and me?

Here is an excerpt ( and tweaked to hide confidential information ) from an issue that I reported on Sep 30, 2010 @ 12: 13 PM IST (thank you Jira) while testing a new OS that is soon to be launched. No, not Chrome OS.

"I opened Media Player application and made an attempt to subscribe to a podcast. 
The application appeared to hang and it also did not allow me to close using the X mark on top right corner.

In an attempt to kill it, I navigated to XXXXX (product name masked) and tried closing it from there. However, the XXXX is open and Media player still seems to be remaining in the hung state.

From that point, I might be forced to reboot the system to get out of it or can escape by waiting for a longer time that I waited for Media Player to recover (>5 mins). No user to my knowledge would wait for more than 5 mins to see the Media Player function. Even a reboot appears to be a faster option" 

Now, if that was the Description, here is the summary :

"Unable to kill a XXXX when the application in it appears to hang or is busy"

  • Why I posted the above? Is it because I wanted people to note the usage of the word "appears"?
  • Why did I make a few words in it bold? Is it to highlight it?

Long ago, well, not so long ago, I blogged about how teaching testing is helping me test better. The above post and the bug report I posted, is another example of how teaching testers has helped me do it a lil better.

Now if you are going to be sitting at my workshop and be worried if you are going to make mistakes that I am going to highlight, please be informed that you are paying to my workshop to get into the safest environment to fail. No managers watching you. No clients frowning at you. No appraisals being done. Just your own dream of personal excellence aching you for not being there yet but being happy that you know why you are not there. Its a wonderful feeling.

Now, for some marketing again :) You can find the details of my upcoming exploratory testing workshop titled "Accountable & Manageable Exploratory Testing" by clicking on this link 

Happy Republic Day folks!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the 5 years of blogging as Tester Tested

I am a changed man today. I didn't know I would be here when I started this blog exactly 5 years ago. I want to thank you all. I don't know if this blog has influenced you in any way but it has definitely had a huge influence on one tester I know - me.

Thanks to all those who motivated me to reconsider blogging when I almost announced I will stop after a lot of plagiarizing incidents. Today, I am least bothered if someone plagiarizes. I have learnt sick people exist in this planet. Hey, it wasn't bad learning. It also told me that there were great people and I should care for them.

Instead of me doing my usual blah blah, why not you comment and tell me the posts you like from this blog and why? If you don't comment, I won't assume anything :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Three new good things about Indian testers

Once upon a time, Bangalore was ahead in testing leadership compared to other cities in India. What I mean by that is, we did things and made it visible to the world. We did good things that helps us develop ourselves plus do something good to others.

I acted like a brand ambasdoor for Bangalore testing within India and used that opportunity to challenge testers outside Bangalore. In fact, looking at what was happening in Bangalore, my dear friend Manoj Nair relocated from Pune to Bangalore to later co-found the weekend testing. NCR also lost one of the passionate tester Mohit Verma to Bangalore. He relocated to Bangalore tired of seeing no action up there. I went to places like NCR, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Mysore... blah blah, I kept telling; explore or be the ash of our explosion. Maybe they thought Bangalore's explosion should be made to look small.

First good thing

NCR Testers led by Ajoy Singha, Vipul Kocher and Vipul Gupta have made it happen to an extent that we Bangaloreans are feeling the pressure to keep up to what we were doing.

First one is the NCR Testers Meet. For those who do not know what NCR means, it is, National Capital Region. It comprises of Gurgaon (which belongs to Haryana), Noida (which belongs to Uttar Pradesh) and Delhi (which belongs to Sonia G, oops, belongs to New Delhi)

NCR Testers Meet happened the 2nd consecutive time on 15th Jan and they seem to be doing very well. Tweets suggest to me that for the first time I am feeling bad for not being in the NCR Region. God give me enough money to travel to such meets in future.

NCR 1 : Bangalore 1

The second good thing

If that's one, the second one is Testing Circus Magazine led by Ajoy Singha. He is the editor of the magazine and with the help of other passionate people, has been spear heading this magazine for a couple of months now. You won't see a fancy looking magazine or a hyper stimulant content on all pages yet. It still is our own truly Indian testing magazine that is gaining consistency.

If these guys can keep it going and keep it going up, I bet we may see a migration of people from Bangalore to the happening place of NCR. Time for us, Bangalore testers, to think and try to stand up to the challenge. All these days, we were a monopoly and its nice to have a competition come in. We didn't expect a stiff competition upfront so testers at NCR, here goes a special thank you on behalf of testers in Bangalore.

We could still say, so what NCR Weekend Testing is not active enough? :)

NCR 2 : Bangalore 1

Now, what's the third thing?

Bharath from Chennai, the founder of co-founder of Weekend Testing Chennai chapter had attended my workshop about an year and a half back. I talked about the Bangalore Testers meetup and asked what's happening with Chennai testers? Why aren't they doing anything? Bharath stood up to the challenge and mingled with RIA-RUI folks and launched India's first truly low cost & highly affordable testing conference in Chennai. Its called the Bug-Debug.

I instantly agreed to be a speaker learning about the low cost highly affordable testing conference. This conference is a great challenge to all those hi fi commercial conferences who charge a lot both from the participants and the sponsors, making it unaffordable to many serious testers who have not yet started to earn good.

Looking at the speaker line up, Bug-Debug has a better speaker lineup than other conferences here in India to start with. Chennai, here I come.

Chennai 1 : Bangalore 0

Phew! Bangalore testers, are you reading this?

If you have read the book Outliers from Malcom Gladwell, you'd know that the best time to be a software tester in India, is from now on. I am going back to doing something credible in Moolya and continue to help Bangalore retain its status :)

Bangalore is hiring thought leaders, who is the next Sharath Byregowda and Parimala Shankaraiah?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Who do you think is the legend behind the success of all these leading testers?

This is a true story that happened sometime ago. I met Andy Glover (the famous Cartoon Tester today) on my flight to Sweden. We were sitting in adjacent seats. He was drawing cartoons and I was trying to see if I can do one related to testing.  That's when he started a conversation with me asking, "Are you a tester?" and then I instantly replied, "Yes". Back then, no one knew Andy Glover. He was yet another tester out there.

The next thing he said was a bit disappointing though. "If you are a tester why don't you recognize that your cartooning skill is too bad?". I challenged him at 35,000 feet to see if he can do some good cartoons  in testing. He was initially saying, "Nah". I realized he was passionate about testing and cartooning and then had the following conversation when he finally agreed.

He has done superb ever since. He has rocked the entire industry with his cartoons. Now that the world thinks about him in many great ways, I want to tell the world who has been the reason behind all this success he has got in just one year. Its me, the legend of software testing, yes, the great Pradeep Soundararajan.

OK, you may ask me why I am a legend. I am a legend because I have had my own role, a very important one in success of other testers.

For instance, I met James Bach online in a chat room for testers and was sharing my plan to start a Test Consulting Blog  and then he started Consulting Tester Blog. He is the top blogger today.

Michael Bolton before he started Developsense blog was playing 2+2 exercises with me and I said 2+2= Developsense blog and then told him, I plan to start one. He apologized for giving such exercises to me that made me think of starting the Developsense blog. Today Developsense blog has influenced the world. Did you check it out?

I even asked Jerry Weinberg if I should write Perfect Software & Other Illusions about Testing, when we met in Tortonto Workshop on Software Testing 08. He then wrote the book overnight to save the craft of software testing. He released it the next day in CAST 08.

My contributions didn't stop there.Ask Rosie Sherry for instance. She and I were chatting on Gtalk and then I said, "Hey, I am planning to launch a software testing community over Ning" and then she instantly registered the name I planned to and saved you all from the club I could have started.

With others, I have signed an agreement that I won't reveal that I am the reason behind they getting all the success in life but the agreement doesn't state I can't mention their names, it just states I can't mention their blog links :)

So, here is the list

Adam Goucher - was telling him about my plans to become an expert in Selenium & consult for all companies in Canada. He just instantly turned into a consultant.
Maik Nogens - I recently threatened him :)

Matt Heusser - shared my plans with him to start a new blog called XNDEV and my plans to write for SoftwareTestPro. He thought Software TestPro shouldn't die and volunteered to save them.

Lisa Crispin - During her India trip, I was sharing my notes about Agile Testing with her and said I may write this out as a book. She wanted to save the agile testers and requested me to not write one so that she could.

Elizabeth Hendrickson - Again, she had been to India for consulting. I met her and shared my plans for starting a blog titled Testobsessed and write some real good posts that hit people hard. She was nodding her head in dismay and pulled out her computer and started writing the blog.

Ben Kelly - into learning martial arts and testing. He mastered it over five hours.

Tim Coulter - Told him, I am planning to start corkboard :) It was live within hours. It had so many corks just thanking Tim that he silently thanked me for each cork.

James Lyndsay - Talked to him over skype and shared some test machines with him and discussed my plans to go ahead and make it free for testers. He requested if I could wait for one hour and bang he had half dozens of them.

Santhosh Tuppad - Shared with him my plan to win all Utest bug battles and then he wanted to save the world. He then became a multiple and serial bug battle winner.

A few years back BJ commented on my post and we had an argument. The argument ended in me threatening him that I would write a book of how they test software at Microsoft. Next day I wake up to get a news that Microsoft Press has released the same book written by BJ, Alan & Ken.

Show me a successful tester and there is this kind of magical touch of mine on that tester. I am the legend. I am the legend!

Blessings cost $500 per minute. Who else wants to be successful in software testing?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Evolving styles & small "e" exploratory testing

When I first heard about the small "a" agile and the big "A" agile, I was intrigued. I was wondering if it really did exist. Later when I interacted with those who were agile and those who claimed to be agile but were not, I started believing in it.

Similarly, I am going to be talking about the small "e" exploratory testing style.

Every tester I have interacted, tested in pairs, watched them test... have their own style to testing while being exploratory. My own style has changed over the years and its evolving. To detail it out, there are several dimensions.

First dimension

  • I Did exploratory testing without knowing it was called that way. To...
  • Did learn the term exploratory testing but didn't know if that's what I was doing. To...
  • Did exploratory testing based on my own ideas of how it should be done. To...
  • Did learn that others have their own style to exploratory testing. To...
  • Did practice other testers style of exploratory testing combined with my own style. Plus...
  • Learnt that to become a decent exploratory tester, I need to develop various kinds of skills. Plus...
  • Started to ask for mission, charter, objectives before exploratory testing. Plus...
  • Learned about SBTM and practiced exploratory testing with SBTM (and failed at my first trials). Plus...
  • Learned to modify SBTM to my style and my context needs (current state). Plus...
  • < To be updated >
  • ...
Here is the second one.
  • Was clicking on every visible GUI stuff to see if a bug dances out. To...
  • Thought I was doing good exploratory testing if I was finding a lot of crashes. To...
  • Thought good exploratory testing should always result in finding a lot of bugs. To...
  • Learnt that bug investigation is purely an exploratory process. To...
  • Learnt that test designing skill is important and learnt & practiced it. Plus... (note the plus?)
  • Learnt being conscious of the test coverage is important. Plus...
  • Learnt that making notes of all my observations and inferences is important. Plus...
  • Learnt that briefing and debriefing is not just like any other discussion about testing. Plus...
  • Practicing to debrief. Plus
  • < To be updated > 
After second, usually its the third dimension
  • Thought of exploratory testing as a technique. To...
  • Learnt exploratory testing is an approach. Plus...
  • Practiced applying several techniques in exploratory approach. Plus..
  • < To be updated >
The fourth
  • Unable to explain what I did after a few hours of testing. To...
  • Being able to verbally explain what I did. To..
  • Being able to explain and document what I did and why I did that. To...
  • Being able to do that much better over practice. Plus..
  • < To be updated >
Then comes the fifth
  • Being able to do all that and trying to keep it secret because I wanted to be a hero. To...
  • Realizing that I can better only if I share with others. Plus
  • Started to coach testers. Plus
  • Started to learn from them. Plus
  • I recognized that if I had kept it as a secret, I would have been zero and not hero. Plus Plus,
  • < To be updated >
Semi finally, the sixth
  • Aping what others are saying. Plus
  • Trying out my own ideas. To
  • To forming my own style of doing it. Plus
  • Trying out different attack (not the attack you know) as a starting point to my testing. Plus
  • < To be updated >
  • Thinking of all exploratory testing sessions as freestyle. To...
  • Learnt that there are loosely scripted & checklists types. Plus...
  • Practicing loosely scripted, freestyle, checklists types. Plus
  • Learnt that a good exploratory tester cannot be determined in the first few hours of testing but what comes after that. Plus
  • < to be updated >

If you were wondering why I moved from one style to the other, I want you to be informed that it was for being more value to my customers and not because someone said so. If you are doing anything because someone said so, without knowing if it suits your context or what value it adds, you are most likely doing the big "E" exploratory testing. Also, if you don't know what many serious testers who are practicing to be good in exploratory testing are talking / practicing, you still are doing the big "E" exploratory Testing. If your style of exploratory testing hasn't evolved over the years, you are most likely to be doing the big "E" exploratory testing. Nothing wrong in being the big "E" Elephant. Everybody started there. Everybody were stuck there. Not everybody remained there for a long time.

Also, you may ask if the points listed above indicate anything about the style. In case you did ask, I want to thank you for that because I plan to write about it here. I mean, here --> As we learn and unlearn, the way we test, changes. This influences the style. 

For example, imagine me thinking of all good exploratory testing to be yielding tons of bugs, I'd grow to be a manager who'd question someone why they didn't find a lot of bugs over the last one hour of exploratory testing and hence making myself stupid.

If you were to take another example: Learnt being conscious of the test coverage is important : Everybody in their first few years of testing, at some point, lose the sense of test coverage they are achieving. They get carried away by bugs and as a matter of fact, the client is happy too because they are seeing important bugs being found. Currently my central theme of exploratory testing is test coverage. I ask myself, "OK, I found these bugs and they are great but what is happening to my test coverage". The client may not know to ask for it but it is my duty to help them with that information.

This one, Yo! Being able to explain and document what I did and why I did that. -  I personally know many testers who seem to do good hands on exploratory testing but being unable to narrate a story of what they did, makes them look bad. The senior management appears to just look at the bugs they report and hence the good exploratory tester looks like a "not so good" exploratory tester. Today, I can tell an engaging story of why I did what I did and what value it adds to them and also why I should be given more freedom and hence more responsibility.

Try this! Practicing loosely scripted, freestyle, checklists types. Plus

Based on how accountable I need to be, I choose which type of exploratory testing is needed. That only comes with practice.

Recently, I was asked to explain my test coverage & strategy. Why did that arise in between the consulting assignment? When I started my first round of testing, I was finding bugs as I learnt the application, then I stopped finding bugs because I was doing some confirmatory tests and during that time, the client was wondering, "Is that all about Pradeep?". A very good question to have asked. So, I presented them with my strategy and coverage plan. Here is snippet from that. (Taking out all confidential information). Level 1.

- Toolbar options
- Mouse hover / clicks / right click / left click
- Keyboard shortcuts
- URL / Path editing
- Menu options coverage
- Claims based testing
- Questioning the purpose of existence, position, alignment and meaningfulness of all UI
- Consistency within the application
- Consistency with Windows standards
- Confirmatory testing
- Process monitoring & control
- Security vulnerability
- Consistency of text, font, sizes, options
- Links / Broken links / paths
- Reliability of user login / logout
- Violating policies - Firewall, System, Third party software
- Hidden details & options
- Scenario based tests -
- Boundary tests
- Hardware based scenarios - Interrupt
- Timing based coverage
- Error message coverage
- Tools / Utilities
- Independent components
- Extended usage
- Multiple connect / disconnect
- Reboot / Sleep  / Hibernate
- Close abrupt / Kill
- User coverage
- Usability standards comparison
- Functional checking
- Supportability testing
- Accessibility
- Navigating between zones / desktops / sessions
- Platforms
- Devices coverage - Bluetooth, Printer, Memory, Ext HDD
- Authentication / Authorization
- Splash screens
- Obvious / non Obvious things for a user
- Brand image versus product behavior
- Comparable products / benchmarking
-  Testability tour
-  Behavior patterns, user expectations and consistency

At Level 2, I had a checklist of what tests I did.

Here is an example: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/301583 : I ran through each one of them. I could tell what shortcuts cause what problems and an investigation about the problems. They were highly convinced why they were paying me as much as they did. I just stood up to the scrutiny.

At last, Trying out different attack (not the attack you know) as a starting point to my testing. Plus

Most testers use Functionality / Security as their first few possible ways to start attacking (start testing) a product. I was practicing to try out different things trying to determine how useful it is for short and long term projects. Testability attack has yielded great results for me than any other form of attack. Now, I might have learnt a lesson that the world already knows but what matters is, I did learn it. Hurrah!

If you were to determine how skilled an exploratory tester is, its not the first few hours, its what comes after the first few hours. That's what determines the the big "E", exploratory testing style and the small "e" exploratory testing style.

Also, our testing industry is so damn confused that they might end up asking you about the big E and small e exploratory testing in interviews by those who might happen to read this blog post half way and run to a meeting. Tell them that Pradeep used the small e and big E to explain styles and not to define or redefine anything about exploratory testing. Also, tell them that they didn't read this post completely. 

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Overcoming "obsessive checking if being mentioned disorder"

Happy New Year to all my dear readers, followers, fans, bulbs & CFL Lamps. I wish you become a better tester and respect other (good) testers much better than what you did in 2010. I also wish to be what I wished you to be :-)

The support for the company I launched Moolya Software Testing Private Limited - Brainual Software Testing Services Company, from you all has been fantastic. We hope to keep the momentum and continue adding great value to our customers. I have had a real busy time answering lots of questions about the company from testers all over. Without being able to mention the names, we have had two outsourcing request for quote, two special testing requirement requests, one recovery-before-it-goes-down testing requests from top organizations ever since we launched this company. Added to that is the support from the testers all over. Great start for us and we wish to make Moolya a dream company for good testers and hence be the most preferred testing vendor of the world.

Now, what's the Obsessive Checking If Being Mentioned Disorder?

On this new year, I want to tell you some true stories that you have never heard before. I could have simply kept it with me but I want to be honest to you because you spend your time here. Its you who have made this a successful blog and not just me. I don't know if someone else is facing the same problem but I just hope they are not.

  • 5 years ago when I entered into blogging, I also picked up the habit of reading blogs. The first time I was mentioned on someone's blog, I felt as though the world was under my feet. I guess its natural for a human being to feel so, for that moment. After a day, I returned to realizing the place I stand is the actual world under my feet. I am no special. Recognized I was a "normal" human being.

  • When my name was mentioned again on another blog, I felt great. Some kind of juice flowed all over my body and I loved the way it tickled when it flowed. I was hoping that a lot more people would mention my name and my blog on their blogs so that I could keep experiencing the flow of that magical juice.

  • When I was mentioned on James Bach's blog and followed by Michael Bolton's blog, I felt an extra dose of high concentration juice was flowing in me. It didn't just tickle me but had soothing effects on some painful areas of my life. I still feel, it is normal.

  • I used to write blog posts and anxiously wait for a couple of days to see if someone mentioned or appreciated my recent post somewhere along with my name. At this point I was on the boundary of "normal". Fortunate for you, my dear readers, I haven't written a single post because it may likely be mentioned by someone but wrote my heart out and hoped it gets popular by other bloggers mentioning it.

  • After sometime, I realized that some people had mentioned about me and my blog posts but I didn't come to know when they did it. I added a sitemeter to my blog to track where the hits are coming from. I became way too obsessive with sitemeter. I used to hit the Sitemeter refresh about 200 times a day. At least twice more than the hits I used to get. I was desperate. I worked way too hard to do good work and anxiously wait for an opportunity to blog about it. At this point, I was definitely thrown out from the "normal" category of human beings. I was addicted to the flow of the magical juice. Lucky for my readers, I enjoyed the "being ethical" juice which prevented me from using stupid tactics to attract readership and hence driving the opportunity of being mentioned. 

  • Then people started just mentioning my name without the link, so I got a little nervous about it. Not that they didn't link to my blog but because I discovered them too late. So, I set up a Google Alert with my name. Later I found, many people don't get my second name right. Its "Pradeep Soundararajan" and not "Pradeep Soundarajan" as most people appear to write. So, I ended up setting up a Google Alert for all possible permutations of my name. I was obsessed to check reports of Google Alerts. I went crazy about it. Sitemeter and Google Alert made me go crazy. At this point, I assume, I threw myself very far from belonging to the "normal" category. The worst is yet to come.

  • After a few months from being thrown far away from "normalcy", I was very excited when other bloggers post new entries. It gave me a hope that they would have mentioned my name. I used to pretend being surprised of being mentioned although I would have hoped for it. I guess its fair to call this phase as "starting to get worse".

  • Here comes the beauty. Months later, I started replacing every word by my name till I saw my name on others post. So, I may have read a few posts without actually learning anything from it because all I saw is "Pradeep" & "Tester Tested" on those posts. I think you'd agree one hundred percent, if I call this phase as "Obsessive Checking If Being Mentioned Disorder", which of course is too fucking bad thing to happen. It is important for me to say that all these were subconscious driven stuff. I didn't plan for it, couldn't control it.

  • The magical juice that tickled me and made me feel great was also making me uncontrollable to my own mind.

  • Added to that is the Twitter era. When I got addicted to twitter, all I had to say was, "Oh no! Not again". I saw a few people showing traces of the symptoms of the disorder or maybe I started feeling so.

Then a small light showed up

At some point, the obsessive checking if being mentioned disorder showed itself up in front of my face when it interfered my learning. That's when I decided to knock it off completely. 

I could start ignoring the urge to do things that may bring back the magical flow of the invisible juice only because I feared if my learning will slip. You may think that I deleted the Sitemeter Account, Unsubscribed from Google Alerts and blah blah but I didn't do any of them. Having it there and not yielding to it is a way I tried coming out of it.

I tried reducing the frequency of me visiting sitemeter stats. Some days I get busy learning, testing or working that I forget to login or forget that I logged in and the tab is lying somewhere. I still do visit Sitemeter and Google Alerts because I don't want to go to the other extreme. Call it post traumatic stuff :)

I reduced the number of blogs and posts I read. I don't go to Google Reader anymore. I just go to the URL of the blog I want to read and avoid clicking blog post links on twitter. 

I have reduced the frequency of writing in forums, groups, LinkedIn,  Test Republic, STC...

Most important of all I said to myself, "Now that you know you are not good, why care if people mention you?" and ignored to going to places where I was mentioned in the past.

Then comes practice over time. I wanted to give myself at least an year of practice. Today, I have reached a stage where I don't care who mentions me or my blog posts, for my own good. That doesn't mean I don't respect them. Moreover, others mentioning me or my post is not in my control. 

Bothering about things that are not in my control is foolishness. Not bothering about things that are in my control is much more foolish.

Sometimes the community elevates me to the "guru" & "expert" status (OK, American, UK & European folks, not you, I am talking about Indians here) and I have learnt to treat myself as a student despite what others call me as. I have declined being interviewed for a testing magazine with the interview title, "Know your testing guru".

Its not been easy but its getting easier. I am in the "normal" ring now, making me eligible to post this. I don't care if people tweet this, don't tweet it or not. It is for my reference. When I look back after a couple of years, I will have some things to smile upon saying, "Look at how I was". Just in case, you can see some symptoms of the same disorder in you, trust me, we will have lots to talk about when we meet.

I am just out of danger en route to success as a good student of this craft. I hope I can wade away other dangers that might be on the way, much faster.

Once again, a new year is not happy because you call it that way, you make it that way. I am having a happy new year and hope you have it too. I met Chandru today. The smile and confidence he had in his face is inspiring enough for me to push hard for good things.