Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Few Recent Bugs

The technology world has seen many interesting bugs in the past few months, so I thought I would list about a few of my favorites and some lessons learned from each.
1.) Zune Leap Year Bug

On December 31, all 30GB Zune music players failed at the same time. The bug turned out to be a flaw in the date calculation code for leap years, but what made this bug interesting was that it happened on a December 31 and not on a February 29. James Whittaker blogged about the Zune date failure, and one of the conclusions he reaches is that testers need a better way to share tester knowledge and information.

See following link for more details:

2.) Canon 5D Mark II Black Dot Bug

The Canon 5D Mark II is a high end SLR camera recently released by Canon for a market of professional photographers and very serious amateurs. It’s the second generation of the 5D - the previous model was considered one of the best digital SLRs on the market. Unfortunately, Canon’s newest camera suffered from a very serious bug - tiny black dots would appear next to highlights (very bright parts of the image). While the dots were small (only a few pixels each on a 21 megapixel camera), the problem was apparent for photographers looking to blow up their images or tightly crop a tiny portion.

Like many bugs, this one was discovered by early adopters. However, the bug was in the pre-release cameras as well, indicating that Canon’s engineers simply missed it. “Many eyes” often see small but important details that are missed during regular testing.

Canon recently released a firmware update fixing this problem.

See following link for more details:

3.) Security Flaws: Macrumors and Twitter

Two different sites, but two very similar and serious bugs. In the case of Macrumors, somebody hacked the live feed for their coverage of the MacWorld keynote. Right in the middle of the feed, somebody posing as the site authors posted a message saying that Steve Jobs had died. Macrumors is a very well respected Apple news site, so for a few minutes the world was stunned with the news before it became apparent that the news feed had been compromised. The culprit: an admin control panel that had no authentication.

Twitter had a similar issue - hackers were able to gain control of an admin panel and then hijack the accounts of a 33 celebrities including Barack Obama. Twitter has fixed the issue, but many are wondering if there are other serious issues with the site.

Both of these are very serious bugs, and both show that testing needs to be about security as much as anything else.

See following link for more details: