If you’re joining thousands of “Dryathletes” and ditching the drink this month to support Cancer Research, or you’ve simply overindulged so much during the festive season that you can’t stand another drop, chances are you’re having what Alcohol Concern have coined a “Dry January”.  The health benefits are obvious and can include detoxing, losing weight and sleeping better and of course, if you’re doing it for charity, you’re potentially helping hundreds of thousands of people. Even with these great motivators it can be hard to stick to the new regime, so we’ve scoured the globe for some super cool gadgets to help you through and give you some inspiration as to what to do with all the money you’re saving, and your new found energy!

The Biggest Loser –

Gram for gram alcohol contains almost the same amount of calories as fat, so Dryathletes may get an extra bonus and lose a few pounds of festive flab this month. Monitoring your weight and seeing it drop off can be a great motivator for some of us to keep up the good work until the end of January and even beyond, so check why not invest in some smart scales?  The FitBit Aria Smart Scale supports up to 8 users with automatic identification and tracks weight, body fat and BMI. It connects to your WiFi and synchs not only to other FitBit products but to a host of other fitness tracking apps. You never know, you might decide to change you Twitter hashtag from #DryJanuary to #FitForLife!

Start Larking About –

So apparently not drinking gives you a much better quality of sleep. Don’t believe it? Then try this silent alarm clock app and wristband by Lark which tracks your sleeping pattern, records all the details and gives you a full report in the morning after it wakes even the deepest sleeper with a gentle vibration. For those really serious about their sleep, it comes with an action plan and goal-setting feature so you can ensure your quality and quantity of sleep is improving! We also really like the Aura (pictured), which produces different lighting to suit the different stages of sleep from blue and pink to melatonin stimulating orange. All the while it also records your sleep environment to show noise pollution, temperature and noise levels. Most impressive of all you don’t even have to wear anything as the sensor slips under your mattress and you can connect it to Spotify, so you can wake up to your favourite tunes!

#FitForLife –

So you’re sleeping better and your December beer belly has started to disappear; you may as well go the whole hog (or rather, avoid eating the whole hog) and get yourself super fit! Swimming is great for your whole body and fun too, especially if you get yourself a waterproof MP3 player like the Finis Neptune. This little gadget sits comfortably on your swimming goggles, makes music louder and clearer when submerged underwater and it comes with a built-in 4GB of storage space. What makes it even cooler is that it uses cutting edge bone conduction audio technology so there’s no need for those annoying ear buds!

Money Money Money –

Just think of all the money you’re saving by drinking soft drinks whenever you go out. You deserve a treat, so how about the Sony PlayStation VR?

It’s sleek, well designed to reduce motion sickness and arguably the most attractive of the VR headsets.  Although it’s not been released yet, there’s a good reason for that, as Sony want to make sure that there are plenty of games ready to play from the off and anyway, that gives you a little time to save up enough beer and wine money to buy it!

Free for All February –

For those of us who only ever intended to be dry in January and will be back in our favourite bar in February, there are also some pretty cool drinking gadgets. For the real wine aficionado and serious collector there’s the Coravin, which uses a special needle to siphon off a glass of the good stuff without disturbing the cork, so you can save your favourite and most expensive wine for a rainy day. It’s also a great way of limiting your intake, as you no longer have the excuse that you need to polish off the bottle or it will go off!

We’re already part way through January but it’s not too late to sign up as a Dryathlete to support Cancer Research so, if you fancy it, follow this link: Dryalthletes.


Andrew Ainsworth AUTHOR:
Andrew joined us in July 2013 as a Business Development Executive in our UK sales team. He works with potential clients to discover their testing requirements.

Posted in: Digital, Human Interaction Testing, Internet of Things, Quality Assurance, Security, Smart, Social Aspects, Socio-technical systems, Wearable technology      
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The overriding themes of this year’s World Quality Report (WQR) are that Customer Experience is a major priority across all industry sectors and that the Testing function must support faster software development lifecycles, while ensuring that speed does not come at the expense of quality.

To herald the dawn of 2016, we’ve taken the top 6 most important findings and recommendations from the WQR and created a list of New Year’s Resolutions that can transform your Test Strategy and bring increased quality, speed and cost effectiveness to your products and services to give you a competitive advantage this year.

Our recommended New Year’s Testing Resolutions for 2016 are to:

  1. Make protecting the corporate image, ensuring Customer Experience (CX) and increasing quality awareness among all disciplines the 3 primary goals that drive your Test Strategy.
  2. Ensure that any increase in your IT budget being allocated to QA is used properly to mature your QA capabilities (on average this increase is 9%). For example, fall in line with the average increase in automated test cases from 28% to 45%.
  3. Follow the lead of the 48% of companies already using DevOps and make use of Test Driven Development, Behaviour Driven Development and Shift Left techniques and test earlier in the development lifecycle for earlier bug detection, combined with utilising user stories and use cases to allow your test teams to identify whether you are testing the right thing at the right time.
  4. Start preparing for the fact that, according to Gartner, by 2018, six billion connected things will require support and, where appropriate, ensure that your test strategy focuses on merging High Tech product testing with IT testing as opposed to the more traditional approach of keeping these separate. It’s important to remember that Internet of Things platforms require a far greater level of QA and Testing than more traditional ERP and business systems in order to meet security, customer satisfaction and reputation management requirements.
  5. Even if your business is in a highly risk-averse sector such as Financial Services, be prepared to follow the lead of the Utilities and High Tech industries and decrease your reliance on physical test environments in favour of cloud-based and virtualised test environments.
  6. Improve your Test Data Management strategy by decreasing your reliance on testing that uses copies of un-masked production data, as this increases the likelihood of breaching Data Security and Data Privacy Regulations. This method can also be costly and require additional manpower as it prevents you from properly leveraging automated test scripts. If you must use Production Data, ensure that on-demand features are masked prior to using the data for testing. Where possible create Synthetic end-to-end test data instead. These strategic tweaks reduce the need to rely on Production Data restoration from back-end systems, are far more secure and facilitate more efficient continuous testing, helping you to protect your corporate reputation from all angles.

For a more in depth look at the World Quality Report findings, predictions and recommendations, you can download your free copy here

We are also hosting a webinar at 10am GMT on 9th February to share the results and the recommendations from the report:


Andrew Ainsworth AUTHOR:
Andrew joined us in July 2013 as a Business Development Executive in our UK sales team. He works with potential clients to discover their testing requirements.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Digital strategy, High Tech, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, Quality Assurance, Requirements, Security, Social Aspects, Testing and innovation, User Experience, user stories, World Quality Report      
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The latest SIGIST event was held at the Barbican and brought together over 100 people, all with a real interest in learning about current trends and the direction the testing market is heading. There was a real emphasis of public debate and deliberation around a range of certain issues with well over 80% of the room claiming that they currently operate an agile approach.

As the day began, many people had no knowledge of the skill of Bee Keeping (as you would expect). However, I am sure we will all agree that this had changed by the time we left Stevan Zivanoic’s talk on agile testing. Not only did we come away with a detailed understanding the importance of a queen bee, but we also learnt the need to ensure that within testing, much as bees do in the hive, we have to use the right tools for the project, as well as the correct communication methods to achieve a high rate of defect detection.

A personal highlight was the debate and questions that led on from Steve Ramsay’s great account on changing attitudes to testing.  This seems to have been a hot topic across many testing events this year and not only was the debate very informative, it was also a great chance to learn from fellow conference attendees.  Another high point was the in depth networking that we all took part in. I had some great conversations and the phrase ‘you learn something new every day’ became very apparent.

As the day drew to an end it was fantastic to see the winner of the HP Slate, provided by Hewlett Packard – our partners and co-sponsors for the day, collect her prize before the final talk.  As somebody relatively new to the world of testing, the range of talks and the experiences shared made the day very insightful. I’m sure certainly looking forward to the next conference.  

Hopefully I’ll see you at TestExpo on 24th October!

Andrew Ainsworth AUTHOR:
Andrew joined us in July 2013 as a Business Development Executive in our UK sales team. He works with potential clients to discover their testing requirements.

Posted in: Agile, Events, HP, Software testing      
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