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Deliberate Practice: describe a stone (tattooed tester)

On December 4, 2012, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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I was thinking of a few different ways to do this description. Should it be a narrative to give life to the stone? Should it be a list of attributes to give some sort of unbiased description? Maybe something else? In the end, a mixture of these made the most sense. Too much of one and it is difficult to see what is important in the description. Too much of the other and you get something that is boring and difficult to read. I think that is how it goes with describing software, too.

The goal here is to practice sharing a visual observation I made in a written format. I’ll denote some places where I know clarifications could be made, measurements for example. So here goes…

  • The overall shape is sort of like a candy corn
  • The base (wide part) is not completely flat. It angles at about 45 degrees
  • Because of this angle, one long side is about 1/2 inch longer (or shorter, respectively) than the other
  • The length is about 2 inches, maybe 2.5 (measurement could be taken)
  • At the widest point (base of the candy corn), it is maybe 1 inch across (measurement could be taken)
  • The stone is made mostly of a grayish material but there are small lighter flecks that appear in the surface
  • The color is a deep gray, maybe slate colored
  • Color is not consistent, there are some darker spots
  • The stone is smooth to the touch but not to the extent of feeling glassy
  • About 2/3 up the stone from the base near an edge, there is a deep, angled gouge in the stone. The gouge almost reminds me of a meteor strike that came from an angle
  • There is a shallow gouge on the same edge as the deep gouge. This is almost like a small chip in the surface of the stone
  • The stone feels pretty heavy for its size. It may weigh a quarter of a pound or so (measurement could be taken)
  • The stone feels very hard. I wonder what it would take to break or shatter it. I may use it in a bonsai pot eventually, so won’t try that out now
  • There is a hole at the top of the stone that is shaped like a snowman. (difficult to make out in the picture)
  • Edges of the stone are inconsistent. One long edge is rounded smooth, the other long edge is part rounded and part smooth, and the base edge is rounded at one end and gradually comes to a point at the other end
  • After describing this stone, I was thinking about how descriptions of software are often used to draw some sort of relationship. A relationship between software and the environment it runs in or maybe a relationship between software and a person. I think I could use this description and some liberal assumptions to talk about the relationship between the stone and its environment. This stone seems like it came from a body of water. Probably a body of moving water. Have you ever gone to a river front that was lined with small stones? Did you notice how smooth some of them were? This stone has similar characteristics so maybe it has origins in a river or lake.

    Exhibit A: The stone
    just a stone

     

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