Software Testing Nightmares

The Mystery of HMRC and the Faulty Tax Statements

Tax Papers

Barely a tax quarter seems to pass without another HMRC IT glitch hitting the headlines. The latest involves erroneous tax calculations being sent to up to five million people.

The £23.7 billion cost of a return flight

grounded

Pity that a poor customer who recently tried to book flights to Portugal on the eDreams website only to find they were going to cost a gargantuan £23.7 billion. This massive overcharge was a data validation error or a coding bug.

Insurance & Technology: How Insurers Can Avoid “Black Swans” in Product Launches

Insurance & Technology, a US publication that “provides insurance business and technology executives with the targeted information and analysis they need to be more profitable, productive and competitive,” recently published a contributed article by Original Software CEO Colin Armitage.

“We’ve all seen it happen: An IT project plagued with delays, changes and complications goes so far off the rails that it becomes a liability,” wrote Colin, describing projects such as new product launches that exceed budget by more than 200%–sometimes as much as 400%. Industry pundits call these projects “Black Swans.”

“Disasters are avoidable, though,” Colin reassured readers.

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Unconsciously falling foul of the regulators – website mis-selling

By George Wilson

The mis-selling of financial services products, PPI (payment protection insurance) in particular, has blighted our insurance and banking landscape for years. The figure for consumer compensation for PPI now reaches a breathtaking £20bn, marking it out as the UK’s worst ever consumer scandal. The industry is now relatively switched on in terms of ensuring all employees are toeing the company line on how to sell to customers in a fair and honest way, as opposed to keeping one eye on their end of month bonus targets.

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As Retailers Boost IT Spending, Be Mindful of the Minefields

By George Wilson

Research out this week has earmarked the retail sector for soaring IT investment in 2014, with websites, mobile and IT system replacement being top of their wish lists. Law firm TLT has found that two thirds of the UK’s top 60 retailers expect their firms to grow this year and 80 per cent were convinced that IT will be instrumental in driving sales.

Mobile is the technology that retailers are getting most excited about, with two thirds planning to invest this year.

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Toyota – software glitch leads to global product recall

By George Wilson

Toyota, the Japanese car giant, suffered a massive blow this week when it was forced to recall almost two million of its top selling Prius hybrid vehicles. A glitch in the cars’ software could set off cars’ warning lights, meaning it would enter failsafe mode and cause the vehicle to stop suddenly. The biggest hit to Toyota will be in Japan and the USA.

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Data Glitches – how Screwfix.com got it wrong

By George Wilson

The front page of the Telegraph this week carried a story on DIY online retailer, Screwfix.com. Shoppers couldn’t believe their luck when the retailer – selling everything from sheds to pricey power tools – cut all its prices to £34.99. Word of mouth meant people piled on to the site eager to snap up a bargain.

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Obamacare Website Malfunction – the Cost of Not Testing

If there is anything that President Obama has learned in the last month, it’s the importance of software testing. The Healthcare.gov website, an insurance shopping site for the US government’s flagship health policy “Obamacare”, has repeatedly been dogged with problems.

Glitches within the site have caused misery for tens of thousands of would-be insurance policy purchasers, with many enduring lengthy waiting times.

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Wal-Mart website glitch offered up electronic bargain for shoppers

US consumers took to social media en masse last week to broadcast an astounding deal they found on Walmart.com. A glitch on the retail giant’s e-commerce site saw a 24 inch high-definition Viewsonic computer monitor, an InFocus IN2124 digital projector and other products on sale for as little as $8.85, when their retail value is usually in excess of $500.

A spokesman for Wal-Mart – according to the Good Morning America site – said the issue had now been resolved and its IT teams are scanning the millions of items on sale on its site to check there aren’t further technical errors causing price discrepancies.

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Windows 8.1 update glitch stops RT starting up

Microsoft Surface RT gadget owners were left frustrated this week as the Windows 8.1 upgrade stopped their devices working properly. Customers also complained that the 8.1 update for Internet Explorer didn’t work with Outlook and other Google services.

Microsoft put the onus on Google, saying that changes it had made to its search function were responsible.

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