This post is part of my all-too-regular series of posts on bugs that have vexed, frustrated, or inconvenienced me, my clients, or the world in general. It is a series that shows no sign of abating, sadly.
This week we had two bugs, one fairly nasty, one less so but still irritating.
To start with the nasty, as some readers will know, we use Articulate to author and host our e-learning. I’ve used other authoring and hosting tools in the past, and found them all relatively immature and buggy. Articulate is better than the others I’ve used, but by no means good enough, as this latest incident illustrates.
Articulate did a “scheduled update” on Saturday. They were nice enough to let us know about it a week beforehand, so we could warn our e-learning customers about downtime. In the past, we’ve had “stealth updates” where they didn’t tell us and then all of a sudden something stopped working; they would then deny that they had done an update and insist that we must have changed something.
However, Articulate apparently wasn’t nice enough to thoroughly regression test the update before they put it into production. As a result, all of our podcast attachments (MP3 audios of the e-learning courses) are corrupted. Re-attaching them doesn’t work, so we had to file a bug report with Articulate.
Did I say they didn’t regression test the update? Wait, I’m wrong, they are regression testing it, using their paying customers to do so. Why bother with equivalence partitioning the support attachments and testing that they all work when you can just promote untested code into production and make your paying customers do free work for you as testers? What’s most frustrating about this incident is that this is certainly not the first time it’s happened, and Articulate is by no means alone in employing this infamous tactic.
Now, on to the irritating. I did a webinar today. Over 400 people showed up, which was great. What wasn’t so great was that a few of them had a weird bug affect them. They reported not seeing the slides, but only the white welcome page with a greeting from me and my picture. As attendee James Heeren, who was affected by the bug, put it:
A funny thing happened when I closed the Webinar Window, a second window appeared with the picture of the graph of defects reported and defects closed. [This was a slide in the webinar presentation.] The real thing was hidden behind the white page somehow.
Was not a big problem for me as I followed on the deck from the website.
If it were just one person, I chalk it up to someone moving the focus to another tab in their browser by accident. Since it was quite a few people, it sounds like what was happening was that the GoToWebinar software was not properly getting the focus on the presentation window in some cases.
I have some sympathy for Citrix in this case. This sounds like a configuration-specific bug, which is really hard to find. That said, even though we will report it, I’m not expecting a lot of help from Citrix, based on past results of reporting bugs to them.
Until there is some implied warranty rule for software, as there is for every other product and services sold in the US, this kind of nonsense will continue.