Thursday, February 24, 2005

Curious about Checking, Testing, and Staying in Touch with What’s Happening!

What I love about working on the computer and the Internet is facing and solving the every day challenges. I also love the thrill of making everything work the way I want it to. I feel that I pay attention to details and these are what help me with my goal of happy, smoothly working results.

Yesterday, however, didn’t work out that way! It is always humbling to discover past and present errors, and even worse to spend hours correcting and testing them.

It all started with a simple request by a client to purchase a domain name and point it to a page on an existing site. The domain name was available and I proceeded to register it, only to discover that the company where I was performing the registration was assigning the former registrant (which I had set up quite awhile ago) as the contact - I always register my client’s domain names in their name, not mine.

To get the records the way they were supposed to be (and for other domains, too), I was unlocking domains, re-entering contact information and re-locking. Even all of the billing information had to be updated. I was asking myself how I had missed all of this before.

Next, when sending out my bi-weekly e-newsletter, I suddenly discovered that I was missing a whole page of my distribution list of e-mail addresses. Fast fingers were the culprits. I hit the wrong key (which one it was remains a mystery) and because I didn’t realize this until I got to the end of the mailing, I had to reconstruct everything (fortunately, I keep a back up list in another file).

Why am I telling you this? Certainly not to complain or to whine. It is what we storytellers call a “cautionary tale.”

Let me caution you, using what I have learned:
  • Check everything you do on the computer at least twice.
  • Read the small print (this would have saved me all of the domain name hassle - the information was there, I just hadn't noticed it).
  • Test, test and test some more.
  • Slow down and concentrate fully.
  • Never assume, always confirm.
  • When you make any changes - even small ones - take time to check them out (I can’t tell you how many times this has paid off for me when I am updating websites).
  • Watch those fast fingers and moments of fuzzy thinking and lack of concentration.
  • And, we all should adopt the following as our mantra: save and backup, backup and save!

Happy and problem free computing to all of you! In the future I will be writing about a whole different kind of testing, but I just had to remind you of what can happen when we become complacent.