At times, my job as a software engineer can be pretty damn interesting, and obnoxiously frustrating at the same time. I’m currently engaged in writing and executing test plans, to make sure that whatever reaches our customers is something not likely to have us end up being sued for gross negligence, or worse, death through guilt….
Yes, we write software for the medical world, to handle all the digital images that come out of those huge machines with magnetic fields in them that could power your cellphone if you hold it near enough. Not literally of course, but if you modified the phone, it might. Nowadays, machines like that can slice a man into millimeter thick slices, three ways, without even a short break in between. We store those images, and present them to the doctor in a useful way.
Just imagine what would happen if the name of one patient gets linked to another one: you might end up having your leg amputated when all you came here for was to have a sprained ankle looked at! That’s why we test. And these last four weeks, that was all I’ve been doing.
Testing is weird that way: your aim is to make the software change, by getting the new version approved. But to do so, you need to depend on the fact that certain stuff hasn’t changed. And that is downright impossible at times! Test data disappears, forcing you to go find it, or rewrite the test so it will have the same result with different data. On top of that, bugs get reported, fixed, need to be verified, and the new features make sure your test plan is obsolete in no time. Do we see a dog and a tail here yet?
In a way, it is nothing different from life itself: no matter how thoroughly you check the house for dirty dishes and stuff before actually going to clean it all, the moment you pull the plug out of the sink your daughter will have already gotten a clean glass out of the cupboard and made it dirty!
That stuff used to really bug me: in order to maintain the status quo, you actually had to expend energy, so it looked like a losing battle from the viewpoint where energy was a finite thing. Fortunately, that is one thing I’ve come to appreciate a bit more. Because at the rate we do expend that energy, the Cosmos should have run out of it aeons ago! Thus the fact we’re still here just proves the infinite nature of energy.
And now my lunch hour is over, so anything else will have to wait until I’m home again…..
Love your losses,