[tpm] Conference for the Association for Software Testing

Michael Bolton michael.a.bolton at gmail.com
Tue May 20 18:34:04 PDT 2008


Some of you Toronto Perlites must be testers.  If aren't a tester, you
probably /know/ some testers.  So please read and spread the word:

A colleague recently pointed out that an important mission of our
community--the community of skilled testers--is to remind people-and
ourselves-that testing doesn't have to suck.

Well, neither do testing conferences. CAST 2008 is the kind of conference
that I've always wanted to attend. The theme is "Beyond the Boundaries:
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Software Testing", and the program is
incredibly eclectic and diverse. Start with the keynotes: 

- Jerry Weinberg on Lessons from the Past to Carry into the Future; 
- Cem Kaner on The Value of Checklists and the Danger of Scripts: What Legal
Training Suggests for Testers;
- Robert Sabourin (with Anne Sabourin) on Applied Testing Lessons from
Delivery Room Labor Triage (there's a related article in this month's Better
Software magazine); and 
- Brian Fisher on The New Science of Visual Analytics. 

Track sessions include talks relating testing 

- to improv theatre (Adam White), to music (yours truly and Jonathan Kohl),
- to finance and accounting (Doug Hoffman), 
- to wargaming and Darwinian evolution (Bart Brokeman, author of /Testing
Embedded Software/ and one of the co-authors of the /TMap Next/ book); 
- to civil engineering (Scott Barber);
- to scientific software (Diane Kelly and Rebecca Sanders)
- to magic (Jeremy Kominar), to file systems (Morven Gentleman)
- and to data warehousing (Steve Richardson and Adam Geras)
- and to data visualization (Martin Taylor); 
- AND to four-year-olds playing lacrosse (Adam Goucher). 

There will be lightning talks and a tester competition. Jerry Weinberg will
be doing a one-day tutorial workshop, as will Hung Nguyen, Scott Barber, and
Julian Harty.

Yet another feature of the conference is that Jerry is launching his book on
testing, /Perfect Software and Other Testing Myths/. I read an early version
of it, and I'm waiting for it with bated breath. It's a book that we'll all
want to read, and after we're done, we'll want to hand to people who are
customers of testing. For some, we'll want to tie them to a chair and /read
it to them/.

For the out-of-towners (I know there are some Buffalo types out there), the
conference hotel is inexpensive (you'll know where to find it; it's where
YAPC was); the food in Toronto is great, the nightlife is wonderful, the
music is excellent...

More Information
You can find details on the program at http://www.cast2008.org/Program.

You can find information on the venue and logistics at

Those from outside Canada should look at

You can get registration information at

Paying the Way

If you need help persuading your company to send you to the conference,
check out this: http://www.ayeconference.com/Articles/Mycompanywontpay.html.

And if all that fails, you can likely write off the cost of the conference
against your taxes, even if you're an employee. (I am not a tax
professional, but INC magazine reports that you can write off expenses to
"maintain or improve skills required in your present employment". Americans
should see IRS Publication 970
(http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch12.html), Section 12, and ask your

Come Along and Spread The Word!

So (if necessary) get your passports in order, take advantage of early bird
registration (if you register in the next two weeks), and come join us. In
addition (and I'm asking a favour here), please please /please/ tell your
colleagues, both in your company and outside, about CAST. We want to share
some great ideas on testing and other disciplines, and we want to make this
the best CAST ever. And the event will only be improved by your presence.

So again, please spread the word, and come if you can.


---Michael B.

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