Insights Blog This Past Week in Glitches


This Past Week in Glitches

Let's have a look at last week's glitches from across the internet

Sometimes defects make it out into the real world, and sometimes they are safely caught during testing (or at least have a fail safe kicks in).  But the fact is that defects are here to stay, and don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.  Every bug caught is one that will not make it into the news.  For those of us who work in software testing, it is interesting to find out what bugs have made it out of the lab, caught in a public test, or failed in a way that prevented a far worse calamity (like the traffic light fail safe).  More importantly, we can all learn from these mistakes to become better testers.

So in this new series, we’ll explore some of the top 30 glitch-related Google News items that appeared in the week of June 1-7, 2017 (the list exceeded 350).  3 of the items listed below included statements that hacking was not a factor (we will watch this as Europe’s GDPR makes this a corporate news concern).  Below are who/what it happened to, what happened, and comments on root cause/resolution.

  • Amazon, some online product listings showed pictures of dogs with error messages, no explanation but occurred over a couple of hours
  • Bank of Philippines Islands, thousands of pesos of unauthorized debits/deposits, internal system error “picked up the wrong file” and all will be corrected
  • Benzie County School district, payroll direct deposits didn’t, checks mailed before electronic payment glitch corrected
  • British Airways, IT system outage flight cancellations affected 75K passengers worldwide during a holiday weekend, power surge followed by a back-up system that did not work right
  • CIBC (bank), e-transfers delayed, Twitter eventually said “Some services unavailable” before full restoration
  • D.C. Superior court, “catastrophic computer outage” blocked access to e-records sending potential jurors for 6 felony trials home early, cooling unit problem caused court’s servers to overheat
  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin, traffic lights flashed red, electrical surge triggered request to show conflicting greens (a fail safe successfully overrode to flash red instead)
  • Ford, self-driving cars dodged spot on road due to single-pixel elevation glitch in newly-loaded 3D map
  • Friday the 13th: The Game, many bugs found in released video game, piecemeal patched releases occurring
  • Google Home, outage-like responses to Alexa-style questions, no resolution but some (not all) self-correct after a reboot
  • Google Maps, millions of people live in areas aerial-mapped but not street-mapped (Rio, Makoko, Chad, etc.)
  • HEMA, some of the 381 hurricane warning sirens sounded a second time during test a run, still investigating this first test since a $25M upgrade
  • India’s test-fire of medium-range nuclear-capable Agni-II missile, “very minor” engine glitch prevented meeting all desired parameters
  • Lido, website availability delayed due to inability to handle load and happy-path complexity, will be online once addressed
  • Metro Trains (Australia), information shutdown for 5 hours, “technical fault”
  • NYC DOE, Community Educ. Council election blocked some voters while allowing some unauthorized voters, official response or acknowledgment is desired as this may have altered election results
  • Surat Municipal Corp., tree census to be delayed by 20 days, “Failed to function properly, could not collate data”