PraxIS Jan. 2010

10-01 Contents: Y2K+10, Hospital Data Protection, SoftTest events, ICS membership, XLTest upgrade

ISSN 1649-2374 This issue online at   [Previous] [Index]  [Next]

Systems Modelling Ltd.: Managing reality in Information Systems - strategies for success


1) Risk
     Irish Hospital Data Protection problems

2) Quality
      SoftTest Ireland events February 16-18
      Irish Computer Society - 6 months free membership

3) Spreadsheets
     XLTest enhanced with VBA export to folders for Diff

4) Off Topic
About this newsletter and Archives
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Welcome to PraxIS

Given this week's terrible news of the earthquake in Haiti, start with:  or or   etc

Patrick O'Beirne


1)  IT Risk


Cisco, Symantec, Apache and others have to tackle Y2K10 Glitches.

Risks Digest and others are reporting more New Decade bugs.

Y2K+10 problem 1. German contactless bank cards (report by Dr. Debora Weber-Wulff, HTW Berlin)

"Tagesschau reports online that people who were using newer cash machine cards that had new-fangled golden chips in them were told at the machine that their cards had an error because of a "software error". Not only ATM machines were affected, supermarkets and such that check cards online refused to accept the cards.

The culprit has been named: The company that produces the cards, Gemalto. Seems that the software thinks that it is the year 2016 and not 2010, so all of the cards are no longer valid. The problem is a program stored on the chip. The banks don't want to have to exchange all of the cards (a really expensive solution), so they are looking for a workaround.

30 million cards are affected, and changing them would entail the owners all having to learn a new code for their cards. 

But it turns out, if the chip is found to be malfunctioning or not there, the card readers resort to reading the magnetic stripe. Spiegel and others report that all it takes is a little Scotch tape over the contacts of the card, and the readers will switch to fail-safe mode. Retailers now dispense tape at the cash registers.,1518,670433,00.html

On a side note, customers of smartphones using Windows Mobile operating system have been noticing that incoming SMS messages also have the date 2016. 

BPCS Version 8.1 Release 00  TLE Version 3.2 Rel: 01 Starting from this year all our outbound transactions (Version 4010) have
been sent with an incorrect date in the GS segment, the date is  19100104.


Irish Hospital Data Protection problems

The hospital that kept over a million blood samples without the parents' consent has also suffered a theft of servers in 2007.

Mark Tighe reports: "A Dublin hospital has built a database containing the DNA of almost every person born in the country since 1984 without their knowledge in an apparent breach of data protection laws."

That implies a computer database - in fact it is only a collection of samples, the DNA information was not extracted AFAIK.

The hospital in Temple Street is under investigation by the DPC since The Sunday Times discovered that unknown to the DPC, the hospital has amassed 1,548,300 blood samples from “heel prick tests” on newborns which are sent to it for screening. The majority of hospitals act on implied or verbal consent and do not inform parents what happens to their child’s sample.
UK: Records stolen from hospital that held secret DNA database  January 11, 2010 7:05 am
Mark Tighe reports: "Two computer servers containing the records of almost 1m patients were stolen from the Children’s University hospital in Temple Street in 2007 and have never been recovered. The data were far more than that lost on stolen bank laptops in recent years. The theft was investigated by the data protection commissioner (DPC) and the gardai after being reported by the Dublin hospital in February 2007. The organisations had decided that there was no need to inform the public, believing there was little chance of the thief being able to access the data. Patients’ details, including names, date of birth and reason for admission are thought to have been included."
The issue is also discussed on with one post describing the story as "Stupid sensationalist media". However, legal eagles disagree:
T.J. McIntyre,Lecturer in the School of Law, University College Dublin, comments on the story on his blog on IT Law in Ireland: "…. In light of these controversies elsewhere, the lack of informed consent and the fact that there is no legal basis for the heel prick tests (a point confirmed in North Western Health Board v. HW and CW) it’s hard to see how Temple Street could have believed that it was entitled to hold onto these samples indefinitely – and it is remarkable that this point appears to have been missed by the ethics committee on four separate occasions."


2) Quality

SoftTest Ireland events February 16-18

16th Feb Belfast 12 noon- 2:30 PM - includes lunch!
Venue  Holiday Inn, Ormeau avenue Belfast. Book with Nicola.McManus at

17th Feb Dublin PM 5-8pm
Venue IBEC, Lower Baggot St.  Book with Anna.Donegan at

18th Feb Cork PM 4-6pm
Venue Cork International Airport Hotel. Book with Alison Reilly, Alison at

Sarah Murphy, Xilinx: Title: Lean Test Process Improvement in Agile Testing

The presentation will introduce the audience to the Lean Philosophy and use a case study to demonstrate how test process improvement can be driven from the bottom-up very effectively by empowering the team members of the Test Process Improvement initiative. The removal of waste (anything that doesn’t add value) is at the core of the Lean Philosophy. Ensuring that the test process is as efficient and effective as it can be facilitates an agility within testing and empowers the test effort to react to change positively and agilely.

The presentation will :
 - demonstrate how a team of testers came together and contributed to the improvement of various testing processes and activities.
 - address how “easy“ change becomes within the testing organization when it is driven by the testers themselves.
 - show how test management can facilitate the empowering of its testers while still maintaining a decorum of control.
 - address how the usual resistance to change was surmounted by a TPI effort driven by those who are executing the testing.
 - include feedback from a recently held Retrospective with Lessons Learned clearly elaborated on.

Belfast 16 Feb, Cork 18 Feb
Scott Armstrong, SQS UK:Title: Test Automation: A Roadmap for Success
The presentation :
 - aims to debunk the myth that one automation tool fits all; it is essential to tailor and plan the tools and technologies involved to deliver an effective solution.
 -  highlight that automation is not a panacea for a struggling testing project. In the right circumstances and with the correct strategy, test automation can provide impressive returns on investment, but these efforts must be carefully targeted.
 - discuss the factors that need to be considered and the steps that should be taken to ensure the successful delivery of an automation project, and will highlight the problems that are often encountered when deploying a new tool.
- include case studies of SQS Automation projects which ill illustrate these principles in action.

Dublin 17 Feb
Owen Lydon, Intec Billing: Title: Avoiding Common  Pitfalls in Virtual or Distributed Teams
The distributed nature of Virtual Teams, characterised by the absence of daily face to face interaction, can result in unique challenges, typically around effective communication and trust.
* The presentation will demonstrate how basic assumptions around communication and cultural can impact effective team integration .
* It will address how to navigate and work with cultural norms.
* The presentation will show how test management can facilitate trust building, ensuring effective progression while limiting micro management.

Irish Computer Society - 6 months free membership

The ICS invites IT people in Ireland to visit for 6 months free membership
Enhance your skills, knowledge and prospects with six months free membership of the Irish Computer Society. It takes sixty seconds to sign up online and you can then avail of six months professional and career development.
• Free seminars
• Networking opportunities
• Discounts on conferences
• Library of previous events
• Research and Briefings
• Exclusive offers


3) Spreadsheets

XLTest enhanced with VBA export to folders for Diff

One of the simplest questions that's hard  to answer - because it is a  tedious task - is "What changed between these  two versions of a spreadsheet?"

XLTest can be used to compare the structures of two spreadsheets or all the sheets in two workbooks. I have now added a facility in 1.10 to export all the code to folders and send them to a diff utility - I recommend WinMerge - for ease of comparison and merging the versions.


Spreadsheet Check and Control: 47 best practices to detect and prevent errors



Simply send your comments to FEEDBACK (at) SYSMOD (dot) COM

Thank you! Patrick O'Beirne, Editor


4) Off Topic

What do we call the decade after the noughties? The Tens / Tennies / Tenners ?


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