Geocacheing in Germany

Background

The scene is set: attending a conference in Germany, and you have a couple of hours free in the evening. Do you (a) sit in the bar and drink beer, or (b) go geocaching?

A bit of a silly question, really…

A Souvenir From Brandenburg

Souvenir from Stadt Brandenburg

Souvenir from Stadt Brandenburg

Checking the Geocaching website, a circuit of a dozen or so caches looked do-able – with a possible bonus of a six-haul Tracker-hotel. So armed with my phone running the cgeo app, and a translation of the various cache webpages, I set off with a conference co-attendee (aka TheDoctor12)

The Geocaching system offers a souvenir for each Stadt in Germany – so completion of the first cache resulted in the award of a new icon… my first non-UK territory

The Coin and Tracker Bug Hotel

Coin & TB Hotel "Waldlehrpfad" Wildpark Potsdam

Coin & TB Hotel “Waldlehrpfad” Wildpark Potsdam

With three of the first four on the route safely logged, we entered the Waldlehrpfad in such of the Coin and Tracker-Bug Hotel… reportedly holding six trackables.

Unfortunately, only two were present:

  • Grisu der kleine Drache
  • Stefricks Metropolis Express

I retrieved these two for a journey to England… and the other four logged as missing.

Continuing the Walk

Onward we trekked, taking in a further three more but skipping other two planned caches due to too much activity, before reaching the nearest one to the hotel. Unfortunately, in the fading light this wooded area precluded further exploration, so we decided to call it a night. But I went to find Am Boden the following morning!

  1. Haus33
  2. Haveldurchblick
  3. Haveldurchblick 2
  4. Coin & TB Hotel "Waldlehrpfad" Wildpark Potsdam
  5. Einer am Rande
  6. So geht es auch
  7. Blick nach Potsdam #1
  8. Am Boden

I did not "DNF" the three that we did not find, as we skipped them, rather than didn't find them.

An enjoyable walk, in some lovely countryside… hopefully I will be back again some time, to find a few more!

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VDA Automotive SYS Conference

I am please (and slightly nervous) to announce that I will be speaking at the VDA Automotive SYS 2015 conference, to be held in Postdam in July.

I will be taking part in the Workshop "Software coding for safety and security", talking about MISRA C and the difference between Safety and Security in software development.

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Santa Run for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice

On Sunday 14th December, I will be taking part in the annual Santa Fun Run in aid of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice.

As all who know me will confirm, I am not built for running…

But sometimes, one must escape from the comfort zone, and do something silly…

How to Support

JustGiving - Sponsor me now! Please help me raise money for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, by clicking on the JustGiving logo.

You can also donate by TXTing ADBX74 to 70070.

The Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice

The Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice is the only adult Hospice across the whole of West Surrey and part of North East Hampshire, supporting and caring for terminally ill people and their families, both at the Hospice and in the community.

For more information, please visit their website.

PTH_logo

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ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119-5 Keyword Driven Testing

Following on from the successful publication of ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119 Parts 1, 2 and 3 and the progress on Part 4, the attention of attention ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7/WG26 has now turned to Part 5 – Keyword Driven Testing.

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ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119 Faces Objections

As a member of the UK Mirror Panel to WG26, which is responsible for the ISO 29119 standard, I am disappointed to read of the objection to the standard led by the International Society for Software Testing, which has resulted in a formal petition to ISO.

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Is Software just a Black Art?

Background

In the August 2014 edition of the IET's E&T Magazine, Tim Fellows wrote an article titled How to avoid getting sucked into the black hole of software development (link).  The article seems to blame the bulk of software related problems on the contracts, but I think Mr Fellows misses the point completely.

I'd like to challenge some of the points made…

Continue reading

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A trip down memory lane

Between Easter 1978 and the summer of 1979, we lived at RAF Locking in Somerset.  Since we left, following my father's posting, I have never been back.

Yesterday (20th May) I attended the Reliable Software Developer's conference in Bristol, and (as reported on my Amateur Radio page) used the spare time between sessions to activate a few local Worked All Britain squares. A quick glance at the map had shown that a drive-by was possible…

RAF LockingLocking - The Water Tower

RAF Locking closed in 1999, following the relocation of No.1 Radio School to RAF Cosford.  The site was sold by the MoD in 2002.

Approaching the camp, the water tower was still prominent, and as a glanced at the tower, the car immediately in front of me turned directly into the married quarters at Mendip Road – this threw me slightly, as when we lived there, this entrance was gated and permanently closed. Of course, nowadays, the married quarters are in private hands, so there is no need for the gate to be closed… so I followed…

It was like entering a time-warp… even after 35 years, everything was exactly as I remembered it…

Flowerdown Road

Following Mendip Road, passing the Water Tower, I turned into Broadway, then into Flowerdown Road.

Flowerdown Road - FrontFlowerdown Road - SideJust to repeat what I said above: it was like entering a time-warp… even after 35 years, everything was exactly as I remembered it… although the garage clearly had a new roof, even the garage door was still the same blue that I remember!

I stopped briefly to take some photos, without wanting to draw too much attention to myself.

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Could MISRA-C have prevented the Apple iPhone SSL Bug?

The mainstream media has been reporting a vulnerability in the SSL, in Apple's iPhone

What Was The Problem?

According to a diff of the source code, an extra gotowas inserted in the nest of conditions.

if ((err = SSLHashSHA1.update(&hashCtx, &signedParams)) != 0)
    goto fail;
    goto fail;  // This one added by mistake

By a quirk of the C language, only the single statement (or compound statement) after an if is executed when the condition is met – so the second goto (line 62) becomes unconditional.

At first glance, this could be put down to "one of those things" – but errors such as this are easily preventable.

Compound Statements

Most coding guidelines, (for example, MISRA C produced by the MISRA Consortium) require [Rule 15.6 MISRA C:2012] that the body of … a selection statement shall be a compound statement.

So in the Apple example, this would have become:

if ((err = SSLHashSHA1.update(&hashCtx, &signedParams)) != 0)
{
    goto fail;
    goto fail;
}

Which would not have been a problem!

Use of Goto

The second aspect that requires scrutiny is the use of multiple goto statements – quite simply, the code snippet at the heart of this bug could very easily be restructured to an if … else if … else if … else ladder, therefore removing the need of the goto statements.

Although the subject can be divisive, Rule 15.1 of MISRA C:2012 recommends that the goto statement should not be used. Note that MISRA C:2012 has relaxed the required status of previous editions, and now additionally provides guidance on how to use goto statements, if you do choose to use them…

Static Analysis

ALthough it is said that the bug was not discovered in testing, it was entirely preventable, by adopting the simple process of running static analysis. Most compilers provide some static analysis support, and I am very surprised that Apple does not require static analysis to be performed on all of its code.

Perhaps it will now…

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BSI relaunches UK C Panel

After a number of years without an "official" UK mirror panel, the British Standards Institute has launched a new panel IST/5/-/24 to act as the UK's contribution to ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG14 – the C language standards body.

The previous UK panel IST/5/-/14 was disbanded in 2008.

The new panel, chaired by Joseph Myers, will provide input to WG14 during future work to improve ISO/IEC 9899 – the C standard.  I have joined in a two-hatted way: firstly purely in a personal capacity; but also as a representative of the MISRA C Working Group.

I look forward to being able to contribute usefully…

 

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Andrew becomes “Osprey”

For the last year, my eldest daughter, Emily, has been a member of the 7th Farnborough Beaver Colony… and I've been an occasional helper on an informal basis.

However, with the imminent departure of the current Beaver Scout Leader (aka Nightingale) and her Assistant (her son, aka Hawk) to pastures new, this is about to change!

osprey_perched_uprightWhile the Group Scout Leader (aka Kingfisher) will be taking over as the Beaver Scout Leader, I have agreed to become a Beaver Scout Sectional Assistant.

Within the Colony, all leaders take the name of birds; I have chosen the name of my favourite bird…

So now (at least from a Beaver Scouting perspective) I have become Osprey!

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