Testing in a Limo

I was traveling from the airport to home the other day listening to the limo driver complain about the new credit card validation system. The theory was that credit cards would be validated through the Nextel phone. The communication connection couldn’t be made so the reality was the driver skipped validating my card. He said he hasn’t been able to validate any cards since the new system was installed.

I asked some questions: How long have you had the new system? 3 days. What happened to the old system? It was removed from the car. Did he have a chance to test or become familiar with the new system before the old system was removed? No. Did he know if the new system was tested in any cars or was it only tested in an office test lab? He didn’t know.

The product might have been tested in an office test lab before it was rolled out to a few test limos. But how does a limo compare a lab? In a limo there would the factors of a moving vehicle, telephone wires overhead, other cell phones nearby and the possibility that the driver might turn the radio down vs. off providing multiple frequency disruptions that can’t all be simulated in an office test lab. And what about the power factor – was the system tested with the phone connected via a car adapter (as my driver was using)?

I can tell when a software issue has captured my interest because I find myself thinking about different variables. My curiosity builds.

I explained to the driver what I did for a living and he was genuinely excited (a refreshing change for me). I gave him my card. I think I’ll call the company to see if they would be interested in my services. I’ve tested in a several different test labs over the years but never in a limo. Maybe I can get a stretch?

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