I am a Quality Assurance professional and I totally agree with you that testing is not about filling out defect reports but about finding bugs before they hit production. It is not only embarrassing to the development team but the QA team as well. That is why I like to create test cases from the very first draft of the specification. I think that QA should happen as the BA is writing the spec. Testing for logic as well as design before it even hits development would make unit testing a lot easier.
QA People at your place of work may be non-technical but I dont' think this is the norm. I QA by profession but I code in my personal time. I think this helps me to write better test cases because I think as a developer not as a "non-technical" QA person.
I have used Test::More to automate some tests before but I like manual testing. It allows me to get personal with the code and the application i'm testing. Automated testing is very impersonal and quick like a one-night stand :-). I like to get to know the application i'm testing even before I can see it.
Very nice meditation!
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