Omni Converter Challenge - Introduction

The Omni Converter Challenge (OCC) is a web service designed by Palantir as a target for practice debugging/development. Participants are each given a server instance hosting the Omni Converter service, where they can look for deficiencies and try to improve upon them.  Over the next few weeks I will perform exploratory and regression testing on OCC and track my progress in this journal.

The main challenge in finding practice material for this site has been balancing commitment with results. The sort of small-team projects you might find on the Sourceforge Help Wanted page offer high-responsibility roles, which would be great experience but may demand more time than I can afford. On the other hand, I could spend all day searching for Firefox bugs, but I wouldn't expect to find many as just one tester out of thousands. OCC seems like a good place to start - it's guaranteed to have bugs, it's of a manageable size, and it's a one-person project. 

I expect the project will break into six parts (not counting this Introduction):

1) Analysis - What is Omni Converter's expected behaviour?

2) Exploration - Rapidly creating and executing tests, refining my understanding of the system and catching obvious bugs.

3) Regression Planning - Designing a testplan to rigorously cover as much of Omni Converter as feasible. A plan that could be automated, or fed to an intern.

4) Execution - Automate the regression tests, or eat them myself. Will try to do both, this is a learning exercise after all.

5) Results - What bugs were found, how could they be fixed, how would those fixes be verified?

6) Postmortem - What went right, what went wrong, and how can I improve for the next project?