Have you ever noticed that there are several headlines used repeatedly by bloggers and other digital writers, all of which are designed for nothing else than to try to grab traffic? Not that there is anything wrong with trying to grab traffic, but more often than not these posts are nothing but fluff, and simply play off public opinion regarding some polarizing topic.
The three which annoy me most are:
Note that it is not always 10 things – some of us can only count to 3.
Those are my favourites – what are yours?
I think “myth” is too polite a term here. Complete and utter bullshit would seem to be more appropriate, both for the situation in Canada, and in the United States.
On the one hand, there is constant whining on the part or the tech industry that they cannot find enough qualified people. Their solution: allow in more immigrants who, while qualified, will often work for less money in order to get here and get established. This is, in effect, absolutely no different than off-shoring the jobs in order to get them done more cheaply. Whether they hire people off-shore, or bring people from off-shore here, it amounts to the same thing.
On the other hand, we have stories like this one on age discrimination, this one Companies won’t even look at resumes of the long-term unemployed. Then there are the many, many articles regarding the challenges of new grads finding work in their fields, including many in STEM fields.
So lets look at these points:
Does anyone else see the bullshit in this situation? The reality is that
I have worked for many companies that did hire new grads, did invest in growing that talent, and did hire experienced people (even though they were more expensive) to mentor that junior staff. And you know what, those companies were successful.
Do not get me wrong, I am not “anti-immigration”. I think that immigration adds a great deal to our country.
Just don’t try to feed me some bullshit line that it is the only way to get the technical talent you need.
Last Friday, I tweeted something which was badly worded, and managed to piss off much of our UX team (not to mention a few UX people far and wide):
Now I ask you, how could that post possibly offend anyone (note sarcasm)?
So, I would like to clarify what I was thinking when I posted that (and again ran into the problem that most of my thoughts do not fit into 140 characters).
First, I had been reading a number of posts and other articles by so-called UX experts, thought leaders, and others (all off whom shall go nameless, as I do not need anymore flames – well, actually I enjoy flames, but am full at the moment). Like many fanatics, they have (in my humble opinion) some fairly radical beliefs that are not well grounded in the real world. These are the “UX people” to whom I was referring in my post. Yes, my choice of words was bad.
Secondly, I have a great deal of respect for the UX process. I even have a lot of respect for most of the UX people I know (even the ones with whom I disagree). Frequently it is the UX department with whom I have an issue. I have the same issue with Marketing (the department) versus Marketing (the process), and with Architecture (the department) versus Architecture (the process).
The comparison with architecture is particularly relevant, as I have had many arguments over the years in software organizations as to whether “architect” is a role or a job title – should there be an “architecture group” separate from the development team. My belief is a resounding NO! I tend to believe that “architect” is a role which and individual with the appropriate skills and training assumes on a specific project. On another project, that same person may be a senior developer. My concern with architects in a group by them selves is that I have frequently seen these groups (a) become extremely elitist; and (b) become too far removed from the reality of implementation, leading to architectures which are elegant, beautiful, and difficult to impossible to build on-time and on-budget. Often, the 99% philosophically correct, current-best-practice architecture is not necessary, when the 80% solution can actually be implemented on-time and on-budget.
I find that UX groups is some organizations, and UX thought-leaders in the world at large, are falling victim to much the same challenges I described for architecture. Too much separation between UX and implementation creates certain challenges. And, there is often little willingness to deviate from the “philosophically correct vision” in favour of practical reality.
And as a final thought, I definitely do not have all the answers in these areas – I just have some very definite questions about how we (in the global sense) do things.
I was looking at the Apple stock chart on CNN.com, and saw two apparently contradictory headlines listed:
I knew that it was likely just a case of using different comparison time frames, but it still looked amusing!
As I looked at the two articles, my suspicions were validated. The article on the left was describing a Q4-Q1 drop of 33%, not all that surprising given the iPhone 5 launch and holiday season. The second article was describing year-over-year Q1 growth of 25%, which seems pretty good.
Isn’t it nice how you carefully select which stats to use in your headline, in order to drive the perception you want?
As Twain said: Lies, damned lies, and statistics!
Yay! My Leap Motion developer unit arrived at lunch today. Below is a video of my first experiment with getting it working. Unfortunately, I will not have any time to look at it this week, but stay tuned!
A first look at the Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro, also by the world’s worst videographer (me)!
A video of me unboxing the Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro, by the world’s worst videographer (me)!
Interesting and very inspirational article/video about programs at EARTH University in Costa Rica (and in Costa Rica in general), both teaching and implementing environmentally sustainable practices.
Really makes on wonder why countries like Canada cannot do the same – it is almost like our government doesn’t give a shit.
I have been running Windows 8 for a while now (as many people have, given Microsoft’s approach to releasing “previews”). I started playing with it just after the //Build/ conference in 2011, and switched to running it full-time on all of my day-to-day computers back in June. I even blogged a bit about my initial experiences, but I stopped because there was not that much to write about. It is my personal experience that once you get past the initial shock of the user interface changes, doing day-to-day work on Windows 8 is not all that different than Windows 7 (note I am referring to Windows 8 here, not Windows RT).
I really like Windows 8, but I am not sure I would upgrade to it “just because”. If it is on a computer I buy, I will enjoy using it, but will likely not upgrade any more machines.
But…there are some things about Windows 8 that annoy me to no end. Like most things Microsoft does, Windows 8 is 80% great, and 20% ranging from annoying to intolerable. Here are my top 5 issues (at least for today).
This has been said by many reviewers. Some refer to it as not finished, others as schizophrenic. Still other descriptions have been even more colourful.
My issue is specifically with the features which require you to switch to the traditional desktop to do things.
One example is computer settings. While the Settings charm allows you to get to some settings (either directly or via the Change PC settings link), the vast majority of settings require you to jump to the Desktop and open the Control Panel, just as you always have.
Sorry, Microsoft, that is just plain lazy. If there is a setting to which you want users to have access, then present it through your Modern UI.
Another example is Windows Explorer. Why do I have to go to the Desktop to move files around, look for files, etc. I can see maybe having the Desktop Windows Explorer there as a last resort, but I should be able to do anything a normal user would want to do with files through the primary UI. If Microsoft cannot figure out a good way to use the Modern UI paradigm to implement file manipulations, then it isn’t a very strong paradigm.
I am torn on my opinion of the Mail app. Actually, no I am not – I hate it.
For the most part, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it (other than the lack of support for POP3 – I mean come on!). There is also nothing especially right about it either. It looks like pretty much every other mail client out there.
When I read the post Building the Mail app, it is clear that the team put a lot of thought into how to build the Mail app. Unfortunately, much of it was wrong.
Yes, it supports various “Windows 8 glitter”, like sharing contracts, search, Live Tiles, pinning accounts, etc. But is that enough?
I really would have liked to see email “reimagined” a little . The way it came out just looks like traditional email prettied up a little (very little). Could no one imagine any strategy using the Metro design language/Modern UI to actually make working with email better?
The PDF Viewer
What could go wrong with a PDF Viewer, right?
Well, how about not remember things like how I use the software? Or at least giving me the ability to tell the software what settings I want to change?
The big one for me is Continuous versus Single Page reading. I like to have PDFs in continuous mode. And, every time I open a PDF in the PDF App, I tell the app I want to use Continuous view. And every time, it forgets.
I know this is a nit-picky kind of thing – but it is endemic in Microsoft’s Apps. To not remember my preferences automatically is bad design. To not even allow me to set my preferences is unforgivably bad design.
Ok, this is another very small thing, but I run into it so often that it drives me nuts.
Open the SkyDrive App, select a file, and click the download charm. You are then presented with a UI to allow you to choose a destination folder, and a button that says “Choose this folder”. So far so good, right?
Click the button. The button then switches to say “Ok”. Congratulations! You have now added one completely useless interaction to something I will do all the time. Yes, I might have selected the wrong folder, but it is hardly irreversible. If it is the wrong folder, I can move it. Don’t annoy me on every interaction, just to handle the “exception” case.
I am not talking about the Office Desktop applications here, or even the Office RT applications, but about the Modern UI/Windows Store apps – OneNote MX, and Lync 2013.
Both of these are cute proof-of-concept sort of apps, but they are functionally really disappointing. I sympathize that the Office team was probably brought into the game quite late, and that they were in middle of their own major product release cycle, but better not to release anything that what you have. Neither of these are good examples of Modern UI apps, and some of the missing pieces are really stupid (why can’t I change the pen colour in OneNote MX? why can’t I pin a User or Group from Lync to the Start menu?)
There are other things that bug me, but these are the five which are top of mind today. I also kind of annoyed at some of the limitations of the App development model, but that will have to wait for another post!