Categories
development leadership quickfix ux wtf

De-pluralisation: strategic blinkers

The process of de-pluralisation takes all your existing problems and combines them into one simple manageable problem: “it’s JavaScript”, “it’s Windows”, “it’s the CDO” with a simple manageable solution “kill it”. Like all simple solutions it’s almost always wrong.

“People aren’t complying with our data quality. Users keep putting in wrong email addresses.”

“The new computer system will fix that”

“Users complain that there’s too many steps to sign off expenses”

“Each step will be faster in the new computer system”

“Staff have low job satisfaction”

“New computer system!”

“Our users aren’t interested in that new feature”

“New computer system!”

“We’ve been hacked with a social engineering attack”

“NEW COMPUTER SYSTEM!”

Changing one thing is rarely the answer. There are many pain points and problems we all face day to day. It’s tempting to try and fix them all together, but unless you understand why the problem exists and what the parameters are to fix that problem, you can’t fix it.

Sometimes New Computer System (TM) will fix multiple problems, if they’ve been defined and the system has been designed to do so. But don’t expect it to fix everything because it’s new. That’s how to make people disenchanted.

If you think one system will rule them all, you may as well throw your team in the fire now before you waste time and money on a misguided transformation.

Categories
security ux wtf

DRM and plastic knifes

image
I tried to do something I wasn't allowed to do but they refused to tell me what I'm not allowed to do.

I thought Digital Rights Management was dying when iTunes no longer required it. I was wrong. It’s sneaking into HTML, it’s in coffee machines, it’s being discussed for JPEG, it’s led to the introduction of boot lockers to prevent users from modifying the operating system on their machine.

So what? Surely copyright holders have the right to protect their content, no matter that the entire music industry could be bought out with Google or Apple’s spare change. Surely they need the money to support the poor struggling up and coming artists, who they can’t afford to pay from streaming revenues. Surely we should just let Hollywood have their way?

And anyway, doesn’t restricting operating systems and the software we can install protect us from the bad guys? Apple will keep us safe in their protected iOS and App Store, right?

When you restrict tools via drm, only the professionals can use the full tools, but where do the next professionals come from? We’re suffering from a shortage of people who want to learn to develop software, and we’re putting extra barriers in place, so that we need specialist devices for teaching development in the form of the Raspberry Pi and others, because the main machines we use are locked down and restricted.

Knives are dangerous and they can kill, so Scotland has restrictions on their sale and carrying them, but we still teach children to cook, sharp knives and tools for sharpening them are still widely available, and you don’t need to be a licenced chef to use a real knife.

If we can trust society enough that we don’t need plastic knives outside preschool, fast food vendors and cheap airlines, why can’t we trust them with access to a fully functional computer?

Categories
lifehacks programming quickfix thedailywtf timeout wtf

take a good, hard look at your first revision and just say to yourself, "gloves."

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve stumbled upon the coffee-room solution to a big problem. I’m sure most people recognise the feeling. You’re sitting at the computer with a big problem staring you in the face, and you’ve been battling it for a couple of hours trying to find a solution. Then you decide to pack it in and go get a coffee, and after 2 minutes away from the computer, before the coffee’s even poured, you’ve figured out a one-line solution that means you can throw away all the baggage from the last two hours and get on with the next task.



This link is to a story for people who don’t have their coffee-room solution.



So remember, next time you’ve been staring at a problem for a couple of hours, go grab yourself a coffee and see if there’s any gloves.



C.



The Complicator’s Gloves – The Daily WTF (-)

take a good, hard look at your first revision and just say to yourself, “gloves.”




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