Thursday, August 04, 2011

Collaboration

Seems collaboration is the latest buzz word going around lately. What does this really mean? Basically, "Stop fighting and start getting along!". The truth is that no one can really accomplish anything without the help of others. Think of the last goal you accomplished and you probably had help from someone, somehow. The more people start adopting this mindset, the easier and happier our lives will be. Really, isn't that our one true goal?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Voice

Lately I've been wondering if as technologists we have forgotten what we're here for: to provide a service to the customer. Have we forgotten this? More often then not, I hear people trying to convince others on their own ideas just because they are passionate about them - without consideration of the people that actually use the applications. Some say that “customer" is a loose term and can be left to interpretation. I define "customer" as those whom use my applications on a daily basis. What's your definition?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Ever Changing World

After countless of long nights, weekends and personal sacrifices, the software product is finally deployed to the customers ready to reap in all the ROI that was promised. Instead, the product is greeted by users that don’t really care about all the features or hard work that went into it. The product becomes littered with features that will never be used and others that will be changed so much to the point of re-design. This happens too often. So why does it happen and why do we let them get to this point?

First problem is unclear or incomplete product strategy and vision. If you don’t know where you’ll be in the future with the product, how do you know what you want now?

The most common problem is making a complete brain dump of every possible feature that could ever be requested and adding them to the requirements list. What happens is that the project has hundreds of requirements to fulfill and what’s worst is they all are ranked as high priority. The biggest problem with this strategy isn’t that it will take a long time to deliver a product with so many requirements, rather that this is a clear indication that the customer doesn’t really know what they want (see the first problem above).

Since the customer doesn’t know what they want, you can be sure that many change requests will follow or worse, they just won’t use the product after it is built.

So how do we fix it? Force customers to make up their mind?

We need to have a good idea of what the business problem is first, then come up with a product vision and strategy to solve the problem. This should be at a high level. Only then can we move on to gather requirements in small packages in order to stay flexible to the ever changing business world.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nexus One: First Impressions

I've been playing with the Nexus One now for a couple of days. I didn't want to rush to make a post about it as soon as I got it for I wanted to wait until the excitement of a new gadget wore off a bit - takes more than one week! I have to say that I am highly impressed with not only the Nexus One, but the Android 2.1 operating system. The phone is very fast and am amazed at just how many options I now have compared to the iPhone.

I will have to admit, Android is not as user friendly as the iPhone OS. The first time you use an iPhone, you can learn to use at least 80 to 90 percent of the available features. When using the Android OS, and especially coming from an iPhone, it takes a significant amount of time to really learn all the OS has to offer. Now that's not to say that you can't use it very generally right off the bat.  Things like setting the incoming text messages to vibrate can take a few minutes to find - hint: that's a application specific setting and not an OS setting.

The virtual keyboard on the Nexus One is another feature that takes even more to get used to when coming from the iPhone OS.  I did find myself not being as efficient on it as I was on the iPhone's keyboard.  I even getting better with practice and there are keyboard replacement software that makes this even easier such as ThickButtons and Swype - although I'm still looking for a beta version of Swype to install. Overall, though, it's not too much of an issue for me and has not really caused me any headaches.

Battery life on the Nexus One has been very comparable to the iPhone 3G, with the Nexus One having a longer charge by about an hour.  I am a heavy user of the phone and use a lot of data during the day.  I have tried streaming music off last.fm, reading tweets and answering text messages during the course of two hours without ever connecting to WI-FI and found that not too much more of the battery was drained than I expected. The first half day that I used it, I spent downloading a lot of applications, steaming music and trying out different twitter apps.  The battery lasted about a good 7 hours before I had to charge it.  For my usage, I think that's really good.

I will have to update the blog with more of my experiences as I use it even more.  Feel free to ask any questions about the phone or if there's anything in particular you'd like for me to cover.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Why I'm Switching To The Nexus One

The iPhone and I have had quite the adventure. It's been like one of those relationships that you'll always remember. Started off with so much love and adoration, but then it took a turn for the worse. It started with some taunting and name calling, then some arguments and before you know it, we were always bickering at each other.  That's when I knew it was time to move on.

History In The Making
Ever since the Android operating system was revealed, I've been keeping a close eye on it. Waiting for the right time to try it out. I've always felt that it was not ready yet - like the Linux of yesteryear. Now, I believe the OS is ready for prime time - only thing that was lacking was the right hardware.  I had high hopes for the the Droid - only to be disappointed and taunted by the fact that it is on the Verizon network. Then the Nexus One was revealed and all was good. That is until it was also revealed that AT&T 3G was not supported. All the while I kept bickering with my iPhone 3G on how slow it would get or how ridiculous it was that I had to completely shut down apps when I wanted to Tweet, surf and text to friends.  

Long Term Goals
Of course it does help that developing on the Android platform means I can develop apps in Java.  That is a huge plus for me since I have made a full commitment to this language and eco system.  Although I do wish the UI building had better support and tooling, it's one hurdle that I'm willing to overcome.

Perfect Timing
All that changed last week when the AT&T 3G compatible version was released to the world just when Walmart gave out our yearly incentive award.  The decision did not come lightly since switching to Android would mean that I would no longer be able to have access to the 100k+ apps or the ability to develop them.  It all came down to this: if I find that the Android OS and Nexus One are not for me, I'll sell it on e-bay or craigslist and buy an iPhone 4.0 - whenever that comes out.

Time Will Tell
Will I enjoy it? Will this be the start of another relationship much like the iPhone one I'm getting out of? One thing is for certain, I'm eagerly anticipating opening up the package and using the new gadget in my life. Expect to see many more posts about the Nexus One, Android and mobile development in the days to come.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

PC Debate: Merry Christmas

Funny how not so long ago we would all say “Merry Christmas!” You would even see banners all over the cities with those two words that carry so much meaning. Then it turned to “Merry X-Mas!” I never really liked that phrase so I never used it, I guess many people felt the same way, because “Happy Holidays!” sneaked up on us little by little until it became accepted as the “official” saying from banners on businesses to holiday cards. What ever happened to saying “Merry Christmas!”? All of a sudden we are too concerned with someone being offended because we used the word “Christ” when in reality its only a few people that actually do get offended. Many people argue that the phrase is meant to generalize all the holidays. To them I say, Don’t be so Lazy! If you don’t like the name “Christ” then don’t use it. Simple as that, but don’t make the rest of us stop using it because a few people will get offended. Guess what? Now there’s a bunch of us that are getting offended because of that phrase. Why? Everywhere you look now you see “Happy Holidays!”, even the customer service reps. are saying it. Yet all these sales are mainly for one specific day. What day is that? CHRISTMAS! That’s right, it is not called HOLIDAYS. Are we going to start saying, “Happy December 25th!”? No. That would be stupid. Why? December 25th is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus CHRIST. CHRISTmas. Yet the phrase and meaning has been lost in the mind and spirits of many. Today a Bank Of America employee actually wished me a Merry Christmas. I was surprised, in a good way, and wished her a Merry Christmas as well - with a big smile. It felt nice to be told that by a customer facing employee. It’s just sad how many corporations, governments and people don’t get it. An MSNBC poll even showed that a little over 4% were offended at the phrase “Merry Chirstmas” while more than 54% were offended by the phrase “Happy Holidays”. Based on all this, shouldn’t the politically correct phrase be the one on the calendar - Merry Christmas?

Monday, November 06, 2006

All at once ...

Time seems to come and go, without mercy, no prisoners. I must dominate this beast for it keeps beating me to the punch. The last time I wrote a post is proof enough. So many decisions to make, so much work still to be done, so many pages to read, so many tests to take ... yet the days are still 24 hours short and my body keeps pleading for sleep. Being sick sure doesn't help the situation! Today has been a crazy day, I found myself really thinking of the future now that it seems so close and so real. Apparently I scored very high on two tests I took this past weekend. I couldn't believe my ears since they were extremely tough and took about 3 hours each. I guess patience paid off - and the books I have! However, I find myself with a trip to San Francisco later this month and some major life changing decisions to make ahead. It is these times that I miss that lost guidance even more so. I have confidence that the decision I make will be the correct one, but arriving at that key decision will be quite the challenge. Ah, how I love challenges, tests, projects and tons of pages to read! Gives me purpose and is the antidote for boredom!