Saturday, May 27, 2006

A dozen years, an airport, and 263 feet

Way back in college I was a part of Alpha Phi Omega. Purdue's chapter of APO was a great place to be. In fact, the only people I keep in touch with from college are all from APO. I would say I spent most of my time with four very different people; Linda, Jay, Chris, and Glenn.

Which is funny because Linda and I were both at PHX, or Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Thursday. She was catching a connecting flight between Lafayette, IN and San Diego on the way to see her husband Eric. I was catching a flight home to see Kristi. I just missed seeing Linda in person because the timing between her flight and mine was too close for the space between terminals 3 and 4. We gave each other a virtual hug over our respective cell phones and said "Maybe next time."

Tonight I got a phone call from Jay, which is surprising because we only talk to each other once a year or in the annual Christmas card letter. We've only gotten together a couple of time socially since I moved to Dalls, in part because the distance between our respective suburbs is pretty high. But I suppose it has more to do with him being a family man with three boys and me traveling for a living. Anyway, all that is going to change next month. It turns out he just bought a house down the block from us. It's a red brick two story we can see from our front yard, only seven houses away!

I suppose I should be on the lookout, because at this rate I might get to see Chris or Glenn real soon too! Hmm, I wonder when I'll be seeing Tommy, and Emily, and Doug, and Heather, and Derek, and Brenda, and Joe, and Jen, and Chris, and...

Post Script: Doesn't Lee live in Phoenix? Hmm, maybe I'll see him next.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Who's to blame?

Steve Johnson, over at Pragmatic Marketing has a good rant about a poor software experience in Another negative development rant. And while I love the rant, Jerry Aubin does a great job pointing us away from the developer in his post, Are There Lazy Programmers?

For my part, I think Jerry came close to hitting the nail on the head. While I agree that things are broken and UX should be better almost everywhere, putting the blame on the developer is pretty close to a cop-out.

(Generalizing…) I think most people perform to the level they are expected to perform; certainly not much beyond that effort. In the business world, this is largely set by the culture of the department or company. Obviously Garmin has a different set of expectations for user interactions than other companies (let’s say Apple or 37signals). One of those other companies would demand more from the developer, dev manager, product manager, and the business sponsor. In the other companies the result for the consumer would be different.

While part of the reason may be economic (we certainly hope the analysis went that deep, though I often doubt it), it may be a culture (of laziness) starting in one of the “likely failure points in the chain before the engineer gets involved”.