Windows Rorschach:

Windows XP had its own share of complaints. The original wallpaper for Windows XP was Red Moon Desert, until people claimed that Red Moon Desert looked like a pair of buttocks. People also thought that one of the generic people used in the User Accounts control panel people looked like Hitler. And one government claimed the cartoon character in the original Switch Users dialog looked like an obscene body part. We had to change them all. But it makes me wonder about the mental state of our beta testers…

. . .

[Also…] In early 1995, a border war broke out between Peru and Ecuador and the Peruvian government complained to Microsoft that the border [in the TimeZone selection map] was incorrectly placed. Of course, if we complied and moved the border northward, we’d get an equally angry letter from the Ecuadorian government demanding that we move it back. So we removed the feature altogether.

On-line Reading Notes…

Here’s some recent URL’s I’ve come across…

  • Innovation as a business, an IDEO article:

    By moving among so many small worlds, it has acquired more than just a lot of good objects and ideas. IDEO has also acquired links to a range of vendors, suppliers and manufacturers that are particularly innovative or easy to work with, to research scientists with deep knowledge of emerging materials, to product companies that are central to particular markets. IDEO has realized it is not just in the business of combining existing objects and ideas in novel ways, but also in the business of building communities around those recombinant innovations.

  • Agile Architect:

    Among the architect’s key responsibilities are management of change and complexity. Allowing for and managing future change is a fundamental part of well-designed complex systems, but anathema to agile methods such as eXtreme Programming. Neither is it easy to strive for simplicity. Complexity and simplicity are relative terms, and simplicity for one stakeholder means complexity from a different viewpoint, like the frantic activity underwater to power a duck’s elegant glide.

  • Semiotics: A Primer for Designers:

    Semiotics and the branch of linguistics known as Semantics have a common concern with the meaning of signs. Semantics focuses on what words mean while semiotics is concerned with how signs mean.

    . . .

    Semiotics teaches us as designers that our work has no meaning outside the complex set of factors that define it. These factors are not static, but rather constantly changing because we are changing and creating them. The deeper our understanding and awareness of these factors, the better our control over the success of the work products we create.

  • Why extends is Evil:

    In general, it’s best to avoid concrete base classes and extends relationships in favor of interfaces and implements relationships. My rule of thumb is that 80 percent of my code at minimum should be written entirely in terms of interfaces. I never use references to a HashMap, for example; I use references to the Map interface.

    . . .

    Designers have applied the moniker “the fragile base-class problem” to describe this behavior. Base classes are considered fragile because you can modify a base class in a seemingly safe way, but this new behavior, when inherited by the derived classes, might cause the derived classes to malfunction. You can’t tell whether a base-class change is safe simply by examining the base class’s methods in isolation; you must look at (and test) all derived classes as well.

    Interestingly, this is a subtle application of part of the semiotics ideas above: the “symbol” of the base class can’t be fully understood on it’s own, it has to be viewed in it’s context, it’s use.

Inundation:

Managers are searching for strategies to deal with this inundation. Many find themselves working nights, weekends and vacations to tackle the most strategic issues because they are forced to deal with “all the other stuff” during the regular workday. This is why so many managers and workers — no matter what profession, rank or industry — find themselves moving things to do to the next day.

This is what I call Martin’s Law of Inundation, which says

You cannot really perform the number of tasks you have to do within the timeframe allotted.

. . .

If you dramatically increase the number of tasks you perform within a given period of time, the number of tasks handed to you will be increased exponentially before all the first tasks are completed.

Outsourcing in my Backyard:

US-based $1.3 billion BMC Software Inc, which recently announced nearly 900 job cuts, plans to ramp up its India development centre.

. . .

“For the development operations, the company has decided to start with 20-seat operations. The India centre will grow as all jobs lost due to natural attrition in the US as well as new work requirements will be added to India operations from now on,” claimed Mr Little.