Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SORT it out Microsoft

Very disappointingly found this list of mobile phone providers on a form on a Microsoft website.

It took me far longer than it should to find 'Orange (UK)', because the list is not sorted alphabetically. (Look at the second character in the entries starting with 'O'.)

Can anyone say poor usability?

example of really poor programming

I got in my car this morning and the (outside) temperature gauge read -0oC.

The issue here is that minus zero is actually zero.
Yes, as it gets colder the display changes between 2, 1, 0, -0, -1, ...

Now it might be that they (whoever wrote the temperature display software) thought that by showing the minus indicator, based on the un-rounded temperature was actually helping to provide an extra level of detail in the display.

Two things:
1. When I'm driving in my car I don't need to know the outside air temperature to such a level of accuracy as in practice I only need to know two things. Firstly, I need to know if the outside temperature is below about 3oC, as this is when I might expect to see ice on the roads. Secondly, I interested if it gets to below -4oC, as this is when my anti freeze stops working and I may have other issues with the car.

2. Precision should not be shown in an unconventional and technically incorrect way. We have a common method of showing precision in numbers and that is through an increased number of decimal places. The display in my car doesn't display any decimal places (see point 1 above).

The outside temperature gauge in my car does a bad thing in mixing rounded and un-rounded figures. Or, combines, calculates and displays data of differing levels of accuracy.

It's just a good thing that the people involved in writing and testing this aren't writing financial software. As inconsistencies and errors in rounding could have consequences that could be much more far reaching.

It's the same way I feel when someone is struggling to do a simple task. Rather than get annoyed with what their doing, or the speed at which they are doing it. I take solace in the fact that they are not doing something more serious or something with bigger consequences for poor performance.

More on presentations

Friday, January 19, 2007

Vista and Office 2007 Developer Launch

Been at the developer launch of Vista and Office 2007 at Microsoft today. A lot to take in in just a day.

Really exciting to see lots of new things.
Scared, frightened, saddened and frustrated by how much I don't know and how much new things there are to learn.
Will be exciting to learn it though. Can't wait till I can write programs that will make a room full of people say 'WOW!!!'.

Shout out to those presenting the sessions:


Saw this:

Reminded me of a post I saw somewhere about a list of old tips for presentations. It was a Microsoft internal list that wasn't widely distributed (but shoudl be). It had advice on colours, fonts, etc. as well as techniques for slides.

Can't find that (bother) but have got references to these:,16376,1677772,00.html

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Super Villain

Not so sure about this

Your results:
You are The Joker

The Joker
Mr. Freeze
Dark Phoenix
Dr. Doom
Green Goblin
Lex Luthor
Poison Ivy

The Clown Prince of Crime. You are a brilliant mastermind but are criminally insane. You love to joke around while accomplishing the task at hand.

Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test

ego boost

Hi again Matt,

Right, I've been through all the CVs I've had for this one, I now have a
shortlist of ten CVs and you're still top of the list! Therefore, I'd
like to speak with you first! Please give me a call on XXXXX XXXXXX.
This evening would be great, if not then tomorrow.

Best Regards,

>-----Original Message-----
>Sent: 02 January 2007 14:47
>To: 'Matt Lacey'
>Dear Matt,
>Perfect. Seems almost too good to be true - you're the very epitome of
>the classic profile of the perfect candidate for this company (right
>down to the football! They have a company football night once a week!)
>and the kind of company you are seeking is an exact match to this one.
>We'll be in touch to progress this.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Ray Ozzie, who joined Microsoft last year to address problems with release delays and patching, wrote, "Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges and it causes end-user and administrator frustration."

"You’d think that twice as much code would make your software only twice as complex. But actually, each time you increase the amount of code, your software grows exponentially more complicated. Each minor addition, each change, each interdependency, and each preference has a cascading effect. Keep adding code recklessly and, before you know it, you’ll have created the dreaded Big Ball of Mud." - 37Signals 'Getting Real'