steves.mind

If you're looking for useless stuff. You found it!

Archive for March, 2010

Attitude

Consider this the very first post that falls under the “pissed off” category. Nothing pisses me off more than people that likes to show off their power by disrespecting the others. Not only it pisses me off, it makes me want to punch them hard. (note to self: self control) You see, when it comes to power there’s two types of people: those who actually have it and those who don’t, but still try to obtain it.

It’s impressive how people try to get stuff done for them by asking other people to do it. Even more impressive is when that sort of task requires a lot of time and effort and they don’t even offer themselves to help you. Think of it like¬† a “do this so I don’t have to bother with it” type of attitude. Think it’s enough? Nah! Besides the attitude, they even got the nerves to put a time limit and demand it to be done right away.¬† Oh, and you know what? They even get pissed at you because you told him “Sorry man, right now I’m too busy to give you a hand with that”. It’s just … genius! I mean, damn, I wish I had a slave to do all the work I don’t like to do for me – If you know where I can get one, please mail me the info! (And hey, graduates don’t count!) – WAIT, it’s not the end yet. Now, imagine the person who has this type of attitude and is askin… I mean, demanding you to help him is actually the one person who receives more help from you.
Isn’t it like, the ultimate type of appreciation one can have from a person who keeps receiving your help and NEVER helped YOU with anything?

It’s quite an achievement to have the balls to try to exploit people just like that. If “get people to do work for you while you’re a mere employee” was an objective I’d say that guy would get 110%.

Congratufuckyoulations man!

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Time is running out

Right. I got plenty of that, give me a break. Or maybe I don’t but that isn’t the point anyway. I just wish sometimes I had more time to spend on the stuff I really like and want to do. This past week was filled with a bunch of issues (quite a few of them were not mine, but that’s OK – sort of) that I just decided I had to put an end on them. I’ve given some thought on the matter and I realized that, sometimes, the problems that escalate to the point of having people complaining (heavily) are the ones that are solved in a matter of minutes. Delaying these kind of issues just because they are not a priority can lead to the accumulation of them to a point where you just have too many to actually feel like resolving them. So, maybe sometimes the key is to just take care of them immediately or at least take note of it on a post-it to try and resolve them as soon as possible.

Another good thing is to let people know when you can’t fix their issue on the time limit you/they defined. Granted sometimes that’s not a possibility, it’s still a good way to damage-control. Plus, people like attention and they like it when you show to them that their problem is important. It’s all about psychology really. Nothing is urgent and clearly nothing is a life-or-death situation unless you let it go that way. Keeping things under control is essential in my (humble) opinion.

Oh, and by the way, I love competition. /happy-face

Development: User Interface is key to a sucessfull application

Now, more than ever, everything is about the looks. Not just technology, everything.

There’s a big difference between entering an office where everybody’s desks have piles of papers scattered around, documents on the floor and the employees dressed as if they were camping in a summer festival and an office where everything is clean, tidy and people dressed in a more formal way – why? Because the second scenario transmits organization and professionalism while the first one immediately makes you question the quality of the employees and their work. It’s not a golden rule as I’m certain there are a few exceptions to this, but it is a pretty accurate behavior. Society is becoming more aware and giving more value to the visual component of things which translate in a few simple concepts: design, style and eye-candy.

The last concept is a fusion of the first two, and that’s where you want to focus when we’re talking about new software applications. As a software developer every time I am given a new project I automatically think of delivering something awesome, not just good as, the way I see it, good is just delivering what the client asked nothing more, nothing less. We should always try and provide something better than what the client initially wanted which doesn’t necessarily implies adding new features and spending more time working, sometimes adding very simple things can add a lot of value to a software application and make your client happy.

I consider graphical interfaces the most important aspect of an application. The GUI (Graphical User Interface) of an application is the bridge between the human and machine, therefor the better the GUI the better the user will be able to do his job. Surely, you don’t want the user spending 10 minutes finding a menu, a link or a button to a key feature of your application the same way you don’t want to type 10 different passwords to log in onto your computer. Also, you don’t really want the user to get headaches from using the application because of huge contrasts or bright colors (e.g.: white text on red background) and obviously don’t want the user to keep clicking on the wrong button because it’s too close to some other element of the window/screen that the user uses frequently.

Keep in mind that the level of interaction, functionality and information delivery is done through the GUI so not only you will want the user to be able to do his work but you also want him to feel comfortable doing it. Designing a GUI must also take into consideration the human psychology and translate it into logic to provide the maximum level of usability and satisfaction.

Moreover, a client decision can heavily depend on the visual component of a software application as that’s the very first thing a user evaluates as soon as they see it and, it has a direct impact on how receptive they will be at using it.

Consequently it will also make the difference between acceptance and rejection in the marketplace.

Bogus feeling

A lot of people at my work consider the IT department an expense rather than a valuable part of the company. Moreover, not only they disregard its importance they also see the people who work at the IT dept. as “people who don’t do squat”. This type of feeling and mentality not only gives me the urge of punching everyone in the face but also makes me realize how clueless and ignorant the people at my work are. For a lot of them the reason behind the existence of an IT department in the company is as simple as “because we have computers”.

People take for granted the fact that, when they get to work, they will have a computer with a internet connection, access to their e-mail account and, in some cases, messenger. I’m cool with that, because in all honesty that is probably the lowest level type of thing(s) that the IT department is in charge of proving to the entire company. People do not realize that to send and receive emails there has to be a server providing a mail service, in order to see how much the company has made in the last day there is a sales system integrated with our core system (ERP) that processes and provides that information. People also fail to see how much work is behind an application that allows them to see if a order has arrived or if it’s still being processed, they fail to see how much time it took the IT people to create applications to make the other departments work easier. Basically, they fail at having the most basic understanding of what a IT department is.

Funniest part in all of this is people only have a glimpse of the importance of an department like mine when something stops working.

Sometimes I wish the servers went down for a week just to make people use the goddamn pen and paper like the old days. Even then I’m not sure if everybody would understand our work.

Here’s an interesting link that goes a bit more into detail about the importance of the IT in a company: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/special-report/it-innovation-schrage-video/