Safe driving has two components: Safe cars and safe drivers.
A Volvo car is built like a tank and is equipped with all kinds of safety features – it’s a very safe car. Unfortunately, Volvo has unthinkingly undone all the advances they have made on the car side of the equation by making the driver much more likely to cause an accident. How did they do that? With touchscreens, of course.
The above phase means “who will guard the guards themselves?” and is relevant in many security contexts.
Here in Denmark, we are currently having our own “News of the World” affair. In our case, a contractor at the payment processor handling almost all Danish credit cards was able to automatically send a tip to a journalist whenever a celebrity used his or her credit card. That makes it hard to take an incognito honeymoon (more...)
When people take on home renovation “Do-It-Yourself” projects beyond their skills, disaster ensues. Apparently, this is so common that you can base a whole TV series on this theme – where professionals rescue the disastrous DIY project for the grateful and clueless amateur handyman.
I’ve seen the same thing happen in many IT projects. The people in the organization overestimate their own skills and are unable or unwilling to pay the cost of professional external (more...)
The manager was proudly showing off his new IT classroom.
“Where is the projector?” I asked.
“Oh, we don’t need a projector. The instructor can just take over everybody’s screens.”
I have been teaching in environments like this, and it does not work well. When I have a piece of information or a computer screen projected in large format in front of everybody, the class has a common focus on the task. If (more...)
The Heartbleed bug has shown that security vulnerabilities can pop up everywhere. Unfortunately, many IT organizations depend on a single security layer to secure their network – and as the ineffectiveness of the Maginot Line proved, that is a risky strategy. You need multiple security layers – what soldiers call Defence in Depth.This illustration is from my weekly Technology That Fits newsletter – sign up here.
Everybody knows they need good dental hygiene – daily brushing and flossing, regular checkups at the dentist. But many IT professionals don’t realize they need good IT hygiene as well – regular maintenance, security patches, etc.
If you don’t practice good IT hygiene, you will experience pain down the line. I’d like to help you avoid that – get in touch.
I was just in Amsterdam last week, and they have the smallest cars I have ever seen:
At first, it looks counter-intuitive, given that the average Dutchman seems to be several meters tall. But really small cars is actually a very obvious solution for a crowded city like Amsterdam with many canals, narrow roads and very limited parking. These mini-cars are actually parked on the pavement, probably avoiding the 5 Euro per hour parking fee (more...)
The company Nest, recently acquired by Google for the usual billions, makes smart thermostats and smoke detectors. Unfortunately, they did not think through the user experience of their Nest smoke and CO detector.
In principle, it’s great that you can turn off your smoke detector by waving your hand at it – like in “oh, cut it out, I just overcooked my microwave popcorn a bit.”
Less great is that if people experience an (more...)
I watched in horror as the updated application was deployed to the test server. The application was fine, having been subjected to the first test by the developers, but the deployment process was bad. There were various home-built utilities to run with very specific parameters in order to build the deployment package that would then be semi-automatically installed on the test server. It took a new developer a whole day and 20-30 attempts to build (more...)
I subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 and had a payment stuck on an expired credit card. Even though there was a new card, the billing system kept trying the old one.
In a modern cloud service, I would open a service request and expect things to be handled for me. But this is Microsoft. And with the arrogance of the monopolist they used to be, they require you to please show up when they feel (more...)
The business wants IT to deliver a good user experience at low cost. Many people in IT considers these two goals to be conflicting, but they are not. The secret to good user experience at low cost is to use existing best practice, codified in User Experience Design Patterns. So where do you get these magic, cost-saving design patterns? A good starting point is the very comprehensive library of UX design patterns that Oracle is (more...)
AMIS and Oracle are pulling out all the stops – Oracle is flying in their top UX talent to speak, AMIS has lined up some of their experienced consultants, and they’ve even invited a few outside experts (like me).
I’ll be co-presenting with Killian Evers (more...)
When implementing a standard system, too many organizations allow the programmers to reach for the programming toolbox right away. It might initially seem faster than using the customization features of the application, but over time, the cost of custom coding just keeps adding up.
The most crucial decision when implementing a standard system is how much custom coding you allow. Do not underestimate the cost of coding.
The graphs comes from my weekly “Technology That (more...)
It’s the time of the year when the Danish Tax authorities release the annual tax statement, and all 5 million Danes want to see if they have to pay extra or will get a refund.
This used to be a day of crashes, downtime and unavailable systems, followed by ritual gnashing of teeth by politicians and the press. Today, the system simply places people in an orderly queue – I’m number 115,815 and my expected (more...)
Again and again, I’ve seen significant decisions made based on defective reasoning. One of the most common errors is the fallacy of the converse – the belief that if A leads to B, and B happened, then A must have happened.
This fails to take account of all the other things that might have caused B. But many people don’t see this because these other explanations are beyond their cognitive horizon.