I just upgraded my iPad to iOS7, and have mixed views on the changes overall. The new functionality seems in general to be useful, but the flat design seems to be less clear than the old one and in particular some of the icons are really not intuitive or clear to me.
I've found one thing which particularly annoys me in the Mail application though:
My iPad is set to use British English, and Trash is not a British term! It's also inconsistent when there's a perfectly good wastebin icon on the email screen itself.
This started a train of thought about a similar icon/term which has always bothered me:
Why is is called a Recycle Bin ?
Stuff I put in our physical recycle bin gets taken away, cut up, washed / melted, and reworked into a range of new items, which I don't personally get back. If I expected to put in a Word document and get back an Excel with numbers from a bunch of other people maybe the analogy would be more accurate.
To be fair there are some similarities:
I always forget to empty both the electronic and real form of the bins until we run out of space.
A file is always needed just after emptying, and newspaper is always needed for surface protection the day after it is recycled.
I wonder what the correct term for this electronic store would be? Options I've thought of:
Attic - much better metaphore, but can't really picture the icon for this.
Celler - not very common in British English.
Garage - having a car on the icon would clearly cause confusion!26 April 2013 ~ 10:33 No Comments
Google Chrome has some nice features, one in particular being the automatic translation. Unfortunately the performance on my home machine was awful, with long pauses before loading pages despite the usual attemps to cleanup, reinstall etc etc.
In a fit of frustration I tried IE, and was pleasantly surprised to find it very fast and very usable, with the exception of the translation part. Bing isn't very well integrated, and simply doesn't do very good translations.
I don't like the Google Toolbar, but needed a button to do one-stop translation of the page, and found two solutions.
The following bookmark will take the current URL and open in it Google Translate:
To install this in IE
Bookmark the normal Google Translate page translate.google.com.
You can change the target and interface language by modifying the tl=en and hl=en parts respectively.
By setting up Google Translate as a search provider, you can send the current address bar content in two clicks.
Use the tool at the following page to create the search provider: www.enhanceie.com/ie/SearchBuilder.asp.
The URL you need to use is: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=TEST
To do the translation, click the little down arrow by the search button in the IE address bar, and click the Google Translate button twice.
Fixed price work is all the rage with IT finance departments and senior managers, even in this age of moving towards Agile methodologies and incremental delivery.
There's definitely a big dichotomy between agile and fixed price, with the former based on flexible scope, frequent delivery and frequent business led prioritisation, and the later fixed scope, large delivery milestones and fixed priorities.
What I've found in a number of projects that attempted to be fixed price but flexible is that it leads to a large number of change requests. In itself this isn't necessarily a bad thing - it's surely better to have a change request than deliver the incorrect or out-of-date functionality. However, I've also observed that the cost of the change requests tends to increase, and frequently make the project overall uncompetitive compared to a regular non-fixed delivery.
I believe the reason for this is that the quotes for change requests build in an increasing risk premium. The logic for this is fairly simple:
Project is priced based on assumed perfect knowledge of the requirements, with a contingency.
Change request comes along, so the confidence about the overall requirements falls and a risk premium is added to cover assumed increased contingency requirements.
Another change request comes along, so the confidence falls further and the risk premium increases further.
You can't really blame the delivery team for this - it may be a bit naive to assume the requirements are clear/perfect at the start, but you have to work on some assumptions. Change requests typically mean that either the business are moving the requirements, or worse for existing systems that difficult parts of code/functionality are being uncovered; denying this increases the risk and the cost would be foolish.
I'm not sure there's a good solution to this, but there are a couple of things I've seen.
Have a limit on change requests, either numeric or in percentage of cost terms.
This has a number of implications. For the delivery team, it means they have confidence the scope won't keep changing, so the risk premium is lower. For the business, it means they have to think very clearly about changes and prioritise them properly.
Encourage a larger contingency, but allow use of it for small changes.
This means that a small amount of change is accepted and accounted for, so giving both sides more flexibility in how to manage it.
Overall I don't believe fixed price is typically the right approach except for items which can be very clearly packaged (e.g. upgrades, migrations, modules linked by defined API), in most cases Agile will deliver a better solution more reliably. However, if you are using fixed price, perhaps the idea of a risk premium is useful.8 June 2012 ~ 10:08 1 Comment
Adding custom search providers to IE7 and IE8 was a bit convoluted, involving going to the Microsoft site to create the required XML based on a template URL. I could never work out why they didn't build it into the browser, but it did kind-of work.
However, the MS site no longer offers this. A web search gives plenty of blogs telling you how to do it using the Microsoft site, but the option described is no longer there.
Thanks Eric!5 June 2012 ~ 12:11 No Comments
As I work in a big bank, I handle a lot of Powerpoint presentations. Most are cut-and-paste versions of others, slightly modified for whatever senior audience is relevant at the time.
Unfortunately the graphics capabilities of Powerpoint are limited, therefore a lot of presentations have Visio diagrams embedded in them (if I'm lucky, and not just a nasty pixelated bitmap instead).
When I'm "tweaking" a presentation, I've often found it necessary to re-organise the layout, including the Visio parts, and find that the size of the Viseo tends to go crazy, either leaving me with big white borders to crop or losing parts of the diagram off the side.
Fortunately I found the very very simple solution here:
Press the Ctrl key and move your mouse over the edge of the canvas; when you see your cursor turn into a double arrow, drag the canvas edge to the required size.
The only issue I've found is that Powerpoint can update the zoom level while you are doing this, which stops the operation and can make the canvas resize incorrectly. Just make sure you do it fast enough before Powerpoint can react!