Streaming Live Sports 2021

Every once in a while, I upend my family room and change how everything works. My family loves it. (not) Well, guess what, it’s time again. I currently have a lot of services. Netflix, Hulu, Prime, HBOMax, Disney+, and YouTube TV. All of this streams through a Roku sound bar. Platform I love the Roku…

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Terrible UX: Kia’s new logo

Sometimes I just shake my head in dismay. Today, I was watching the Australia Open on television. In the back of the court is a giant logo that looks like this. My son and I looked at it and said, “What company is that? KN? Maybe the n is backwards. KVI? Maybe the V and…

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When Prophecy Fails

About 15 years ago, I read a book recommended by a mentor at Intuit (Bill Mirbach) called When Prophecy Fails by Leon Festinger. (Wikipedia Article) The book, published in 1956, studies a small UFO religion in Chicago called the Seekers that believed in an imminent apocalypse and what happened when the world did not, in…

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My History with Community Q&A and Forums

Over the past 25 years, there have been many forums that I have engaged in. This week Figma just launched a new forum for their users. It made me think I should note the previous communities I have been a part of. I had blogged about Q&A in 2008 and also Forums in the same…

Cartoons Sketches from 1992

I used to doodle all the time. My brother just sent me an old notebook he found. I had this running series of comics about the Assumptions. Creatures from the planet Assump. Get it? Anyway, here is a good sampling of them. RCC was my community college – I wasn’t a good student Assumption Lifecycle,…

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The Goals of a Manager

I’ve been managing people on and off for 25 years now. It’s hard to tell how I have evolved, but I am sure that I’ve changed some over the years. There are certain principles that I think about as a manager that have stayed with me since the beginning and others I have picked up…

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2020 in Review

At work, I asked everyone on the design team to make a 10-15 minute presentation of their 2020 in review. Specifically, it was meant to be a professional review, not home life. I suggested that they include some journey mapping of their highs and lows as well as some general review of what they worked…

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Problem Statement Comic

I find that most problem statements are not written very well. Some of them are blatantly circular. The circular problem statement Writing a good problem statement aligns the team on the mission. If you solve the wrong problem, you will have a poor business outcome. Give me a bad problem, I will give you a…

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Communication at Work

Good communication (imho) is the most important factor contributing a successful project or product. Interestingly, the ways we communicate at work are pretty diverse. The recent acquisition of Slack by Salesforce had me thinking about alot about this. Here is a list of how I communicate at work: Slack for general conversationIncluding posts for longer…

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Post Office Idea

Years ago, I used to write holiday cards for all of my coworkers. I would hand write the card and leave it on their desks. Now, in the age of Covid, we are all working from home. This presents a problem. How can I get everyone their holiday cards? I don’t have their addresses and…

Election Day 2020

I have a serious feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. In 2016, I felt confident in the morning and sadness and despair slowly built up during the day. Today, I am exhausted with all of the 2020 nonsense. I am sick and tired of there being news every single day. I can’t…

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Covid Protocols and Tennis

There are Rules My kids (the older 2) are pretty strict about Covid protocols in general. When playing tennis with others, we were following the Official USTA Rules. The rules say “Bring your own can of balls and ONLY touch those. Don’t touch any other set of tennis balls”. The invitations to play tennis also…

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Tab Groups in Chrome

Chrome recently updated their browser and added a much needed feature. It’s called Tab Groups. Firefox used to have it and for some reason lost it. Here is how it works. First, update chrome by clicking the top right kabob (three dots) and then Help → About Chrome. It should pop open a tab where…

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Remote Team Bonding

In the Age of Covid, we are all working in a new way. I spend more time in meetings and less time sitting with people at their desks. As a team leader, I want to make sure we are bonding and developing relationships with each other. We can’t sit and have lunch together or bullshit…

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Unnatural vs Natural Acts of Product Development

When developing a large product, especially for enterprise customers, it is tempting to do some engineering specifically to land (or keep) a big customer. This, on its face, sounds good, right? “The customer is always right.”Marshall Field – Wikipedia I think this makes sense in a department store. However, when dealing with large enterprise software,…

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A Brief History of Me (So Far)

Can you put your life into bullet points? Can you summarize and really boil information spanning decades down to its essentials? Let’s give it a try. Act I (Growing up)Born outside NYC in the foresty suburbsWas pretty bad at school, but I read non stopGot into Art pretty early. Loved to drawWent to a local…

Covid Decision Making Framework

I don’t know what the question is, but the answer is a spreadsheet.- Glen Lipka I love collecting weird data and making charts out of it. In the last year, there has been a ton of interesting data. Decisions are made often with lots of bad bias. One area my family struggles with are decisions…

UX: Putting a Chair Together

My son (16) put together a new chair for his home desk last night. It wasn’t very complicated, but he struggled with it for a few hours. This was his first attempt at putting together any kind of furniture. I didn’t help him because I wanted him to experience the feeling of trying to put…

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Live anywhere?

What if… What if all information companies and information jobs were given permission to work remotely? Several companies have already announced that their workers can work from home permanently. Each of these workers has to decide, “where do I want to live?” For the majority of my life, I had to commute to work; which…

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YouTube Commercials 2020

Recently, YouTube has increased the average length of their commercials. I dont have a scientific study but I had become used to long ads that I could skip after 5 seconds. Now, they are 10-15 second ads that I can’t skip and usually 2 of them back to back. Plus, there are more mid-video ads…

What do you believe?

My sister made me listen to a Joe Rogan podcast about a guy claiming to have worked in Area 51 on flying saucers. After 5 minutes, I knew the guy was lying about everything. I tried to listen, but it sickened me to my stomach. There are people who believe: QAnon is a real guy,…

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Unsafe at Home by Just Jared

My seventeen year old son just released his second music album. It is a big step forward from his original Album. He has been upgrading his home studio and learning more about mixing and music theory. He is planning on attending college for music, but because of Covid is going to take a gap year.…

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Government Sponsored Design

I was listening to a podcast by Malcolm Gladwell about a 20th century U.S. General named Curtis LeMay. He is a fascinating and influential character by the way. In the episode “May the Best Firebomb Win” Gladwell tells of a contest for our nations elite universities (Harvard, Yale, etc) to design the best incendiary bomb.…

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Personality Test 2020

I take a Myers Briggs quiz every year or two. I am having my design team do the test for a remote bonding exercise. Here are my personal results from the past: 2014: INFP | Mediator/Idealist.2017: INTJ – The Architect2019: INTJ, -A/-T The Architect 2020 INFP-T – Mediator/Idealist. Results map I think these two personality…

Roadmaps

Roadmaps are funny things. In my cynical experience, their whole purpose is to make people feel confident that things will go according to plan. The Dark Knight, 2008 This might be controversial, but in my experience roadmaps are deeply flawed documents. Here is a partial list of some of the common problems: They are jumbled…

New Host: A2 Hosting

I have been hosting with asmallorange.com (ASO) for 6 years now. They were a decent host for the most part. I was using a simple shared hosting package. However, in the past year I became a bit disgruntled and disappointed. Complaints Complaint 1: Free SSL Google has long said that they will optimize for secure…

Letter -> GPA Spreadsheet

I love spreadsheets. I believe the spreadsheet represents the most innovative and amazing user interface ever created. Imagine explaining to someone how a spreadsheet works assuming they had never seen it before. They would absolutely laugh at you and say that is unintuitive and difficult to use. Yet it is used for millions of different…

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Used to…

Things I used to do and believe, but don’t anymore. Wear jeans and a watch. 1 year ago.Build computers from parts. 30 years ago.Think I could work at startups forever. 5 years ago.Believe my hair would always be thick. 25 years ago.Read books non stop. 15 years ago.Have nightmares of being chased by something, every…

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Pet Peeves 2020

Last time I listed Pet Peeves was 7 years ago. I just compared lists (didn’t check first) and surprisingly they are completely different. Shy ZoomersWhen someone on the video conference doesn’t show their video. I can’t focus without seeing people’s faces. People shame me for asking them to show their video, which makes it worse.…

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“All Lives Matter” is a Mean Thing to Say

I know when some white people hear Black Lives Matter they automatically hear “Only Black Lives Matter”. This is human psychology at work right there. Unfortunately, that is not what activists are saying. What they are saying is that the laws, police, institutions, financial systems, education systems, and fabric of our society is set up…

Home Networking Setup

Being at home with a full family means lots of people video conferencing all at once. This is putting a strain on our home networking setup. I have tried a few methods. Here are some of my learnings. 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi The tried and true Netgear router. It works for a room, maybe…

Dungeons and Dragons

When I was a kid, maybe 12? I played Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with my cousin and some other kids. My cousin was the Dungeon Master (DM). I distinctly remember a session where we were arrested and put in a local jail. During our daring escape, we let everyone in the jail out and it…

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Working Sessions vs Executive Meetings

My time is generally split between two different kinds of meetings. One I love, the other not so much. Working Sessions A working session is a group of 2-5 people who are talking about a specific design or problem. They are brainstorming ways to improve it or fix it. In short, it’s a meeting to…

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Told You So Failure

I’ve wanted to build this app for decades. Last year, I finally got up the nerve to go to Upwork.com and get a freelancer to do it. The project is now over and I have to call it the worst project I ever worked on. Complete nightmare. Total failure. I spent $4,000 and got exactly…

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Giving and Taking Feedback

This is a little long. I wrote it up to answer the question, “What is the best way to give feedback on a design?” I hope its helpful for you. GIVING feedback Feedback on the deliverables/decisions This should be the most common and best forms of feedback. You should: Identify a logical error. It may…

Remote vs. Onsite

Working from home started out pretty rough for me. No exercise, gaining weight, and other issues plagued me. Then slowly something started happening. I started getting used to it. I am clearly a creature of routine. I like to let my mind wander as I take a shower, brush my teeth, etc. I can be…

Video Conferencing Thoughts

Obviously, we have all been using video conferencing way more than usual. I have some thoughts on it, of course. Video conferencing is harder than meetings It’s way more exhausting than talking with people. I feel like I can’t take my eyes off the screen. In meetings, I can look away and not feel guilty.…

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2020 Calendar

Here is my summary of 2020 and how it will unfold. It gets pretty hairy, so buckle in. Good news is that if you love pasta, it will turn out well for you in the end. January: Constitutional CrisisAhh, remember the good old days when we argued about impeachment and Russian interference? It feels quaint…

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Symptoms

⚠ This post is mostly for journaling purposes. In the past 36 hours, I have developed a mild cough and some wheezing. Also, I am super dehydrated. Yesterday and today, I drank nearly double my normal intake of water. Lastly, my nose has been running more than usual. It’s possible this is just due to…

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Silver Linings

Cloud: We are basically under house arrest.Silver Lining: If Corona hit three months ago, we would have no showers, and only one toilet for 5 adults. We would have lost out minds. Cloud: Our savings have lost a third of their value. Retirement seems like it will never happen.Silver Lining: We paid for the bathroom…

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