Friday, September 24, 2004

Just A Standard Reminder

One of the things you learn as a UI designer* is that people hate change. A mediocre familiar UI will be rated higher than a new UI that allows the user to do the same task faster and with less errors. This is especially so if the users have no control over the which UI is put in front of them. Over time they will learn to appreciate the new UI if it is indeed better. The lesson is to not get discouraged by negative reactions when a new UI is rolled out to users outside of the beta- or test-groups, few are the UIs that are so radically better that they have instant appeal over the familiar one.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


One of the things you can do with a landline phone you can't with a cellphone is quickly decide whether you want to take a call, or send it directly to voice mail. Verizon has made a computer program that allows you to do just that as a Verizon residential customer. Leave it on, and at the same time your phone rings a little window pops up on your screen with Caller ID and some buttons to allow you to say what to do with the call, including a button to block a number from calling you forever. Add a webpage that integrates an address book and a calendar and lets you manage and email your voice messages, and you have got iobi. Now your home phone can be slightly more convenient than a cell-phone with an address book and a calendar built in.

I am especially intruiged by the integration of having the Caller ID pop up on your desk and allowing you to manage the call from your home desktop computer real-time, as your home phone is ringing. Expensive office switchboard phones allowed you to do that, but the 12 button keypad UI on the home phone did not. Now here it is.

I predict this will be really really useful for people who work at home, but I do not see it taking off as a must-have, even for 'early adopters'. Not at 8 bucks a month.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Well, He Did Ask What I Thought

To: My Hotjobs Account
Subject: searching for a Applications Developer: Concord, MA

Hi F.J.V***********,

I thought that I would let you know that I am working on the following search that could be of interest to you or someone you know. Have a look at the description below and let me know what you think. If you are interested, please send me your latest resume and I will call you to discuss further, otherwise please feel free to pass it on to others.


Our client is an enterprise software company dedicated to helping companies, which spend tens of millions to billions of dollars per year on marketing, leverage these investments to measurably improve revenue and profits. Their product, a Marketing Resource Management system, automatically links results across sales channels back to the marketing investments that drove them, so you’ll know quickly what’s working, what’s not, and what will work better, across all media, all channels, and all segments. 

Due to plans for aggressive growth, we need to hire the following professional. This is a great place in which to work. They value teams, support individual efforts and reward success. 


Applications Developer : $ commensurate w/ exp.


Role Summary

-        To perform the overall application installation and configuration activities in support of the product to our customers


 Core Responsibilities

-        Install and configure the software and supporting technologies such as application servers and database connectivity software

-        Develop reports, templates, folders, and other end-user functionality used in support of business reporting, marketing analytics, and decision support

-        Configure software metadata to leverage data and statistical models in data warehouse; provide data to statisticians for modeling purposes

-        Design and develop algorithms used in support of the business analysis requirements

-        Set up end-user access and controls

-        Provide technical expertise (or perspective) in analyzing business needs and objectives

-        Assist in the analysis of data sources that will ultimately be loaded into the product

-        Assist in the creation of the logical data model

-        Perform all necessary quality assurance and testing

-        Provide technical training to customers’ IT staff, author technical documentation, provide feedback to product engineering/product marketing teams and help create best practices for professional services.


Experience and Skill Set

-        Very strong working knowledge of applying statistical /analytical outputs via a software framework

-        Very strong working knowledge of XML

-        Very strong working knowledge of database management systems (i.e. Oracle, SQL Server), Windows 2000/NT/XP OS, Unix (Sun, HP, IBM), and/or Linux

-        Very strong SQL and database-specific stored procedure skills required.

-        Outstanding data analysis skills required.

-        BA/BS or advanced degree in CS or IS or other relevant discipline desired

-        Outstanding written and verbal communication skills and the ability to work directly and effectively with technical and business clients on projects.

-        Other desired skills and competencies include:
o        Analytical, team oriented, problem solver, organized, flexible, good follow-through ability, ability to prioritize, multi-task oriented, able to work independently
 Pluses include: 

-        Systems integration experience with business intelligence software, knowledge of SAS, SPSS, or other statistical tools, familiarity with modeling techniques such as time series linear regression and experience designing and programming mathematical algorithms used in business intelligence applications

-        Experience in syndicated marketing data sources such as ACNielsen, IRI, CMR, POLK, JD Power, and Donovan as well as experience in Automotive, CPG, Financial Services, Retail, and Pharmaceutical industry.


Best regards,

David K****

From: fj@*********
Subject: Re: searching for a Applications Developer: Concord, MA

and let me know what you think.

Well, since you asked...

You want someone to do installation, configuration, customization,
business-analysis, consulting, QA, and training. You want
executive-staff level business insight and script-monkey coding skills.
In other words, this is another job description for a semi-startup too
cheap to pay for a well-rounded team to get the job done properly, and
instead is trying to find the one-off wizard who will work late nights
and do it all.

If I got it wrong that is not the case, you need to rewrite the ad,
because that is what your copy communicates to me. If I got it right and
that actually is the case, my answer is No Thanks, and that there's no
way I will pass an 'opportunity' like that on to any of my colleagues I
hold in any esteem, as an ill-defined situation like described is a recipe
to become a scape-goat when an installation goes south because of the
demands placed.

But hey, thanks for asking. Especially since my resume doesn't
mention any of the skills in the first place besides the ubiquitous 'XML'.

FJ v**************