Tuesday, September 27, 2011

David Moody's Hater and Autumn Series

I've noticed a trend in my reading of David Moody's books. In both the Autumn and the Hater series I enjoyed the second book more than the first. This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy the first book in each series, just that the second books were better. This might be a good sign as Hater is a trilogy and there are five or six books in the Autumn series.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Cone of Uncertainty

I have been re-reading Mike Cohn's book "Agile Estimating and Planning" in an effort to further deepen my understanding of Agile practices for estimating software. The first chapter, "The Purpose of Planning" introduces the cone of uncertainty to discuss software estimates and provide data on the accuracy of estimates over the various phases of a project.

I was intrigued because the cone and the approach used by the PMI were different—the cone views estimate accuracy as symmetric with initial estimates of ±4 times the actual cost of delivering a project. The PMI views initial estimates as asymmetric and places these estimates at +75% through -25% of accurate.

Some research on the cone lead to important insights that weren't clear from reading chapter one. The most important insight is that the cone of uncertainty represents the best you can do when estimating software. It says nothing about how bad you can do.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

No iPad for Me

I have been struggling with the decision on whether to purchase an iPad or not. Initially, I choose not to be an early adopter. That was easy as all I had to do was decide delay the purchase. Over a year has come and gone and I've learned a lot about what I'd like to do with an iPad if I were to purchase one. Ultimately, I determined that I would keep my laptop and not purchase an iPad.

My rationale for not purchasing an iPad comes down to two simple facts. First, not everything I want to use on my laptop is available on the iPad. Second, I don't need another device to carry around. I already have a MacBook and an iPhone. The thought of carrying a third device or having to make a decision on whether to take the laptop or iPad with me is not worth the effort.

I view the iPad as ideal for people who only want to surf and read email. I include in surfing, things like reading books and documents on the iPad. I won't replace the books I read simply because I am a little old fashioned and like my books made of paper. Surfing and email are the only things I do on an iPhone that I find inconvenient. These activities could be improved with the purchase of an iPad but the cost doesn't justify eliminating my personal inconvenience with these activities.

One iPad feature that took a lot of thinking to eliminate was the 3G option. I ultimately decided to forgo that since the iPhone now supports local WiFi though the personal hotspot feature. That and the fact that the cost of the 3G data plan coupled with the small data transfer sizes provided by Canadian carriers are patiently ridiculous.

In all, I won't be purchasing an iPad for myself because the two devices I already own more than meet my needs. I may still be ogling the iPad every time I drop by the Apple store or their web site but I don't think I'll be laying any cash down for the device itself.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Job Does FourSquare and LocalMind Do For You?

In "What Job Does Social Media Do For You", Whitney Johnson identifies five jobs that she uses social media to accomplish. I thought it interesting to review jobs in light of what FourSquare or LocalMind might be able to accomplish. Of the four jobs that Whitney identifies as being achievable with social media, two are aligned with jobs that FourSquare and LocalMind are suitable for.

To be fair to both Whitney's article and FourSquare and LocalMind, the article was written for a professional audience and directed at expanding professional contacts. FourSquare and LocalMind have a business aspect to them but for the user who is going to check-in at a business or look for specials it isn't professional contacts they are trying to find. They are trying to meet new people when out with friends, locate new interesting places to visit or simply save money.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Giving Up More Than You Realize with FourSquare and LocalMind

In a post entitled Giving Up More Than You Realize with Twitter I described how the real time and public nature of Twitter can lead you to inadvertently expose your location to anyone following you. With Twitter, the problem of implicitly giving away your location by disclosing where you currently are located is also a problem.

It is worthwhile noting that FourSquare and LocalMind remove the possibility of implicit disclosure of your location by making your location explicit. This doesn't remove the risk of telling people when you are not at home but it does ensure that you know you are revealing your location whenever you use FourSquare or LocalMind.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Critique of FourSquare and LocalMind

I recently experimented with FourSquare and LocalMind. Both are interesting concepts. If my experience with FourSquare on the iPhone 3GS is any indication then this application still needs a lot of work to improve the user experience and reduce power consumption.

LocalMind improves FourSquare because user interaction is simpler. LocalMind takes advantage of your check-in through FourSquare—if your LocalMind account has permission to access your FourSquare account. This means that you can check-in with FourSquare and LocalMind can publish your check-in and make it available to other LocalMind users.