Category Archives: Resources

Testing is organised skepticism

You can let all the different types of software testing scare you out of your pants or you can look at the funny side of testing.

These quotes could be a starting point… I shared them with the amazing Android folks here in Wellington as part of the fourth edition of our Android Meetup.

Thanks to the lovely people at Powershop for hosting the evening, for the food, and for making this happen.

 

Thoughts on Notifications

Last Friday I was invited by the friendly people at Springload to give a talk on Push / Interactive Notifications.

The slides are targeted at Product people who are responsible with making the decision of including Push Notifications in the roadmap of their apps.

The gist of that talk is that just because you can send Push Notifications or display alerts to the user, it doesn’t mean you should. Notifications are the number one reason why people delete apps and you should keep this in mind when building your apps.

Here’s my (current) Top 10 Notification best practices:

  1. Guided “Opt In” rather than “Opt Out”
  2. Allow user to specify the types of messages they wish to receive. Support DND. Think Time Zone
  3. High volume of Notifications? Consider providing a “Snooze” custom action
  4. Only send relevant messages. This is NOT a direct marketing channel
  5. Don’t send confidential or sensitive data through push notifications
  6. Consider promoting custom actions that do not require the app to start up
  7. Use clear language and keep the message short
  8. Choose the lowest frequency of notifications that still delivers a great user experience
  9. Be aware of context. Is the user in your app right now?
  10. Consider aggregating multiple messages into a more generic “group”

Cocoaheads Wellington – Kick Off

I’m proud to announce the formation of Cocoaheads Wellington. For those who are not aware, Cocoaheads is an international Club for Cocoa (iOS & Mac) developers and designers.

The gatherings happen every 2nd Thursday of the month, from 7pm to 9pm. They are usually followed by a trip to a nearby restaurant or pub.

The first meeting will take place on the 12th of February at the Trade Me offices in Wellington. If you’re a Cocoa Dev / Designer then you should confirm your attendance here.

I intend to outsource the location. I’m currently hoping to convince one of the local Universities to host, but maybe another Wellington based organisation would be keen to put their hand up? If you know of any potential venues then please reach me via Twitter.

In terms of structure, I will propose when we gather that we break up the agenda in 3 parts:

  1. Follow up on the previous session
  2. Presentations (five to ten minutes each) on pre-agreed topics
  3. Q&A, tips or tricks, current issues or problems to ask the audience about

If you’re passionate about iOS or the Mac, you are keen to share your knowledge or learn from others, you live and breathe development or design, then I hope to see you there!

 

Link

The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage.

The Design of Business

The Design of Business

 

I just read this book, and it was good. Not quite 5-stars good, but a good book nonetheless. A couple of chapters definitely stand out. The P&G analysis is fantastic, while the RIM introspection is hilarious. To be fair, it’s only funny because RIM stopped doing what the book is praising them for.

Here are a some of the notes I took (hopefully I don’t break copyright):

The minute you start analyzing and using consumer research, you drive all the creativity out of the product.

No good product was ever created from quantitative market research. Great products spring from the heart and soul of a great designer, unencumbered by committees, processes, or analyses.

Even as corporate leaders chase the vital, elusive spark of creativity, their organizations structures, processes, and norms extinguish it wherever it flares up.

Once knowledge has been pushed to a logical, arithmetic, or computational procedure, it can be reduced to software.

In most large business organizations, three forces converge to enshrine reliability and marginalize validity: the demand that an idea be proved before it is implemented, an aversion to bias, and the constraints of time.

An organization that engages exclusively in exploitation will ordinarily suffer from obsolescence.

Of the original Fortune 100 companies, published in 1955, only eleven are still on the list.

When a team can come together around a creative cause or a knotty problem, they want to come to work every day.

Laliberté (founder of Cirque du Soleil) had done no research to forecast the size of the market for his new form of circus. How could he? The market did not yet exist.

and finally, one of my favourites:

Mastery without originality becomes a cul-de-sac.

Next on my list: Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street

 

Link

Michael Lopp’s Being Geek: The Software Developer’s Career Handbook
is a book I wish that my team don’t read. At the same time, I hope that my current and all my future managers have already read it.

Despite being a collection of “Rands in Repose” posts, this book is surprisingly readable. I can definitely see how a senior developer, an HR manager, and a team Leader (uppercase “L” is not a typo) would benefit from skimming this book over one weekend.

Bonus: You can learn a couple of social games while reading this book: Werewolf, and Back Alley Bridge.

Kindle Paperwhite – The Voyage was not for me

After a fair bit of research I decided to upgrade from my (basic) Kindle to the Kindle Paperwhite.

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite, 212ppi, 16-level gray scale

Why upgrade?

My previous Kindle was great. I didn’t feel like I needed the touch screen, and using the 5 directional button was fine. The main thing that I wished for was backlight. In the past, I would read on my Kindle during the day (especially outdoors), and on my iPad Mini at night. I’m hoping that now I can just use one device…

Why not the Voyage?

The Kindle Voyage looks great. I wish that the Paperwhite had physical page turn buttons, but I can’t justify spending $120 more for page-press sensors, 300ppi (rather than 212ppi for the Paperwhite), and adaptive light. I’ll just buy a dozen books with that money instead!

Why not read on the iPad Mini?

I could make up tons of reasons, but the truth is that I’m just not disciplined enough. I love my iPad Mini and I just get distracted by all the apps and things that I could be doing.