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November 28, 2003

Engage brain before designing product

New Scientist describes a multi-handset wireless phone with a flashing icon to tell you when the phone is in use. Trouble is, the icon only indicates on the handset that's actually being used. "Firstly I don't need an icon to tell me I'm using the phone. I already know that. And secondly I can't see the icon anyway as the phone is stuck against my ear."

November 28, 2003 in Usability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rivalry, respect and learning

John D Mitchell: "Is the incessant chatter about Microsoft and its products by various Java 'celebrities' just a sign of an inferiority complex or is it a manifestation of a completely rational fear?"

I'm not sure about "incessant chatter" as neither Mitchell nor TechnoTourette actually cite any examples, but ascribing active discussion of .NET to either an inferiority complex or fear seems very negative.

.NET and Java are very similar environments, and the communities should be eager to learn from each other. Leading lights in the .NET world know that Java brings a host of experience -- techniques, best practices, tools -- to the party. When they talk about Java, which they do quite a bit, it's not with a sense of inferiority or fear, but because they recognise Java's successes and want to have the best of both worlds.

And the traffic isn't one way. Philip Brittan for example has written extensively about how Java can rise to .NET's challenge on the client. Is this an inferiority complex? Is this fear? No, it's because he recognises where .NET offers a better experience than Java, and he wants Java practitioners to have the best of both worlds too.

So I think Mitchell seriously underestimates the maturity of Java 'celebrities.' Maybe there are celebrity paranoids and ranters, and I can't speak for their psychological states. And TechnoTourette is wrong: the Java community is right to be talking about .NET. Java can and should learn from .NET's strengths, and match them. Ignoring the enemy is the best way to be taken by surprise.

November 28, 2003 in Software | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack