User Experience Matters

User experience matters.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of the accidental missile launch warning that was sent to all of Hawaii.

Here’s a copy of the the actual screen that was used by technicians to send out alerts of various types:

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Getting past project inertia

Whenever I am ready to start a new project, I usually sit down and start thinking about the tasks that need to be completed. And I start wondering which tasks I should complete first, second, third, etc. What often ends up happening is that I end up with such a long list of things that have to be done that I struggle to decide which one to do – and I end up in sort of an analysis paralysis.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to start a personal project and ultimately failed to even get going, due to this. I call it Project Inertia.

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Don’t write useless unit tests

The other day I came across the following code in a project:

class Users
{
    public function __construct(PDO $pdo)
    {
        $this->pdo = $pdo;
    }

    public function getAllUsers()
    {
        $stmt = $this->pdo->prepare('SELECT * FROM users');
        return $stmt->fetchAll();
    }
}

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What version of PHP should my package support?

Everybody likes “the new hotness.” Everyone loves a new car, or a new computer, or the state-of-the-art video gaming console. It’s why people camp out for days to get their hands on a new iPhone, when they could just buy one the next week off the shelf. People love to have the hot thing, right now.

Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t be so surprising that people get tremendously excited when a new version of PHP comes out. People look forward to the new features, whether they be the trailing commas in list() syntax or counting of non-countable objects.

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Resolutions

For many, the beginning of a new year heralds an opportunity for improvement in our life through the creation of new year’s resolutions. Even though January 1 is an arbitrary date (and we are able to make change anytime we see fit), the roundness of a new year’s start brings about the will to initiate change for many. For me, I appreciate the start of a new year as a benchmark, a demarcation point between old and new, and I like to make resolutions of my own.

Of course, only 8% of people actually keep their resolutions. I’m not immune from this failure, as I made several resolutions in 2013 that I was unable to keep. But this has been the exception, not the rule, and I have kept resolutions in the past.

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