Don’t Get Me Started
by David S. Platt
What’s On YOUR Mind?
Instead of ranting about my own stuff, as I usually do in this space, I figured I’d see what you wanted to hear my jaundiced take on. Use the comment feature, or the contact form, to ask me anything you’d like. I’ll post the best of the results here. What’s on YOUR mind, friend?
Sines and Cosines
My friends, thank you for joining me here. Geeks that we are, we all know, that as surely as the derivative of sine is cosine, the point of maximum darkness is the point at which it starts getting brighter. (If it keeps getting darker, then that wasn’t the point of maximum darkness, now was it?)… Read more
Here We Go
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to announce the first of my Assisted Computing apps that you can actually use today. Think of your senior loved ones – always suffering from isolation and loneliness; now exacerbated by Covid. They either are, or wish they were, participating in several different Zoom meetings. But it’s very hard… Read more
Plattski Saves Halloween
We’re rapidly approaching Halloween, the second most popular holiday in the US after Christmas. But in this time of Covid, how can kids reasonably trick-or-treat? (For those of you unfamiliar with that American custom, kids dress in costumes and go door-to-door in their neighborhoods, extorting candy by threatening vandalism.) Never fear, Plattski’s got it all… Read more
(No, not the bad software architecture; real wet ones) When my state of Massachusetts locked down for Covid in March, we unconsciously assumed that the epidemic would be over when the lockdown ended. Hopelessly naïve, I now realize, but we couldn’t get our brains around the reality then. It is now obvious that we’re in… Read more
Zero Signal-to-Noise, or WT-Actual-F?
As I’ve written in my two most recent articles, my father continues in Assisted Living. Technology which we consider normal is extremely difficult for him. We’ve seen how actions that we consider simple are difficult for him, such as listening to music via Spotify and participating in video meetings via Zoom. Here’s another case for… Read more
Assisted Computing: Keeping On Keeping On
Last time you remember, I laid out my vision for Assisted Computing™. It’s been going fabulously. Here are the most recent developments. I installed the smart speaker in my father’s assisted living apartment, and gave him the iPad Mini with the AC remote control app. I wasn’t sure he’d actually use it. If he perceives… Read more
Assisted Computing: Enriching the Lives of Those Who Need It Most
As I watch my parents in their senior years, I observe their struggles with today’s technology. It could enrich their lives so much, but instead, its complications leave them angry and frustrated, as I’ve written here before. I’ve decided to do something about it. I’m founding a new movement in software design. I call it… Read more
After the Deluge
Dear Friends I’m glad to see you alive and well. How do I know that? Because you wouldn’t be reading this column if you were dead, now would you? (Although if you’re reading it while sick, I hope it brings you some comfort, and wish you a speedy recovery.) Social distancing for the corona virus… Read more
We Are All Fools
My friends, these are the times that try our souls. Just last month I was writing with a light heart, and today yours and mine are heavy. I’m glad you’re here to share this with me. On this April Fool’s Day, my favorite column of the editorial year, I want to speak of what fools… Read more
Any Functioning Adult
I’m writing this on Leap Year Day, February 29, which means we’re in a presidential election year. This sticker expresses my feelings about it exactly: I don’t know about you, but I still have a monster case of politics fatigue left over from 2016. As National Review columnist Ian Tuttle wrote then, we had “two… Read more
Two Brain Droppings
Dropping #1: Whenever we work on a UX project, we always think of pleasing the end user. But it often happens that the users aren’t the ones paying for the project. And the users’ desires and the check writers’ desires often don’t coincide, and sometimes even conflict. So: how do we please the user, while… Read more
Welcome to 2020, dear reader. As we pass the watershed (dictionary: “a crucial dividing point, line, or factor; a turning point”) into a new decade, I realize that I’ve passed a personal watershed in my adoption of technology. Here’s mine, and does it ring any bells about yours? I was browsing the new paper… Read more
What the Skype?
I had planned a different topic for this month, but a bad experience with Skype so infuriated me that I need to rant about it here. What happened? The usual. I started a scheduled call with an important client, and I could hear her, but she couldn’t hear me. “Hello. Hello, Dave, are you there?”… Read more
To Your Health
Microsoft recently announced the impending shutdown of its HealthVault service, effective November 20, 2019 (see https://www.healthvault.com/en-us/healthvault-for-consumers/) . I am sorry to see it go, but I understand the competitive pressures and shifting landscape that led to its demise. We can learn from studying its triumphs and errors. You’ve probably never heard of HealthVault (HV),… Read more
Punishment and Crime
Ladies and gentlemen, I have once again snagged a major scoop. Edward Snowden, still in Russian exile, has favored me with another leak. He’s annoyed that Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning but not him. “What do I have to do, get a sex change?” he fumed. He really enjoyed the firestorm when I published his leak… Read more
You’ve reached the new home of “Don’t Get Me Started”, which graced the back page of MSDN Magazine for almost ten years. (Archives here.) Microsoft recently retired that publication, so I’ve moved my column here. I’ll be keeping a regular monthly schedule. You’ll find the same wise-but-irreverent take on the state of the software industry. As always, you… Read more
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