Taking baby steps

Back in the mid to late 1990s, I didn’t have much money to buy new hardware. Actually, my computing was done on older desktops and laptops. Of course, that hardware wouldn’t run the latest versions of Windows (at least not too well) and I hadn’t started my journey to Linux just yet.

To cut down my computing costs and to keep my hardware alive just a little longer, I turned to an application suite called NewDeal Office. NewDeal was the latest incarnation of GEOS, a once-popular graphical operating environment.

For me, the applications in NewDeal Office were more than serviceable. But what impressed me was what I called the graded interface. I’m not sure if that’s the correct name for it, but the interface had five levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert, and custom. You can read more about it here.

Each level of interface builds on the last one, gradually increasing the complexity of the interface without overwhelming the user.

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Fit versus experience

Last month, I read an intriguing article at American Express OPEN Forum on hiring based on fit rather than experience. It’s an interesting idea and, in theory, should bring together people who mesh well. And, by extension, those people who are a good fit but lack experience can gain any experience they lack working with their team.

But, as I just wrote, it’s a good idea in theory. In practice, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Here are a couple of Uncle Scotty’s little stories. Sit back, read, and ponder.

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So simple it doesn’t need documentation?

For the last couple of weeks or so, I’ve been poking around Google’s Chrome Web Store. Not looking for anything in particular, just taking a peek at some of the apps that are there. Doing that is aimless and mindless, I know, but it’s also kind of fun.

The other day, I took a look at one app. An online drawing program. It looked simple and, for whatever reason, I took a peek at the user comments. One comment really stood out:

Lots of tools, but no help documentation at all. You have to dig into the developer’s site to learn that the software is “currently undocumented’ which I take it means you’re on your own.

I looked at app in question, and it was simple. But only if you’re familiar with that type of software. And even though it’s a common application, not everyone is familiarity with it. They might not know the concepts or even the terminology around it that many of the fives of people reading this take for granted.

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Favourite posts from 2010: a mix

Here are a few more of our favourite posts from the last year:

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