Archive | February, 2008

links for 2008-02-28

Closing a Few Doors: Software Requirements Gathering

Wow, the parallels in Dr. Ariely new book “Predictably Irrational” to the Software Requirments Gathering process are unintentional but powerful.

“Xiang Yu was a Chinese general in the third century B.C. who took his troops across the Yangtze River into enemy territory and performed an experiment in decision making. He crushed his troops’ cooking pots and burned their ships.

He explained this was to focus them on moving forward — a motivational speech that was not appreciated by many of the soldiers watching their retreat option go up in flames. But General Xiang Yu would be vindicated, both on the battlefield and in the annals of social science research.

He is one of the role models in Dan Ariely’s new book, “Predictably Irrational,” an entertaining look at human foibles like the penchant for keeping too many options open. General Xiang Yu was a rare exception to the norm, a warrior who conquered by being unpredictably rational.

Most people can’t make such a painful choice, not even the students at a bastion of rationality like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Dr. Ariely is a professor of behavioral economics. In a series of experiments, hundreds of students could not bear to let their options vanish, even though it was obviously a dumb strategy (and they weren’t even asked to burn anything).

The experiments involved a game that eliminated the excuses we usually have for refusing to let go.. In the real world, we can always tell ourselves that it’s good to keep options open.

You don’t even know how a camera’s burst-mode flash works, but you persuade yourself to pay for the extra feature just in case. You no longer have anything in common with someone who keeps calling you, but you hate to just zap the relationship.”

How many of us have fought business analysts who want ‘everything configurable’ and to deploy ‘every feature’? Frankly, I can’t think of any bigger timesink for software teams these days.

See the full article and NYT review at: The Advantages of Closing a Few Doors – New York Times

links for 2008-02-27

Google Trends: What are you really reading in Reader?

Google’s rss feed application Reader has a somewhat hidden but extremely useful feature. Go to your Reader Trends Page and you’ll see what feeds you’re actually reading, emailing and sharing.

My trends headline is:

From your 126 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 10,970 items, starred 0 items, shared 89 items, and emailed 1 items.

Which may mean that I’m addicted to RSS. Check out my personal Trends screenshot:

Brent Sordyl’s Google Reader Trends

My most read feeds weren’t exactly what I expected as I seem to read a lot more Digg and Engadget than I thought. I also love the Subscription Trends >> Inactive tab for removing dead feeds.

links for 2008-02-26

links for 2008-02-25

Skype-compatible webcam for $9

There are many reviews saying this camera is great for Skype, it’s ultraportable and clips about where the MacBooks have their camera.  Looks great for $9 after rebate and free super saver shipping.

Amazon.com: Logitech QuickCam Deluxe for Notebooks: Electronics

links for 2008-02-24

  • Organize and share your checklists online with “the wiki of checklists,” sharing and collaboration webapp Checkser. Current available checklists cover self management projects, how to prepare for a vacation and more.
    (tags: checklist wiki)
  • Immediacy — it’s a rolling present. You won’t get the sense of Twitter if you just check in once a week. You need to hang out for minutes and hours, every day, to get in the groove.
    (tags: twitter)

links for 2008-02-23

links for 2008-02-22