Monthly Archives: July 2016

Five Minutes That Will Make Users Happy

My kitchen has a very nice range hood over the cooktop. It has a powerful  fan and beautiful brushed steel finish. And it has a user experience like most IT systems: Lousy.

Let’s think about what a range hood does. It has two main functions:

  1. Start the fan to extract grease and fumes
  2. Turn on the light over the cooktop

Because of the shape of a range hood, the buttons to operate it are typically placed in a row. A row of buttons has two good, easily found positions:

  1. To the far left
  2. To the far right

range_hood_1000

Two primary functions, two good button locations. It would not take five minutes of thought to allocate functions to buttons. Unfortunately, the engineers at ATAG did not spend those five minutes. Instead, they placed the button for the light 5th from left, 3rd from right. And what did the use the good right-hand position for? The rarely-used feature of resetting the filter cleaning warning. A button I press every three months at most.

Most IT project do not spend these five minutes of thought either. Large, professional organizations have a team of UX professionals, like the people I work with at Oracle. But even if you don’t have professional UX designers, every developer can spend five minutes thinking about the task the user wants to achieve.

Most IT systems are like my range hood: Just inconvenient enough to make users slightly annoyed every time they have to concentrate on an operation that should have been easy and obvious.

Next time you build a system, spend a little while thinking about your users before you code. They’ll love you for it.

July Critical Patch Upgrade

Oracle has released the July 2016 Critical Patch Upgrade, and there is some scary stuff there. Oracle has moved to the new CVSS 3.0 rating, which is the only reason they don’t score any perfect 10s (absolute worst). But there is still 19 occurrences of the scary 9.8 score: Remotely exploitable without authentication and with low attack complexity.

Among the products with these critical bugs:

  • WebLogic
  • GlassFish
  • Hyperion
  • Oracle Retail
  • Oracle Health Sciences

Patch now!

What is the Future of Oracle SOA?

I spend much of my time advising people on Oracle software, and someone just asked me on Quora.com about the future of Oracle SOA.

I told him that the future of Oracle SOA is bright, but within a much bleaker future for SOA in general.

SOA in general has over-promised and under-delivered to such an extent that it now considered legacy and poor practice. While a few organizations have gotten SOA right, most haven’t and have little to show for their multi-million dollar SOA projects.

For the people who still belive in a Service-Oriented Architecture (mainly public sector and large, slow-moving organizations), the Oracle SOA product is a very strong offering. As is to be expected of a product from the largest enterprise software vendor in the world, the Oracle SOA suite contains everything you need and carries a corresponding price tag.

Is Oracle SOA right for you? Send me a mail and let’s discuss it.

Power Packs for Your Devices and You

I was in Chicago for the Oracle Development Tools User Group (ODTUG) conference last month. This was a typical technology conference in many ways, and one of the vendor giveaways in the conference back was a power pack for your smartphone.

However, it was different in one interesting way: It also offered a power pack for the participants. Each morning, there was a Qigong session by the river. Qigong is an ancient health practice that improves the flow of life energi (Qi) in the body.

ODTUG_Qigong

Traveling techies are always on the lookup for an opportunity to recharge their devices. Remember to also recharge yourself.