January 31st, 2008


Vagueness about my life

I've recently been told that this my blog has been very vague about my life.

And on retrospect, they are right, it has become so. I used to post most of me to-ing and fro-ing, and also my workout information, and so forth. Not so much anymore. Part because writing so much about what I am doing can cut into the time to do things, part because I tell myself that the details of my life aren't all that interesting to my readers, part because this is also becoming more tech/geek, and gets federated onto PlanetMySQL (but only when I put the tag "mysql" on the posts), part because some of the more interesting parts of my life are also about other people who didn't ask to get blogged about, etc etc)

All good reasons, but I can still talk more about who I am and what I do, in those contraints.

visibility and stress, transparent elevators

At the building I was working in the past few days, the elevators were transparent. The walls and doors were made of glass, and the mechanism was completely visible, top to bottom, 8 stories.

It was kind of fun to watch them run up and down their rails. And when you pushed the call button, you could just look up or down, see the elevator moving towards you, and have a sense of when it was going to get to you.

No stress, much fun.

Compare this to the common experience with most elevators. You press the button, and wait, and press it again, and wait. And wonder when it was going to come. And wonder. You have no idea that it's there, until it finally dings, and the doors open.

Even if the wait was no more than it was with the visible elevators, the stress level is much higher.

This principle generalizes. If you are building something, any if there is ever a chance that someone will have to wait for it, or puts their fate in it's hands, make it as transparent as possible. If you don't, I'm going to (correctly) think you either don't have any pride in your work, or you are wanting to lie to your users. Or both.

People need to see how things work, even if they can't do anything more than press the "call elevator" button.