Comment cleanup

20 02 2011

I did some comment pruning today. All were of the ‘I’m trying to reach you…” variety. The easiest way to contact me is to follow/DM me on Twitter, and there’s a link on the right side of the page to let you do just that.


Called to duty

11 10 2008

Well, that didn’t take long. I’m now going to be an inspector at Pleasanton Middle School. I’m really looking forward to doing this. Yes, getting up at 5 a.m. is going to be a pain, but once you get going it’s not that bad. Plus, it’s a general election, so there’s only one ballot to worry about. I took a great picture of the array of 28 different ballots we had to track for the June primaries — four languages for seven political parties, most of which went straight to the recycling bin.

I had training today, and there weren’t any big surprises. The main changes I noticed were that Alameda County scans the ballots at the polling location, so you have to keep track of a machine about the size of a portable dishwasher in addition to the touch screen machine that’s apparently pretty common around the SF bay area. Each precinct has a judge whose sole job is the setup, teardown, and maintenance of the voting equipment. And, there’s only one printer to keep track of instead of Santa Clara County’s three. But, other than that everything was pretty much the same. There’s something to be said for consistency.

We were also a much smaller group than in the training sessions I had in Santa Clara. That made it easier to ensure that everyone got to work with the equipment, which I find to be the best way to learn how to perform all of the steps.

Now I just need the ROV to send out my official letter.

Not this time

17 09 2008

I finally heard back from the Alameda County Board of Elections about being a poll worker. I was surprised to hear that they were completely staffed for the election this November. It’s surprising because I had recently read that Contra Costa County is still looking for people.

Oh well. I’m still on the reserve list because apparently they have problems with people bailing out at the last moment. That was the case in the last two elections in Santa Clara County, so I guess I still have a shot.

The market should decide….

8 09 2008

Chuqui 3.0: The Market Should Decide “Limited Utility”

The way to solve this is (going back to what I’ve been harping on) communication: good, well-written documentation and standards, internal training and discussion, external communication and explanation. And they’re not doing a great job of it right now, which opens them to criticism and second-guessing, and gives us excuses to assume the worst out of Apple, even though their track record is pretty good.

Chuq’s entire post is right on the money, but I think the problem at Apple is that they don’t believe that they have an obligation to explain or justify any decision they make. Explanations, when absolutely necessary, are someone else’s responsibility. It’s policy, but even if it wasn’t it was a good idea for maintaining your own sanity.

The rationale for this was that no matter how much explaining or communicating you do, some people will still complain loudly, continue to argue with you, and blog about the explanation. Some people just won’t be happy, so why spend the time and energy?

And truthfully, for a lot of things that Apple does, it’s a perfectly reasonable policy to take. If you really, really don’t like something that Apple is doing, get yourself another platform.

It’s very possible — perhaps likely — that the reason something like the $1000 worthless App made it through into the store and the cowbell app made it while the fart joke app didn’t is because different people made those decisions. Not a great, grand conspiracy, but multiple people on a team making judgement calls based on their understanding and interpretation of whatever rules and standards were set up for them.

I’m sure there are lots of people who would love to know what those rules and standards are, and why those rules are in place. But the last phrase of that paragraph is the crux of the matter here, and it leads to the ‘prime directive’ I learned very early when I was at Apple. I can’t tell you the number of times I was instructed to not answer any question that starts with ‘why’. How, what or who is fine, but never answer a ‘why’ question, because you don’t have the correct answer, even if you think you do.

And if you don’t agree with it or you don’t believe it, you quickly learn why this is the case. It has nothing to do with the threat of losing your job or being told to stop. When you say anything that attempts to explain a decision or policy, you instantly become the conduit into the company. People who disagree with you send you long dissertations as to why the decision is personally hurting them, their company, and society as a whole, and demand to know what can be done to change the policy. If your job entails something other than communication (like, say, implementing the decision) replying to those new complaints or even just politely replying ‘thanks’ can quickly consume all of your spare time. Let someone with a different job title deal with it. (Of course, I think Chuq would point out that there is no one at Apple with that title, but I think my point is still valid.)

Who is that guy?

2 09 2008

Comcast’s latest commercial is a fake game show titled “You might think DirecTV has more HD than Comcast — but you’re WRONG!!” That’s normally not worth writing about, but here’s what’s driving me crazy: I know I recognize the voice of the host, but I can’t figure out who it is. I’m pretty sure he was a host on an old game show and not an announcer. YouTube isn’t giving me any clues… maybe someone on Yahoo Answers will have it.

Update: The question was deleted off Yahoo Answers. Oh well….

Sending me files

29 08 2008

If you want to send me sample code or other documents, don’t send them to my Adobe address, as our mail server blocks all zipped attachments. Instead, use Gmail (skovatch). I trust that you won’t send me viruses…

Keeping things in motion

12 06 2008

I hinted at it when I wrote my first post after I started at Adobe, but Tuesday at WWDC I finally got to announce it to the public.

Adobe will actively contribute to the Cocoa version of the SWT.

I’m not sure how many Adobe people will be working on it, but I do know it’s at least one (me). I have some other projects to finish up, but right now I will switch over to full-time work on the Cocoa port in mid-August.

If you want to help out, start with the home page and take a look at the current list of bugs. That’s how I got started in the Carbon version.

For the time being, I’m going to use this blog as a journal to keep track of where we’re headed next and also ‘think out loud’ about sticky problems we run into. I already read the platform-swt-dev list, but I should be able to write longer things here that wouldn’t be appropriate for the mailing list.

Update: See the story on Ars Technica or MacObserver. In the interest of clarification, our goal is to lead the effort, but we’re going to do that by committing fixes and new work. We’re not claiming it by fiat.