Friday, July 14, 2006

Not everyone thinks like a programmer

Whenever we as programmers design any application we tend to think like programmers and forget a few important things. I am not talking of very high end applications which go through a design phase for months. But I am talking about applications that are packaged in a few months time.

Why I wanted to write about this was 'cause I could see a marked difference the way programmers and non-programmers perceive things. Lets me take this CAPTCHA as an example. Whenever I type it down I would make sure I would match the case of the alphabet. This is normal practice if you've programmed in Java/C++ or for that matter most languages which are case sensitive. Recently I had a friend over who was trying to type in a CAPTCHA, and since he is not a programmer he simply typed in without thinking whether it was upper or lower case, and it worked. That is when I realized that had I designed such a system, at least in the very first version the CAPTCHA would be case sensitive, without realizing how much trouble a non programmer would have in understanding it.

The other place where I saw a marked difference the way we perceive things is in browsers. I have FireFox and IE on my system. Most of my friends who are programmers would automatically start FireFox, but the others will start IE no matter what I tell them. A programmer would like FireFox in lets say the second or the third time but with most non-programmers it takes a major effort to get them to use FireFox. And in most cases it becomes almost impossible to explain why they should use FireFox. But I guess thats another post. :)

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

MSN and Yahoo! can talk to each other

MSN and Yahoo! messenger had signed up a deal to allow messages across their networks. And finally it seems like its really possible to do it. I had read about it on digg around a week ago, but at that time it was possible to do it using Yahoo! Messenger for mac. But now it is working for the windows version of Yahoo! Messenger. Here is a screenshot of the messages across the two networks.
As of now the speed seems to be a problem. It takes more than a minute to get a message across. But then again its just a beta and its like the first week, so these problems would exist in any case. I am waiting for the day when I can finally uninstall one of the IM's. I have always liked Yahoo! Messenger but Windows Live Messenger matches in most features now. So now its more of a personal choice rather than the number of features that each IM client provides.


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