• Let Development Inform Design

    For the past few weeks we’ve been working on implementing the Meetings module in CMS. One of our goals was to make it easy to switch between different occurrences of a meeting on different days. This is similar to changing calendar periods in other parts of the application, so we put a date selector in the upper right corner of the screen. After doing some work on this, Tom suggested we also make it possible to change meetings using this same selector because it would be easier to implement. Below is a screenshot of Tom’s final design:

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  • Staying Productive

    I ran across an interesting article last month in the NY Times about people's inability to multitask well, the impact of disruptions during the work day (such as email) and techniques for improving productivity. The beginning of the article addresses the fact that people aren't very good multitaskers. This is old news to me because I learned about this a decade ago in psychology class. The article starts to get interesting by the third paragraph on the first page:

    "In a recent study, a group of Microsoft workers took, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to incoming e-mail or instant messages."

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  • Sneak Peek : Reporting

    This is an exciting time for Spider Strategies, over the next few weeks we’ll be giving sneak peeks into new functionality we’re developing. In this feature we’ll take a brief look at reporting, what it currently is, and how we’re going to improve it.

    One of the reasons why all software is built is because there exists a need to have a problem solved that is either too time consuming or complex to have people solve them manually. However, building software to run these long and complex processes are only half of what makes an application useful, the other half is reporting the data to users in a format they can understand and find useful. Our Corporate Management Suite application has always excelled in its ability to solve the problem of grading and tracking performance, however its reporting capabilities has needed some improvement in order to make it easier for users to get the information they need from the application.

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  • Windows Media Player for Firefox

    Are you sick of visiting sites like CNN.com with your Firefox browser and not being able to view video clips because they require Windows Media Player? Microsoft has just released a media player plug-in that should solve this problem.

  • Networking with Virtual PC 2007

    I wrote a post last month about how impressed I was with Virtual PC 2007 and how it has changed the way I work. This is a follow-up about a networking problem that I didn't discover until it was almost too late, as well as how to fix it.

    I decided to install Vista Business on my laptop a few months ago, and aside from a few application compatibility issues, I've been pretty happy with it so far. One of the main problems is that Oracle 9i doesn't work with Vista, and that's a database we need to develop against. So, I fired up my Windows XP virtual machine, installed Oracle, and then connected to Oracle on the virtual machine just like I would if it were installed on another server. Everything was working smoothly, or so I thought.

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