Monday, December 23, 2013

Using User Stories

Seems like I spend considerable time each week working on user stories either for work or for class.  One of my students, Pradnya Agarwal, suggested this article

Although the article tries to make user stories more complex than they should be, it is a great discussion of them and does start a debate on what should and should not be included and why.

More coming now that I have some time to think.  Also heating up my soldering iron to attack some of the kickstarter kits I received.  More here or on the aging hacker chronicles   Later!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Killer UX Design

I just got finished reading Killer UX Design by Jodie Moule.  (Please note that O'Reilly provided a copy of this for free through their review program, which I recommend by the way.)  The book has several features that make it ideal for someone who is interested in usability or has been doing it for a few years.  What is unique about this book is that it provides a very comprehensive case study and weaves it into a thorough usability process.  This book is a great complement for more encyclopedic books such as Designing the User Interface or User Interface Design and Evaluation.  At the end an app, cook,  is produced and I actually downloaded it from Apple's app store. 

The book takes the reader through the process using the app to illustrate the steps in the process: Research, Insight, Concept and Design.  Throughout she provides sage advice on when to delve deeper and when to let it go.  She also focuses on behavior and behavior change.  A quote from page 125:
Based on what we know about the users and the environment, what does a [new way of living and behaving] look like?
This illustrates the constant strong emphasis on behavior change and not just cranking out an app.  The book is lavishly illustrated and I do recommend it highly especially for folks interested in usability or in their early years.  Do not get it if you want a comprehensive survey of Usability.  Do get it if after reading the comprehensive books listed above you want to then actually focus on usability in your next project.

Bottom line is that I do highly recommend it.  In fact, I am going to use it in my HCI class in 2014.
It has been a while sicn eI posted on this site, hope to do better!  Later,

Monday, August 12, 2013

Python Definitely or Fruit Pi, Clouds and a Snake!

Okay, so maybe I went overboard on the title!  If you are interested in effectively using the Raspberry Pi and also working with admin on the open source cloud software,  OpenStack, one of the best languages to use is python.  Even if you are not interested in clouds or raspberry pi's, python is just a blast to use, so long as you pay attention to white space.  I am brushing up on my python and was pleasantly surprised when I supported a kickstarter  on a python course.  Real Python and Real Python on the web are superb courses.  The style quickly whisks you through the knowledge with lots of examples very efficiently.  These course/books should be a model for future language texts.  Highly recommended!

Although I have not been fortunate in generating much discussion, hope springs eternal.  My topic for this post is, "What version of Python are you using?"  I have been sticking to 2.7 since OpenStack uses it.  Would anyone recommend learn 3+ or should I wait?

Please note this was originally posted on my Aging Hacker  blog but it is very appropriate for this blog too.  Recall my admonition to learn at least one language a year and learning python is a must.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) coalition is a very special organization to
increasing technical literacy in the US by enriching the education in
k-12.  I think a crucial component to this literacy is code literacy. 
Others may disagree, but learning to code is and coding are truly
transforming and exhilarating.  One of my Stevens students, recommended
an excellent short video
which captures many of these thoughts much better than I can articulate
them.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  Later