One of the few email subscriptions I participate in is The Nielsen Norman Group’s feed on interface usability, website design, and UX research. This week’s post was an interesting read, but further down the page I really like their suggestions on The Best Antidotes to the F-Shaped Pattern. Some I already knew and the article just confirmed my ideas, while others were new to me.
In many places that I have worked we use databases, sometimes we have an official database administrator, sometimes it’s been the server admin who has learned how to manage the database on the job. Either way, in very few places has anyone really understood database indexes very well and even where someone understood, they rarely talked to the people who needed the information. I found a good online presentation which made things very clear for me about what indexes should be set up and how they should be set up.
The biggest revelation for me is that the indexes are really there to support the queries. Previously I thought that indexes are important and a few should be created based on single fields, but I now know that it’s not the right way to do it.
At one of my previous jobs, one in which my IT career was just getting started, an employee was let go because of a dispute with the organization. The employee had developed some code which the organization relied on heavily (part of their trade secret) and was arguing that the code was his property vs. the organization’s. So before leaving the premises the employee decided to highlight the C: drive on his windows computer and hit the Delete Key.
For those of you who know a bit about Microsoft Windows knows that today, this probably wouldn’t do much because Microsoft has put safeguards in place, but this was the early days of windows. Basically most of the files on the computer were deleted except a few which were in use.
So, being the newbie computer geek and excited about proving myself to myself I took on the challenge, to get back the code that the employee intended to wipe out for good.
After a bit of research I found an undelete program, booted the computer from a floppy disk with this program on it (which shows you how long ago this was) and was successful in recovering the code.
Every time I come across a new undelete or file recovery program I think about my first real business challenge in the IT field. This time I found Recuva, a free to use file recovery tool. Although there are others out there, including Linux distributions built specifically for this, finding new tools is still exciting.
My wife is very good at making conversation with people; talking about what they want to talk about, asking open ended questions to solicit information from them and just listening. I find I can do this if I’m in the right mood and am comfortable in the environment.
Finding articles like this one is a reminder of how to do it in a personal or business setting.
I have always liked lists over paragraphs of text in web design, but I have always struggled with capitalization, punctuation and detail level which should be included in the list and when to use an ordered list and an unordered list. Someone from my past recommended something like “only use a ordered list when the person should do things in a particular order” which made perfect sense and I remember it to this day, but I like this article that I noticed recently because goes into much more detail about all of the aspects of lists and gives many examples of what to do and what not to do.