Nest Protect and Thermostat Integration Needed

I’m at that ten year mark when I need to replace all the smoke detectors in my house. I’m looking at the items on the market and in reviewing the Nest Protect I noticed a huge missed opportunity. I have a Nest Thermostat and love it. However, one shortcoming it has it that the temperature can vary a lot between where it is placed and the other rooms in the house. I have to put a smoke detector in almost every room to be up to code. If those also had a temperature sensor and could communicate to the thermostat then I could easily adjust or set rules when the bedroom is too hot or cold compared to the kitchen […]

Homophily

(via O’Reilly’s Radar) Homophily refers to the tendency to associate with people who are like you. This is as common in chat rooms as it is in elementary school lunch rooms. There is a natural tendency to seek out and associate with other people that are like us in some way. It makes us feel like we “belong”, like we are not alone. Sometimes this is harmless and even beneficial, as when quilters find each other and form a club. They get satisfaction and enjoyment out of their shared interest. Sometimes it is very bad, as when young men and women with radical inclinations find each other and push one another toward terrorism, strengthening one another’s resolve to kill. Generally […]

Good Software Isn’t Enough

I work hard every day to become better at what I do. I sit in my office reading blogs, books, tutorials, and anything else I can get my hands on and work on experiments and projects to hone my programming and design skills. I do this to avoid facing the trunk monkey in my car that attacks me when I go out… or possibly I do this so that I can produce really great websites. However, it is apparent to me that no matter how much I learn it will not be enough if what I build is not useful to people. So the real question is not just how do we build things well, but how do we build […]

Why to Avoid “Lock In”

…vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in, or more simply, lock-in, is a situation in which a customer is dependent on a vendor for products and services and cannot move to another vendor without substantial switching costs, real and/or perceived. By the creation of these costs to the customer, lock-in favors the company (vendor) at the expense of the consumer. –Lockergnome So let’s ask ourselves who the fancy pants custom software or website we just built should favor — the customer or the developer? Hmmm, this is the blog for developers so perhaps the answer is the developer? Wrong. But neither is it the customer. This is a trick question and the answer is it should be fair to both […]

Stupid Users

The recent discussion of RSS readers run amok got me to thinking about how much of such a problem is the fault of the user and how much is due to bad design or default configurations. With any good design there is a trade off between simplicity and functionality and we rely on users to have a certain level of competence. The trick is to make the system work well without placing an undue burden on users to be experts from the start. So the question we have to ask is if we should blame or punish users who cause problems as a result of ignorance or incompetence. Perhaps our design was too complicated and they couldn’t figure out how […]

The Lines

I spend a fair amount of time studying design; web design, print, industrial, whatever, I just like to examine designs and see what makes them succeed or fail. And one of the themes I have seen throughout is that good designers follow the rules, but great designers know and use the rules and then they break them artfully. I have always been a color inside the lines kind of guy. So I have to make a conscious effort to push past the limits I place on myself. I know the fundamental rules of design, what makes a clean effective design, but I have to step back and then knowingly push my designs past the point where they are correct to […]