Jun 28 2011

I Will Not Do Your Homework

I love to share solutions to issues I’ve encountered and explaining programming concepts in layman terms. I do it because that is how I learn. As a side effect of the tutorials and blog posts I write, I occasionally get a nice comment from someone that found some article I posted a while back found useful. I love to get those kinds of comments. Off course, I even appreciate the comments that correct my grammar, spelling, or misconception in a post I wrote 2 or 3 years ago. The one comment I usually don’t react well to is the one from some poor developer that sends me his requirements and asks for me to “provide proper solution.” Recently I got one such request via a comments. It stated…

I need to create a single page spreadsheet web application in RAILS which should be exactly like google doc(should not use google docs API). It should have the following features…

The comment went on and on that it should be a multi-user collaborate real time application with authentication, authorization, and hot keys support to boot.

I can relate with programmer stuck with a daunting problem. More than once have I been tasked with problem outside my domain expertise, and even application. I’ve had to walk through end users with problems that are peripheral to the application I was involved with. For example, I’ve had to track problems down due to network issues and security settings on shared drives in client sites because the some server could read files from that location. Like most developers, I’ve posted comments asking for help to blog articles on issues I’ve been stuck on, such as when using a particular version of a web service library with a particular web application server. That said, I’ve never asked someone to provide me a proper solution to a homework or other project.

Sep 7 2010

Google Dead Pool

It comes as a no surprise to technologist that Google would pull the plug on Google Wave, I just didn’t expect it so soon. I also didn’t expect Google to kill it’s Google Nexus One phone. As a user of Google products, I am always apprehensive to use new Google products because they have a track record of just dropping support for products they deemed unsuccessful with little or no notice. Google has been known to buy products like Jaiku and Dodgeball only to kill them after a year. The other products that I have used and Google has killed include Google Notebook, Google Video, and Google Page Creator. This is one reason I would not use any Google product still in beta, which is most of Google’s products, for mission critical applications. Most of Google’s consumer applications are free, such as Google Docs, Google Mail, and Google Search but only because they provide zero customer support. In fact, you have a better change of finding a Google employee or Product Manager through Twitter than you do through their About Us, Contact Us or corporate website. It’s joke that you can’t even find Google customer support page for any of their products even if you use Google Search.

Google prides themselves in hiring really brilliant engineers, bordering savants and the top 5% of MENSA, and it designs products for users just like them. Basically they design for nerds, and the first response you will ever get when asking a question to a technology focused group is RTFM, and this is how Google treats it’s users. Google expects it’s user to comb through Google Groups, do Google Searches, and ask your colleagues via Google Voice because Google does not see as it’s job to help users with Google products, but to create new products and see what users use, and see how they use it, how much they use it, and how they can learn from users behaviors.

So one is left asking, what product will Google kill next? Orkut? Chrome OS? Google Reader? Google Knol?