• Prime Mover (unregistered)

    Perhaps the writer of this piece ought to have paid heed to the final words.

  • (nodebb)

    Actually that machine does meet a niche need. When I travel (ah, yes, I remember travel) I would often need to take a "datacenter" with me. Often the limiting factor was indeed the number of screens (often carrying 3-4 extra laptops just to RDP so I could see more).

    I have seriously considered a purchase, but there were a number of constraints and considerations that prompted me to look elsewhere, but...it was close....

  • (nodebb)

    The specs advertise 7 screens, but is only 60% of its 10 kg goal. What does getting a percentage of a weight goal even mean? Does it mean that it weighs 16.67 kgs, since 60% of that weight makes 10 kgs?

    I would read that as, "We had a goal of getting it to weigh 10 kg or less, and we in fact got it to weigh 60% of that, i.e. 6 kg."

  • dogfoot (unregistered) in reply to Prime Mover

    Perhaps the writer of this comment ought to have paid heed to whether their comment provided any useful feedback, or was just a cheap jab in the kidneys for no reason.

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered)

    Yeah, seems unambiguous to me ... no-one wants to lug around more than 10kg (think carry-on bags), so they've hit that with room to spare. I bet that doesn't include the bloody transformer though! 16.67kg? sounds like a "creative" misunderstanding.

    I don't see a WTF here unless I see actual travelling cybersec guys complaining this thing makes their lives harder, not easier. In my experience they love setting up their workstations like that (and so do I), all it's missing is an interactive bucket seat and a that corny Matrix-style screensaver. I, too, used to travel with more than one laptop and extra plug in screens and programmable keyboards just to get more done on short field trips. There are other solutions, and indeed I use those too, but looking at a tool to do a job and thinking "there must be a better way" isn't even 50% of the way to delivering that, probably not even 5%.

    You’ll have to stay patient with me on this post, since the point I will eventually get to really is the confluence of a number of different threads that have been going through my head the past few weeks.

    Seems the boat sunk before it reached any kind of point. On the plus side, I think I'll dig out a Papanek and give it another read.

  • Frank Wilhoit (google)

    The problem with UX is that users do not know what they want. In fact, they literally cannot imagine what they want. They know that nothing that they have ever seen or worked with is even slightly good; but that is all they know. They cannot formulate positive requirements that are coherent or feasible. And if they could, each user would want something entirely different.

    When this fact is inevitably rediscovered in each successive organizational context, the result is paralysis until/unless some manager or executive proposes themself as a universal proxy user. "I know what the user wants." Think Steve Jobs, except stupid[er] and more egotistical. At best, the result is something that manifests a consistent and legible design philosophy, but not any particular user's idea[l] of usability. In other words, it is something that has to be trained: and training has to come out of the operations budget, which there isn't any. --> Fail.

  • COB (unregistered)

    I worked with a great BA on a project and he told me that his job was to ask the users what they wanted and provide a solution that gave them what they needed. There's usually a pretty big difference between the two.

  • Carl Witthoft (google)

    Maybe the author should have asked some seasoned users of security "datacenters" how many screens of what applications they normally used at their home base before arbitrarily dissing the product in question.

    In reply to other comments - given that most users still haven't figured things out like <CTRL>-C <CTRL>-V it's damn hard to design a GUI (poo on that "UX" faux-name) that will improve their productivity, reduce the risk of repetitive stress injury, etc. Tho' I can guarantee that "discoverables" and ultra-low-contrast colorations are grossly counterproductive.

  • Carl Witthoft (google) in reply to COB

    I've done that & more often than not the user screams bloody murder because it didn't end up exactly the way they were sure they wanted it.

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered) in reply to Carl Witthoft

    Yeah, ditto, although COB did describe the guy as "Great", can only assume he'd earned that.

    Three invaluable skills there;

    1. Working out what it is they actually need from a pile of drivel handed down as "business requirements" from the manglement and a user who shows you some nightmare spreadsheet and just tells you the numbers come out wrong because "it should work more like my iphone".

    2. Being able to translate that squitter into something we can understand so a solution can be devised.

    3. The sales skills of getting the manglement/end user to accept what has been done and actually use it rather than throw a hissy fit and use the episode as an excuse to blame everything wrong with the business on those idiots in IT.

    IMHO finding a BA within even an adequate command of one of those things is a rare thing indeed, COB should have him cloned.

  • (nodebb)

    This reminds me of the introduction to the iPhone. Jobs is at his best showing this cool new little box. Looked about the same as other cool new little boxes from the usual suspects (HTC, Samsung, Nokia), but then was "the tilt" that changed history. we frequently put up with little annoyances, because we don't rally know that they are little annoyances. They just are, and the fabric of a particular technology just comes with all of those things built in. Until "the tilt that changed everything."

    Jobs is holding the phone in portrait mode. The image was I recall, from the screen projected behind him with a photo on the phone. He tilts the phone, rotates it 90 degrees to landscape. The phones screen fades out briefly and then back in, IN LANDSCAPE! Such a little thing, but we got it. Instantly, and the applause was that if instant recognition that yes, a phone can do both portrait and landscape.

    It was a little annoyance that we never thought about because it just WAS! A seemingly small thing that told us Apple really knew what they were doing and challenged us, the app developers, that small can be big as well.

    A massive all in one solution might not be the real solution. Solving one of those little annoyances might be all that's needed.

    But then there was the puck-mouse. but that's another story.

  • Best Of 2021 (unregistered)

    I don't really see the WTF here, if that's the information that security people want in the field, then it's a good idea to have a product that's ready made rather than making them carry 3 laptops and 7 screens and plug them together manually.

    And yes, users never really know what they want, and the art of BA (or 'product owning' or whatever it's called in your process) is to translate the things they say they want into something coherent that is close to what they actually want. But they usually have some pretty strong ideas about what they don't want, and if you can deliver a UI that contains the functionality you want and doesn't include any of those things they hate, it's probably going to be most of the way to good.

  • Twither (unregistered) in reply to MiserableOldGit

    "COB should have him cloned."

    Imagine trying to solve the problem of needing more competent BAs by asking your engineers to invent a cloning machine!

  • Michael (unregistered) in reply to TheCPUWizard

    According to the specs, the internal battery to power the screens is 147 Wh, exceeding the 100Wh limit for internal batteries allowed on a plane by the FAA, lol.

  • Michael (unregistered) in reply to Steve_The_Cynic

    Interestingly, elsewhere it lists the weight as "Around 12kg - Although this will be confirmed early next week."

    So now I have no idea where they got 60% from.

  • Nobody Special (unregistered)

    Two observations:

    1. When I worked in product development, our guiding principal was: Nearly all users don't really know what they want, but they know FOR SURE what they DON'T want.

    2. Looking at the product, it's clear that the design team included at least one commissioned salesperson who works for the company's LCD screen vendor.

  • I dunno LOL ¯\(°_o)/¯ (unregistered)

    Ten years ago I was THE newly hired software guy on a new project for the company. (The previous guy was an Australian who had decided it was time to go walkabout in Colorado with his dog. His last day was my first day.)

    The marketing guy was flailingly trying to sketch a UI for the various things he wanted which were basically like the touchscreen mess of the previous big project. Except we had a keypad because touchscreens actually suck. And the screen was a 3" 320x240 color screen, too small to do windowed things. There were also function keys at the bottom of the screen, intended to be referenced by the bottom line of the screen. The marketing guy would have ended up designing the equivalent one of those 7-screen laptops if they had hired someone with no UI experience.

    I threw out all his preconceptions of UI, and did what might be called a "Text User Interface", where most of the screens were either a subclass of a menu select or a forms entry screen. I based a good part of the navigation on JRPG menu interfaces, with fkeys instead of the tiny popups. (I even used the Namco arcade font as my small 8x8 pixel font, but had to make my own 16x24.) In the end, every screen was a C++ subclass with a factory function to create a new object from a managed memory pool. The class declarations were in the .cpp files because the only external reference was the factory function and a name string in a screens table. The .h was nothing but short macros to extern each factory function.

    I think it turned out well. It made the UI very consistent, though it was bit fiddly to code the form screens. But I know that if I hadn't had a lot of UI experience coding stuff for the old '80s/'90s MacOS, it would have been a clunky tangled mess.

  • Officer Johnny Holzkopf (unregistered)

    A friendly information from lé institùte dê usé òf üníts: "Does it mean that it weighs 16.67 kgs, since 60% of that weight makes 10 kgs? " - No. SI units do not get a "plural s", it's always kg, no matter how many.

  • Excitable Bike (unregistered)

    Do something for the professor, or the college, something that helps with recruiting. That would get you an A. Personas, conversion goals, funnels. Not something technical either, like cross referencing the riches families in Kuwait with public criminal records and sending out a recruitment letter.

  • grasshoppa (unregistered)

    I'm not convinced anyone really knows how to do UIX right, and I include myself in that group despite my study of the field.

    What I do know is that we have "experts" who come up with the most bizarre UIs I have ever seen. "Ugly" and "Confusing" are the first two words that pop into my head upon seeing their creations, and it goes downhill from there. The problem is that no one really has any idea how to do it better, so these folks are celebrated and their ideas put into production ( to predictable results ).

    The first company to really solve the UIX problem will make a fucking mint. It won't even be a contest; they'll dominate their industry, then branch out and dominate every other industry.

  • doubtingposter (unregistered)

    --- "A little aside here: A point of emphasis from our professor was Henry Ford’s famous quote (which he may not have actually said), “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. People seem to take out of this quote what they want to hear, and it made little impression on me at the time, but I understand it to mean the following: “Linear solutions to complex problems don’t result in novel solutions for customer problems. They result in old solutions with more bells and whistles. What is oftentimes required is starting from scratch in building user-friendly solutions that solve for customer needs, even if they are unstated.”" ---

    Found the WTF! I get while the writer failed that class. That quote (whether or not correctly attributed) has nothing to do with thinking outside the box. It reflects on people being stupid and depending wholly on user feedback for product development is a fallacy.

  • MiserableOldGit (unregistered) in reply to doubtingposter

    Yeah someone has been to one of those bullshit "innovation" and "lateral thinking" seminars.

    The whole "linear solution" generalisation smells a bit lazy too, a straw man in this context. Reminds me of Beardy Branson wanging on about why his Virgin Galactic project is so vastly superior to anything NASA ever did or could possibly achieve. They were supposed to be attempting more test flights over the last fortnight ... gone awfully quiet!

  • Fnord (unregistered) in reply to Carl Witthoft

    Reduce the risk of a repetitive stress injury? I've got the answer - rotate keymappings!

  • nasch (unregistered)

    "hard to design a GUI (poo on that "UX" faux-name)"

    If you think "UX" is a substitute for "GUI" (or "UI") you have misunderstood it. The "X" is for "experience". UI is part of UX, but not the whole thing. I think it's a way to try to get developers and others to think more about making things better for the user rather than focusing on painting widgets on the screen.

  • (nodebb)

    Interestingly, elsewhere it lists the weight as "Around 12kg - Although this will be confirmed early next week." So now I have no idea where they got 60% from.

    Could be they started off at 15kg, with a goal to reduce it to 10kg, but only managed to get it down to 12kg.

    But yes, the fact that (a) the secondary battery can't be taken on planes and (b) depending on how hot you run it, battery life is between 28 minutes and 1 hour means that it's got a long way to go before it's a usable machine.

    But then, it's a prototype. Presumably they'll keep working on it, although I think they really need some advances in screen technology to lower the power consumption and weight.

  • {anon} (unregistered) in reply to Fnord

    Reduce the risk of a repetitive stress injury? I've got the answer - rotate keymappings!

    Don't even need to do that. Just switch languages regularly for your MS products.

    Bold shortcut is CTRL+B. Always has been. Now introduce the German version of MS Office. Since 'Bold' is translated to 'Fett' in German, the obvious shortcut would be CTRL+F for getting bold statements. However, CTRL+F is already used for finding stuff. The solution: make CTRL + SHIFT + F the shortcut for 'Bold'!

    (Luckily 'Find' was translated to 'Finden' instead of 'Suchen', which would have moved the find function to CTRL+S...)

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