Presentation on Great (Agile) Teams

2012-05-15

Last week I presented at the quarterly ArrowsGroup Agile Evangelists seminar in Amsterdam. I discussed the 'creation' of great agile teams. Can't really call it creation, as I'll explain in one of the first slides, teams aren't built or constructed or created out of thin air, they're grown and need proper care.

For those interested, I've shared the presentation on SkyDrive.

Project Thermostat

2012-05-14

Ok... Our thermostat for the central heating system is broken and I tried considering an intelligent replacement for it. There's quite a few options, some with both inside and outside temperature sensors, some with a learning clock, some are actually very nifty and provide an App on your iPhone or Android phone to change the settings.

They all have one thing in common, they're crazy expensive. Even a simple timer based thermostat starts around 75 euro. And they all have a very user unfriendly crappy 20-button based interface (slight exaggeration). From all the ones available out there I like Nest best, but that one isn't available in Europe (and has quite a few issues if used in Europe, so importing it isn't an option)

Apart from being expensive, the option available from our local energy companies all have their own issues:

Creating a good app is hard it seems

2012-05-05

I'm considering buying a new AV Receiver for the living room. One that supports DNLA and internet radio as well as a few other features. While researching I came across the different remote control apps for Android and iOS, a feature I hadn't even considered yet. It's something my old receiver doesn't have, but it looks like a nice to have to me.

I noticed too that many of the companies distributing these apps have a hard time getting it right. Looking at Pioneer, they have :

  • iControlAV
  • iControlAV2
  • iControlAV2012
All apps basically do the same, but each has a different set of supported devices. If you look at their rating, you'll see that they don't score high. I almost dismissed Pioneer for this feature, but reading the reviews I quickly found that most bad reviews are because Pioneer choose to put support for different receivers in different versions of their App. iControlAV2012 only supports the latest receivers, but still supports most of the Blu-Ray player that iContolAV2 supports as well.

Even though this is all clearly marked in the description, users are angry because it doesn't work with their device. To add to these users anger, the iOS version does support all versions supported by iContolAV, AV2 and AV2012 combined.

So how should Pioneer improve this in my opinion? I think they should release iControlAV 3.0 as a modular system. You then download the control modules for your receiver, blu-ray player and other devices separately. This also ensures I don't need to download a 40 MB file for a simple remote control.

Please pioneer, learn. Ohh and please fix the installer so that I don't have to unmount my SD card to install your app.
 

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