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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Over my morning coffee

Five Things, redux
I felt vaguely weird responding to the five-things game yesterday... so I was pleased to see that Jeff Atwood, author of the Coding Horror blog, also had complex feelings about responding. Which he did in a novel way. Look at that office: I guess he isn't working primarily for non-profits! He writes a great blog on software engineering and design though. He has a tendency to stop and ponder issues that are easy to pass right over, like last week's thoughtful post on the selection of default values in software applications. It really makes sense. When we add new features, we usually set them off by default. But if a particular setting is one you think best for most of your users, shouldn't that be the default configuration?

The digital life
Kilkat at Geeks are Sexy points readers to an article in Information Week that documents of the use of cell phones and pcs by toddlers as young as two. According to this piece, 15% of children age 2-5 in the United States use cell phones.

A Washington Post story, just a day earlier, focuses on the surrender of privacy that is implied in many of the high-tech conveniences that have become commonplace over the last few years - from EZPass to GPS to online shopping.

Security vs Panache?
The non-profits we work with are always trying to pack more punch into their communications with supporters. We've seen more and more of them adopt graphics-rich HTML mailings newsletters to help them get their message across. Which is why I felt that Brian Krebs' position in this Washington Post blog just wasn't going to sway a lot of readers. It's true that active emails can try to sneak around security measures - but I don't think users are going to go back to the plain-text for their critical constituent communications. It's Windows fault if just reading an email can trash my pc, and Microsoft needs to fix it - that's what I bet most users will say. What do you think?

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Comments on "Over my morning coffee"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (January 19, 2007 at 3:51 PM) : 

Michael -
On the subject of defaults - I think you are right to have any new options shut off by default. Back in my membership organization days, I hated it when new versions of the software would have new behaviors turned on by default. It's why I always told the software guys No New Versions!


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