How To Ruin a Good Idea, part 2

by Dmitry Kirsanov 17. November 2012 06:34

New technologies allow us to reach new goals. Different tool sets enrich scenarios and it becomes easy to do things we couldn’t dream about before. We implement features so fast, that sometimes we just can’t analyze the impact until the most loyal customers uninstall our app.

Once upon a time I’ve downloaded the mobile application which made my phone a toy that could be handed to a kid. Just like the Kid’s Corner in Windows Phone 8, but for Android. It contained a few badly written games, but it was not the reason why I uninstalled it.

In Android, just like in Windows 8, you can use other apps to enrich your application with their services. Connect to social networks, send e-mails and whatever else.

What this particular application did – it used my e-mail application to send e-mail to developer of that application, to automatically register me as it’s user. I realized that only when I’ve received an e-mail with the password and warm “thank you” for registration which I didn’t commit or solicit.

In some countries that’s crime which could cost you your business.

The morale is – sometimes you can’t do what you can do. You can use contracts in Windows 8 (or their analogs in Android and iOS), but you shouldn’t do anything that your customer is not aware of and can’t cancel before it happens.

How To Ruin a Good Idea

by Dmitry Kirsanov 15. November 2012 03:29

Here is a short story of a good idea gone bad, and a good lesson for mobile application developers.

The Preamble

We find ideas everywhere. The best place to find a good idea is where you wouldn’t look for it. The dump, graveyard, museum, park or simply the street of your city at night (in other words – any uncommon place for you) may bring something that would keep you busy for the next year. Or show the pitfall to avoid, and sometimes this knowledge comes with the price.

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Run Faster, Jump Higher

by Dmitry Kirsanov 31. July 2012 13:00

A cubic meter of wood weights differently in different parts of the planet. We know it from childhood. What we start to learn later – that it’s the same about your career potential.

Let’s take an example. Mike, an ordinary guy next door, lost his job at the local café shop in England. It wasn’t a lucrative position by any means, but it was a job. When his employer informed him about the forthcoming dismissal, Mike went to state employment services and applied for all kind of allowances he could. He was one of a few hundreds of other guys with the same level of education, skills and knowledge, as well as with the same work experience.

He had to choose the next specialty, which is neither easy or pleasant choice to make, even if someone else is going to fund it. Since he is reading newspapers and talks to friends, he knows that IT is sort of the most stable industry nowadays. He doesn’t feel like he’s able to become a programmer, he is not a geek, so he decided he could go into system administration. Maybe something related to wireless technologies, as it looks to make more buzz in media.

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Essentials of Microsoft Internal Security Policy

by Dmitry Kirsanov 11. April 2012 07:41

Microsoft Security Essentials logo

Here’s some morning fun for security experts out there.

A few days ago I needed to arrange a payment to Microsoft. The credit card used in transaction wasn’t available the week after transaction, when the company decided to charge it. Not a big deal, I only needed to provide the details of an alternate card. Here is the fragment of an e-mail I’ve got regarding the issue:

“Due to security policy, we strongly recommend you send these details via fax or attached to an e-mail. Please do not type these details in the e-mail body. If you wish, you can provide us with these details via phone.”

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The Pin Is Inside

by Dmitry Kirsanov 11. April 2012 03:45

The pin is insideRemember the Matrix? The movie by Wachowski brothers that shook the world in 1999. There was a concept of accelerated training, when knowledge was simply uploaded to your brain. In a matter of seconds you could learn Kung-Fu or how to control the helicopter. Now, what was the most attractive in that concept?

The fact, that you wouldn’t have to fight with yourself day after day, until you would eventually give up and abandon the training, burying the dreams about the black belt or the license.

Imagine, if tribe leaders would just gather and sign the peace treaty, without starting the war. That’s what it is, the real training – a war of your future against your past. A civil war inside of you. When one part of your brain screams that it is much safer to sit in the trench or retreat, while other objects, that if you don’t follow your dream now, it will turn into the nightmare later.

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Of Action and Reaction

by Dmitry Kirsanov 21. December 2011 20:31

AtlasThis story happened 2 years ago. That time I was training IT specialists sent by their companies to acquire various certifications – be it MCSE, MCPD or even CISSP. I had a colleague, and she was very passionate about training people to achieve new heights, and once she got a bright idea.

The idea sounds like that – all of our students are established IT specialists, many of them are heads of their IT departments and lead developers. They are very motivated both by their employers and themselves. There is no problem to teach them anything new.
But what if we will train someone, who is not motivated at all? What if we’ll take a group of high school pupils and train them for something simple yet useful – like Windows Vista Administration certification?

Yes, we wanted to train any amount of school kids to get a certification they would otherwise pay hundreds of dollars for. For free and during a week.

My colleague wanted to perform that training at her former state school. She was just 23, so she knew all the teachers and the principal of that school. It was easy to set up the meeting and so we met the principal and IT teacher to discuss the event.

Although they didn’t really got why we would do that, they could agree to host the event using the equipment of IT class. However, it all depended from one question – how much money would they get from it. That is – you know, electricity and stuff – we would pay for that, right?

Wrong.

Of course, we didn’t talk with them afterwards.

The morale of the story is – more often than not, your good intentions, especially when they are intelligent and have benefits which needs to be explained, will be treated hostile and you won’t get well deserved respect for them. Yet another argument of the objectivism theory, which states that we all look at the world through the prism of our perception. And this leads to the necessity to defend your ideas, even if the whole idea doesn’t give you any value. And this means, that having power to do “good” alone is not enough. As more such power you’ll have, as more resistance you’ll face. The irony lays in the fact that you’ll face resistance from those you’re trying to help.

Two words about employment

by Dmitry Kirsanov 28. November 2011 03:12

It appears like in some things Chinese have more sense than the rest of the world. According to the article, they are going to cancel majors (i.e. higher education programs) which don’t lead to employment. They are going to analyze the stats of employment for those, who finished their majors and how lucky they are to land a job. So, if you are teaching Turbo Pascal and call it “Computer Science”, your days are numbered. If you teach it in China, of course.

I wish the same would be implemented in EU. During my career I found out one thing – an IT specialist with higher education is less preferable than the one without it. The reason is simple – higher education in Eastern Europe works just like in “Profession” – novel by Isaac Asimov. Dumb memorizing of irrelevant data which won’t do any good for business. They are not taught creativity and open-mind behavior.

Besides, the situation with employment becomes so interesting for those mentally challenged IT administrators, that some of them become very… I almost said “creative”… In finding a new job opportunity.

According to Security Week, a 26 year-old Hungarian male called Attila Nemeth hacked into the network of American hotel network Marriot through some dumb social engineering technique, and then… Tried to extort the employment opportunity at that company, at his terms. And as if it wasn’t stupid enough, he sent them a copy of his passport, and used plane ticket paid by Marriot to come for his job interview. After he was “interviewed” by Secret Service “HR personnel”, he’s about to be employed by one of American prisons for next 15 years and during that time he will have to pay up to $ 1 million to Marriot.

This makes me think, that Hungary has problems with two things, and one of them is employment.

Talking about employment and HR, a new research shows, that there is a direct relation between intellect and the sense of humor. Apparently, the sense of mirth is a reward given by brain when you discover the logical error in statement. According to my own experience and opinion, research results looks valid and natural. Bad news for people with undeveloped sense of humor.


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