Coffee, Software and Intimidating Tools

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There’s a new coffee machine in town. It’s a bit intimidating.

One of the great things about working at Redgate is the coffee. The company is spread out over three floors and they have one single place on the ground floor where everyone has to go for their daily fix of caffeine, (or a bewildering array of juices, teas, herbal teas, breakfast cereals etc). It’s good for meeting other people in other teams.

But coffee is a big thing here. Last week the coffee machines were replaced. The new machines are scary…

The coffee is amazing. The choice is bewildering. I’ve been amusing myself by watching people approach the new machines. Everyone without exception has a reaction.

  • People’s faces light up. In about 25% of cases.
  • Much more common: double takes, screwed up faces, people taking a step back, puzzlement.

There is too much choice to take in. There are three pages of options for different coffees. We now have flat whites. We now have ‘artisan coffee’ – I’m disappointed that this isn’t as I had thought, hand ground by a tiny hipster hidden away in the machine.

RedGate Coffee Machine

The new machines are brilliant and once you get used to them, you get amazing coffee. Learning how to use the machines is worth it in the end. The end result is a glorious product.

For a lot of people, the simple tool was ‘better’. The new machines are great for advanced users but they take time to learn. Some users love this, others are fine with the simple thing. Kathy Sierra has a lot to say about this in her two, ‘Making Badass Users’ talks – Part 1Part 2.

Microsoft Paint

Microsoft Paint is one of my most used apps. It is really simple to use. It’s capabilities are limited. (This is a good thing as it stops me exploring new features instead of just annotating a picture of a coffee station).

This week it was announced that Microsoft were going to add it to the features that will be deprecated in Windows 10’s new update. The replacement is a better version of Paint 3D. Cue uproar. Rightly. Thankfully, yesterday, Microsoft announced a reverse ferret, Paint is here to stay. This is a good thing.

Sometimes, the simplest tools are the best tools for the simplest jobs and the simplest users.

The 12th Business of Software Conference USA, October 1st-3rd 2018. Boston, MA.

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