Rainy Day

While I wait for the outside atmosphere to become more like something I can breathe without gills, here's a recap of interesting stuff I came across during the week but had no time to mention:

  • There's a bunch of negative about last Tuesday's product announcements that I won't link to (but there are some interesting Intel shots and reviews that deserve mention).
  • RIM and NTP have settled by a mere $612.5 million, but the whole thing has become a textbook case of why the patent system needs reform.
  • SonyEricsson has finally started revamping their Bluetooth headset range (as well as launching an interesting desk speakerphone), all of which can charge off a Fast Port connector. I still think it is fundamentally stupid to use anything but , and have started looking at (spit) Motorola headsets solely because they charge off a standard mini- plug.
  • has made it to 0.6.0, sporting a number of improvements (should come in handy when Core 5 comes out).
  • Sony keeps enhancing their CyberShot line with new models, sporting 12x optical zoom lenses and focal length ranges equivalent to 36-432mm.

Meetings Are Toxic, Indeed

Finally, 37 Signals have published Getting Real, from which I'd like to quote (and comment) a portion of their Meetings Are Toxic chapter (freely available as sample) that I wholeheartedly agree with:

  • They break your work day into small, incoherent pieces that disrupt your natural workflow - often scheduled haphazardly at the whims of a few who don't particularly care about your time.
  • They’re usually about words and abstract concepts, not real things (like a piece of code or some interface design) - or internal politics, or someone's need for reassurance regarding some topic they don't really understand.
  • They usually convey an abysmally small amount of information per minute - and, in defiance to Special Relativity, time inside the meeting will always pass much slower than what might be apparent to an outside observer.
  • They often contain at least one moron that inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone’s time with nonsense - further increasing entropy, meeting length and the possibility of more follow-up meetings.
  • They drift off-subject easier than a Chicago cab in heavy snow - mostly because people go to meetings to discuss their own concerns, not to stick to the agenda.
  • They frequently have agendas so vague nobody is really sure what they are about - or didn't bother to read.
  • They require thorough preparation that people rarely do anyway - because meeting time is often considered as a break from current work, and who prepares for a break anyway?

Even if you don't work on web-based applications, you should read this book. There's a lot that is applicable to any customer-focused design effort, and not just at the technical level (plus a significant amount of implicit -fu).