Sunday, May 24, 2015

IPad, Chromebook, Windows 8 Tablet long term family test

We've been conducting a long term "family" test on our coffee table for the past year or so.

Our test subjects include an IPad (2), an HP Chromebook 14' and a Windows 8 (Winbook) 10" tablet. The devices are primarily used for web surfing, news reading, basic word games, social media and research when people need to prove they are right as part of a discussion. Our previous coffee table device was a Macbook Air that has been appropriated for other uses.

Chromebook #1 Coffee Table

We've been surprised how much we like this device. A Chromebook takes some getting used to at first because you don't install any software on it and you don't have to do any patches.  Software hacks like me are initially completely lost when getting a new Chromebook.  You don't have to install software because you can't install software.  It is the closest thing to an appliance. 

This Wi-Fi and T-Mobile enabled Chromebook has become the house go-to device.  It has a large keyboard and trackpad and all evening battery life.  The classic clamshell design makes it good for lap and table use.  The Chromebook does support different user profiles through google logins. We each can have our own environment without any type of IT administration or configuration. This is the only device without a touchscreen. We wish it had one but wouldn't give up the packaging and keyboard for that feature.

The HP is an ugly color and the case stains easily.  They were looking to do something a little different than the standard metallic silver or black. 

IPad Air 2 Cellular: #1 Travel

I started this when we had an IPad 2.  Our newer IPad Air 2 has been a bit of a revelation. The 4G support makes the device useful anywhere without pairing with a phone or the need for a hotspot. Cellular IPads have GPS which has come in handy on long car trips.  We can sit down somewhere and look at a hardcover book sized map without having to muck with our phones..  The weight is great.  We've been using it without an external keyboard. This is our go-to travel device.  It is also a very nice reader when not in direct sun

IPad 2: #2 Travel and Basic Reader

We've had a Wi-Fi enabled IPad 2 for several years. The iPad 2 is surprisingly heavy even though it was a revolution when it came out..  The IPad 2 has been relegated to a color Kindle App reader or a travel when we don't want to risk losing more expensive device.  Recent iOS 8.x updates have made this device significantly slower.  

The IPad 2 has always been more popular than the Windows tablet device in our house.

Windows Tablet

This device has been a bit of a disappointment.  I thought it would be great because it could be a PC or a tablet/media device.  The funky keyboard and stand mean that it is a lousy laptop (PC).   The small graphics and PC modes for some apps means it is a lousy tablet.  The battery life in this particular device is horrible because of the power saving modes. There really aren't any decent Modern UI applications.  OneNote is confusing. I can't find some of the important features.

Windows 10 is somewhat of an improvement even though Tablet mode is probably actually worse.


We continue to use these devices and look at others.

Curse of the Project's Gold

I've worked for a few different companies, worked in pre-sales calling on lots of vendors and taught classes and did training with from teams from many different organizations.  This is my current list "curses" based on those experiences.  You can find lots of project warnings using a little google foo. Here are mine:

I worked a team where everyone got a box of gold treasure.

Knowing when it is better to leave the gold in the chest...

  1. No one is sure who the business owner is.
  2. The original "primary business problem" is not addressed by the project.
  3. The company believes it is immune to the three legged stool of "Cost", "Quality" and "Time".
  4. More bodies are added in order to make the project go faster in the current sprint. An egregious version of Brook's Law
  5. The project expands to justify the cost.  See Escalation of Commitment
  6. The CIO says that "they have never had a project come in late".
  7. Upper management announces the project and then appears to the staff, only talking to their direct reports..
  8. Executives believe the project can be completed on time (or at all) even though there is no empirical evidence. See Optimism Bias
  9. The project contains multiple subcontractors each with their own separate definitions of success.
  10. Explicit deliverables are planned out on a multiple year timeline.

Other signs

  1. The timeline for a new project is 1/2 the timeline of the previous project even though it includes greater complexity and new tools and platforms.
  2. It feels like management's bonus is tied to a quarterly reorganization.
  3. Management declares that automated testing should be done after the customer signs off so that there is less test rework.
  4. Chaos Monkey is used as a way to test the effectiveness of the on-call system.
  5. The team turns off Continuous Integration build notifications because they make the team look bad.
  6. Your agile team still turns in status reports.
  7. Outsourcing is done to "make failures cheaper"
  8. You hear the phrase "we can archive the code"
  9. You see your project code on
  10. Developers actually believe their code is self documenting.
Last updated 5/24/2015