[H-GEN] In office scheduling program...

Andrew Draper ajdraper at uq.net.au
Thu Jun 1 18:37:18 EDT 2000


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..snip..

> One day I'd like someone to take me through the logic that shows
> intuitiveness is (the best|the only|a reasonable) measure of
> the ease of use and general worthiness of any given piece of software.

> jason

In response to this, from a management perspective, a business would 
adopt an inferior product if it required less staff training and 
offered the features desired or close to it (more or less).

In my line of work, people still deal in pen and paper. They are 
mostly the sorts of people who can't/won't program their VCR too.

For me to train staff myself is too costly, and I can't afford to pay 
someone else to do it. They need to be capable of working it out for 
themselves with only a little bit of initial assistance, such that 
they are able to perform the bulk of their work. The merit value of a 
software application is the time cost in its use. Sure, MS Office 2000 
almost needs a supercomputer and a personal loan to buy and run it, 
but it lets almost any dribbling idiot perform "real" work quickly.

With that in mind, there needs to be a structured logic present within 
the user interface that allows people to guess where the feature 
lives. That's why intuition is important in "productivity" (read 
office administration) applications. I don't want to see a linux app 
with dogs or paperclips. People can learn a logical system fairly 
rapidly, but it needs to be quick to operate if they will stick to 
using it.

Where I will be working, I want to introduce some office automation 
and new initiatives aimed primarily at making my job easier - 
especially in relation to appointing and in tracking outstanding or 
overdue actions.

I want to take my appointment book on the road too. Check what I'll be 
doing  tomorrow, next week, next year from the comfort and privacy of 
home. Change or add things at home, then sync it with the server. MS 
products offer much of that functionality, but I don't want to use it 
from personal preference. Lotus has a similar windows based product.

Again, we're talking about a small business. We don't need 
functionality to support hundreds, and can't afford to pay that 
either.

StarOffice 5.1 looks nice, is easy to use and has multiplatform 
support. Ok, so it's not "free" free software, but I don't mind that 
much on that issue. It is relatively cheap too for the bundle with the 
schedule server. I just want to hear if it does the job or is there 
something better out there.

I have just started to fiddle a little with postgres, and this may 
turn out to be a decent solution for the guts of a calendar server 
backend... although this is probably serious overkill, and involves a 
lot of work to integrate this, and me learning sql and a programming 
language also. Time is the main issue for me.

Let's bring these things into the public, argue, debate and maybe 
we'll get some interest going and might even create a new solution, or 
discover a perfect one is already out there.


Cheers 

Andrew




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