The Illustrated Primer

Category: Engineering

Yaacov Apelbaum Big-O Notation Efficiency

Big O Notation

So if you have been suffering from recursive algorithmic nightmares, or have never fully understood the concept of algorithmic efficiency, (or plan to interview for a position on my team), here is a short and concise primer on the subject.

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Just Say No to Features

To hit the market early and within budget, your feature development strategy must focus on creating the bare essential functionality. So in this vein, you should make it prove itself to be a “worthy survivor”. Your features need to be tough, resilient, and lean. I have come to embrace the U.S Navy SEAL’s “hell week” screening approach before letting any one of them into my development cycle.

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Crafting Great Software Features Part-2

Your customers are no different than the people who are looking to buy a specific tool for a job. To deliver the right product functionality without getting lost in the technology jungle, you need to develop an understanding of how successful products are developed in other fields.

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Designed for Humans

After participating in and leading many painful software design meetings, I have come to the realization that the best way to sell the top design idea is to first share some of the alternative and inferior ones.

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Developers Just Wanna Have Fun

The greatest engineering feats are the ones we don’t notice. The hallmark of a great designer is his ability to translate complexity into simplicity. The automatic transmission in a car represents significantly more engineering effort than a manual transmission, but it positively transforms the average user experience. The best consumer electronics always focus on hiding complexity, not showcasing it.

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To Make Errors is Human, to Handle Them is Divine

Its not enough to capture and display errors. Real quality of service goes beyond just acknowledging your application’s faults. My rule of thumb is that there is no such thing as an “informative error message”. A good error is one that has been eliminated through error-handling code and product design.

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It’s Good Enough for Me

I seized the opportunity to respond in kind with a rival French maxim. I quoted Voltaire: “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien” (the best is the enemy of the good). My companion was startled and said he didn’t understand what I meant.

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Political Science 101

Not satisfied with this explanation, I proceeded to enumerate various doomsday accident scenarios. The principal’s otherwise cheerful demeanor suddenly darkened and after a quick and nervous glance at her watch she said that it was unfortunate that our meeting had to end so abruptly, but that she had to run to an important conference.

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Social Networks vs. the Enterprise

But alas, every garden has its resident snake, and such is the A grade serpent found in social network’s Garden of Eden. What many of us don’t realize is that the same characteristics that make the social networks so attractive are also their greatest limitation.

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The Illustrated Primer