By and large, computer programmers are, by both nature and necessity, a detail-oriented bunch. It takes someone who can get down into the weeds, the world of bits and bytes, of ones and zeroes, to craft an effective program to make a computer do something useful.
Recently, we talked in this space about user experience (UX) and why it’s so important to get it right when designing, building, and selling a software product. To recap, Google has come up with a handy way to evaluate and give a numerical value to a product’s UX, which helps guide designers and developers in the right direction to make improvements.
In 2016, Apple found itself engaged in a high-profile dispute with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the privacy and device encryption features of the company’s iPhone product line. The specific iPhone in question had been in the possession of Syed Rizwan Farook, who was suspected of conducting a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. The FBI recovered the phone after Farook was killed in a shootout with police.
Remember the “telephone” game? If not, it went something like this:
Kid 1 whispers a few words in Kid 2’s ear. Kid 2 then relays the message (again, by whispering) to Kid 3, and so on until the last kid receives the message and says it out loud. Usually, that message is not even close to the original, to the short-term amusement of everyone involved.
When you watch a rocket launch—whether it’s a high-profile NASA Mars mission or a commercial satellite launch by the likes of SpaceX—you’re seeing the culmination of months, sometimes years, of design, development, project management, planning, and execution. The bit where the rocket actually leaves the launch pad and goes into space should be the easy part: Just count down to zero, push a button, and watch it go, right?