Buying a car can be challenging due to all the decisions that are required. You have to make the big decisions: size, type, electric, hybrid, or gas-fueled. Then there are the medium decisions: manufacturer, model, color. Then, there are the seemingly endless minor decisions: keyless entry, remote start, heated seats, entertainment system, all which impact your experience as a driver or passenger. You can take the family down to Disney in the family truckster but having that entertainment system for the kids makes the ride so much more tolerable for everyone. Many people geek out on those little details. Although, they don’t impact how well the car drives, fuel efficiency, or safety, but they are still very important facets of the car. You certainly wouldn’t ignore them when buying a car or leave it up to the car dealer to pick which ones are included with your car. They are a minor, but still very significant, aspect of the purchase.
Boost your organization’s success with putting an effective corrective action process in place.
I loved playing with Nerf guns as a kid. Scratch that... I love playing with Nerf guns. Period. They are fun as heck, and they continue to get more creative, novel, and innovative. They get the kids outside, make them run around and have fun. It’s awesome. Back in the day, one of my friends had a traumatic experience with a Nerf gun, where one of the foam bullets caught him right in the eye. He had fuzzy vision and his eye puffed up for days. His trauma obviously had an effect on me as well, but the fix was obvious: just wear glasses when you play with Nerf guns. Easy! You can still run around like a maniac, still come up with all sorts of crazy games, and look super tough in some sporty, “operator” sunglasses. Oh, and not shoot your eye out! It’s a win-win. My friend, however, did not get the memo. Not two weeks after his swelling went away, he got shot in the eye AGAIN by one of the sharp shooters on the other team. The protective-eyewear-fix only lasted two outings and then was put to the wayside. New habits are tough to form.
I recently got into an argument with my wife over something relatively small. It was a very busy week at work, and I had two scout leader meetings back-to back immediately after I clocked out for the day. At the first scout meeting, one of the leaders left some forms that I needed to fill out at his house... but since I was going to be running around that evening, I offered to pick them up after my second meeting. No big deal, right? I’m out anyway, and I thought my wife would be asleep by the time I got home. I went to the second meeting, and some of the other leaders and I got to chit-chatting and it went longer than expected. I called to let my wife know that the second meeting wrapped, and she was not asleep as I expected. She sleepily asked if I could pick up some bread on the way home. And here is where I messed up.
Is there anything more annoying than listening to a wonderful podcast with great audio where the talent sounds crisp and clear, only to be interrupted by some low-budget advertisement where the hiss in the recording is nearly as loud as the speech? I’m all for supporting artists, but if you’re going to interrupt my show, the LEAST you can do is pay attention to the audio quality of the content. I know I sound like a grumpy old man, “Back in my day, advertisements were recorded in a professional broadcast or recording studio where they knew a thing or two about signal to noise.” The point is, that hiss that creeps up every now and again is representative of an audio system that is not meeting user expectations. If users can hear that hiss, something is not right in the gain structure of the system. The system signal (the sounds we want) are not playing at levels far enough away from the system noise (the sounds we don’t want). This difference is called a signal to noise ratio, and it’s what we’ll be discussing today.
I have been accused of “not listening” to my wife many times in the past. I should preface this by saying that I love my wife dearly, and on date nights or after the kids go to sleep, I am very attentive. However, there are times during the weekends where I am upstairs listening to a podcast, the kids are fighting about what to have for lunch, there is background music playing downstairs, and my wife picks THAT time to ask me, from all the way downstairs and at a whisper (probably), to take the trash out.
Fast forward an hour: the trash had not been taken out.
My wife argues that I wasn’t listening. I argue that her public address system did not have adequate intelligibility. That didn’t go over well, but the science was on my side!
How big should your display be? This is a seemingly simple question, but answering it gets difficult, quickly. We used to base the answer simply on task level and furthest viewer in the room. Then we based the answer on how large text would be on the screen. Most recently, we base it on how large the “elements” we need to perceive are relative to the screen size. I think all these different methods have their benefits and shortcomings. However, in the end, it comes down to the users’ needs. Let’s explore these different methods and perhaps come up with a new take to best meet our needs.
Why is being disciplined so difficult? The results of discipline are amazing. It feels great after you apply discipline, you feel like you accomplished something. It literally makes you a better person. So why are our brains wired to make it hard? I am sure evolutionarily speaking, there is some reason behind it. Lounging certainly allows you to conserve calories and stay alive longer when food is scarce. Adrenaline will get us going when it is absolutely required but being at a heightened state of activity is not sustainable for too long. And binge-watching Real Housewives of New Jersey is just so dang appealing! The draw to being undisciplined is always present.
Could you imagine blindly following a recipe in the kitchen without checking or tasting your food along the way? I remember my friend had a recipe for a Penne Alla Vodka dinner-for-four once called for five HEADS of garlic to go in the sauce! Not five cloves... five heads. We were in college, and he was a beginner cook, he didn’t think twice about it and chopped up an obscene amount of garlic (and I’m Italian) added it to the sauce, cooked it up, and served it without tasting it. We literally thought something was burning. It was the garlic. The entire pasta dish had to get thrown out...all that food...all that garlic...wasted. The dinner was ruined. We still had some salad, but there was no main course.