Monday, March 23, 2009

Assorted Comments on Tools

Use tools appropriate to your skills and to the job you are trying to get done. Learning to use more powerful tools is one of the best ways to increase your effectiveness.

I am a good draftsman. I can complete architectural, or some engineering, drawings on paper faster and more accurately than with any of the less expensive CAD programs I have tried. I am not going to spend over a thousand dollars on AutoCAD and a like amount on a large printer or plotter without some evidence it would be worth it, especially when the less expensive CAD programs I have tried have been so crappy. And even more so when actually putting them on paper forces a person to think through the details, so I am more likely to catch any mistakes or inconsistencies.

Money is the most flexible tool. It can be used to buy physical or software tools, get information, or have someone apply expertise you lack.

Useful knowledge is a powerful tool; this was clearly recognized by the authors of the "Whole Earth Catalog", its sub-title was "Access to Tools".

If you are making tools for others you need to keep in mind the skills of your expected users, how easy it will be for them to begin using your tool and to master it, to what extent their current skills will transfer, what they will be using your tool to accomplish, how well fitted your tool is to those ends, and the
competition - what other tools the user could choose instead.

Two tools that accomplish the same ends may have totally different groups of users because of other considerations, such as, what is traditional (with training, accessories, and such already available) for the group, which tool is flexible enough to be used for other problems a particular group may have, and cost considerations (for example, most groups would not be willing to spend as much for a tool for an occasional or peripheral job as a tool for a more frequent or central job).

No comments:

Post a Comment