El día que aprendí a siempre tener y nunca olvidar las checklists

Hoy mi día empezó así:

Seagull Extra 300L

Pero 10 minutos después esto pasó:

image

Mi nuevo avión Extra 300L con recién 3 vuelos estaba completamente destruido. Alcancé a dar algunas vueltas con el avión cuando repentinamente un ala se desprende del fuselaje y un segundo después la otra ala hace lo mismo y lo que quedaba del avión cae como un piano en picada. El fuselaje de perdió completamente y el escape del motor se dobló. El resto se salvó, incluyendo las alas, motor y toda la electrónica del avión. Todo porque se me olvidó instalar los tornillos que sujetan las alas con el fuselaje.

Despues de lamentar la pérdida comencé a pensar en por qué me había olvidado de tan pequeño detalle que causó este accidente.

En mi caso no usé un checklist que me hiciera revisar todos los elementos previos al vuelo como cargar combustible, revisar baterías cargadas e instalar los tornillos de las alas, entre otros. Y entonces ¿por qué no tenía un checklist? Porque me confié. Confié en mi experiencia y en que había hecho este procedimiento decenas de veces en otros aviones.

En aviación esa es exactamente la razón porque existen los checklists. Los factores humanos son un tópico de estudio para cualquier aspirante a piloto y un tema de investigación para organizaciones relacionadas a la seguridad en la industria aérea. Los factores humanos y nuestra infinita capacidad a equivocarnos hasta en las cosas más simples han hecho que se tengan que implementar sistemas como los checklists para estar lo más seguros posibles de que no olvidamos ningún ítem como parte de algún procedimiento.

Si los pilotos de aviones de tamaño real revisan una lista de ítems a cumplir antes del despegue y aterrizaje, entonces voy a aplicar lo mismo en el aeromodelismo. La memoria es demasiado frágil y la confianza puede jugar malas pasadas.

Kindle Paperwhite: What a Great Invention!

kindle_paperwhiteIt’s no wonder that the Kindle Paperwhite is one of the best Kindles ever created by Amazon. And you can go to its official page to read all the specifications and features. In this brief post I want to share my experience with it and the reasons why I like it so much over the previous versions.

The Paperwhite is my third Kindle. I previously owned a Kindle Keyboard and a Kindle 4. This one is the best by far. Here’s why:

  1. It has a backlight so you can read at night. With all the previous Kindles you needed a lamp and that was very uncomfortable.
  2. It has no buttons and has a touch screen. This makes it so much easier to use. Turning pages by touching the screen and highlighting text with your finger instead of touching buttons is great. After using the Paperwhite it’s easy to think that it was so tedious to use the buttons with the other Kindles, especially typing or highlighting text.
  3. Because of the 2 reasons above, you can really focus on your reading and not on the device you’re holding. With the other Kindles I was still aware of the device so it distracted me a bit. The Paperwhite makes you forget about the Kindle itself and focus on the content 100%.
  4. It’s light, slim and easy to hold.
  5. The battery runs for weeks! It’s been more than 2 weeks since I bought it and I haven’t charged it yet.

I highly recommend The Kindle Paperwhite to anyone who loves reading. I still like to have physical books on my shelf, but the practicality that the Kindle Paperwhite brings just beats real paper.

Apple Lost its Common Sense

Have you seen the latest product Apple launched? The Smart Battery Case. If not, here it is:

Apple Smart Battery Case

As you can see, it’s very very ugly. If you asked 100 designers to come up with a battery case, I don’t think this design would have been the winner.

Something happened at Apple, and not just with this product, but with the ones released before like the new Magic Mouse 2 and the iPad Pro.

Look at how you have to charge the Magic Mouse 2. You can’t use the mouse while charging it. The previous version used 2 AA batteries that could be replaced in 10 seconds so you can continue using the device.

magic_mouse_2_charging

And look at how you have to charge the new Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro

ipad_pro_apple_pencil_plugged_in-100613525-orig

That looks fragile. The slightest bad move on the pencil and it looks it’s going to break.

Apple lost its common sense. It’s like if Apple decided to fire the guy that made the last check before releasing a product. The guy that said “no we can’t launch that, it’s too ugly” or “that doesn’t make sense” or “the usability of that product does not exist” is not working for Apple anymore. Or maybe… was that guy Steve Jobs?

In his biography written by Walter Isaacson, it is mentioned that he always did that kind of things. Even if a product was ready to be released or in its final stages, he would look at it or use it and he would say it was too ugly, dumb or unusable and the product would be discarded.

If Apple wants us to feel that their products are special and carefully thought out again, they need a guy that makes that final check. They need a guy with a lot of common sense. Releasing a product just because it works good enough is a thing for Samsung or other competitors.

DU-BRO Factory Tour Video (7 minutes)

As some of you already know, I’m a big fan of RC (Radio Controlled) planes and I fly them as a hobby. This is why I want to share this video with you. It’s a quick tour of the DU-BRO factory.

DU-BRO is one of the best companies that makes parts and accessories for the RC world, including fuel tanks, push rods, wheels, and a list of about 1200 more items. They are based in the USA and in the RC world that is a synonym for quality, which is rare to find these days where almost everything is made in China.

Enjoy!

Thoughts on User Experience

I have to start this post saying I’m not a UX expert by any means. UX is not my professional field. These are just some thoughts I’ve had while seeing and experiencing how UX happens from the designer and user perspective across different systems, websites and companies.

I think the two most important skills a UX designer needs are common sense and empathy.

You need empathy because as a designer, you need to be on the user’s feet. You have to be looking through their eyes. You have to think of yourself as the final user of whatever your are designing. This way you’ll have a closer look at what the user is expecting from your product.

With this in mind, you will also need common sense. When designing experiences, you can’t do fool things. Fools things often happen when business needs or technology constraints are given more importance than what they really deserve. Business will come with good UX first. Not the other way around.

Avoid complicated and sofisticated and go with simple and usable. Always ask yourself if you’d be happy using what you are designing.

I’ve seen that without these basic concepts, results are often mediocre.

How to Install a Beta Version of WordPress

Even though I’ve been a WordPress user for a very long time (about 10 years) I had never installed a beta version. Until today.

I noticed WordPress 4.4 beta 1 was released just a couple of hours before writing this post and it came with a really good looking new theme: Twenty  Sixteen. So I decided to install 4.4 beta 1 to try the new theme as it doesn’t work with 4.3.

So how do you install the beta version?

Well, you have 2 options. You can download the zip, extract it and install it like any other WordPress version or you can go with the fast and easy way which is installing the WordPress Beta Tester plugin first, and then using the plugin to install the beta version of WP. I went with the latter. It all happens in the WordPress Dashboard so it’s very convenient.

After you install and activate the plugin, you have to go to Tools and then Beta Testing.

Captura de pantalla 2015-10-23 a las 11.17.47 p.m.

Here you have 2 options: Point release nightlies and Bleeding edge nightlies. You have to choose Bleeding edge nightlies to get the most recent version of WordPress, in this case 4.4 beta 1.

Captura de pantalla 2015-10-23 a las 11.18.12 p.m.

After that is done, you have to click on the link that invites you to upgrade and voilà, the latest and greatest version of WordPress will be installed. Although, maybe not the greatest because it warns you it’s a bit unstable, but I haven’t had any issues with it yet. The good thing is you’ll get the latest features and will be able to install the newest themes.

How to Protect WordPress From a Brute Force Attack

24 hours ago I started receiving a Brute Force Attack on one of the WordPress sites I have. The site was somewhat protected but that protection wasn’t as well tuned as I would have liked. I’ll share what I did to improve it so you can take action and protect your site in a better way.

Continue reading “How to Protect WordPress From a Brute Force Attack”

Boeing 787-8 Japan Airlines 1:200 Hasegawa

I recently finished this great plastic model that was given to me as a birthday gift this past May. I had not built a plastic model since I was like 14 or 15!

This time though, I had YouTube so I used it a lot to learn new skills that I didn’t know 15 years ago.

The kit was very well built so everything fitted perfectly and I didn’t have to use filler. The only small problem was that the panel lines were really shallow so it was a bit hard to highlight them with thin paint.

Here are some pictures of the building process and the completed model.

I really enjoyed building this plane and I think I’ll continue with a new model soon!

How to install Ruby and Rails on OS X using rbenv

I recently re-installed Ruby and Rails to start playing with it again. This time when I went to rubyonrails.org to check what was the latest version of Ruby and Rails, I noticed they were not recommending the traditional RVM to manage the Ruby installation anymore, but they were recommending something called rbenv. So I tried it.

Although rbenv has a lengthy documentation page on its GitHub page, the instructions to install Ruby and then Rails where not 100% complete and I had to look for extra information on Stack Overflow and other sites.

Here’s a step by step to install rbenv, Ruby and then Rails on OS X Yosemite.

  1. Install Homebrew, the package manager for OS X. Paste the following at a Terminal prompt:
    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
  2. Now that Homebrew is installed, run the following:
    $ brew update
    $ brew install rbenv ruby-build
  3. You can now list all the available Ruby version and check the one you want to install:
    $ rbenv install -l
  4. Let’s install Ruby version 2.2.2 (or whatever version you want):
    $ rbenv install 2.2.2
  5. If you check your Ruby version now ($ ruby -v) you will still see the existing system Ruby version and not the one you just installed. To fix that, run the following commands to make sure rbenv is in your PATH:
    $ export PATH="$HOME/.rbenv/bin:$PATH"
    $ eval "$(rbenv init -)"
    $ env | grep PATH
  6. Now that we have rbenv and Ruby installed, let’s install Rails:
    gem install rails
  7. Rails is now installed, but in order for us to use the rails executable, we need to tell rbenv to see it:
    rbenv rehash
  8. And now we can verify Rails is installed:
    rails -v

With that, you should be all set up with your new Ruby on Rails installation.

If you have any questions about any of the steps, just let me know!

Seagull 40: Takeoff, basic aerobatics and landing

This is a 3 minute video of my first RC model: a Seagull 40, doing some basic aerobatics a couple of weeks ago.

I’m using a Mobius camera to record and the engine is a OS 46AX II ABL.