Thursday, March 19, 2009

 

Hardware Design

Think about USB ports. My Dell, and most computers, have the USB port located in a really stupid place. It's in front now, but in a dark corner under a cover and at a weird angle. The USB interface itself is stupidly designed. It isn't clear which way is up and which is down. The shape should have been made asymmetric to make that obvious.

I think of these are really obvious mistakes, and I could have avoided them with ten minutes thought, max, if I were in charge. But Dell and the USB standards committee must not be composed entirely of morons. Engineers do need a certain minimal intelligence. They even need a very little bit of imagination. Apparently not much. But this shows why it is worth paying such enormous fees to CEO's. Ordinary people simply can't think. It's worth having one person with brains and authority both, who can look at something for five minutes and see something that the engineers couldn't find in a year of looking.

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