Milestone Fails With Grandma

Milestone has published: MIP SDK Explained to your grandmother, challenging themselves to:

explain what you are doing and what comes out of it to someone unfamiliar with software development? To a friend or even your grandmother?

Choice Milestone explanations for grandma included:

The easy-to-use development toolkit contains application and code samples, proven Milestone library and code components and Microsoft® Visual Studio project templates

This means that solutions can be delivered to various market segments and that broad market accessibility is within reach. By joining the Milestone Solution Partner program, integrators gain access to a substantial and voluminous channel network

This is horrific.

Does anyone at Milestone read this before or after it is released? So people 'unfamiliar with software development' are going to know things like "Milestone library and code components and Microsoft® Visual Studio project templates"?

A quick alternative:

Grandma, we make it safer for your children at work. The 'MIP', as we call it, make sure that if anyone tries to get into Jane's office who is not supposed to be there, the computers work together, so security can immediately check and dispatch police to make things right. etc., etc.

In other words, if you want to communicate with people unfamiliar with software development and technology, focus on what the technology can do, not code components or your IDE's functionality.

Please? Yes? No?


The Lesson: Write the article, then come up with a headline that fits.....and this isn't it. Grandma would be sleeping after the first sentence......

I used to try and explain advanced surveillance products and concepts to Grandmas, and now my job is to train other people to explain these concepts to Grandmas.

Can confirm- explaining to Grandma is more art than science, especially since the only thing worse than being boring is being condescending.

It can be done, though, and done successfully.

The old "Grandma's don't understand technology" canard strikes me as unfairly stereotypical, not to mention sexist and ageist, which is unusual for the overly PC Scandinavians*.

Certainly ADA Lovelace's, or Jean Jennings Bartik's grandchildren would object. As might I, since my own, now over 70, was one of the first programmers to work on American Airline's fledgling SABRE system in the 1950's! Something she never seems to mind to tell... and retell.

*2 points if you caught my stereotype.

since my own, now over 70, was one of the first programmers to work on American Airline's fledgling SABRE system

And your dad built robots? That's a lot to live up to :)

The old "Grandma's don't understand technology" canard strikes me as unfairly stereotypical, not to mention sexist and ageist, which is unusual for the overly PC Scandinavians*.

That's a good point. New post: "Milestone, Stop Being Sexist and Ageist"....

Also, people who might object - those who think software development does not begin and end with Microsoft...

Good point. I'm just using Grandma as a shorthand for "person who is not unintelligent but is completely, if justifiably, ignorant of the subject at hand".

Some sterotypes are based on reality. I think part of the problem is as we become older we become more aware of our limitations and consequences. Younger people tend to be more oblivious to consequences to aren't afraid to experiment more. The effect being, Grandma may be harder to teach but she is less likely to mess something up, whereas younger people may be more open to learning but I have fixed plenty of systems that were messed up by younger people thinking they knew what they were doing.

I'll give you back 1 point for a valid use of the word canard in a sentence.

I agree with the ageist/sexist objection. Substitute "end user" and you're dead on target (says this end user) :-)

Doris, for crying out loud, you're already an Avigilon Gold Partner, remember?

Anyway, we agreed, "No new VMSes til after the New Year."

Based on my sole experience with Milestone, I don't see how they could fail with Grandma -- clearly ease of use is a priority:

Description:

After running the installer MilestoneXProtectProfessionalVMS_installer_x86.exe, the installation files are unpacked, but the installation does not proceed and there is no message to explain why.

Solution:

Open the Registry Editor (Start -> Run -> regedit)
Export the entire Registry for backup purposes
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINES\SOFTWARE\Milestone\Installation
Locate one or more keys with a name in GUID format like "D9C6E690-XXXX-YYYY...". Look inside each one and find the one which does NOT have a key named "InstallLocation"
Now, either add an InstallLocation key (Multi-String Value / REG_EXPAND_SZ) with the install path "C:\Program Files (x86)\Milestone\Milestone Surveillance\", or delete the entire key found above
Re-run the installer

Yayy!!! Problem solved!