Arnt Gulbrandsen
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2016-06-20

The value of features

A programmer doesn't always know whether a new feature of a program will turn out to be valuable or not. Perhaps: doesn't even often know. I've just had a repeat lesson on that topic.

I have a new phone. The manufacturer brags about a high-resolution camera and many other things, but I bought it because it's the smallest phone with a good screen and an up-to-date version of Android. (Yes it fits in a pocket, even sideways in some pockets.) I noticed in a review on the web that the phone's watertight, complete with an underwater photo of a beauty in bikini, but didn't give any thought to it. After all I don't spend much time in pools or at beaches, and if I do the bikini beauties don't gravitate towards me. When I bought the phone I had no idea that I would care about its being waterproof.

But I do care. The summer rains here in Munich can be impressively intense. Until now I've always been conscious that I was exposing an expensive and fragile electronic device to water when I used a phone in the rain. I have done that when I needed to, but in a corner of my mind I was always aware of the risk. Now I just do whatever I need to do, rain or shine, and don't worry about the device.