Watching Others Work
I've recently been watching people use software, and I've been learning some great things for work and for play.
At work, we have a project tracking software which shows some real promise -- I really think it'll make life easier. We're all learning how we want to use the software within our projects, and different teams are applying it in different ways. Every time I watch someone use the software in a planning meeting, I'm scrawling notes like mad about new things to try.
Watching and working together in real time is a great way to learn features and tricks of new software. The pair programming people have been telling us this forever, and I had nearly forgotten the importance of pairing.
If you don't have a community of people using a piece of software, finding screen-cast podcasts could be the next best thing.
I've seen a few Photoshop video podcasts advertised, but the attention a video would demand just never felt worthwhile. Finally, I discovered Rolf Steinort's excellent Meet the Gimp video podcast. In just the first few episodes, I've discovered:
- a few real applications of different layer blending methods for emulating correction layers
- a new way to use the rotate tool for easier corrections
- the 2 default dialog windows can be collapsed into one big dialog
- tools can be added and removed from the toolbar
Check out this podcast, if you're using Gimp to edit photos. If you're coding, be sure to pair occasionally -- you'll start using your tools more effectively and likely even discover some new ones.