.: Google Gadgets and lessons from an aircraft crash
Google make it pretty easy and I am looking forward to making some other gadgets. Last weekend I also borrowed a book called Hacking Google Maps and Google Earth by Martin C Brown. It's a little old now, but I feel inspired to try writing some code to interact with those applications. Something useful for travel.
Last night's Air Crash Investigations program about the Kegworth Boeing 737-400 crash contained a number of lessons which could be applied more broadly across many areas of work. The causes of the crash can be summarised as:
- An engine with a design flaw that cause the fan blades to shatter above a certain altitude. The engine has not been flight tested during development.
- A lack of pilot training on the aircraft. The 737-400 had a number of changes over previous models.
- Instrumentation that was difficult to read.
- Crew and passengers trusted the pilots abilities to the extend that they did not attempt to convey observations thatmay have assisted the pilots in making the correct decision.
- Distraction caused by an interruptions at a critical moment.
The lessons, as I see them, are:
- Always attempt to test in realistic environments.
- You can't always rely on past experience if there have been changes.
- Usability is important!
- If you see something wrong, speak up!
- Interruptions and other distractions can be dangerous.