Home/office automation

I am convinced that it is a developer’s job to make the life easier of its end user. (Just ask Joe End-User, he will agree with me.)

For me that is two things making difficult things easier. And that is something most developers love to do. The hard part, is making sure an easy thing stays easy. (I guess you know more and better examples of how this often goes wrong.)

Sometimes the client is best helped with an existing out-of-the-shelf application

I have once helped a client, explaining him that what he wanted was part of excel. At first my boss was not so happy because he missed a 5.000 euro contract. But the client was so happy with his solution (which he still uses), that we won a 50.000 euro contract a few months later. Yep building software is all about trust, and being trustworthy.

Lately I have made my life easier. I have automated my own office. And I have done so by using existing tools.

Whenever there is a document coming into my house/office: I scan it, using a very nice all-in-one scanner. This is set automatically on my network. Where a program from irisscan will ocr it and put the result on another folder.

I use a few batch files to copy things to my local computer, where I will put them (manually) in the correct folder. The same batch files are used to copy the changed folder back to the server.

This process is not perfect, because I misplace files from time to time. Thank god, there is Microsoft desktop search for finding these documents.

I know big companies spend a lot of money on these kind of solutions, my “cheap” solution makes my life in a one-man company a lot easier.