Monday Sep 17, 2012

A New Experience

So a couple of weeks ago, after a fraction over 12 years, I bade farewell to the Solaris Desktop team to join the team whose blog you're reading now: Oracle's Systems Experience Design team, known internally as sxDesign, which has a wider but still largely Solaris-focused usability remit.1

There's been a good deal of overlap and collaboration between the two teams over the years anyway, so it's not exactly a step into the unknown. The elders among you might remember a GNOME 1.4 usability study I presented at GUADEC in 2001, for example, which was primarily the handiwork of a previous incarnation of sxDesign… I pretty much just turned up at the end to steal the glory for the Desktop team. In your face, people I'm going to be working with now!2


1 A move I was first approached about making in about 2003, I think… who says I'm rubbish at making snap decisions?

2 I'm not really. They all left years ago.

Thursday May 21, 2009

Participate in Design at JavaOne 2009

Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman is the lead user experience designer for Java Standard Edition.

Hey There! JavaOne 2009 is almost here... The center of amazing developer activity will be the Moscone Center in San Francisco from June 2nd to 5th. Most of the exhibits and sessions highlight technology and the tools-of-the-trade for the Java developer set, however there is definitely content that is of interest to user experience designers.

I've made a list below of those sessions that are hosted by folks I know and respect. I heartily recommend checking them out. Make sure to add the ones you want to attend to your Schedule Builder since I expect that it may be hard to get in at the last minute.

I'm Speaking At JavaOne

Of course, there are the BOFs that I and my designer cohorts are hosting. We want to engage developers in an open discussion on user experience issues, help answer questions and provide pointers to useful resources.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at JavaOne 2009! Stop by the Designing the User Experience pod in the Pavilion to say hello, and come to one or both of the BOFs listed above.

Monday Jan 12, 2009

Day 2 at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show

I'm now back from Las Vegas and the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show is history.  Below are some photos from Day 2 (Friday January 9).  More photos from Day 2 are available in this online album.


There really wasn't a lot of cool new stuff at this year's show.  Since this is the first time I've ever been at CES, I'm basing this statement not only on my own observations but also conversations with conference alumni.  Many of the manufacturers were demonstrating improvements on energy consumption, as well as other devices to save energy. 

This is truly a hardware show, so there was little software to be seen.  Big names like HP and Sony demonstrated some of their software (for example, the appropriately named Sony Vegas Movie Studio), as well as online services for photo sharing and backup. Video editing and DVD authoring software provider Nero was showing their latest software to bring TiVo to your desktop.

Sony, RCA and others debuted some inexpensive (less than $200) pocket HD video cameras aimed at bloggers.  They are small, lightweight and colorful -- focused on function and not overloaded with a lot of features.

There was also a large exhibit area devoted to automotive technology.  It almost looked like the auto show...  And I've never seen as many Ford Flex crossover SUVs in one place -- certainly not on the road...  But it seems they are a good platform for demonstrating automotive accessories.


Lastly, I have never seen so many ways to display flat screen televisions in my life.

Samsung brought ex-49er Ronnie Lott for a guest appearance and photo op...

 You can also view my previous posting, CES Day 1,  for more pictures.  

Friday Jan 09, 2009

2009 Consumer Electronics Show - Day 1

Greetings from CES in Las Vegas!

The city is buzzing with activity, and the entire convention center, as well as a couple of hotel convention centers are filled with exhibits.  I just want to share some of the photos I took on Thursday (January 8).  You can see more photos at my CES Day 1 Album.

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There is definitely a focus on design here -- both of the products and the booths.

More later...

Friday Oct 24, 2008

Inspiration for Today and Tomorrow

today and tomorrow is a cool blog that provides design, art and technology inspiration. Thanks Pieter, I love it.

Matthias Müller-Prove is a User Experience Architect for Desktop Virtualization at Sun. Sometimes he blogs here – sometimes at Acetylcholinesterase.

Monday Sep 22, 2008

A Day in the life in the Usability Labs

Kristin Travis has been working in high tech as an interaction designer and usability engineer for more than 15 years. She is part of the xDesign team based in Menlo Park, California.


Have you wondered what's it is like doing someone else's job? Well,
I've decided it's challenging, interesting, and educational all at once.

As a user interface designer, I'm used to dealing with design challenges
and project issues, but what is it like to shift focus and walk a mile
in someone else's work shoes? I recently was given the chance to
find out, while our very competent Usability Labs Manager was out on
maternity leave.

In contemplating the quickly passing days (and some not so quickly
passing nights), my work life has definitely been different over the
last few weeks. In a nutshell, I've :

  • helped with the creation of a number of recruiting screeners
  • brought a new recruiting firm on board
  • become overly familiar with some financial processes: POs, invoices, gift checks
  • helped to provide primary or secondary logistical support for multiple lab studies

Here is what it's felt like most days:


Lab activities



Has it been worth it? You bet. In addition to seeing our Usability
Labs being used frequently by dedicated designers and
development team members, seeing how our customers use our products
remains a critical part of the design landscape.

Thanks to everyone who uses or supports the Labs in some way or another.

Kristin






Monday Sep 15, 2008

Project Kenai Goes Live!

Jim Berney is a senior user experience designer working on Project Kenai.  Jim's been designing both consumer and enterprise applications for over 20 years.

Friday, September 5th, the switch was thrown to make Project Kenai live.  Given that over a year has gone by and lot's of hard work by all, it was an exciting moment.

Since one of the original goals for Project Kenai was to demonstrate web2.0 technologies, the project followed the Agile Development model.  Coming from 8 years of supporting the Java ES middle-ware products where design/development cycles could span over a year, the quick pace of the Agile model was something new.   Design cycles are weeks, not months, or even years.  Instead of one huge delivery at the end, the site functionality and UI evolve.  This allows a much longer alpha period where users can begin to engage with the site, and in the case of Kenai, create new projects and begin working with the features to provide feedback. 

The Project Kenai team set aside the time to perform usability testing after key milestones to obtain additional feedback and to validate design.  Two usability studies have been performed to date, one at the beginning of the private beta period and another just recently in July 2008 before the public beta began.  Also, Project Kenai is using an interactive tool from uservoice.com to collect user feedback in real-time, allowing users to submit, vote, and comment on issues.  Take a look at the preliminary results.

Assuming that user experience design is iterative, the Agile model fits nicely.  Instead of spending a lot of time delivering a fully designed specification (that is never right the first go around), you spend shorter durations of time working on specific layout, component, or page design.  In an Agile model, each new feature, component, or element of design is allocated into a design iteration (the zembly.com team refers to an iteration as a sprint).  Each iteration is given a concise start and end date.

Deciding how to chunk your design into iterations requires some thought and planning.  In some cases, a single iteration may not be enough time to complete the design features allocated for that iteration.  For example, let's say you're designing the Search feature and how search results will be displayed.  This effort may require multiple iterations both for design and engineering.  Some chunks may also require longer periods of time than originally anticipated.  Leaving slack time in each iteration to support some amount of catch up from the previous iteration is a good idea.  If at all possible, use your bug tracking tool to capture and repackage the unfinished work from each previous iteration.  As you plan your iterations, assume design rework.  Design is going to change, and that change will have ripple effects throughout your interface.

The Agile Model doesn't come without challenges.  Since design is approached as a series of chunks, each containing a discrete set of features, an overall design road-map is important.  Otherwise, your design will come across as piece meal and may not fit together well at the end.  A style guide (brief specification) and set of design templates (e.g., using Illustrator or Visio) can help ensure your design stays on track.  As decisions are made, the style guide and templates are updated accordingly.  I have found that using a wiki to post wireframes, design rationale, and team discussions to be a quick and effective means of communicating.  The wiki, coupled with the wireframes and style guide become the design specification for the project.  Since each project created in Project Kenai is provisioned by default with a wiki, I was able to create a xDesign project, then use the wiki for specification.

Your design road-map must include the visual design for the project.  Once you start to move a design from wireframe to implementation, some level of visual design is assumed.  Thus, unless you plan on lot's of rework, effort should be spent in the beginning of the project to ensure that your visual design is adequate for the first phase of the project.  This is not to say that visual design will not change, but that site-wide changes are major and will disrupt an Agile model.   Each rev of your visual design should be planned and scheduled into the project delivery.

Another problem to guard against is "style creep", where you start off using one style for component design or layout, then as the design matures, the style creeps or morphs into something else, leaving your site with inconsistent look and behavior and requiring a lot of rework across the site.

Reusable components may seem a no brainer, but selecting, customizing, and implementing them isn't.  Since Project Kenai was unlike any other web project at Sun, there wasn't a style guide or UI toolkit just sitting on the shelf waiting to be used.  Everything had to be redefined.  Sure, you can attempt to use third-party widgets and toolkits, but rarely do they just drop in to your design.  Finding and implementing the right components is a critical dependency and must be scheduled.  This was in stark contrast to the Java ES environment where there was an established style guide (Sun Web Application Guidelines) and toolkit (Woodstock).

Early on, the Kenai Project organized a UI team (referred to as a scrum in the Agile Methodology) that included interaction design, product marketing, and engineering.  This team meets at the beginning of each design iteration to specify and design new features, pages, and interaction for the upcoming design/development iteration.  Wireframes are produced that allow the team to visualize and refine the design.  Once the design is approved, engineering begins implementation.

Over the past year xDesign has worked as an integral part of the Project Kenai team to lead the user experience design.  This effort has included user research, conceptual and page level design wireframes, visual design concepts and production artifacts, usability testing, and much of the html/css markup embedded in the rails applications to implement each page.  Design and change take time, but the Project Kenai team is dedicated to collecting and taking action on user feedback.  

Now that Project Kenai is in public beta, the next few months will be spent refining the navigation, refining the layout of key pages, implementing usability enhancements, and enhancing the visual design.  Watch the beta evolve with each new build!



Sunday Sep 14, 2008

Bill Verplank sketches metaphors

That was quite a remarkable evening, Bill Verplank presenting at BayCHI on Sketching Metaphors. First of all his presentation style. He had an overhead camera connected to the projector in a way that the audience could follow all his actions on the desktop. This gave him the flexibility to simply point to images in a book, show his note cards, or develop (and explain on the way) something entirely from scratch. For example on the image above Bill describes the origin of the window scrollbar and the dead metaphor of an elevator for the thumb control in the bar to the right [metaphors in italics ;-) ]

In a closing section he provided an enlightening diagram on various computer paradigms.

The computer as a tool you can use, the computer as media for information sharing and communicating with each other, and the computer as an intelligent person to interact with. If you go a step further the tools become vehicles, media becomes fashion (take Apple's iPod as an fashion statement for example), and person becomes life – and ecosystem of self organizing systems.

Thank you Bill, for this framework of computer paradigms.

>> The entire photostream can be found at flickr.

Interaction Design Sketchbook by Bill Verplank

Matthias Müller-Prove is a User Experience Architect for Desktop Virtualization at Sun. Sometimes he blogs at Acetylcholinesterase. Sometimes he doesn't.

Monday Sep 08, 2008

Page Thumbnails for UI Design

Early in a UI design project, it's efficient to be able to quickly arrange and rearrange the high level navigation and flow of the application or site without getting mired in the details of each page. You can accomplish this by drawing plain old lines and boxes with descriptive labels, but odds are that you have a general idea of what you expect the page to do, e.g., it is a form, or a table listing a bunch of objects, or just a page full of text. It's at this point in design where Page Thumbnails can come in handy. Basically, these are just shorthand visual representations of particular types of pages that, unlike a plain old boxes, imply functionality or purpose of the pages. Drawing the navigation flow using these makes for a more informative and visually compelling view of the proposed design.

I created an initial set of Page Thumbnails as an OmniGraffle stencil. OmniGraffle is a Mac application that works great for wireframing, page layout and vector-based drawing. One cool feature is that it allows users to create custom stencils of reusable objects that can be dragged off of a palette and into your document. The stencils can then easily be shared with other users via websites like Graffletopia.com. You can read a bit more about it and download the Page Thumbnails stencil from Graffletopia.

Here's a snapshot of the thumbnails as they appear on the stencils palette:

Page Thumbnails Stencil

These were created based on my experience in web application design and in messing around mapping some existing sites, but the stencil is certainly not complete. The applications that the xDesign group designs at Sun share a lot of common structure (e.g., navigation schemes, page layout) and this constrains the set of thumbnails needed -- so a small set can go a long way. Web sites, on the other hand, are far less constrained in terms of purpose, scope, navigation, etc., and so the potential set of representative thumbnails is broader. To make this stencil (and the method) more broadly applicable, I included a couple of blank objects on the stencil that can be customized and saved for reuse.

I put together an example of a fictitious site to illustrate the idea, and you can see a bit of that below. The full example is also available as a pdf file.  I hope you find the stencil useful. Feel free to leave comments/complaints/questions in the comments section.

Example of Page Thumbnails in action

Monday Jun 02, 2008

Beautiful Design - Sculptural Objects and Functional Art (SOFA)

One of my biggest interests outside work (yes, I do have interests other than cars), is in three-dimensional art. This includes functional pieces like furniture, bowls for serving food, lighting, etc. and also pieces which are just beautiful to gaze at. In fact, the primary thing I do when on trips is to seek out galleries which have such artwork (usually called Crafts) to look at and possibly buy.

It is much harder to find such stores, though, than the multitude of galleries which have only paintings and photographs (two-dimensional art). I also look for museums that have such work, but they can be similarly hard to find. My favorite is the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in Manhattan, which has one floor of such work, usually even including at least one particularly inspired automobile.

One trip which my wife Laurie and I took specifically to see such art was the SOFA show in New York City a couple of years ago. SOFA stands for Sculptural Objects and Functional Art, which is just the sort of thing I enjoy. Most of the pieces shown were for sale, but at prices out of my reach. So I settled for taking photos (with permission) which I have now as screen savers and wallpaper on my PC, so I can still at least enjoy them that way. I hope you enjoy them as well.

<< Photos taken down -- see Chip Alexander to view them.  To protect the artists' work, I only wanted to have them up long enough for the blog viewers to see them.  >>

My wife and I enjoyed the show so much that we will be going to the Chicago version of it this November. Yes, November is not the nicest time of year to go to Chicago, but I am told this is an even bigger version of the show we saw in New York City, and is in fact the main show, so we have to go check it out. I'll try to take pictures at it and post them when I get back. If there is interest, I can also post photos of the 3D artwork which my wife and I own and love.

While it is hard to directly apply a lot of the beauty and design in these forms to software design, they are certainly highly inspirational, and at least the creativity and overall beauty can stimulate one to do better virtual-world design as well.

For those of you who find the photos in this blog intriguing, but don't want to travel to Chicago in the winter to see it, I would also strongly recommend the Palo Alto Clay and Glass show July 12 and 13 at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Rd. off Embarcadero.

Chip

Monday May 19, 2008

When there are too many cooks in the kitchen

Designing the main and other primary pages for a site can be quite a challenge. Goals, priorities, and constraints all have to come together to develop a visual design concept for a project. Although you often hear designers complain when there isn't enough input from the sponsors to do their work, it can be just as bad when there's too much input from potentially the wrong stakeholders.

The content and visual design of the site's main page is critical. Within a few seconds of arriving at your site, users will develop a perception and mental model of what they can do and what they can't.

The interaction and visual designer's role in all cases is to gather, assimilate, and put forth a design that meets the desired goals and conveys the desired emotion to the user. Seems straightforward? In a perfect world, stakeholders from marketing, business, and management contribute into the goals and constraints that become the basis for site design. However, what if someone in a role of authority, but the wrong role to provide the information, overrides the information you have already received? This type of situation can be a reset for the designer, and can produce unsatisfactory results. A typical symptom is what I call "design thrashing", where the designer produces wireframe after wireframe, but nothing seems to click.

So how do you fix this situation? The first decision to make is do you continue to engage with the project? Is the situation fixable? If not, it may be best to move on, if possible. If so, it is critical for the designer to get back to basics and provide the leadership needed to nudge the team in the right direction. This is when the designer must open their trusty tool chest.

The first step is to get back to basics. Basics include a complete set of prioritized project and business goals, a profile of typical users (including their goals for coming to your site), and personnas for key user profiles that help bring the user to life. I've also found it useful to not only define what the project "is", but what it "isn't". Where are the boundaries? This should be a group exercise, not the designer going off on his/her own. Be sure that the most appropriate stakeholder(s) lead this effort. The designer's role is to facilitate and produce the artifacts. This shifts ownership of the artifacts to the responsible stakeholder, and makes it more difficult for another stakeholder to redirect the results. Everyone provides input, but at the end of the day, the appropriate stakeholder makes the decision and the team moves on.

Next, it can be useful to identify objects, color palettes, and examples of other sites that help express the "mood" or "emotion" that the site is to portray. Some designers use "mood boards" to narrow down what the team wants. You should obtain the same team buy-in, involvement, and acceptance as in the previous step.

Once you have these artifacts in place, get all the key stakeholders to buy off. This should be a formality. If not, the designer either really didn't have buy-in for the previous steps, or one of the cooks is trying the change the recipe. At this point, you must stop and work this out. If you attempt to proceed, "design thrashing" is in your future. Go back to the appropriate stakeholders. This may be marketing, business unit management, etc., but be sure that the best stakeholder leads the resolution, not you.

Once you have buy-in to the basics, the designer can get back to producing wireframes, visual concepts, etc., and the stakeholders can provide the necessary content. Although it doesn't end here, you are back on your way to a successful engagement.

Wednesday Apr 23, 2008

Speaking about User Experience at JavaOne

Jeff Hoffman is the lead user experience designer for Java Standard Edition.

Jindra Dinga devotes his time to improving the deployment experience of Java for both developers and end users.

Jeff and Duke at JavaOne 2007In a couple of weeks, my colleague Jindra and I will be presenting our process for creating a graphical user interface to the developers at JavaOne. In my last entry, I mentioned a set of user experience talks happening at this year's conference. Now I'd like to describe a bit more about how we developed our session and what's in it.

At last year's JavaOne, our merry little band of Java UE designers presented a very basic overview of user experience design best practices at a 9pm BOF. We dutifully put together a presentation with slides covering a variety of things, and cheerfully presented them to the much larger than we expected crowd. We were terribly nervous, but overall the experience was great and the questions were great too. Some months later the survey results came in and they weren't bad, but not great... Most of the comments were asking for more detail and more examples, so we started discussion about this year's presentation with that idea.

Based on the feedback, this year we are going to take a real example and walk through our process with it. Since we only have 50 minutes (and some of that time needs to be available for questions), we will try our best to reach the level of detail our audience desires. JavaOne Speaker

At the beginning of our presentation we will talk about why it is hard to create good GUIs and how important it is to understand the user's tasks and goals. Later on we take the existing command line process for configuring a network interface connection in Solaris (see Project Brussels) and make it over in to a GUI.

Jindra and I have spent years in the user experience field and we know that it's hard to follow an exact process for every project. We also know that making sure our designs work for our customers requires that we adhere to the principles of design, and we want to make sure that the developers out there understand how these principles apply to a real design problem.

If you're planning to be at JavaOne, sign up to come to our session (TS-4968). Also, if you'd like to say hello to some of the contributors to this blog, stop by the User Experience pod near the Spin-the-Wheel Game in Sun Booth at the JavaOne Pavilion.

Friday Mar 28, 2008

Comic Threads - An Experiment

We have an internal alias where various design folks talk to each other about topics that interest them. The discussions there are usually very interesting and I started to think about ways to publish the conversations on this blog. A synopsis seemed dull, and took away from the dynamics that made the conversation interesting. The thread itself could be too tedious to read post - hoc. Just for a lark, I used the template figures designcomics.org and pikistrips.com to come up with this. (click to see larger version)
my comic strip! my comic strip!
I posted it back to the alias to see what people thought and of course this just spawned another interesting discussion about MS comic chat and the contemporary use of avatars.

I enjoyed the creating the comics. It did take some time to distill the essence of the conversations into a size that would fit in a comic strip. I still have lots of words and little action. Maybe I need a super hero. May be I just need to draw my characters :).

To end this post on a note of humor- I find that the job of soliciting blog post does things to ones brain. Someone said to me the other morning "Good Morning" and I caught myself thinking "hey , that would make a great blog post..... ".

Not unlike this xkcd comic strip -



Some sites to check out:

Tuesday Mar 25, 2008

How do I write my UI specs?


First of all, I do not like to write.

Not just in English, but in any of the 3 languages I speak.

And for my fellow designers who do like to write (and are probably good at it), I have some bad news: no one likes to read specification documents. Even if the spec. is written in Tolstoy language, people prefer to enjoy Tolstoy language in a novel, in their spare time, and not at work, while developing or testing a complicated product full of hidden features and details.

So, I'd rather name my entry "How do I create my UI specs".

This is what a typical page of my spec looks like:

I use mostly Fireworks and Dreamweaver. I create my images (wireframes or mockups) in Fireworks, then place the image into a pre-made HTML table. The table consists of a nest for an image on the left, and an annotations column on the right.

UI Spec sections that I cover in my annotations column are the following:
1. Page Details: (project name, file name, release #, dates, version, designer name, and page type). Seems like a lot, but some of our products have very similar pages, and spec readers tend to print or bookmark one page here and there, and then have a difficult time recognizing the page they are looking at. By dedicating the top portion of annotations to housekeeping, I make this info always accessible, yet not in your face, so to speak.
2. User Scenario: here I indicate how the user gets to this particular page. Usually by performing an action on a previous spec page, or by opening an application, or both, so there could be several scenarios, and I believe it is necessary to mention all of them.
3. Interaction Rules: The most important part of the spec, of course. As you can see, the wireframe/mockup image is covered with numerous geometric shapes of different colors. These are snippets.

I drag a snippet from the Snippet Panel, give it a number (or a letter), and place it next to the component I'm about to describe in Interaction rules. Note, snippets live in HTML, and NOT in png world. I am not changing the image. Think of it as a sticker. If I have to change the button placing for example, I do not have to redraw the indicator in my png, just simply move the icon when I'm in Dreamweaver. Basically, my images and annotations live in different castles, which is quite handy for editing.
The fact that I place my annotations to the right of the image, makes it very easy to scan and find the appropriate number. If the spec reader is looking for the description of a particular component, he just has to find the right number in the Interaction Rules column and ignore the rest of the information.
4. Page Revision Details: I keep this section to indicate the changes that have been made during numerous revisions of my work. I also use this section to call out uncertainties and TBD areas that need my spec readers' attention. The icon for this section is a lettered blue triangle.
5. Notes: the least visible section - I keep the notes for myself here.

That's for the UI Spec sections.
Of course, there is an index page of all the pages in the spec, a brief description of the project, and special messages to the reader. I sometimes interlink the pages, especially if they are consequent steps of a particular use case.


If some of your spec readers can't access the spec online, you can always create a pdf using Acrobat. It is super easy: choose 'Create PDF doc' > 'From Web Page' > 'Entire Site'. If you are planning to create a PDF, don't forget to name your pages appropriately. Actually, even if you're not planning to create a PDF, still name your HTML pages appropriately - it's like good table manners.

Oh yeah, I use bright orange circle icon to indicate where the text had been changed: we all know that text changes come last, and developers appreciate it if I tell them exactly where they need to retype.

I think that's pretty much it, leave comments if you want to know more.

Monday Mar 17, 2008

Goodbye to an old friend - hello to a new 'smart phone'


Andrea Kendall has been a Graphics and User Interface programmer and designer for over 20 years. She is passionate about designing for the user and is currently working on implementing a Web 2.0 GUI using Woodstock.


 

Well after 10 long years of faithful service my Sharp Wizard died.

 10 Sharp Wizard

 

Question: Why did I keep this so long?
Answer

Just look at that keyboard.   It is so easy to type on.

Anyway, I dropped it last week and the plastic hinge broke.    

   
While I was really tempted to get an iPhone, I decided to go with the Sprint HTC phone. The first thing I like about the phone is the nice keyboard.  The other thing I like is that it is based on an OS I am familiar with -  Windows XP.

Sharp HTC 'smart phone'

Things I don't like about the phone are:
  • It can be hard to tell if you have closed a program (and it can only run so many)
    • You have to go into another program to check for running programs and stop them (I do this every time I go to turn off the phone)
  • It can be hard to tell if the actual phone is on or it is in  flight mode
  • It seems a little too easy to make a phone call when viewing contacts
  • It does not come with enough memory to actually use the built in camera and run anything else
  • The sales person told me it had everything it needed to back up the phone but it turned out I needed Outlook  if running on Windows XP

Now to be fair the sales person did warn me that this was a more 'geeky' phone.

Yes, I could return the phone and exchange it for the Palm OS one but I figure I will get past the learning curve.  However, it will never be the same as my Sharp Wizard..

So goodbye to an old friend.  

Note: I can still turn on the old Sharp Wizard which I am doing because I have to get all the important data off it.  The Sharp was so old it used a COM port and had proprietary software (long lost)  to back up the data.

 


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