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Don’t Get Stuck on One Solution

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It seems to be in our nature to find one solution to a technical problem and then assume it's the only good solution. Frequently, there are multiple options that are perfectly reasonable. Here are some hardware and software examples:

Maya vs 3DS Max

Each package has advantages. I find that in most cases people prefer the one they used in school or the first one they did any serious work in. This is understandable. People prefer the familiar. The reality is both are solid software packages. You will end up using whatever the lead on your project chooses or what the company already has. There is no point whining that one is better than the other in this situation, just take the opportunity to really learn the second software package. You'll have one more tool in your toolbox. I prefer Maya just because the script listener gives better information and the integration of Python.

Windows vs Linux vs MacOS X

This seems to be more of a lifestyle choice at this point than a software choice. All three are now friendly enough that you can set up a computer for grandma to get her email and browse the web without any trouble. All three also have plenty of advanced tools. You can fit most work environments with any of these OSs. I mostly end up using Windows because I play games and I make games. I'm much more likely to be able to install any given game on a Windows PC and just have it work.

Browsers

I currently use IE, Firefox, and Chrome. Once again, most browsers are completely functional for browsing the web. Choose the one you like. I've been finding myself using Firefox less and less as its reaction to spotty internet is to annoy me. Between Chrome and Internet Explorer I'm undecided. Certain sites I use only function fully using Internet Explorer so I find myself needing to use it more than expected.

iPhone vs Android

Windows Phone is interesting to me, but isn't really on most people's radars. Both iPhone and Android offer great user experiences and tons of apps. I tend to use Android phones because it's easier for me to tinker around with the development on them. There is also a larger variety of Android devices so you can choose the features you want. That's also the downside. If I want an iPhone, I know the latest iPhone is the best one.

Office365 vs Google Apps for Business

I use these both, just for different domains. Google wins when you have small needs thanks to the free version. Both are reliable, robust solutions to email hosting and collaboration. I tend to prefer Office365 due to the variety of plans and the SharePoint access. My customers are an even split however depending on their particular needs.

Being familiar with different options improves your ability to recommend the right solution for a given scenario. If you think Java is the solution to every programming problem, your opinion has less value because I already know your answer every time. I can just write "Use Java" on a piece of paper and tape it to your chair. If you know multiple possible solutions to a problem, you can recommend the one that fits the current challenge best.

 

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