Sunday, September 01, 2013

That use case you do not expect

I have developed software for more than twenty years, and I am still amazed at the surprises you find along the way. You design a product, with all the use cases you can think of, then the users find one you never thought of.

Yesterday, that user was me.

I am still in the middle of a move. My living room is a mess, with 28 boxes to go (it is usually a good sign, when you feel you can start the countdown). Among other things, I am still missing the Internet and TV.

I could get Internet via my MiFi (somewhat reliable, but slow and with limited monthly bandwidth), but I have no chance to get TV. I am waiting for the DirecTV dude to come and install the dish. I could get Comcast fast, but they do not carry beIN Sport in HD. There is no chance I am going to watch Juve in SD. It would be a sacrilege, like drinking espresso from a paper cup.

So I found myself alone, following the game on Juventus Live (and keeping an eye on the servers, which delivered again, as my favorite team did). I looked at the commentary, and I got a sense that Juve was playing well. The score was not changing, though. I checked the heatmap and I found this:

Clearly, Juve was on the attack. In fact, a few minutes later they scored.

In the second half, I was so much into the game that I decided to sacrifice my MiFi (I do not have much bandwidth per month, and I am treasuring what I have until AT&T gives me the Internet I deserve). I called my brother on Juventus Live, who called me back, because he was talking to my dad (good sign, they are using my product ;-)

My nephew was also there and he told me he really liked the app. Coming from a teenager, that meant a lot to me. Of course, he is a Juventus fan as well. It is a DNA thingy.

All of a sudden, I was kinda-watching the game. Kinda. I could hear my family talk about the game, and the audio commentary coming from the TV (Beppe Bergomi was trying to jinx Juve, failing as usual).

Then Tevez scored.

I felt I was there. I could hear the excitement coming from two houses, when the opportunity to score appeared, and then the huge yell at the actual goal. I yelled too ;-)

A million times better than listening on the radio. It is the radio plus your friends plus the stadium noises.

I grew up listening to the games every Sunday, on the radio. It was a religious thing, every Sunday after lunch. When TV rights allowed us to watch the game live, our life changed. However, I still remember us all around the radio, cheering. Looking back, it was weird, but really fun.

The use case I discovered is not completely new. One of my friends used to call me from his office during the World Series last year, to talk about the Giants. I was doing the commentary for him. It was fun for me, but I had never experienced being on the other side.

It happened yesterday. A second screen app transformed in a radio app, with hormones. What a surprise. I will never listen to the radio during a game again.

Software is the best thing ever invented.