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Beware of the PAF aka “Partner Acceptance Factor”

I first learned about the “WAF” at work during a lunch discussion between engineers, on self-made domotica projects. Apparently the major reason such a project fails or succeeds is the “Wife Acceptance Factor”. According to some, the same WAF is the most critical point in every decision when buying a new television, radio or any electronic device with a complex remote control.

But as I strongly believe technology is not a man-only thing, the “W” in “WAF” gives me even more grey hair then I already have… Technology is not male, or at least it should not be at all. So that’s why I officially rename “WAF” to “PAF” now, “Partner Acceptance Factor”!

I went through this renaming-process before. At my job we were selling devices with the name “MMI”, “Man Machine Interface”. It’s a touch screen device used by the train driver to select the journey, which announcements need to be played back, answer an emergency call, etc. But not all train drivers are male. So by introducing the new name “HMI”, “Human Machine Interface” in one project, I was able to slowly break into the company’s history of product naming and turn this unfriendly name into a new one.

It’s only a small step of course, but as we also do with CoderDojo (a computer club for kids), we need to convince girls technology is fun! Diversifying the group of people working in technology is important. Good products can only be made if the people involved are a good mixture of age, gender, origin…

As STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) receives more and more attention in education, we see a slow change in the number of girls choosing for a scientific trajectory. For instance this is an overview of the number of IT-engineering students in Flanders (Belgium).

By the way, if anyone asks why you would build something yourself if you can buy it off-the-shelf, the correct answer is: “Because I can!”. Even if you fail during the process, you will have learned new things!

While writing articles about Java and the Raspberry Pi, I even encountered the “CAF”, the “Community Acceptance Factor”. Apparently using Java on the Raspberry Pi seems to be a polarizing subject according to Mark Hecker (Spring Developer & Advocate at Pivotal Software).

You either totally love it or hate it, no middle ground. To some, a Pi is made for Python. Of course, I don’t agree ;-) Python is great and you can get started with it very quickly, but I don’t like the user interfaces you can make with it (and I tried!).

JavaFX provides way better code for this. On the other hand, I have to repeat myself… Why do I prefer Java on the Pi? “BECAUSE WE CAN!”

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