Rob Farley

Rob Rob Farley has been consulting in IT since completing a Computer Science degree with first class honours in 1997. Before moving to Adelaide, he worked in consultancies in Melbourne and London. He runs the development department in one of Australia's leading IT firms, as well as doing database application consultancy and training. He heads up the Adelaide SQL Server User Group, and holds several Microsoft certifications.

Rob has been involved with Microsoft technologies for most of his career, but has also done significant work with Oracle and Unix systems. His preferred database is SQL Server and his preferred language is C#. Recently he has been involved with Microsoft Learning in the US, creating and reviewing new content for the next generation of Microsoft exams.

Over the years, Rob's clients have included BP Oil, OneLink Transit, Accenture, Avanade, Australian Electorial Commission, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Royal Borough of Kingston, Help The Aged, Unisys, Department of Treasury and Finance (Vic), National Mutual, the Bible Society and others.

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28 August 2006

Putting the user back into software

TechEd was last week - but you knew that, right? The 'theme' was about the user. Tech.You was the logo. I got a shirt with 'Tech.Rob' on the sleeve. My name card said 'Tech.Rob' too. The keynote speaker was an anthropologist called Anne Kirah. She talked about the importance of having software that makes a difference to people's lives. Ron Jacobs delivered one of the first talks of the conference, and he also talked about bridging the gap between the computer and the person through user-centric applications.

On Sunday, I got asked to speak at church on short notice. I talked about how I'd just spent the week at TechEd, how Microsoft (regardless of how it seems) is trying to make software that makes a difference in people's lives (and not just people who want to edit spreadsheets), and how there's a similarity between that and what the church does. Most people look at the church as being very good at 'doing church', and meeting the needs of people who are 'church people'. But largely, they see the church as being out-of-touch with what people want. The thing is that God (like the powers that be at Microsoft perhaps?) wants to actually make a difference in people's lives.

Unfortunately, most people see the church when they look for God, and non-user-friendly applications when they look for Microsoft.