The last person who ever imagined the technology I was developing would be enthusiastically used by my children was me. Even less that it would be used in the kitchen. But that’s exactly what happened. Not only did it completely change the way we cook but also it turned my family from very skeptical critics of a dad who ‘spends too much time on some complex technology no-one understands’ into believers. Suddenly ‘dad’s Dynizer’ isn’t ‘something complex’ anymore. It’s cool. Not only is it fun, but it’s also ‘actually’ useful. So, what happened?
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At Consono we were looking for a way to easily, demonstrate the power of the Dynizer on public, neutral and multi-dimensional data. We ended up using recipe data, because if you look at recipes, they are pretty complex pieces of information, particularly if you consider them from the angle of choice and organization. How do you have to organize them? By cooking time, ingredients, complexity of instructions, region or cuisine type, name of the chef, calories, etc? Maybe all of them. Imagine how difficult that’s going to be in a classical Relational Database. What we did was to create a simple graphical interface with four dynamic and connected bar charts and a search box. With that you can find a recipe you like and want to make according to whatever criterion you have in mind. Practically, what can you whip up if you’ve only 20 minutes to cook and you only have tomatoes, onions, spices, eggs and red wine in the fridge? No worries. Within seconds you’ll discover a set of recipes you can prepare with what you have and within the time frame available. Even I thought at first that this was maybe too simplistic an example of how dynamic access can offer instantly useful insight in multidimensional data. Well, it was way more than that. When I showed it to my children, they looked at me like: Is that it?
Did you have to work that hard to do this? Until they started to play with it. Suddenly, the usual weekend task to cook something nice with what’s available transformed from something on the ‘To Do’ list into a fun moment of experimentation and surprise, because in seconds they’d get a list of recipes not only corresponding to all their choices, but also with a bunch of alternatives they hadn’t even considered. What’s even better is that the tool not only changed the discussion topic from “who’s turn is it to cook?” into “Which one will we prepare?”. And “Why do you always choose things with carrots?” We’ve never had so much variety in our meals since I stopped telling them what we’re going to eat and started letting them discover for themselves. And we haven’t even had to change our shopping habits, because even with what we regularly buy the possibilities are almost endless. That’s the power of dynamically accessing common data shows us again and again every day. Yes, I pay a price for bringing my work to the kitchen: since the Dynizer is part of the cooking routine I gained a bit of weight. Not dramatic but enough to make me want to move a bit more. Maybe dynamic data will help with that too! Don’t know yet, but I’ll keep you posted.