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Beyond Blame

2017/01/05

That went away fast. You can finish it in one shot. Especially if you are in one of the most thankless professions, with lots of responsibility and zero authority. The narrative, however thin, feels close to heart because this things happen. Or may have even happened to you or someone you know.

cynefin_framework2c_february_2011_28229

The Cynefin model

While this is no Phoenix Project, the first sixteen chapters serve to lay the playgound for implementing a proper postmortem process, where no one is afraid to withhold critical information. This along a very useful bibliography is presented in the last chapter.

As always, the hard thing is to make people who think that “rolling heads” improve morale and performance, to see the error of their ways.

Yesterday’s Kin

2017/01/04

Why are you here?

To make contact with World. A peace mission

I first learned of Nancy Kress via the IEEE Spectrum podcast. Since Yesterday’s Kin was not published yet, I read the Beggars in Spain. This week, it was Kin’s turn. It read fast, less than two nights in a row. Science fiction and genetics is Kress’s playing field and she handles it well.

So what do you do when an alien race, advanced in Engineering comes your way? How do you proceed when they reveal an incoming threat for both races and request for scientific assistance? How do you deal with information sharing? With conspiracy theories that arise worldwide? How do you build trust?

I really do not know what to write without revealing the plot. This is a fast paced story, the genetic science “computes” (well at least if you are not a biologists, then maybe it does not, but I remember she does a lot of research prior to writing anything). It is one of those stories that when reading them I think “It runs so good that I do not see a perfect ending”. Indeed the ending is not the best of endings, but at least it is plausible within the novel’s context and its sub-arcs.

A really nice piece for when on holiday.

 

Eight years ago I began a draft of this post with:

I (re)discovered this tutorial on Haskell and Hugs, while cleaning up some old (circa 2001) email.

And it just stayed there. Until tonight; my n-th restart on understanding Haskell. I may be late, but I do not quit.

Hugs reboot, 2017

Hugs reboot, 2017

I am a >Code supporter. In the latest episode, guest Jerome Hardaway said something along the lines of:

Each day I want to be 1% better than the last

I don’t think that even he understands the power of the message. Let’s make a simple graph out of it, where on day 1 we have a value of 1 for a certain skill:

1-better

1% better daily

What this means is that in less than a year you aim to be x7 better than when you started. Granted this is only a rough estimate and depending the subject, the difficulty, other issues and any other kind of ceiling a x7 result won’t come, but still, the result won’t be linear.

As the days go by, you’re becoming extremely more competent than you thought, even if today you did not make it to be 1% better than yesterday, but only 0.1% better.

The point is that you do not stop.

Small Prolog

2016/12/11

A small post just to break the blog hiatus. Once upon a time there was a Prolog interpreter that was used in the Windows NT kernel. You can read about it here. The code is in the public domain and years ago I had downloaded from the net. It seems that it took me close to 8 years to put it on GitHub, for software archaeologists to dig into if they like.

https://github.com/a-yiorgos/smallprolog

 

This is a nice trick for running your 30 minute meetings. I found it during listening to the latest episode of The Engineering Commons. 30 minutes are the standard slot for a meeting it seems. So plan for a 30 minute slot, but plan to run the meeting in 22 minutes. Why? Because if you are in a series of meetings, chances are that you’re going to be on time only in the first one (and even that is debatable). So delays accumulate and you can forget ever making it to the last meeting.

So why 22 minutes? My guess is that if you have planned for 5 meetings in a row, this 22 minute window slides enough within each 30 minute slot so that you can make it in all of them.

For longer meetings you can always multiply appropriately.

APL

2016/11/13

Today it was my fourth (I believe) encounter with APL:

  • First, too many years ago when skimming through Tim Budd’s “The Kamin Interpreters in C++” (and the Kamin book afterwards). For the hardcore fans, Tim Budd has a book on implementing an APL compiler.
  • Next was a Dr Dobbs issue about the J programming language.
  • Some years a ago a comment on this blog about Dyalog.

Today it was Functional Geekery’s Episode 65 where I found out about the most interesting (to me) implementation of Conway’s Game of Life.