Archive for January 2010

Scale   1 comment

Another big numbers post, I give you… the meaningful Universe.

Use the left and right arrow keys to zoom in and out.

Tip o’ the hat to Paulie.

Posted January 29, 2010 by padraic2112 in Uncategorized

Useful Satire   3 comments

From Coderoom, a post entitled:

3 Simple Rules That Will Make You a ‘Superstar’ Developer

Read the whole thing, if you run any sort of technical or programming project team.  From the end of the post:

Postscript for the naive: This post is a mild satire on programming in teams. These three rules, while undoubtedly effective, are evil. They harm overall project progress for your own benefit. They don’t make you a better programmer intrinsically, only compared to the rest of your team. You may, like I and countless others, have done something like this completely innocently in the past, when you didn’t know better. Now you know better.

Postscript for project managers: If your environment meets the grounds for the Two Fundamental Principles, then you will get programmers playing The Game and your project will suffer. Change the rules. Make sure that programmers are recognised for playing nicely with each other’s code, for working in small teams on larger problems. That rewriting for the sake of it is frowned upon, or that the bugs it introduces are traced back to the rewrite that caused them. I don’t know what the right way to get away from this is. If you do then please, for the love of all projects everywhere, leave a comment!

Posted January 28, 2010 by padraic2112 in management, tech, Uncategorized

Big Numbers: The Depressing Version   2 comments

From Object-Oriented Philosophy:

Just now I saw that the estimates for Haiti are 111,000 dead and 600,000 homeless, out of a nation of 8.3 million.

Percentage-wise, for the United States with 304 million, that would be 3,952,000 dead and 21,918,400 homeless.

Or in clearer intuitive terms: everyone in Oregon was killed, and everyone in Ohio and Michigan is homeless.

Posted January 25, 2010 by padraic2112 in news

Another Big Numbers Post   3 comments

Found at Live Granades.

Posted January 19, 2010 by padraic2112 in astronomy, science

An Observation about MBAs   5 comments

In the course of my MSIS/PhD education, I’ve been exposed to a lot of organizational science (or management theory, depending upon how you want to classify the particular chunk of knowledge).  I’ve read some of the seminal works that MBA students read, spent some time perusing the Harvard Business Review and other publications, et cetera.

In many cases, I’ve said to myself, “Yep, that’s true” or “Darn tootin’, that would be the way to go” or some other expression of agreement with what I’ve read.

So here’s the curious part: everywhere I’ve ever worked, there’s been MBA people around.  Everywhere I’ve ever worked, there’s been people who have taken classes in project management, or people management, or both.  These people presumably have read the same material I’ve been reading (one would think).

So why is it so rare to find anyone who actually practices any of it?

It’s a national joke that MBA-types tend to be pointy-haired bosses, right?  It’s the entire premise of Dilbert… people who study MBA material turn out to be terrible at management.

This *can’t* be the fault of MBA programs in general.  There certainly are bad MBA programs, I imagine… but even if you teach this material badly the material itself still seems to be worthwhile reading.

Is it just the case that most people who go and *get* their MBAs aren’t cut out to be managers in the first place?  That there is an underlying set of characteristics of most MBA-seekers that makes them bad at the job they’re ultimately seeking?  I take it for granted that many people who get MBAs are trying to up their chances at higher-paying jobs, of course, but it can’t be the case that self-interest is that tightly coupled with idiocy.

Maybe MBA programs need to focus more on cutting out the chaff?  Harder grading?  Better gatekeeping?  Management is hard, why is it so easy to get an MBA?  Do most programs focus too much on, “learn the material” and not enough on “show you can implement it in practice”?

Posted January 19, 2010 by padraic2112 in management

28 Days Later   3 comments

Okay, it’s actually 30 days after my last post.

December was a crazy month.  Work was a little nuts, my closing class was a little nuts, traveling to New Mexico for the holidays was a little nuts.  I actually love my in-laws, it’s just the logistics of a dog & two kids in a car for the two day drive there and two days back (especially with the little side adventures you have with car trips sometimes).  Unlike the Montana visits, Albuquerque doesn’t involve as many “go outside and play” moments, so the days aren’t as lazy and decompressive while you’re actually there.

I nursed some sort of congestion thing for a solid chunk of the month, didn’t sleep at all well, and generally was something of a grumpy ass.  Can’t say that I’m entirely over the grumpy attitude, as I’m still not getting enough sleep.  Tomorrow should be something of an “airing out” day, though.  The normal babysitter is coming during the day to earn her hours and Kitty is working, so I’m going to leave the house and go off for a while and have some alone time.  Unfortunately, no available James Bond movie this post-holiday season for just this sort of occasion.

I’ve decided that for the next couple of months I’m going to avoid commenting on political blogs; even on the quality blogs I’m starting to get too frustrated with the comment threads (this is a bipartisan frustration).  I’m probably going to stick with some creative writing for a while, to clear out the goobers in my brain. so sincere and abject apologies to anyone who reads this blog regularly for computer advice (pause for laughter).  I think I’ll start reading VE’s Fantastical Nonsense regularly again.

This turned out to be a rather unfocused and meandering post, but what can I say, I’m rusty… thanks to Kitty and Andy for reminding me that I had one of these blog thingies…

Posted January 17, 2010 by padraic2112 in noise