Perspective – the one thing/limit we are seldom aware of

Panorama of a Sydney scene

Panorama of a Sydney scene

What is there to notice about this iphone panorama photo shoot of a street scene in Sydney?

The distortion is the most obvious one. We live with the distortion because we have grown accustomed to what a typical consumer level photograph will look like. Our brain tells us that there is nothing wrong with the scene because it makes allowances for the distortions.

This “adjustment” happens a lot more often and in a lot more situations than we are aware of. Sometime the adjust has positive results, mostly harmless. But once in a while it leads to unexpected undesirable results. Like a fast moving object heading towards us in a part of our “blind spot”.

While quite well understood now in the physical world (which in not the same as saying we are all able to handle the problems it causes). It is something less well understood in the professions. Like in the world of business analysis.  All “knowledge” captured, expressed, analyzed, propose in a design, is from a particular perspective. A point in time and space (and another dimension?). Sometimes it does not matter, and sometimes it matters,  knowing the position that the expression is made from.

The building profession, or other engineering professions have a better history of well accepted (and hence recognized) “perspectives” in their engineering or architecture drawings. The world of IT tries to do it with their diagrams that express views from different perspectives of procesess, data, timing, etc. There are two big problems that we have though. One is the “un”commoness of these expressions. There is UML and other “standards” but none of them are anywhere near the common acceptance of the stable engineering and architecture professions. The second, is the fact that IT, is a very young discipline (debatable as a discipline) that continues to evolve. It is not only the technology (as in hardware and software) that is changing, but the very fabric. Ideas used to conceptualize and then develop real systems. These are moving at breakneck speed.

Is it a scary future? Or an exciting one? Both. Same reason we pay to watch scary movies. We seek the fear of the unknown. Except, the movie does not end in two hours.

endof meal

end of a meal empty plate with fork and knife

 

 

 

 

Food – the bane of cheap food, for some

Treasure food poster

Treasure food poster

As I grow old (er) there are fewer things that really upset me. Though I seem to be complaining a lot more about those things that do (working on these).

One thing which I think will stay with me, is the compulsion to keep spreading the message about the terrible wastage of food in many places. There is no race or place in the world that is immune to this tendency among some of its better fed individuals.

Taking more food than we can, or want to eat, at one sitting, is something that we can learn to be conscious of. I do not think that people (except the mentally sick) deliberately start off with wanting to throw excess food away. Nevertheless it is a mental condition that is a lack of awareness. Awareness of the degree of hunger or need to nourish ourselves. Even the joy of eating something that looks or smells nice. Our favourite dish. There is a physical limit to how much we can eat. Consciousness of this at the moment in time when we are at the buffet table line will help us to moderate our actions.

I would hve liked to use the element of fear, in this message. The karma thing. Where it all comes full circle and you end up in a life where you face starvation simply because those who have are wasting food that could have been more than enough to feed those who have not.  But I will not. Because it is good enough, and better,  simply to be aware of our real needs, versus our purely psychological tendencies, driven by a hundred demons (the little examined past experiences that shape our present attitudes ). This is not just about food. It is about your own self development.

I will revisit this theme again, elaborating on and relating this to other topics. Because, there is so much wastage going on in our lives. There is no need to be austere or be a yogi (heaven forbid). Life can be enjoyed to the full, with all the good experiences meant for you to experience in this life.

 

 

 

 

Business Requirements and Logical and Physical design

I am often asked what is the difference between a logical design and a physical design. And sometimes, whether it is necessary to separate Business Requirements from Technicasl requirements. Some feel that an attempt to separate these aspects is unnecessary. While I will not let myself get bogged down in obsessive hair splitting of a purely academic or linguistic kind, I believe the ability to make the distinction is crucial to the successful design and implementation of new business requirements. And how many requirements are not “new” and unique, even when it seems to be a modification of existing software.

HK Tram 2types

HK Tram 2types

Take a look at the two pictures of two different trams I was in today, in Hong Kong Both have single seats on the left and double seats on the right. Fit a business requirement for there to be maximum seats without sacrificing reasonable comfort. Three seats per row is the logical design. That it is one on the left, a pathway and two seats on the right, is somewhere between a logical and a physical constraint. (I know, textbooks don’t admit that it may not be a clean cut separation between logical and physical, but hey, we live in the real world, and I am not going to kill my project by spending days just arguing over the theory. The actual material used to make the seats is of course very much purely physical design. Look at the handle bars for the standing passengers. One version has only bars on the left hand side, while the other has them on both sides. That is a physical design choice, for a business requirement that standing passengers should be able to steady themselves. A different design choice could very well have been straps instead of bars, or verticle posts.  The reason why we should have some idea between logical and physical choices is to give ourselves a lot more room for creative problem solving. 

Do animals have emotions?

Just revisited a book I bought sometime ago. “The Pig Who Sang to The Moon” by Jeffrey Mason. Subtitled “the emotional World of Farm Animals”.

I know, you’re wondering why I’m mentioning this book out of the blue. The title struck me as interesting when I came across it in a London bookstore. I certainly would not find this book in a religiously sensitive country where the animal or even the mere mention of it is considered offensive. (Won’t go into that at the moment except to say that not all followers of the religions that avoid pork are so ### but many governments pander to the whims of the insane minority).

The book really is not about pigs per say, but use the animal as one example among others, of the view that animals have the same ability to feel, and think, as humans. I am not against eating meat, and I do eat meat, although in much smaller quantities than I used to, as I grow older. Not because of the book or any belief system.

The book uses studies and examples of how certain animals in the studies, were found to be able to have fun, think feel, and therefore possibly anticipate the future. The horror of living a life in anticipation of being slaughtered in the prime of your life.

Death is not the only concern expressed for animals in the book. It is about the immense suffering we put animals, pigs, cows, goat, chicken, etc, when we breed and raise them in the sort of commercial farming systems so widespread today.

DOG

One interesting question raised in comparing dogs and cats (which we abhor the thought of harming, much less of eating), with farm animals is that the farm animals do not show an interest in us like cats and dogs do. “Can we only be interested in an animal who fawns on us? Is our vanity so terribly fragile that we require adoration before we accord even the faintest interest? It is not true that farmed animals are indifferent; they are frightened. It is true that all farmed animals are standoffish with us, because there is always a deep basic justified mistrust”.

Towards the end of the book the author asks the question of whether we mistreat animals we breed for food, because They are different from us. It seems a stretch of logic to go from here to inter human relationships.

But my own question is whether there is a connection with all forms of negative discrimination among groups of humans. I remember that at one time the term “positive discrimination ” was bandied around as the justification for some forms of racial discrimination. I am glad I don’t see this term in common use anymore, as it is one of the most ludicrous terms invented, to justify bad policies. Presumably it didn’t achieve the purpose of avoiding embarrassment in mixed company or the world is grown so immune to shame that you can call a black sheep white and to hell with anyone who disagrees.

How big or small, is the step, from ritual slaughter of animals, to that of human? What does it do to our own minds and psyche!

No pain no gain?

There is a common perception that in order to benefit from exercises all from sports we need to suffer pain.at the same time, there is also a belief that pain is a warning by our system, the body system,  that something is wrong somewhere and that  we need to protect the part that is suffering pain. 

Clearly, there is truth in both of these statements. The difference is the situation under which we will apply either one of these beliefs. I should not use the word belief, because we need to look at the facts of the individual case.

There must be some sort of criteria, guidelines, that we can make use of in deciding whether the pain that we are currently suffering from, in a given situation, is one that we should try to minimize or try to remove the source of pain in any way.  We ought to, perhaps even increase the pain significantly, in order to take away the problem permanently.

Give this matter some thought, because all of us will at some point or other, face this decision. Leaving the decision to others to tell us what to do is not a good idea. Because the pain can only be felt by we ourself and the way that we verbalize the condition to another person, even a doctor, may not do justice to the actual condition. 

My Injured ankle. X-ray MRI did not help the “specialist” doctors diagnose the problem let alone the cure. More on this on a later post. 

Old and New buildings contrast reflects some inate human nature?

When I saw this old building in front of the modern glass walled skyscraper, I thought of whether it reflects the changing taste in society of this place. If so, is it due to evolving ideas of what is desirable in a building? Or is it a change brought about by advances in technology. That is, limitations of technology determine what is desirable, to an extent.

Increasing rates of change in our environment and technology has led us to believe that what is impossible today, may one day be possible. Often within our lifetime. Science fiction has become reality.

What then is the next step-wise change in our thoughts? When there is the self confidence that what we wish for, can be achieved, with time and resources, what then is the next level of expectations?

A philosophical question? A moral question? Or is even the type of question yet to be understood and given a name!

An old brick building in front of a towering glass clad tall building.

Old short, New tall, building technology reflected here.

Hong Kong airport express train to town discounts for group travel

Hong Kong has an efficient transport system. There are buses from the airport going into town, and there’s also an express train. One thing I learned from someone In the hotel I stayed in, was the discount you get if you buy a ticket for two or more people traveling together.

This discount for more than one, offer is found in some other places and countries. The purpose usually is to encourage more use of public transport, reducing the number of cars on the road. Hopefully. 

Thinking out of the box is incorrect.

Thinking out of the box may be a good thing. But there’s a problem when it’s applied. In order to think out of the box, you have to be able to know where the box is. This is often missed out. The box is different according to the scenario and the area of study. There is no such thing as a universal box where you can say that “this is the boundary of the box” and apply that to all situations. Photo-2016-12-5-07-45.jpg

What’s in a name?

Names are important in helping us to be clear about what we mean. And the same the other way around. If we wish to convey some piece of information the choice of words is one factor that determines The success or failure of our communication. 

This is easier said than done. Many other factors have to be considered  in tandem. The listener and the speaker may attach different meanings to a particular word. The context of the moment and place of the interaction is another factor. The mood of each person may also change by the minute. Body language may be correctly or incorrectly interpreted. 

IMG 1797 SSlookLadderOnGroud

What does this mean? Is the guy thinking deeply? Puzzled? Starting to get a heart attack? Wondering what the ladder is doing on the ground? Angry with the ladder?

 

This is a topic that we can revisit many more times with further insight. 

Manager of one? Dangers.

Many people have the job title of manager although they do not have anyone under them in the organization chart. That is they do not really have any staff reporting to them. So, we get into the definition of “manager”.Perhaps it’s to prepare for a section or division to be set up. Perhaps the title is just to get past some legacy reasons why salary scale is tied to job title.

This subject is worth a detailed analysis by itself.

But getting back to the gist of the title of this post. Is it possible to manage just one staff?

There’s nothing to stop a company from giving you the manager title and allocating one person to report to you. Or you are an entrepreneur and you can only afford to employ one staff.

The problem arises when the job definition and boundaries of power are not defined. The one person will, over time, develop a negative attitude towards you. You will see a role reversal. The managed becomes the manager. If you do not check this at an early stage, the role reversal is irreversible. It’s an interesting psychological phenomena that warrants more investigation and analysis of the things that go on in the mind of the staff, which develops into this power reversal. Why does it happen, and what are the factors that make it possible. And what are the solutions open to you?

 

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