Working the right way.

So.

My brother unexpectedly got a full-time job, which is really good.
And he has about a week to complete the handover from his predecessor, which is not so good.
And the company is due to shift premises a month later, which is definitely not good.

Given current circumstances, it looks to be an uphill battle, in terms of coming to grips with what he has got on his plate. Knowledge transfer, a big first-time migration and the need to beef up on core concepts in various areas. It’s a really big jump, but once this hurdle is past I’d say he’s got a pretty spiffy looking resume coming up. Among other areas, it inclueds: Cisco networking, VMware virtualisation, Windows server administration, VoIP and VPN – not bad at all!

Responsibility

One thing that I was trying to instill just now, was that you have to have a sense of responsibility on what you own. If something belongs to you, you had better damn well know the complete ins and outs of it.

What exactly does one have to know?

  • Function: what exactly does it do? Is it necessary?
  • Personnel: who is in charge? Who uses it?
  • Redundancy: what happens when it goes down? Are there existing options for backup?

Understanding the above, allows you to visualise your understanding in documentation.

Knowing the right questions to ask is an art in itself; I’d say he has some ways to go on this. More power to him, and let’s see how he handles his first challenge.

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Partying the poker way

So.

To be honest, I have never been a big fan of poker. Give me roulette anyday. There are a few memories of poker sessions, none of which I enjoyed particularly much. And yes, definitely much fewer than the countless (and sleepless) dai dee sessions or blackjack sessions in my school days, or the roulette sessions at Crown. Never the house roulette tables though, more of Rapid Roulette for me. House has way too many advantages, one of which is the 00, on top of a much faster pace and higher stakes.

Nevertheless, something fun if you are the sort to go for partypoker. It takes a great deal of bluffing, something I have never been good at. It might have looked good in the movies, but playing the actual game never felt (and probably will never feel) like something that’s a challenge to be enjoyed.

Long story short, it’s back to good old roulette if I ever get myself back into the casino.

Sharing Facebook albums the way it’s meant to be.

(This is just something that has been annoying me for quite a while, so I’m writing this in hope of increasing awareness.)

If you haven’t realised it yet, Facebook albums you create, belong to you period. No one else is allowed to add photos, which really sucks.

Of course, we have the option of creating that album in a Facebook group or page. That idea is a trifle silly though; imagine having to create a group or page for every event in your life? That’s a hell lotta groups!

The most elegant solution in my opinion, is to allow multiple authors (or owners) to upload to one album. Facebook, as a social website is all about sharing, and collaboration seems to be the next step up. Especially when we collaborate on a shared memory and share it to all our friends. It makes sense to keep all the photos in one album, rather than having ten people each creating their own version of the album.

After all, isn’t the latest tech buzzword deduplication? Multiples of the same = waste.

Example:
I’m basically posting pictures of baby Elly in one album, and V keeps her hands clean most of the time by letting me upload the pictures. I have to tag her to allow her friends to view the pictures, but sometimes she uploads pictures of Elly that my friends don’t see, due to privacy settings.

Simply put: We want all our friends to see the same album, and uploading two idential copies of the same pictures is dumb. I’m not saying my idea of tagging is brilliant, but it’s slightly less stupid.

Of course, when you think about privacy issues it might get complicated and a bit of a mindtwist. For example, if I allow my friend John to view the album, and you being the co-author, do not want him to. Does John get viewing rights, or not?

Nevertheless, these are kinks to be worked out. Moving forward, I believe this is an integral feature that Facebook should be incorporating in due time.

Basketball: Towards new grounds!

So.

I played my first official game on a new basketball league today. Really cool of Josh to invite me onto the team, and I’m looking forward to the season ahead. It’s great to get some consistent court time, especially with the onset of dreary winter. The chill basically kills any lingering thoughts of even trying to play outdoors – it is just too damn cold, period. Hell, I get cold when I sit at home with slippers and the trusty bathrobe; to even think about basketball outside is just well, unthinkable.

So, new team. Schmohawks.

Joining the team is great in a few ways:
Position change: I’m more of a guard on this team, so I’m playing at the top on defense. It’s a welcome change from playing center, where I was trying to keep an eye on everything at once; defending the arc requires that I shuffle to stop shooters from wide open shots, and from people at the high post from waltzing their way into the paint. Different, but fun. It’s great that Joe and Nick help to bring the ball up, I’m a sort of liability at the moment.

Court location: The previous league was in Doncaster, and this one’s in MSAC. And I like MSAC. Nearer to home, easily accessible by tram and all that.

Game time: It’s on Sunday evening, which makes things a little easier. Monday evenings are not the best time for games; a full day’s work leaves you drained even if it’s a slow day.

Ball sharing: This team actually shares the ball more. Admittedly, the lack of team practice does show up at times, but I do get the ball more often that I did on Shohoku. Dinesh reminds me of my 1.2 shots per game thing on Shohoku, and I’m taking an average of five to eight attempts per game now. Which is reasonable. I don’t want to hog the ball, but I like my shots when I get them. Which reminds me of the wonderful times when I would touch the ball maybe three times on offense the entire game. Ahh, nostalgic.

Today’s game was just another example of how 4v5 on the full court isn’t a good idea. Danny fouled out in the first half and we gave away too many transition points throughout the game, plus insufficient scoring equals loss. We have an advantage on height with Danny and Josh around, and rebounding should be top priority, especially on defense. If we miss a shot, we should just get back on defense and not try too hard to steal the ball on the open court. That’s probably the Doc Rivers in me talking; I would rather give up two points on a half court shot than an uncontested layup. And the other team is just not that great, especially on transition.

If we get a rebound and the opponent’s not prepared, running the break is fine. Otherwise, we should probably just take it slow and jog it upcourt. Josh has a good three shot when he’s feeling it, but I like him better when he’s finishing near the basket; he’s really acrobatic sometimes. Nick is an excellent distributor who can do a bit of everything, and the way he flies in for the offensive board is just inspirational at times.

I have to admit, I botched quite a few easy shots today, including an open layup. Damn did I feel like Rondo just now – the bad Rondo.

It’s just bad trying to get back into form after two weeks’ of inactivity, my shot was just plain inconsistent. Have to haul my ass down to MSAC on a weekday morning and get some shot practice in!

Not to mention the fact that I played for about three hours before the league game – invigorating, enjoyable but very bad idea. Legs were beginning to cramp in the final game minutes, amazingly managed to hold it off and even score on a drive on a 1 v 4 situation. Stupid decision I know, but we were down thirty points or something, and I figured trying to drive just once couldn’t hurt. I think I have to remind myself to drive more often, can’t just rely on curling and cutting for mid-range jumpers all the time.

Now if you will excuse me, I have some serious drinking to do. Drinking water that is. Gotta avoid dehydration, sweated a ton today.

The difference between using a service, and understanding one.

Coming from a background in implementation, I have always been trained to look at the nuts and bolts of a project. What the scope covers, how it works, what makes it not work and so on.

The problem with a detail-oriented view however, is that we begin to lose track of what is being delivered. We start thinking of the limitations as being built-in, and work with those restrictions in mind. We scrimp, and hold ourselves back, and produce something reasonable.

What we fail to realise, is that the customer never cares about things like that. To the end user, it is a service – period.

For example, television content. Regardless of whether the little bits and pieces travel over the air, cable, or even IP, the content and quality is what matters, not the mode of delivery. I certainly do not care about how my TV is hooked up, so long as I can watch the stuff I want and it works with minimal fuss.

Which brings us to the term user experience, or UX. To me, UX talks about quality of service. Just like how Jobs fought for rounded rectangles to be used instead of rectangles, it is the small things that make the user feel satisfaction. And making the best possible user experience can only come from an eye for detail and a will to render perfection.

Like how I was talking about understanding restrictions earlier, the point here is to work around those restrictions to deliver greatness, and not present something that holds a ton of limitations.

Bottomline: it’s about the user experience, not the technology.

This is something that I have to keep in mind, as I grow in my perspective and understanding on service delivery. Hearing it from the lips of others and totally understanding it myself, makes a world of difference.