Locating happiness

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Happiness is an elusive treasure for most but in reality it is hiding in plain sight.

Happiness is located at the crux of being content with what you have and what you are willing to forego.

Getting more means exerting additional effort and taking on more responsibilities. If those start being a burden then it is a good sign your personal inflection point is already known. The question now becomes “are you ok to maintain this as your status quo, or do you still want to achieve more?”

Two sides of the same coin

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I prefer training my team using the pavlovian conditioning, with a slight bias in negative reinforcement. This has drawn the ire of the Human Resources department in the past.

The reinforcement that I usually employ is done via penalties. The penalties are monetary in nature, and increases in severity if the infraction happens close to each other. An example is a first violation is worth Php50, but any violation in the next 2 weeks will incur a higher penalty of Php100, and so on until a set limit (normally Php500 per infraction). If there is no violation after 2 weeks then the penalty goes back to Php50 as the next violation will be treated as a first offense. The reinforcement is only effective if the team sees that I have my skin in the game too. If the violation is something that applies to me then the same penalties cover my violations. Usually I also sweeten the pot wherein if there is no violation for 2-3 consecutive periods then I automatically contribute the highest penalty amount to the collected funds. I “lose” either way but my goal is not to collect funds but to make the team learn a certain behavior.

The funds collected do not go to my own pocket. The team decides what to do with it. Normally the team spends it on a lunch-out or a series of snacks. I had one team donate the collected funds to charity.

The whole point of negative reinforcement is to make sure that the subjects do not deviate on the prescribed behavior as it will be too inconvenient. Positive reinforcement on the other hand makes it pleasant to meet the prescribed behavior. I just prefer the former because I find it more effective in getting results in a much shorter time.

ciao!

[BftP] Deductive Reasoning FTW!

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I am lifting the image below that I sent to some colleagues to highlight the power of deductive reasoning. The image originally came from 9gag.com but I am hosting a copy since this blog has been littered with broken links.

Batman vs Sherlock Holmes

The comment that I sent to accompany the email message has already been gone from the site. It explained the comics so I replicating it below for archiving purposes, with typos and all.

It’s quite easy, my dear watson.
It is Apparant that the mask is used to disguie a well-known identity from society. a man using a double life is most clearly a famous person, most possibly a rich man who can use an expensive Cavlar suit and quirky gadgets. the square jaw indicates a good lineage, perhaps a doctor’s son. the bat-motif is most likely from a childhood trauma that branded into the man’s mind as a great truth in the power that chiroptophobia has on the common man… *puff* *puff*

Mob mentality

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The mob mentality negates the basic premise that two wrongs doesnt make a right. Being part of a mob grants both a sense of power and a degree of anonymity by blending with the crowd. The combination of both can imbue a euphoria that overrides the normal and logical reasoning, enabling a person to do things they won’t normally be expected to do.

Once a mob is fired up, it will either take a lot to subdue it. Most of the time, it will simmer down but only after leaving a lot of damage in its path. The participants of the mob usually doesn’t feel any remorse as they justify their actions as both “right” and “acceptable” since it was the actions of the mob and not their own.

The best time to stop a mob is when it is just starting up. That is easier said than done though. The best way to handle a mob is get out of its way and just hope that there is still something left in its wake.

BftP : Passing vs Working

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[Lifted from an old email I sent to my previous project mates.]

This is an email to remind about wantonly tweaking configuration settings in the Oracle Fusion Middleware stack to make the code work. Wantonly in this case means it did not go through the official change management process as the members in question wanted to quickly solve an issue that was first encountered in the UAT environment.

E2 is supposed to mirror the E3 environment to catch any problem that could happen in E3, or replicate an ongoing issue.

Our goal is not to make our deliverables pass UAT, but to provide deliverables that will not malfunction in production.

Any setting that needs to be changed needs to be evaluated properly to ensure it doesn’t affect the other applications in the environment. Each setting change is always a compromise between two conflicting scenarios (e.g. performance vs scalability, traceability vs resource management, etc.). We need to understand what we are exchanging for each setting update. The E2 settings change needs to be propagated to E3 afterwards.

For the nomenclature:

  • E2 is the User Acceptance environment, and
  • E3 is the Production environment.

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