Shoghi Effendi Internet Quote

Many Baha’is hold this quote predicts the creation of the Internet.

A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvelous swiftness and perfect regularity.
— Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 203

Perhaps what we know as the Internet is a pre-cursor? After all, the Internet does not yet embrace the whole planet, is very much restricted by nations, and has many issues to work out to reach perfect reliability.

Probably it will in time.

Better: Closed or Resolved

I just read:

Clients are receiving responses to and closures of long-outstanding tickets. In the past quarter we’ve reduced the number of outstanding tickets by 15% (1500 tickets).

We closed several tickets because it was decided no resolution was ever going to be provided after the ticket was open for 6 months without the tier 3 or higher folks providing a single response other than, “Maybe we can look at it next week.” Hopefully these were not in this count.

On the other hand, an attempt at a fix for a critical bug may actually be tried? Right now we have one campus with about 1,500 students affected. Those numbers will bloom to 30,000 or more students by the start of Fall term.

Being Judgemental

Mom sent me The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child for my birthday a while back. This is the latest book I have been reading while eating. So last night, I put Chelsea on the spot by asking her, “Which would you rather be judged by: what you do or who you are?” Yes, it was a trick question. More on that later.

Her first choice was what she does, but she quickly flipped to who she is. I smiled my most evil smile. The longer I smiled, the more she thought about it and was torn about which was the right answer.

The trick was, according to Thom Hartmann, our culture judges boys by a standard of what they do and girls by a standard of who they are. This dual standard ends up in boys getting overly recommended for ADHD testing. However, I see this kind of difference in evaluating people as one of the reasons for glass ceilings. People have a hard time achieving unless measured on the same scale.

So, that Chelsea could not pick prior to even hearing what it actually meant was funny to me.

Ticket Inbox Zero

Blackboard implemented a ranking system to determine the priority of support tickets. This effort uses criteria like the age and recency of updates to ensure the attention of Technical Support Managers. Certainly this initiative is due to continuing customer complaints about languishing tickets. Last spring we saw a similar push to fix support.

We have a weekly call with our Blackboard TSM where we discuss the status and priority of the issues. As GeorgiaVIEW is a consortium, these calls allow us to track the progress of the couple dozen of active tickets. From our vantage point, the tickets get verified as a bug in relatively short order and escalated to Development in rather short order.

Once there, the tickets languish for months to years. Most tickets impact a single section so once grades are posted, a fix is pointless. Even one ticket who passes this point to me proves a failure in the system. As fixing the issue after this point solves nothing. It cannot help anyone as the class is inactive. Yet, we hold on in hope someone might look at the issue and provide a fix for the next time this happens. Maybe that will be another customer or ourselves soon?

Unless a fix is provided immediately, we start losing the confidence of the instructors or students. Within only two weeks, we have irrevocably lost the confidence of these users. At that point we are incompetent to this person and may never be able to regain trust.

Our TSM seems effective in the realm in which she operates (confirming bugs, providing known solutions, and pestering Development for updates). We hawkishly ensure no tickets are dropped through the cracks.

If the goal really is to make the customers happy, then providing us timely updates that nothing is being done will not cut it. Provide the resources to Development to get our tickets resolved. Only then will our users be happy.

The plight of the older sibling

Older siblings are shaped by parents into perfectionists to set an example for the younger siblings. They are less likely to do bad things and more likely to turn out better than the younger siblings.

What it also says to me is it is effective on the older siblings. If the parents maintained the same level of strictness on the younger siblings, then the younger kids would turn out better as well. Because the parents are only putting on act, the younger siblings end up more likely to become screw ups.

Saying No

The point of this is not directed towards anything or anyone specific other than myself. While I do use the example of IT, it is purely a generic metaphor. Probably I have spent too much time in IT and not enough diversifying my experience.

With infinite time, manpower, or money, then we could pull off whatever we wish. In reality, we rarely are blessed enough to have even large amount of one. Therefore, decisions have to be made about what is or is not feasible to accomplish.

Information Technology is a field which often is a victim of its own success. Pulling off a feat means they should be able to pull off the next completely different feat. All too often, every difficult feat is “required” so IT can continue to appear relevant. Choosing not to do it is not an option because the players in IT will just be replaced with someone more willing to say yes. Whether new management or an outsourcing vendor, someone is too willing underestimate the difficulty and agree to do the feat.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Litany against fear from Dune by Frank Herbert

I find myself in a similar situation of being asked to assume responsibilities I doubt myself capable of undertaking, but in fearing becoming irrelevant, I agree to do them anyway. From serving in the Baha’i community to getting asked to photograph a wedding, I do not say no very well.

Is this really a good thing?