Whoever smelt it deals with it

In my opinion, the person who discovers a problem deals with the problem. A law enforcement officer sees someone aim a gun at another. The LEO is off duty or out of jurisdiction. Societal expectation is the LEO will intervene.

The same applies to me being an employee. If I discover a problem, then it is my responsibility to intervene as best I can. If I have no access to the systems or skill to do anything, then I should inform those who can and provide the information I know to best aid them in assessing the problem. If I do have the access, then I should work the issue as best I can. It might technically belong to someone else or another group, but if I have been given access to the systems and have the skill, then I should deal with it.

Even if I lack the access or skill, then I still feel like the issue is still MINE until it is resolved however that is. My responsibility becomes to find the person who can deal with the situation. I am not absolved just because it is not something I can do.

I thought maybe this came from my work at a university, but I am not so sure. I feel like I held this attitude even early in my work there. I would help other students anywhere I was. I did the same in high school, such as stores where as a customer I fixed misshelved books or items put in the wrong place. Anyhow it came about, I feel responsible for ensuring things are working around me.

Automate Yourself Out Of A Job

At VSU, my boss got a promotion when his boss retired. Then a shuffling of jobs gave me a promotion, but it also sent my old job to another group. That left the web services group going from 2.5 full-time positions down to 1.5.

We did not have that much free time. If anything in the early 2000s, the responsibilities were growing which is how we ended up with 2.5 people. My only way to restore sanity was by automation. Admittedly, I love scripting and schedulings, so my approach to things at that time was to write scripts to handle jobs. The change gave more motivation to ensure that anything that could be automated was. Or I would drown in the work.

What made it hard was, even as I automated these jobs, more things were coming to the web. The needs grew faster than I could develop the tools to handle it. It was a fantastic experience, though.

Sports Announcers & Hot Hand

It seems fairly common for sports announcers to contradict themselves. One minute, “Team X cannot catch a break,” and the next, “Everything is going their way.” During the first case, they were up by a sizable amount but a few chances in a row went bust. They were never at risk, but eventually, the other team just got exhausted trying to catch up and the game ended in a rout.

Basically, these are people who are believers in the Hot Hand Fallacy. Worse, they perpetuate it by extolling it to anyone who listens. It seems all over sports.

Successful teams or individuals often are described as always are even though they do sometimes lose. And those who are normally winners suffering a loss seems shocking even though over the course of a season it is more normal for even the best teams to lose from time to time. Teams are always trying to get better, so the mix of who is most competitive changes year to year. So, the advertisement thing to prevent financial gambling seems to apply to sports:

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

It applies over a season, between periods, and between plays.

The Importance of Student Workers to A University

Gille believed that [UGA] Transit could not succeed without its stable of student employees. She said the campus-centered transportation is best fulfilled by students who are on campus nearly every day, not individuals in the community who rarely otherwise come in contact with the University of Georgia campus. It’s easier to acclimate hundreds of students to campus driving routes than to find the same number of non-students willing to learn the routes. The Importance of Student Workers to A University

My first day at Valdosta State University as a student, I also applied for and got a job working in the library. (Yeesh, I think that means I’ve been working for the same employer-ish for 22 years.) I loved the public and school libraries growing up. And I did some of my research for the middle school science fairs in the college library. I love books, so why not?

My final summer, they hired me a temporary staff to fill-in at the reference desk. Normally, a faculty member librarian did that work, but I was being entrusted to do when they were at half capacity. That seemed to seal the deal: I would go to library school for my master’s degree and become a librarian. (Fate intervened by running into my future boss the next fall who convinced me to come work in IT.)

As staff at VSU IT, I supervised a handful of students near the end. They were invaluable for keeping Web Services running. Yes, they were cheap labor. They also hopefully learned some skills that made their careers. Student labor is what made the school operate. Hiring good students is just as important for any staff position because they represent the university, they do the work that allows it to run, and they ensure the quality of almost anything except maybe the professor vocalizing to a classroom. Students do not get the respect of staff, but they for many areas are most of the staff. The departments might not exist without student workers.

 

Weird addressing

Email addresses are weird.

Web addresses run from broadest to most narrow scope, which makes total sense to me. http is the protocol basically informing the computer how to handle the request. (Back in the 90s, we more commonly also saw ftp and mailto and gopher as protocols in links.) Next is the computer address which ideally would have been ordered Top Level Domain (TLD), site domain, hostname, so for example this site would have been com.ezrasf.www. Next is the folder tree down to the file location. Finally, is the file name.

Similarly, email addresses should have been designed as protocol, TLD, site domain, username. So, you could reach me at mailto:com.ezrasf/blog. Instead, the username at server address is what we got. It works, but it has bothered me that it does for a decade and a half.

Ambigous Direction

I spent far too long stuck because of the direction: “Locate the level that you want to configure.” To me, that implied going to the application or the site. Only the “ISAPI and CGI Restrictions” I wanted was not there. I did all kinds of things thinking that somehow the feature I needed was not installed because I did not see it.

It turned out the setting is only visible at the topmost (server) level. Various documentation fail to describe looking for it there.

Magical Tech

For a long while, I have thought Gmail was smart enough to see emails I receive and make a calendar entry. Apparently, the truth is I forgot about creating an IFTTT applet to look for emails with the group subject tag and make a calendar entry for me.

It worked so well, that I guess I had no reason to pay attention.

TED Talk: The secret to living longer may be your social life

As a self avowed loner, this research showing personal connections are important to a long life bothers me. I had hoped that Cacioppo’s writing in Loneliness that we each have differing levels of engagement that are necessary would apply. Having a lower threshold might protect against depression, anxiety, and suicide that plague men.

Pinker seems to be saying that having someone who will check up on older people is what prolongs their lives into becoming centenarians.

If the above does not work, then try TED Talk: The secret to living longer may be your social life.

Non-Update

Nothing frustrates me more than the non-update. I define it as:

a communication issued within the promised window of time to express the status of nothing has changed and to establish another window for an update.

I am patient and willing to wait for a real update. When I see an email from someone I am waiting to hear from, there is the surge of dopamine in anticipation of a completed task. Only to receive the disappointment of that surge of neurotransmitters being falsely exerted. I feel betrayed. Well, not at first, but when I’ve been strung out over and over, I come to feel like they are terrible at their job.

Save yourself the trouble.

  1. If you think you can have an update for me tomorrow, then give yourself an extra day. If you think you can this week, then give yourself an extra week.
  2. If there are obvious difficulties present such as your people are at an all week meeting, then do not commit during that event. Give me a time after it is over.
  3. If there is any likely stumbling block, then let me know ahead of time rather than after which sounds like an excuse. A vendor told me on a Monday they would have something for me that week only for me to find out the next week the system needed went down for upgrades and would be down two weeks. As soon as they learned it would be down, I should have been told rather than have to learn about it later.
  4. Hedge by giving me a range of time. “I’ll try to have this to by x. but it might be as long as y.”