Tag Archives: Engineer

Madame Leota’s Crystal Ball Says. . .

We are all time travelers: moving into the future second by second.

Which does us absolutely no good at all as far as planning for the future goes because we can’t see the future until it’s the present and then it’s too late to change it into anything but the past.

Ugh. Time travel makes my head hurt.

Anyway, I was reminded about this issue recently when I was discussing with She Who Must Be Sleeping Because It’s Dark After All a course of action regarding our oldest dude.

The actual specifics of the discussion aren’t all that important (well, they’re important to us and certainly important to him. However, for the sake of this bit here, it’s more the results rather than the cause.), but I found myself thinking of Robert Frost.

One of my favorite poets, Robert Frost wrote about “The Road NotRobert Frost, one of America's best poets, extolled the virtue of taking the road less travelled. Taken.” In exactingly precise words of immeasurable beauty, Frost talked about how we often face choices in our lives and we can think of them as forks in the road.

We take one fork, make one choice, and that forever shapes all that is to come. Take the other fork, make the other choice, and that also forever shapes all that is to come.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

So we sat discussing our course of action and because the substance of the discussion, the nature of the choice, was so important to Sarcasmo’s future, I’ve never wished more fervently to be able to see the future.

“Are we making the right choice? Will this work out in the long run? Will this be good for him or hurt him?”

This is something we parents have to think about every single day in almost every single decision. It’s not often such a stark choice, but it is there.

Do I make him eat those zucchini slices or not? If no, am I teaching him that he will get his way when he whines? If yes, will I be teaching him that bigger people can make smaller people do things?

The more I think about it, the more debilitating it becomes until I can enter into a state of analysis paralysis. For those of you not up on your rhyming aphorisms, analysis paralysis means you start thinking about something so much that you never make an actual decision. Which is, in effect, a decision. If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

There’s an old saying in project management: There comes a time in the life of every project when you simply have to shoot the engineers and run with it.

Now, that’s not actually encouraging people to kill engineers. The issue is that engineers are never finished. They always see one more thing that can be improved upon. One more thing that needs just a little adjustment.

I like to think it’s something similar in parenting. We don’t know what we’re doing.

We don’t know how our actions today will affect the life of our child tomorrow.

All we can do is make what we think is the right decision and then work for the best outcome. Which is, in and of itself, a significantly frightening thought.

So, now that I’ve spent two days scaring the pants off you, I’ve only got one thing to say. . .

You’re not wearing any pants! Neener Neener Neener!

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The Shock Of The New

And we’re back.

I know, not all that noticeable, but still we had a couple of days lost in the ether there. Seems that I was a bit too eager to reach out and grasp the future. The future wasn’t ready for my handholding, you see.

What happened was this: I was asked by the fine folks at Apple to sign up and be a beta tester for their operating system tweaks. What that means is, when the engineers at Apple come up with significant changes to the OS X operating system, they’ll send the new version out to the thousands of beta testers like me.

We will install the OS on a non-essential Mac and then get to work, trying to help shake the bugs out of the system. Note the word non-essential in that last sentence.

Yeah.

About that.

I’d been doing this for several years, installing the beta version of the new OS on my working computer with nary a problem at all. Until last week.

I wasn’t able to get my iPhoto working. It said something about how this version of iPhoto wouldn’t work with the currently installed version of the OS X. So, being the idiot I am, I decided to go back to the start of the OS X Mavericks beta versions and begin reinstalling them until I got it all working.

Through a series of mischances, happenstances and just plain messupstances, I had to wipe the drive and then reinstall all my computer’s information from my backup. Which I was able to do.

But then the computer wouldn’t actually boot up. All my information was there, but I just plain couldn’t get to it. At all. More than a little frustrating.

I eventually — through a combination of rehabilitating an older computer, upgrading its operating system and then connecting the new computer to the old through a mismash of different types of connector cords — managed to install a working OS on my computer. Only to find out it was a brand new account, not my old one.

Long story short (too late), I eventually managed to get the situation straightened out and got back online.

You’d think I would have learned my lesson by going through something similar with iOS 7 and the iPhone. Yeah, it was a hassle, but only because of what I’d done. Will probably be hesitant about joining in on another beta test using this machine, but it did teach me a bit there.

Mostly what it taught me was that I need to make sure I actually know what I’m doing before I start futzing around on the machine that connects me to the greater, wider world.

What about you dudes and dudettes? You ever make this sort of technological flub up? If so, how’d you get things back to normal?

So. Computer working again. Most things back to normal. With that, service will resume.

See you tomorrow.

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Ten Rules For Success Not A Myth

Adam Savage is a dude who knows about which he speaks.

A special effects master, a Maker, a knowledgable sort-of scientist, an amazing television co-host of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters, Savage is an all-round astonishingly good guy.

He spoke recently at a theatrical event for Makers, designers, engineers, eccentrics and anyone who wants to be around clearly odd folks like that in San Francisco. His topic was on how to succeed. Savage didn’t actually say succeed in what. But, after looking over the interesting assortment of suggestions he put forth, I’m thinking these ideas could apply just about anywhere.

I’m going to just run them here because, really, there’s not much I could add right now*. Thanks to boingboing.net, which originally ran the list.

1. Get good at something.
Really good. Get good at as many things as you can. Being good at one thing makes it easier to get good at other things.

2. Getting good at stuff takes practice.
Lots and lots of practice.

3. Get OBSESSED.
Everyone at the top of their field is obsessed with what they’re doing.

4. Doing something well and thoroughly is its OWN reward.

5. Show and Tell.
If you do something well and you’re happy with it, for FSM’s sake, tell EVERYONE.

6. If you want something, ASK.
If something piques your interest, tell someone. If you want to learn something, ask someone, like your BOSS. As an employer, I can tell you, people who want to learn new skills are people I want to keep employed.

7. Have GOALS.
Make up goals. Set goals. Regularly assess where you are and where you want to be in terms of them. This is a kind of prayer that works, and works well. Allow for the fact that things will NEVER turn out like you think they will, and you must be prepared to end up miles from where you intended.

8. Be nice. To EVERYONE.
Life is way too short to be an asshole. If you are an asshole, apologize.

9. FAIL.
You will fail. It’s one of our jobs in life. Keep failing. When you fail, admit it. When you don’t, don’t get cocky. ‘Cause you’re just about to fail again.

10. WORK YOUR ASS OFF.
Work like your life depends on it…

*Which is not to say that I won’t find something to say in a a day or so, which I can almost guarantee will be the case. Check back tomorrow and see if I’ve recovered the power of voice by keyboard.

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