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Month: March 2016

how to debug a problem, life, or whatever doesn’t work

Today was a great day at work.
I managed to discover the origin of a bug that was quite tricky to find, at least for me.

Bugs in software are very interesting because sometimes they go against any possible reason.
This particular bug, in fact, seemed to appear randomly when we activated a component.

It took us a few hours to have a clue about it and to find the reason it was happening.

We, as software developers, have a tendency to think in “problems and fixes”, that might not be beneficial in many areas of life but for sure it’s helpful when we have to fix things.

There are a few things I’ve learned while debugging, and while this is not a real how to per se, it’s a step by step mental path I constantly use (and that works for me).

Try the first options

The easiest step, you have guesses, try them and replicate the bug.
It’s more difficult when you can’t replicate the bug, obviously.

Don’t exclude stupid, or extremely simple, scenario

We tend to think that, to have such a complex bug, there might be a complex cause.
While it might be true, it’s not that common.
It’s often a common trigger in a complex environment.

Try the simple things.

Talk with other people

If you’ve seen Doctor House you know what I’m talking about.
You have a realization of a possible reason just by talking.

Confront with others, it helps to expand the horizon.
Be humile while confronting with others.

Don’t exclude extreme scenario (although unlikely to happen)

If you’ve come at this point, try the almost impossible.
Don’t spend too much time, but if you got an idea, try it.

If it’s possible, use logarithmic division to isolate the starting poing

This is one of the thing I love doing, but It’s mostly applicable to software development.
If the bug is in a page, remove the bottom half of it, if the bug is still there, then it’s in the top part.

Rinse and repeat.

If everything else fails, reduce complexity

This is related to the last point.
Remove, remove remove.
Remove elements that add complexity until the problem disappears.
Then readd them to see what triggers it.

Once you find it, repeat the process for the single element. This way you start in the higher level, and move into the detail when needed.

Conclusion

Obviously this is not an exhaustive way to fix things, but much of it is about let creativity spark and have humility while confronting yourself with problems.

 

the beauty behind seneca

These days I’m reading Seneca and it’s amazing. I mean there’s so much wisdom, knowledge, information to digest in his books that it really makes you wonder how was that possible.

What was his performance? How would he talk?

Even though we’re talking about different areas Seneca somewhat reminds me of Seth Godin, a man who’s successful and have decided a clear path for his life.
Both I admire, although I reckon that Seneca goes really deep, I also see that while Seth Godin seems to be (at first) a “classic american motivator” (from the books), he is not. He’s much more than that, and it’s the goal that makes the difference.

The goal always makes the difference when doing things, once you have it, you’re ready for the game.

those who seek the change

Those who seek the real change aren’t affected by fears, they have them, but fear won’t influence them so much.
Those people are the one who are disruptive in a good way because they want a change that can be achieved by bending the rules, changing the game.

From time to time we are those ones.
We decide to stand up for our rights and move forward, but this doesn’t happen casually.
It’s because we’ve fed up with all the things that aren’t going ok with the world.

We feel the need to contribute, to give back, to help people, to help influencing people.

I am always amazed when I look at bill gates. He is one of the perfect examples in philanthropy, one that should be followed.
I wonder what did it change in him, when was the day everything felt different, the day he decided to make a difference.

the world is pricey, but you are the one choosing how much to pay

Some of our friends are marrying and it’s quite natura to think about how much money goes into a wedding.

It’s a lot and it makes me think about it.
Is that money something I would like to spend in case of my wedding?
That’s obviously not my choice alone, but I got to ask myself if this complies with the way I see and live the world.

To me, at least today, too much money goes into a wedding.
I think that anyone who can spend so much should do it if he/she cares, but to me that’s out of question. I would very much prefer a hug than having a nice suit that I’ll use one day in my life.

And the thing is: A wedding cost as much as you want it to price it high.
There’s no upper limit, but you are able (if you want) to strongly constraint it to a lower limit so that it doesn’t drain too much.

Many of the things today are like weddings.
They can be pricey, but it’s up to you to decide how much to pay.

is the kamikaze crazyness that much hard to explain?

We often say that it’s not imaginable how come that people could bomb themselves in the name of god, but is that hard?

We think of it as an action without any solid ground, that no one with a little bit of rationality would consider, least think about it as a solution.

Because anyone that’s rational knows that’s wrong.
Right?

Now, think about the last time you were angry with someone.
Think about the last time you wanted to be right in a discussion so badly you raised your voice unconsciously.

The sad thing is that we often follow our irrationality without even thinking.
We do it daily.
We fight, we give punches, we scream, we hate.
All the time, every damn day.

Out of context, out of the stream of emotions that’s quite clear that rationally we wouldn’t do it, but we still did them.
It’s like in the walking dead where they are all infected, but they don’t know it.
We all have this seed of crazyness.
It’s up to us to not follow it.

we live in a men’s world, a sex world

I say this as a man: the world has a too widespread “man-view”.
Few days ago I was eating with my colleagues and I realized that many of the jokes made by men were all sexual.

I’m not talking about sexual harassment, I’m just saying that they revolved around the common theme of sex.
Some of the jokes were about the girls, but aside from that, they were all about sex.

It’s easy to joke on sex, because you can find a double meaning in everything.
But is that a topic we can use to elevate ourselves?

I think the answer is no.
To improve the way we live and act in this world we need to change the way we talk and joke.
Everything nowadays is about sex.
Tv shows, movies, etc.

Sex is an easy door to attention, smile, whatever.
It’s easy because it resonate with a primal part of us and it appeals us because anything erotic appeals, isn’t it?

It’s too easy to fall into this trap.

I’m not saying that sex is bad, but the way it is used, yes, that is bad.
The overflow of sex-related information is bad.
It is bad for us because it forces us to stay within the “sex-loop”, to think about it, joke about it, talk about it while we could think/joke and talk about so many different things.

But as with many things in life, this is not easy and it requires you to have both a strong commitment, a strong will, and an open mind.
An open mind is crucial because it would be too easy to fall into the trap of sex denial. No, I’m not talking about removing sex.
I’m talking about making sex that intimate private moment we¬†rarely¬†share, making it beautiful, exciting, and not “common” again.

would you judge yourself?

The hardest part of life is to learn to not judge and understand what’s behind a choice.
While it is easy for us to judge others we are not incline to do the same to us, we tend to be protective of our choice, partly because we spent so much time on them that we want to keep them valuable.

But wouldn’t it be better to remove ego from the equation?
Sometimes we judge to prove a statement and it’s hard to learn from it. We get stuck.
The tricky thing is that even if we thing we aren’t judging, then we are.
Maybe in a more subtle way, but we still are judging.

The whole point of this post is that as I notice other people judging and discussing thanks to ego, I have to pause and reflect.
Because when you see it in other people, chances are you’ve got it too, and I’m no exception.

The only way to learn is to doubt yourself.