Musing about Relavant Things


This week was a lot of doing things for others. I happened to get an assignment done ahead of time and was able to help two different groups of classmates with their assignments. It seemed like I more wanted to work on and help them with what they were doing but in doing so I remember that I love teaching people what I know and seeing the discovery on their faces. It is a weird feeling because sometimes you doubt yourself and wondering if what you are doing is enough. You can only do what you can and hope they are taking it in. Sometimes it makes me want to be a teacher, sometimes. The beautiful thing about it is now I really understand that material and feel like I could teach it and it all makes sense to me. Which is the point of learning anyway.

The other place is in my project group, I tend to be the one that is helping organize our group and taking extra work that is not really hard but just needs to be done. It has been challenging at times and more work than it needs to be. But it has made me learn more and understand more and grow more as a person and a CS student, software engineer, scrum master, leader, classmate, and teammate. Overall I feel like I have learned so much from non-development work in this project, and I just want to get out and use it, but alas still some school to do. I find that oftentimes I am the most confident in my soft skills because I have the most experience with them, but the more and more I learn in development the more I feel that with those soft skills I can learn and thrive in any environment.

Helping others is something that teaches us, helps us to grow, and stretches us. While helping us to think about people besides ourselves and we could all do with a little more of that.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Musing about Relavant Things


A simple word and often a simple place but for many it is exactly what we need. The ability to come home after a long day of work or school and just be I a place that is comfortable, known and safe is one that we often take for granted.

This week was a challenging week not just for me but for many others because home was no longer that place that we could go for complete refuge. We could go home and be in the structure of a home but without heat, or sometimes running water or other key things. I found that being without those things was not as much of a struggle because I could use other’s heat, electricity, internet, and house to be in, but that was not home. Even just coming home at night to be there in the cold and dark was nice at the end of the day. The difficult part was while doing all the things I do every day, I did not have the same feeling of being home and being comfortable.

I know I sit in a privileged position to even be able to go home and feel this way. I am grateful for what I have and don’t want to take it for granted. The beautiful part about this week was the reminder of exactly that, how blessed I am in getting to come home every night, while there are many others that don’t get to do that.

I noticed this week that I struggled to get stuff done; some of that was working on my laptop instead of my desktop with my office chair, but When I am at another place, I struggle to work as well, I want to be doing other things when I am in another place. Being home, I can focus and not be distracted as easily.

The challenge I can see for college students is finding that new sense of home or comfort, especially those from other states or countries. Even for those starting a new job, creating that environment that is yours, safe, comfortable is so important to being able to do the work you need to do.

I am thankful for being home, where it is warm, safe; I have internet, my computer (with two screens), my chair, and for those things today, I will be thankful. Do I wish I had accomplished more this week? Yes, but that just leads me to be thankful for teachers who are human beings and understand life happens. I hope that I can remember that the next time somebody is struggling, people are human beings, and life happens.

No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

 Taylor Swift

I know I said I would write about technical stuff eventually, not this week but soon.

Musing about Relavant Things Thinking about Life This Week in college


Sometimes the things that we want to the most are the things that we have to wait the longest for. This is not a bad thing it teaches us many things and helps us to learn that it is not just about the destination, but it is about the journey and the friends you made along the way. For many people that is what school, or college is about. Some of the best friends we have are those we made in school. Some of our greatest memories are from school. The hardest part is that sometimes it feels like school may never end. But as a Senior who has been taking college classes for about 10 years, I can honestly say that it feels like forever but as the end draws near it looks better and better. This long journey has taught me so many things and it makes me grateful for every step I have taken, all the people along the way, the opportunity to even pursue, and the ways in which it has changed me.

All that said this week was a week that tested my patience, it seemed like I never had the time I wanted to get stuff done or I was never as productive as I wanted to be. I had to patient with myself because if you lose patience with yourself you will never be able to try something new or accomplish something hard. The hardest things are often the most rewarding. Being patient and allowing yourself some grace in spite of the difficulty of whatever is before you will be the greater benefit than whatever you are working on.

Patience is critical in anything from work, to investing, to life decisions, to driving, and many more areas. The applications of patience are unending, but specifically, I find that when applying patience to coding benefits me greatly because I spend time researching, designing, planning, all of which take place before the actual work which is usually the only thing I want to do. Patience comes into practice with people very often, teammates that are running behind take longer than you want them to, or just try our patience.

I find that I really don’t want to talk about the technical side of my projects, but it is those technical side of the project and this course that brings about these other lessons. All of which I am thankful for.

To travel is to take a journey into yourself.  Danny Kaye

Musing about Relavant Things


There are days when we all feel a little stuck. Whether that is in the house since last March, stuck on an assignment, task, job, or just life in general. Being stuck is no fun. It makes it seem like there is nowhere to turn, and there is nothing that can be done. In fact, that is not true. Stuck is generally a frame of mind. For me, it often comes at the point when staring at the debugger, and all I see is just a bunch of characters on a screen, and my brain has had enough.

Stuck in life can come about when you feel like progress is being made. You aren’t learning anything, you don’t enjoy anything, or you simply do the exact same thing over and over again.
These ways of being stuck can and do take a serious toll on us. When you are hitting a wall, and you keep trying to punch through only to come back later and find the missing semicolon or misspelled variable, you find that with a simple change of perspective or a simple break, your eyes are open, and the problem is somehow easier to understand.

When you are stuck in life, you can’t help but have to do something different, whether that is taking a trip or buy a new toy, or talk to your friends or family that care about you, support, and encourage you. Other people are a vital tool that we can use to help us get unstuck. For me, that often means talking to my wife or just being around her. For others, that could be a close friend, or your pet, your mom, your therapist.

Being stuck literally immobilizes you and keeps you focused on only what you can’t do. Instead, look for what you can do. You can care about the people around you, even in just small ways. You can work on a different assignment, clean something, change your routine, try something new, or write a blog. 😀

Never let yourself be stuck for more than a short while. Ask for help, break up the routine, smile, have fun, find the joy in what you are doing; else, nothing you ever do will be fulfilling.

Musing about Relavant Things


As a person, I have always loved to learn, and I can pick up most things pretty quickly. I can usually figure something out given enough information but what I have found speeds up my learning process is consistent and clear feedback. I can repeat the same things repeatedly, so if I am told to keep doing what I am doing, then I’ll do it. I won’t change once I figure something out unless I have a reason, and one of the best reasons to change is feedback. I find feedback helpful the more detailed, the better. I like getting into the details, but I can also miss details.
The best way to get me to do something just the way you want it is to tell me exactly how you want it done.
Now I know that may sound like a rant, but it is just me talking about why I think feedback is important and not just for me. Feedback takes the hard work that somebody has already put in and allows it to be improved upon. This process is vital to learning and especially to development. I love having the ability to learn from my mistakes, which is important for any person; without that, you will keep on making the same mistakes time and time again.
The iterative process for development, which mostly comes from the agile methodology, is one that is based on feedback by having built-in meetings to discuss what is going well and what isn’t or having code reviews, or pair programming you by adding a few extra hours of review work you can create a much better product and ultimately train better developers.
This week if you can’t tell for our project, we had a code review that means we have to switch off our niceties and just look at the code on the page in front of us. A daunting task because you don’t want to miss something, but it benefits both parties involved. It helps you because you have to think about if this is following all the best practices that you have been taught or the styling rules you have agreed upon which will make their way back into your work, and it help the others person see where they can improve without the client yelling at them.
Feedback is a vital thing in every element of work, sometimes we don’t get enough, or we don’t get good feedback but let’s take what we get and use it to grow, else we will probably just keep on messing up or crumble under the weight.
Grow as you Go.

Musing about Relavant Things

Easy to Read

Readability is a corner stone of good coding practice. Making things easy to read in any area is of importance and of value. The standard of what easy to read is somewhat dependent on the circumstances, but when allowing people to look at something and quickly understand exactly what it is saying is a pretty easy to read way of putting it.

Easy to read applies to so many areas in the field of computer science not just code, but comments, documentation are some of the primary areas. But what about project management, communication, and simple organization? The value of easy to read is that you can look at something and know what you need to know with out spending a significant amount of time just trying to understand the way it is written let alone the content.

Easy to read code is one thing and something I strive to do as I have been train for a long time, but when creating our team’s Trello board I found that I had to create a new definition of easy to read or maybe better said a new way of applying easy to read. Within the Trello board by simply adding a few bits of information to the titles of our cards. The amount of information that can be packed onto a single card is impressive but again it is a balancing act. This created an already easy to read board just a little bit easier so that way people did not have to dig into the card for relevant quick information.

All of this may be elementary but I found it to be a challenging thing and helped me to again see how CS basics apply to so much more than just Computer science. In communication making the main point easy to find and understand makes sure that people who only read a line or two have the opportunity to get the general message. Making information that you have to look at everyday or not easy to read will allow us to spend less time trying to find what we need and more time getting work done.

The KISS principle applies here keep it simple stupid and can help us to create easy to read information that will benefit not only other but also ourselves in the short and long run.

Musing about Relavant Things This Week in college


When working with other people, you will, without a doubt, have to make changes or adjustments based on these other people. People are complicated, and working with them is complicated. A key trait that is needed to work in any team or group setting is flexibility. Flexibility is not just beneficial when working with teams but also when working on projects for other people.
The idea that we will always get everything right is entirely wrong. The idea that other people are always going to get things right is also wrong. Unfortunately, people often make mistakes, and we will have to deal with them. The ability to change plans or have them changed for you and keep on going is crucial in almost every area of life.
Flexibility is a quality used to describe materials, people, plans, and it means bending easily without breaking. Simply you get tested or stretched, and you don’t break. Breaking during a project is never a good thing, and breaking and taking it out on other people is not good either. Other words that people use are resilience, mobility, openness, and versatility. Having these traits takes you from being stuck in your own ways or own forms of thinking and opens you to new concepts, which is exactly what learning looks like. Sometimes being flexible can mean that you have to do more work, but it makes you an easier person to work with and provides a better environment in general.
I like to think of myself as quite flexible when it comes to plans or projects, and my flexibility was put to the test recently in my capstone project meeting. We are now to the stage where we get to move onto the implementation of our project. My team and I were putting together designs and sketches of what our project will actually look like. We wanted to make sure we were all on the same page and get approval before implementing it from our project sponsors. Well, when we presented our layout to our project sponsor, he had some questions that we did not have the answer to and, after some digging, found out that there had been some miscommunication between what he wanted the process to be and what our design will look like. It was honestly very odd because we had been communicating about this the whole time, talking about what we wanted the process to be how things would be implemented but never before had he said that we were off base. Anyway, after a fair bit of discussion and lots of clarifying questions, we understood what it was that was different and now have a much better picture of what things will look like. Our implementation actually got a little easier and definitely more clear. All of this is helpful, but at that moment, I felt like I had completely missed something or we had not had all the information we needed. At that moment, if I was not flexible, that would not have been nearly as productive as it was. Flexibility has some stress built into it, but how you respond to that stress and pressure is what determines if you break or just bend a little.

Musing about Relavant Things


One of the most important things I look for in the people around me is consistency. It means I have people that I can depend on, and I know they can accomplish things when asked to and what they say they will do, they will do. This means that I don’t have to babysit them, and I know I can place my focus elsewhere when only their part is left. Often we are stressed because we don’t know we can trust people. Consistency is vitally important in all aspects of our lives; for us, having something consistent like a paycheck or a car means that we can focus on other things. Then we are not worrying or stressing about extra things. This is important because our bodies use stress to help us in dangerous situations. Still, when we are always stressed, our bodies never return to normal function, leading to severe health effects.

Consistency in our own lives is what most of us seek and something that we try to provide. It eliminates the variables in our life and, overall, just simplifies our lives. It is also a hard thing to provide in all areas of our lives. While it is also one of the most sought after thing.

Consistency is something for me that helps me stay focused, get work done, not get weighted down by decision fatigue, and know what I am going to do next. When my life has consistency, I get into a rhythm, and that allows me to be more productive and even form good habits, which often results in good things. When things are inconsistent, you are fighting against so many different things to achieve things you need to do. A lack of consistency in my life does decrease my productivity.

The best way to create consistency is to pick the things that you value and just do them, again and again, this will help you to form a consistent habit, and then you can add other things. Consistency often relates to what we value, and when we consistently value things, it will create consistency.

Musing about Relavant Things


This week and last week was spent working on the design specifics for our project. The design is the guidelines for the coming months of work and something that we can go back and reference when we need it. There are many things that can complicate the design process. The major one for me is that I like to make things as easy as they can be for others. This, in and of itself, is not bad, but it can lead to feature bloat. This, in turn, can cause me to get too focused on the extra features and not on the primary set of criteria for the project that we are working to build.

I like to find things that people have not thought of or what people are not focusing on. Some of it comes down to I like being responsible for things and having that responsibility. When creating a new feature often times the scope of the feature or really the reasoning behind it can be difficult to come by, and without those guiding forces, you can get lost. When designing, you have to have the use case in mind, and you have to keep focused on the core concepts else you can spend forever rethinking and never get anything done. I sometimes do this, but I tend to get focused on something and how I think it should be done, and if nobody else is there to bounce ideas off, you can dig yourself a hole that is hard to get out of.

The chief concern when designing should be to figure out how to accomplish the core need and then explain that so it is very clear what is being built. Thus the idea of blueprints and having all the details in one spot makes building skyscraper a lot easier than just winging it.
Features can help in specific use cases, but the project’s core has to be there else you can’t create new features to tack on.

Here is to this week and getting back to the core, getting back to the necessary, and here’s getting back to what needs to be done.

Musing about Relavant Things


Everybody has a way of doing things, and often they have a similarity between the different things they do. Let me explain. Whenever a person sits down to do something, they have an order of doing things. As we grow and mature, that order usually changes and improves, or it can make it harder The order in which we do things and specifically work or school is a process. Everything we do has a process in some form or another. For some tasks, it is a regimented and specific process; for others, it is a more general process, but a process. The great thing about having a process is that you have a starting point, and you have a set of actions that you take to complete a task, and you can utilize that same process as guidelines for any task you do. For most of us, we have a process for waking up in the morning, or taking a shower, or coding a program; each thing we do has some form of process. 

The reason why a process is important is that our brains like patterns, and words, languages, music, are all patterns. The reason we see things in clouds is that we look for patterns. So why not utilize our brain and set ourselves up for success. 

I am sure there is scientific evidence about such things, but I’ll primarily talk about my personal experience.

I know that one of the biggest hurdles in completing things is starting. Once I am going and in the flow, most things are easy to complete, and I want to complete them. Before I start, I don’t want to start because it is hard, or I want to do something else. A process is a key way that I have found that helps me with completing such tasks or assignments. I have a distinct set of things that I do to get my mind to transition from, say, eating to working. I sit down at my computer, clear any distractions, IE emails, reminders, extra tabs, anything that is gonna distract from my work. I then review what I need to do and when it needs to be done. I often like to listen to music; I usually pick music without words else I will want to sing along. Lastly, I open all the things I need to have open, so I don’t have to go looking for them, and then I start. This is one of my processes, but I have others. This works for me because when I do these things in succession, I tell my brain to transition into work mode and not get distracted. This process is vitally important specifically for me because I like to accomplish stuff and be done, but if I keep on stopping, then I have to keep on starting again, which is the hard part. 

Your process can be putting on a certain pair of closes, sitting a certain way, using a specific mug; anything that reduces the number of distractions can be your process. Processes are everywhere in manufacturing, teaching, surgery, and driving. It all has a process, and our brains like these processes. 

“Do Not Frown, Break it Down.”

 Quote from Blog post referenced below

Several of my thoughts about processes arose after reading this blog on ADHD by Alan Bester “Nahaz”, a Ph.D. in Economics and a Georgetown professor. 

Here are a few things to read if you want:

Superior pattern processing is the essence of the evolved human brain.