Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Thoughts on thinking

Wow, yesterday was Friday the 13th and a full moon all at once. It sure seemed like it here at work. I did nothing all day except for fix problems. We have a new person in the help desk/operations area, and Friday night was his first night alone. He forgot some processing steps, and I had to take most of the day to recreate data that was missed. Not fun. I am trying to learn the new .net style of programming, and have not had any time to do so in the past two weeks or so.

A few weeks ago Rob pointed to an article Guardian on thinking. Since I’ve been visiting Rob and striped Lisa I have been spending time reading that fine paper. Well, since it’s only dots of light on a computer screen it can’t really be called a paper any more, can it? It might be delivered and sold as a paper, but for me it’s just transitory electrons and thoughts. But unlike our local newspaper the Guardian seems to pay some writers to ponder more obtuse points.

I used to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. It too was filled with articles of incite and tried to educate readers in different areas, but during our last presidential election the Journal really was on a Republican rant, having nothing negative to say about our fine president or his policies, printing nothing but negatives about his Democratic rival and putting out long articles that were nothing but defamation of opponents. Some of the points pushed were absolute untruths, but the way the writers spent so much time on details before stating that some of the points might be opinions rather than proven facts left me wondering about integrity. So I cancelled our subscription at that point, but I really miss the other stuff they printed.

Back to the Guardian article on thinking. I have to agree – at times when confronted with a difficult problem it sometimes is better to read all the details, research the problem, then move to something else. At some point the proverbial light will come on and I will see how to resolve the first problem. This usually occurs when I’m driving home, thinking about other things, when a thought will pop up and I’ll say ‘yes, that’s the way to do it’. The article also had a suggestion on taking tests – to read ahead a few questions, then go back to answer the first. This fills your mind, and supposedly your subconscious can work on the other problems. I’ve heard something similar before – to read all the questions on a test, then do the easy ones, and move onto the more difficult. I guess this is similar, to let the harder problems float in the background waiting for answers to come forward. It seems the only tests I’m taking now are at work, the grades being my continued employment.

Reading my usual blogs I just noticed how many of the authors are continuing their education. I’ve been saying that I want to go back to school and get some additional education, guess it might be time to get off my butt and do something rather than complain. Heck, if I can get an MBA maybe I can move up to the front paneled hall.

Just to provide something visual, thanks to several of you for pointing here. It provides an interesting insight into what I put down – and makes me wonder what algorithms the programmer used for selecting words to create the images.

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