13 July 2013

A Society of Stereotypes

Why are societies so dependent on stereotypes? Does human civilization dependent on stereotypes for survival?  Stereotypes are not innate but rather conjured up opinions that people gather as they grow up within their communities. It also appears that in the west there is proportionally more stereotypes about the east than the east hold against the west. Why is it that when someone from the western culture visits the east they are humbled with respect. But, when the same individual from east visits the western environment they are often treated as substandard even to the effect of refugees or illegal migrants. All these are stereotypical aspects that are conjured as generalizations on a profile. Stereotypes abound in all aspects within society from race to sexual orientation to even places of employment. Stereotypes are also the fundamental influences on how a certain group of people are constantly profiled. Why is it that on airports that it is always a particular race being profiled? Why does one assume so much from just a name? We live in a world of globalization where a multitude of races, religions, sexual orientations, and interests abound. These very same stereotypes also dictate the availability for resources and the opportunities that one has in life even by way of employability. We don't just develop stereotypes we are brought up in them through peer influences. It is astonishing that the more education one has the more stereotypes they bring with them. Universities and schools are one of the biggest places where stereotypes flourish. And, as people grow older they come to follow such stereotypes in every aspect of life and decision making. Stereotypes implies a mark of ignorance and no matter how one tries to provide reasoning against it they seem to still be around among people. Perhaps, it is the sociological competitive aspects within people that makes the inequality seem like the way many try to compartmentalize their way of thinking about others. However, one looks at it stereotyping is unjustified. Unless, you know the person well you should not make assumptions about them whether from their skin color, their name, or even from the clothes they wear. 

Integration of Global Information

Books and periodicals are categorized and held in libraries. Artifacts are categorized in museums and galleries. Reports and papers are indexed in archives. Patents are registered and indexed in patent listings. These places all individually store vast amounts of information. And, yet we see every year so many are closed down due to lack of readership and finances. One thing that such places lack is integration of resources and accessibility at a global scale. If only such places could be connected globally so they could be  reached over the internet by students, researchers, and any one looking for information. Book publishing is a foregone and struggling business. People are now looking to ebooks, online, and flexibility of reading on handheld devices. It seems only natural that there are multiple gains that can be achieved from mutual integration of resources between such organizations. Not to mention the level of cost savings that could be made, the generation of a collective finance option to keep such organizations profitable, and merit their future existence. Such places are often the cornerstone of learning outside of schools and universities. We need to support them before they all start to crumble into history. I feel linked data and semantic web is the answer to making it all possible. Semantic web is a natural fit for library and archiving and linked data is a natural fit for making the resources all connected. Even so far as allowing for advertising revenue and subscription model could be achieved from such a collaborative network which brings together researchers, students, and all walks of learners alike into one easily accessible network of resources. Just imagine the amount of searchable information that could be achieved and the level of categorized information made available to all without ever having to physically visit the organization. It seems a plausible option for so many struggling organizations. At same time it means knowledge could be reached without bounds. A library ontology could be generated that establishes a network of shared resources for all. Most organizations should not hold any reservations to such an idea as it would mean a larger accessibility by subscription therefore more financial gains plus they will all get used a lot more. It seems only in time such endeavors are likely to occur in near future as semantic web and linked data progress into the mainstream use over the internet and define the ubiquitous aspect to technology.

CSS Frameworks

For small single page applications, a CSS Framework can be an unnecessary complexity. For larger projects it can be a real time saver. Not all CSS frameworks support all browser options or even are fully compliant. However, the two that I find useful and often worth mentioning are Twitter Bootstrap and Blueprints. These frameworks provide agility and flexibility with a conscious effort towards accessibility. They can be adapted in small to large projects with ease and can be structured to work with varying display sizes. A user interface design has to take into account not just a desktop browser but also mobile devices. It is often the measure of usability from mobile devices that the usefulness of an application design emerges. Whether one requires a fluid or fixed layouts, it is all about how responsive the design is that matters the most in reaching out to a far more varied audiences.

Project Managers Are A Hinderance to Developers

Often in commercial environments there are multiple separations of roles that end up putting people in separate lines of work streams. For a majority of developers, the biggest hurdle in teams are project managers. They rarely ever have the big picture nor do they understand complexity. A lot of times they don't even understand their own work. Developers rely on project managers to essentially manage the project and the team. But, what ends up happening is that most developers are forced to micro manage themselves because the project managers are just too incompetent in their own work. Project managers are even asked to go on formal courses in agile methodologies or learning standard principles of project management. But, when they come back they rarely ever practice any of them. Majority of project managers are focused towards one aspect within a company only the ladder up to further management rather than being productive or results driven. They display generally no appreciation of technology or understand any issues that developers face within certain processes. They even get in way of adding excessive amounts of unnecessary politics between developers and themselves and ultimately become the cornerstone of projects going from great pieces of work to mediocre. Project managers have no understanding of code quality or architectural impedance. Their main aim is to look good to higher up management and just treat their development teams like factory workers. In smaller companies that have a start up atmosphere the lack of project managers allows developers to take charge of their own work and it is here where projects become alive through the technical appreciation. In larger companies there are just too many incompetent project managers that have no understanding of the technical aspects and cannot relate to why certain pieces of work take longer than others. They seem to have a vague idea of most things but have complete indifference towards understanding the developers daily process cycle. As commercial environments start to become more and more dependent on developers it is often times the project managers that end up undermining their work and even their sense of work ethic to certain extent where developer turnover in companies increases. The way of most companies is that developers rely on lead and senior developers for guidance. The lead and senior developers often rely on architects for guidance, and the project managers are so arrogant that they almost always encroach and get in way of almost every one. In daily processes at work it may not appear so apparent at first, but as they mold into daily schedules of meetings, the patterns and behaviors of most project managers becomes apparent. They will run stand ups and regular meetings these are not because they want to keep the communication flow going but it is more so they can look good to senior managers that they are doing such a great job in micro managing teams or projects. But, in essence what they are really doing is playing politics at work and silently under the covers of process filling up their meeting calendars, without really being all that effective to developers. The conducive role of a project manager becomes an inconducive role for a developer, competing on the same field for increments, bonuses, and salaries. In most companies, project managers end up earning far more than most developers. Even though a developer does a lot of the work, even so far as doing a lot of project manager's work. How many times have developers seen themselves writing acceptance tests from user stories which are really the job of a project manager or business analyst. Such is the case in most companies. The politics of work become the norm driven by a facade of management practices irritating the likes of most developers in their daily passions for technology and creativity.

6 July 2013

Staves - Facing West

Possibly the most droning music I have heard yet. And, this song which almost seems like it was created out of sheer boredom, loneliness, and in a waterfront town by three women who had nothing else to do but wonder about some man. This man could even be a wandering stranger looking for some lodging or even a strict father figure. But, the song does have a meandering creepiness to it. On BBC the song is played often a thousand times almost enough to make one go mental, to switch the channel, and really wonder about what the point in paying for a TV License. And, thank heavens for digital TV with a vast array of channels.  On youtube this song receives quite a lot of approval but I beg to differ. Possibly, the best song to have on when one is drunk, on their way home, while listening to this to make one realize the sheer pleasure of sleeping - enough to create the eerie imagery that life really can't be that boring as the nostalgic conundrums in the song.

facing west