Life Codecs Ruminations. Reflections. Refractions. Code.

September 28, 2015

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Kamal Advani @ 21:45

Often simplified and paraphrased (mostly by software folks, like yours truly, and pop sci crowds) to “everything tends towards entropy”, the law is surprisingly applicable to wide range of scenarios. Which, I suppose, should not be surprising given the universe and humans forming the ecosystem are simply bags of vibrating, heat-producing molecules. The last statement was not meant to be cynical, nor do I subscribe to the view that consciousness is a purely emergent physical phenomenon, but I am abstracting for the sake of this post. But, I digress.

In software we see the law in the phenomenon known as Software Rot or Bit Rot, or some variation thereof. But, “as above, so below”, the same law applies to groups of people, to companies, to relationships. When a group stops making an effort to be better, then it does not simply stay in place, it tends towards a rotting state. Complacency is bad not because it stops you from progressing, it’s bad because it regresses you. Sometimes, I wonder if there is such a thing as a state of true rest.

Consider now, that if the ‘natural state’ tends towards entropy, what the effect of catalysts towards that state is?

“Is there a point to this post?”, I hear my readers (I should have at least two…) say. Sort of, just one of those days when you wonder why you are in the industry you are. I rarely drink, but, days like this I sympathise with the wise words of jwz, “This is why I sell beer“. People, including myself, simply do not learn.

March 11, 2009


Filed under: general,gripe — Tags: , , , — Kamal Advani @ 17:42

Disclaimer: Firstly, this is partly tongue-in-cheek (but only partly), and secondly I don’t think all consultancies are like this, there are definitely better companies out there, I’ve certainly worked in one. On to the content…

Michael posted a link to a news on Superpartners tech revamp on Facebook, which is expected to cost 70 million dollars (!). The news speaks of a company called CSC who’s secured a chunk of the SI work. Anyway, this post has nothing to do with CSC (so please keep your lawyers on a leash) – but it brought us to the topic of consultancies (ya know, mind associations, boredom, that kinda thing). Since Mike seg-faulted reading my long comment (how rude), I may just delete it – but I rather liked my comment, so thought I’d reproduce it here before dust turns to dust.. or comment to.. bit dust.. whatever.

The background conversation here is that moving jobs from one bad consultancy to another may just entail the same thing, my comment:

Scary ain’t it.

In terms of code it’s like someone defined a few marker interfaces: ICrap and ILateHours. The base class AbstractConsultancy implemented them, and added more of its own inner painful classes (e.g. AnalysisParalysis and AllPainNoGainStakeholderMeeting).

Then the various consultancy startup entrepreneurs created their own Consultancy classes extending AbstractConsultancy (for much of the work was done there), but also implementing IPersonalisedCrapAndLateHours to add their own distinct flavour. Oh then obviously they instantiated the Consultancy.

I’d link to a UML class diagram, but this sore throat exacerbates my inertia. Please use your imagination skills, guys and gals.

Yours truly in sarcasm,

Ah, my space, my comment.

— Kamal

February 2, 2009

Bad Hairday!

Filed under: general,gripe,personal — Tags: , , , , , — Kamal Advani @ 21:02

Ya know, like many geek-types, I am not one who is too concerned with how I look, at times I look a little messy, but clean, not dirty or icky – to me that is sufficient. Fortunately (for it is overall fortunate), hair grows and there are times when I need to cut it. I kept long hair for a couple of years – looked very hacker-ish, but alas, it was a maintenance nightmare. So anyway – I do not have a regular salon that I go to, and am not one to spend any more than 30 dollars per haircut, even that is excessive! Unfortunately, it seems that in Melbourne, there’s no such thing as a “decent” haircut unless (I assume here, for I have not done it) you shell out some absurd amount. So today, despite my inner voice telling me to do it tomorrow (no kidding!), I decided I needed to get a haircut. I went into the city, looked at a few places on Elizabeth St., went to Melbourne Central basement – there was a place I had intended to try out but they were closing already. Went into China town, entered a place… and for a simple male cut in this standard-ish looking place in an arcade, they were charging 63 dollars! Can you believe that?! Like, what magical I-Ching hexagram was consulted to get that number?! So I stood there, raised an eyebrow, then declined and left. I ventured back to Elizabeth Street to this decent looking salon (by no means a 2-seater barber shop, though I reckon I’ll try that next time… couldn’t be worse). I was asked to wait 15-20 minutes, and then it was my turn…

The lady (in her early 20s) asks what kind of cut I’d like, I said I wanted it short, and “square at the back” – the latter phrase is something I picked up way back when I moved here, to say I want a clean angular lining at the back, as opposed to curvy one I suppose. Firstly, I asked for a haircut and I came to a salon, so what’s with these people asking me what number I am!? Like how the heck am I supposed to know what clipper I want to use, isn’t that why I’m there!? Okay, so maybe there are people who know their hair and the tooling for it well, I am not one of those lucky folk. So anyway, I tell the lady I have no clue, she says she’ll try a number 4 (she was Chinese, I am told the character for “4” in Chinese is similar/the same to the character for death!). I’m like yeah whatever. And BANG, she runs the thing like a bloody lawnmower on grass. I mean I asked for “short“… not “let the outline of my head be visible to all who will see“! She moved it so fast that by the time I told her that I didn’t want it that short, she replies in her accent, “this is no. 4 – must be same len’ everywhere, if start, cannot stop”… what the bleep!? I realised then there was nothing I could do about it, it was way too late.

Now if it was just that, perhaps I could let go and move on (actually I have done that already, I’ll just feel better once I have this all in writing!), she also had no sense of symmetry… when she was placing the mirror at the back of my hair, I had to point out a couple of things – it wasn’t “square at the back” damn it!, and in one case, she just could not see what was wrong… so I literally just went “nevermind”, because I was afraid she’d ruin it further :(. Folks, if you have no sense of symmetry – please, don’t consider hairdressing, or software engineering, become an abstract artist or something, you know. So yeah, I have had a bad hairday – this must be the worst to date, once it grows I shall be able to get it cut again (I don’t where, but I do know where NOT!). Oh and worst of all… she did not use scissors… the biggest no-no in my book[1]. I asked for a haircut, not a clipper cut (a concept I have only heard of here…)!

Now some upsides – yes there are upsides, hard to believe: despite the cost advertised – 30 dollars – I was charged 15 – I so would have left some diplomatically caustic (is that even possible, or is it an oxymoron?) words for her to ponder otherwise. It appears she thought I wanted a clipper cut (but I said I wanted a HAIRCUT, H-A-I-R-C-U-T!!) – boy I must look like a starving student (that’s another upside, I must look young and fresh)… I suppose I hadn’t had any food yet at the time. The final upside I guess the lack of hair will keep my head cool during the summer. Meh.

[1] Kamal’s Book of Life Skills, by yours truly, Chapter 33, p22, verse 11: “Profess’d as a hairdresser, ask’d for a haircut, clippers come and clippers go, but thou shalt use scissors without fail, else, a pox o’ thee, curses, boils, and sores spattereth across thy body, Heretic O’ A Hairdresser, Liar, Cheat, Heathen and Most Unholy Scum.”

January 12, 2009

My Change Please, Yes All of It

Filed under: general,gripe — Tags: , , , , , — Kamal Advani @ 16:24

So, the Jakarta Post doesn’t seem to like my letters (or me) very much, after my last unaccepted letter, I sent this little gem:

Dear Editor(s),

I’ve noticed a trend here. I visited a couple of large and famous cafe chains (names coming up) in our many malls. I purchase some food and drink and I pay cash, and they don’t always have small change available. In some instances the cashiers have half-heartedly, very quickly apologised while handing me back partial change. It is clear that they’re not really sorry, and would not have made any effort to get all my change. In other instances, they just give me back partial change! No fake apologies, no effort to explain, nothing, as if they committed no mistake – to quote the Brits, “How Rude!”.

It is small change, I’m talking usually between Rp. 100 to Rp. 500 or so, so my gripe is not so much the money as it is the principle. I can tolerate this behavior if I were buying nasi pecel from a warteg in the streets, heck I would even consider it charity. But from multinational and large joints like Dunkin Donuts and Cafe Oh La La (ooh la la, names!), er no way! I wonder, if I went to Dunkin Donuts, where a donut costs about Rp. 6000, and I had Rp. 5900, would they allow me to have the donut if I apologised for my lack of cash? Or perhaps I had an Rp. 25 candy to supplement my insufficient cash, would Oh La La give me my hot chocolate? Or perhaps, even better, were I to hand in insufficient cash and glibly walk away with my donuts, would they let me? Or would donut guards be called in? Oh, does this also mean that if all the small change adds up, they make hidden profits? Perhaps something the tax department might want to look into, heh.

I want my change, yes, all of it.

Oh well, their loss, they just ignored a very valid opinion, and some A-Class gripe material. For foreign readers, warteg or Warung Tegal is a street side food tent, and nasi pecel is a delicacy: rice and vegetables (optionally with catfish – pecel lele), spicy peanut sauce and sambal (== chilli sauce), yum yum.

— Kamal

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