If at first you don’t succeed…

try, try again?

Just a thought: the difference between persistence and stubbornness is whether you get it done in the end. If you succeed eventually, your persistence paid off. If you don’t, you might be just another stubborn fool.

I was taught one trick to guarantee a win when playing games of 50% chance in casinos. Always double your bet after losing, so that your win will cover your previous losses. If you have bet $10 previously, and lost, bet $20 in the next round. If you then win $20, it will more than cover your initial $10 loss. The trick is to be sure you have enough money to keep increasing your bet, which rapidly increases to $5120 by the 10th try.

If you keep losing after 10 tries, should you continue (and hopefully have your persistence pay off) or should you give up and not be a victim of your own stubbornness?

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Settling down in shit management

4 months into my new job as a QA manager, I think I am finally settling down and looking at life beyond the current shithole. For a start, I find myself tempted to start up a new blog (again). As usual, I will commit to regular updates, even if it is one post a week. I will even spin short stories on it and build up experience with writing fiction, on the long path to literary stardom. As usual big plans are made which (will) fizzle out when the demands of real life catch up with the desire to make dreams come true.

From experience, I start writing when I’m bored with my work. More importantly, when I can spare the brain cells to dream. Isn’t it a waste of life not to dream? Oh yes it is, isn’t it? Isn’t it pathetic to give so much of yourself to your job that you lose the ability to dream? I’m not so sure what the right answer would be when people I know are fearing for their job. At least mine is quite secure for the next 3 years.

Perhaps it will finally be a good time to write. If I don’t get bogged down in my own pile of shit this time.

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Why do people dress up in capes

At a local store’s checkout counter, a plump little boy spent his time deforming bars of chocolates with his elbow while waiting for his parents paying for their purchase in the next aisle.

The couple in front of me glared at him, but in typical singaporean fashion, we tend to keep quiet instead of confronting such people. And so they continue to misbehave because they have no disincentive to stop them, and probably no incentive to change their ways and become better people. But i’m not that typical and i asked him what he was doing, is he going to pay for the damages he did. He tried to ignore me, continue flipping the chocolate bars in a less destructive manner, and later went off to hide behind the next aisle where his dad was still making payment.

I think i had been quite mild. After a long day at work, the frustration of seeing such uncivil behaviour was almost enough to make me shake him until he cried and begged for his parents but i didn’t. Maybe that would help him understand that such behaviour should not be continued and if shocked enough, he will remember for a long time. But i was not sure if i would end up scaring the other customers around me.

Sometimes i can almost understand why people would dress up in a cape, wear their underwear outside and play the role of a vigilante.

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Shit management revisited

After 3 weeks in my new job as QA of a software development team, i think i have confirmed my theory on shit management. People pay you because they need shit to be cleared up.

Maybe there is another line of work where returns are much higher, but i’m not doing that, for some reason. Maybe the job involves selling my backside, and i don’t want to do that. Maybe it doesn’t, but need some skill set that i don’t have yet. So here i am, still managing shit, which is familiar enough that i am still coping, but different enough that i’m still learning something that will hopefully still be useful further down the road, trading what’s left of my youth for experience and skills that will count.

Will i ever stop having to manage shit one day?

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My new life in QA

life as a qa manager involves stopping my teammates before they screw up and shoot us all in the collective foot, among other fun and worthy tasks that my job scope encompass.

This aspect of the job was especially highlighted by my counterpart today who sits on the other side as the client. He told me, in not quite the words, that he wants me to keep tab on my boss and prevent him from screwing up, to make him fear me (not to make my nice teammates fear me) and keep him in control. It gives me a new perspective of my job when my user puts this expectation to me

Huh? I asked him, does he want me to commit career suicide? What is going to happen to me at year end appraisal, because this is the same boss who is going to grade me? He tried to allay my fears of risking my job security by explaining how i probably have no job security in the first place: according to him, my company did not have a qa role in its teams until the client pushed for it, and so i will not have a job when this project is over.

I have just realised that there is probably an exit ticket waiting for me at the bottom of this shit pile. Fortunately, i share the same perspective as my client, that i’m in this job for the experience, not for retirement. I’m trying not to think too much about the possibility of another, perhaps higher role, waiting for me in this company after i have cleared this pile of shit.

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Camera-less Nokia E51

My new job does not allow phones with cameras. Rather than to spend $68 on a simple 2g phone that i do not want to use, i extended my 2 year contract with m1 and got a nokia e51 for $98. It’s my first 3g phone, so m1 had to give me a 3g sim card before i could send out sms. There is no touchscreen. It’s a simple phone, not really a smart phone but at least i don’t need to give up bluetooth, mp3. And this is a 3g phone so i can potentially plug in my broadband sim card from my 3g modem and have internet access anywhere i go in singapore, though i have yet to try that. I can also connect to wireless@sg and surf for free without needing to change my sim card. It detects and connects a lot faster than my n311 pda. It takes an hour to charge the battery using the tiny charger bundled with the phone, and it lasts 3 days with moderate use, bluetooth on. Surfing on wifi can drain the batt very fast though.

I typed this entry on my phone using Notes, which came with it. What sucks was that I could copy from notes, but the browser that shipped with it does not allow pasting. So while I could type on the go, I couldn’t copy and paste directly when I’m at a wifi hotspot. I need to bluetooth it to my pda, or my home laptop with bluetooth, both receiving the note as a text file.

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The heater is not working!

It is a sign of how used we are to modern conveniences such as the instant water heater, that we had so much fun boiling water for bathing on a cold day.

Sunshine was screaming in the shower last night when she came home from work late and found that the water heater has broken down. I placed an order for a new heater today, but the replacement will not come in until tomorrow, which means she has to put up with another night of cold water. She is not one for cold showers. So I boiled a kettle of hot water for her to bathe with, scooping from a pail with a plastic ladle, old school style. She was so delighted at having warm water to bathe with on a cold day, it was well worth my effort. I haven’t done that for years.

She can’t comprehend how I still shower directly (cold) from the tap even when the weather is cold and rainy. I guess it is something I got used to.

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