Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, January 27, 2023

Four Things

Image by Tom Barrett, via Unsplash, license.
1. My Fun Web Site of the Week is that of the Cloud Appreciation Society, which bills itself as "the society for people who love the sky." There are several pictorial features worth looking at, including "Today's Cloud-a-Day," the "Cloud of the Month," "Recent Clouds Spotted," and news pertaining to clouds. There are also a book and a "Cloud-a-Day" phone app on offer.

2. I have no immediate use for this idea, but it's too good to forget or not to pass on...

A software developer encountered a common feature request that would be excessively difficult to implement because it did not really fit into his code library.

His solution involved a creative use of documentation:
I found that I could document some example code that accomplished the goal, rather than actually adding it to the library. This helps people accomplish their goals without increasing Helmet's surface area. [bold added]
He cautions that he doesn't think this is always the best solution.

His other tips are also accessible and worth looking at, even if you have nothing to do with software development.

3. The headline just about says it all: "US Marines Defeat DARPA Robot by Hiding Under a Cardboard Box"

This is funny, but read the whole thing, especially if you have kids.

My daughter was complaining about a "dumb" machine on the way to school one morning, and I had a great, entertaining, and nearly ready-made example that helped her forget her frustration and, I hope, will help the kids form a realistic perspective on what machines can and can't do.

It turns out that she was already familiar with the term AI, too.

4. Today, in the FA Cup, Arsenal visit Manchester City.

The two teams currently are first- and second-place in the English Premier League standings, so the game is generating lots of interest -- and there's also a student vs. mentor angle, which the British media have been playing up.

Regarding that, I have found myself thinking more than once (and not just at this encounter) That's a great boss on reading things like this account of how City Coach Pep Guardiola responds when asked about his former assistant, Mikel Arteta, who now has Arsenal running like a well-oiled machine:
I am not a guy to say, "no, you have to stay with me." Everyone has dreams. We felt if one team could offer him (the chance) to be manager he would leave. I know he went to "his" club, the team he dreams of. He's a supporter, for the fact he played there, he was a captain there. He loves the club. I remember when we were together here, when we scored goals, he'd jump a lot and celebrate -- except against one team, Arsenal. People have to fly when they believe it is the best. Life is too short. Spend time in a place you believe suits you better. [bold added]
Or, as my favorite business writer sums it up in "10 things Great Bosses Do":
Great bosses treat people well. They know that they have people working for them, not automatons, and that those people have options for where they work. They care about their quality of life, they know that people will make mistakes and even sometimes fail, they recognize that employees have lives outside of work (lives that will sometimes get in the way!), and they treat people with dignity and kindness, even in the hardest moments, like letting someone go.
On top of enjoying the often near-flawless soccer, I've been treated to a masterclass in leadership from Arteta especially since watching the documentary All or Nothing: Arsenal early in the season.

This and his long record of success suggest that Guardiola is another model for good leadership.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

You do realize that the programming fix for the DARPA robot will mean that no person or appliance will ever be safe inside a cardboard box again?

To think that our budding SkyNet has been reduced to cardboard box shredder. The Terminator franchise will never recover!

c andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


As a bonus, your comment reminded me of Dwight Shrute hiding in the warehouse in a box on The Office.