US Marine Corps Leadership Manual

leadership has nothing to do with authority, Rather, it has to do with –among other things– knowledge and being a servant-leader…

An individual's responsibility for leadership is not dependent on authority.... the deep-rooted assumption that authority should equal responsibility is the root of much organizational evil. I believe misunderstanding around this issue is rampant, problematic, and runs so deep in our consciousness that we don't even realize it.

— US Marine Corps Leadership Manual

I have been studying “Scrum” it is a process of continually improving. It is applicable to everything from business (where it started) to life, to the military to making breakfast. In studying it I have been reading a book Scrum: The art of doing twice the work in half the time by Jeff Sutherland. While reading the book I stumbled on a section that talked about leadership and responsibility.

“… leadership has nothing to do with authority, Rather, it has to do with –among other things– knowledge and being a servant-leader. [The Leader] can’t simply say something has to be done a particular way. He has to persuade, cajole, and demonstrate that his way is the right way, the best way.” in Scrum: The art of doing twice the work in half the time by Jeff Southerland

Just food for thought.

Hour 1 with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

I’m beginning to think that Kindle Unlimited is where Amazon throws its bargain books people wouldn’t normally buy…

I have started reading a lot more recently and decided I would give Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited a try. After my first hour, my experience has been dismal at best. EVERY book I have searched for has NOT been available with Kindle Unlimited. Every author I’ve searched for, Every series I’ve searched for, Every title I’ve searched for, they have all not been available with the service… I’m hoping I find some redeeming value in the “free trial” but so far I’m beginning to think that Kindle Unlimited is where Amazon throws its bargain books people wouldn’t normally buy, just to get them to circulate.

SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3 Assembly adventure Day 3

If you know me, I’ve been talking about 3D printing for about 3 or 4 months. I’ve been studying, and researching, and trying to decided if I wanted a 3D printer, and if I do, what I want and why.  I did all my home work and decided to get one. The one I wanted MOST was the Prusa i3 Mk2, however they had to get imported from out of the country AND there was about a 3 or 4 month wait before they could ship when I was looking to order.  So… with that in mind. I did a LOT more homework. Based on the title of the blog post you can see I ended up on the SeeMeCNC Rostock Max v3. Found here.  It was only $100 more than the assembled Prusa (but once you factored in import duty, and shipping it ended up about the same).

I finally ordered the Rostock Max v3, and it showed up in amazing time. Faster than all the tools I ordered from Amazon at the same time in fact. (Not prime shipping). I got the tools this weekend, and started assembly. I used to assemble electronics back in the day, but I have to admit it has been a long time. Me and a friend use to manufacture boards for Cellular routers, so I’m ok with electronics, and I know my way around machine shops and tooling so nothing here was completely new, other than the printer and the principles of 3D printing itself.

Day 1

I started getting all the parts out, and was quite amazed at the number of parts, involved. I expected quite a bit, but I’ve got a nice sized Rubermaid container at my feet full of zip lock bags loaded with nuts, wires, fixtures, electronics, motors and lots of other goodies. I tried to stage the parts, and tools, create a work environment to do this in. It has very intricate parts and much larger parts. So I had to clear off a work bench that was comfortable for detail work like soldering and such, but I needed a larger work space for the frame. So I started to get all that ready. When I was done with that I started to assemble the hot end. I didn’t get far.  I was buried in parts, and had a question.  I asked it on their forums and got a good reply by the time I was ready to go again.  Here is how far I got on day 1: And in case you are wondering a “day” for me is the time left over from work/family/life before I go to bed, so don’t expect a full 8 hrs of labor here…

Hot End day 1
Rostock Max v3 – Hot End day 1

Day 2

I pushed a bit too hard. After getting the help I needed, it was a stupid question, but I needed the answer. I was able to get much further. Here is where I got for the second day (2:30AM).  I had the hardest time getting the base plate, thermal fuse, and pcb lower edge to all be parallel. I found that losening or tightening one seemed to throw everything else off. I tightened it as much as I dare for small aluminum parts, but I must admit I am afraid it will come lose or out of alignment. (Not sure how important alignment is, but the instructions highlighted the importance…)

Day 2, PCB Controller, Leads, and guide

 

Day 3

And today, Day 3. I made a lot more VISIBLE progress. I actually finished the entire Hot End assembly, including the fans etc. I started off doing all the PCB soldering, then put the fan assemblies together (that went pretty quickly… other than trying to strip the small gauge wires, that was painful.)  Then a little bit more soldering and the finishing covers.  Today went much easier than the other days. Here is the finished product:

My initial impression of this after putting it together (just the hot end assembly). This is a nice tight package. I can tell a LOT of time went into the design and layout of this project.  I am concerned about any of the internals needing repair/replacing. Doing so would be a full day task at least. Many of the components are soldered directly to the board, so hot swapping replacements is not an option. (Fans however are plugged in… BUT the fan cables are wrapped around everything.) Maybe my concern is unfounded. I won’t know until I’ve been using it for quite a while. But over all I like it, I’m just scared, this after all was a huge investment.  However all the reviews I’ve read say it is good stuff. Time will tell.

This project would be a real doozie for someone working with mechanical/electrical things for the first time. If you have never used a soldering pen, or are not comfortable taking apart every day things and being able to put them back together (reliably) you may want to get it pre-assembled, or ask a friend to help you who knows this stuff. It is not impossible or very hard, but learning on this project would be daunting for the un-initiated.

At the end of today, I tested continuity through my heater/fuse, and it worked. I tested continuity between heater/fuse and the aluminum block, and that was not connected. I tested resistance of the thermistor at the PCB and it came to just under 100k (98.3k) I think. I checked all the fans, and they can spin freely. I did not run any current though to test them. I tested all the screws and they seemed tight, so far as I can tell I put it together right. I took a TON of pics a long the way too. I just posted the end of day shots.

Well this ends day 3 for me. Lets see what the next day has.

Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?

I finally have an answer to the age old question. For those of you who know me I’m not a slacker, I’m almost never idle long. I’m rarely well focused. But I’m almost always doing something.  Although some times that something is just playing video games… (I’ll be honest…)

I’ve had the question posed to me several times in life

Why put off till tomorrow what you can do today?

After 20+ years of working, and 10+ years of having my own family, I can safely say, there will always be more to do today than can possibly be done. If you are always putting off the important things in life to “take care of things”… You are missing out on the things that seem the most trivial, but are probably by far the most valuable. When you finish that task at work, guess what… there will be another. When you finish that chore at home guess what… you can find another.  There will ALWAYS be something to do for those of you, who like me are looking for something to do.  You have to chose to put off till tomorrow what can be put off till tomorrow some times.

Now I know there are some people out there who LIVE by the slogan… why do anything today, when we can keep pushing it to another day… forever.  This is not what I’m encouraging at all. The things that NEED to get done should be.  But the the things that CAN be left out… probably should be. There are more important things in life than having a perfect lawn, or “most overtime worked” awards … You know I’ve never seen one of those… anyway this was just meant to be a quick post to a thought I had, and that was it.

Enjoy.

Tangled Web of Thoughts

I am going to start this post with a disclaimer. I do NOT have all the answers. I am taking a philosophy class. I am a technology person. I will be speaking in VERY broad terms and using a VERY broad brush. I know there are exceptions to almost everything, I’ve met most of them.

My topic today comes from my philosophy class, a project I’ve been stewing on for the last 12 years, an internet video I watched yesterday, and several conversations I’ve had with people. This is not fully formed yet, and I still have a lot of research to do on it. I however did want to post this out there for thoughts.  I want to talk about how people think about knowledge and how they gauge truth and how that impacts society in general.

Definitions

Foundational thinking:  this could be summed up with Plato’s concept of JTB (justified true belief), In order to say that you “know” something you have to be able to make assertions that are correct and infer a correct conclusion from it. That you can define its parts. That in order to know something you have to “prove it” with some “logical” process is the concept.

The problem of infinite recursion: In order to say you know something you must define all of its components, but in order to define its components you must define the definitions of all the sub-components, but in order to define all of the sub-components you must define all the sub-sub-components… etc… it goes on for ever. There are several proposed solutions to this… one of them is network thinking

example of infinite recursion:

  • duck = type of bird
  • type = a category or classification
  • of = expressing a relationship between a part and a whole
  • bird = a flying animal
  • category = a grouping of something
  • or = a word used to link alternatives
  • classification = …
  • …. you get the idea.

Network thinking: The concept that in order to “know” something you simply need to have enough pieces of data in your “network” that are congruent with that information. If you have information from 3 or 4 sources and they all seem to be congruent with each other, that information may be considered as “known”. That number may change depending on the person, circumstances, or type of information under question.

Network: A lose term meaning a source of information. It could be a literal computer network or social network. It could be a loosely related group of publications and professional contacts, it can be personal experience. ANY source of information, data or opinion can be in a network.

From the top

I know there are many forms of thinking and I did NOT cover them all. I did cover the two I want to talk about though. In my parents generation and some of my generation the predominate form of thinking (that I have seen) is the Foundational type of thinking.  There are MANY flaws with this mode of thinking, it leads to infinite recursion, as well as the general philosophy that TRUTH can never be truly found or known, because even if we found it we could never really know it. My generation really bore out the fruit of the idea that truth can never be found.  It lead to wide spread hopelessness and a general lack of purpose. As a response to this the concept of a “network” of truth or thought has come out of the mix. The idea was if we can never “know” for sure, if we know enough points that do not conflict with a concept that we can probably assume it is true.

This network model is applied by individuals in both the macro and the micro. Inside the individual and outside.  In order for a network to remain stable its nodes must be congruent, and because people inherently tend to seek stability incongruity becomes a destabilizing factor. These networks are not just used in the formation scientific ideas, but in the formation of self worth, sexuality (I don’t mean gender preference I mean how they think about sex… the brain is the biggest sex organ in the human body), spirituality, appearance and much more. When in-congruent ideas are presented to an individual in this context the in-congruent idea is not just a challenge to the concept… it is a personal assault at the deepest levels. The network node (idea) in question is a part of the stability of this person, if this becomes in-congruent, it might devalue or change something else, causing a cascade, or even worse… systemic questioning.   Because to question the network is to reject the network or at the very least cause an incongruity that cannot be reconciled. When faced with this type of threat it is simply easier to reject the threat (the person doing the questioning or the idea) and push them out of reach that to solve the conflict of thought.

People who function primarily in a network model require many points of contact to know things, including themselves. If a person functions in network model, the network tends to be fundamental to the identity of this person. It defines who they are, who they are not.  The more points of contact they have and the more congruent it is the more stable the information base is, the more stable the person feels about their world view, about them self.  I think this is very evident in the emergence of social media and its profound impact on first world culture.

Once someone is pushed out of a network, they either find a new more appropriate network OR they make one of their own.  Each social network in turn becomes a specialized condensed version of a social structure, philosophy, brand or concept.  Although it works the same with other networks social networks are easier to visualize, but news networks, computer networks, and religions work the same general way.  Something that the internet age has inadvertently provided is the ability to make truth virtually irrelevant.

These groups (or networks) do not bother to really argue with each other or debate facts any more.  Instead, they manufacture what the OTHER GROUPS represent and argue against their version of the other group. (I believe this was known in the past as a straw man argument.)  The local group’s version of the “other group” (or argument) is often the worst possible representation of the outside group.  Because the arguments and representations are made so provocative… they get repeated and talked about…  Even if no one can prove them.  Our media, in order to get ratings, pushes this information out there because it is so provocative, making it MORE provocative each time. Our internet algorithms do this too… the most talked about things are PUSHED to the top of the rankings (even if they are NOT true).  This pushing and splintering of the internet has caused extreme polarization. Groups that are fundamentally against each other not just in idea or principal but to the very core for reasons that they themselves don’t necessarily even know any more.

We have built a system that is literally designed to push popular information into the forefront. The information in the forefront is usually the worst. Each network (social group, religion, news outlet, political party, economic class, medical journal, scientific community…) becomes its own isolated network, which allows false ideas to run rampant. Because so little is fact checked and so little logic is used, it allows for micro (or macro) cults to be formed. Each group targeting what the see as “the enemy” and vilifying them.  Add to the mix, our current culture is designed (or functions, take your pick) in such a way that questioning the group can, and very well may, get you kicked out of the group to which you desperately need to belong to in order to maintain your identity.

You can add in people who intentionally spread misinformation and on top of that the people who report incorrect information just because they don’t know better. It makes finding real facts incredibly difficult for the average person. Making it even more difficult even IF someone actually wanted to look up the truth of a situation or the facts involved in something to distinguish between fact and fiction.

In the end… this leaves us with groups of people who are highly emotionally charged who are unwilling to be reasoned with. Who are don’t want to be criticized or questioned. Doing so automatically disqualifies you from being able to contribute to the group.  This is NOT a good place to be. It allows room for people who are manipulative, persuasive or coercive to build networks of their own cults.

While you read this I am sure you had a network/group or two cross your mind that you believe may do this, please be willing to consider that someone somewhere in the world is probably looking at YOU thinking you are in a network doing the same thing.  You are not exempt from this. If you got offended at the statement you should probably consider it even more.

Yep. I’m done with League.

League of Legends, LOL, or just plain League. I gave you one last try today. The two games I played were again typical of your horrible community. I am done with you. I have uninstalled you. I have walked away.  Good Bye. I’m sure you won’t miss me… and I’m sure I won’t miss you … so I guess this is mutually beneficial.

League of Legends Community is Awful

League of Legends… Your players officially suck. I like the game, it is quite enjoyable. Your players have got to be some of the worst I’ve encountered…

Yep I said it.  I’ve played on and off for a year or two. Purely casual. I have no delusions of making a pro-league, or even making any notable mark.  I play for fun… well I try to. But the community is full of such salty SOBs it is VERY hard to enjoy.  Many of the players seem to think they are going to be the next Diamond Champ and make it pro… and that my game play will ruin them. And rather than “help a casual” player or explain. They would rather rant, curse at, bitch and complain.  I have a full time job and a family. I do this in between all the other adult things I have to do… so I don’t have time to spend memorizing tons of crap for a game that in 10 years probably won’t be on the market.

League of Legends… Your players officially suck. I like the game, it is quite enjoyable.  Your players have got to be some of the worst I’ve encountered, actually now that I think about it… they are the worst I can think of. That is saying something.

I have now vented. I am going to step back from the game a bit. Take a breath and decide if I ever even WANT to play again. The last game I played was not particularly bad, in fact it was typical for the games I play. The fact that it was typical… and that I wanted to throw my computer in the trash after playing should be an indication that “I shouldn’t play”…  The only reason I came back was to play with some mutual friends, but this is not worth it.

If you are a League of Legends staffer… your current marketing “meta” may be great for pulling in kids and single guys who hope to be pro-video game players. But you seem to have forgotten many of the people who just want to have fun playing. Some one worried about how many clicks they can work into a micro second while focusing on 3 different targets, memorizing a continually changing list of champs, skills, items, and maps Isn’t fun… it’s work.  If I wanted to have to sit down and make spread sheets, perform calculations, and raise my blood pressure… I can get paid for that now. And oddly enough I find my job more fun… again mental note to me… if this IS the case… WHY am I playing? Just to be social?

Well I’m debating if I ever want to go back in. If I should just uninstall the game and walk away and encourage my friends to do so. They have the same problems with the community as well. Fortunately I have not invested more than $5 in the game. Just a lot of time, but I’m thinking I’ll cut my losses and move on.

Point 1: League community USUALLY really sucks. (In my experience, I have found the RARE exception but they are rare.)

Point 2: At the end of about 75% of League of Legends games I want to throw my computer away and claw my face off… even when I win people complain.

Point 3: This game takes a TON of time to learn the Champs, Maps, Items, Meta, combos, synergies, etc.

Point 4: I find other things more fun, like my real job… I’m not a workaholic and I don’t go around recruiting people to do what I do. But I enjoy my job more than this feeling I have right now at the end of a game.

Point 5: The only reason I do play is to be social with a group of people I already know, but when they play they turn into SOBs too. It seems to bring out the worst in people. I hear them slamming down their mice, bashing their keyboards, cursing the other players… screaming at the top of their lungs at their own team mates, because they didn’t do what they WANTED them to do at that exact moment to help THEM.

It sounds to me like League of Legends is the wrong game for me.  I encourage you to consider where you spend your time.  Are you spending it in a video game full of sucky people, that is highly competitive, rapidly changing that in a few years no one will care about? Or are you spending it doing something you actually enjoy?… You can still game. I just want you to consider WHAT you game and WHY.  You only get one life. Don’t waste it on games and/or people that suck.

I know my next game will be something I chose intentionally because I like it and enjoy it.  I may pick up League again with a friend every once and a while. But my time of studying it, playing it on my own, or really “trying” to figure it out are over.  It will keep changing, and I have no intention to spend my brain power to keep up with this game.  If the community had been better this may not have been the case…. but that is the world of IF… I don’t live there.

 

 

 

Pokemon Go – Candy is made of Pokemon!

I think, and this is a theory, that the professor is grinding up Pokemon and turning them into candy to feed back to our Pokemon to make them stronger. Think about it, you can never get your Pokemon back once you transfer them and you get candy back that is specific to just that type of Pokemon. I think this is a cut and dried case of Soylentmon Candy. Okay may be not cut and dried, more like dehydrated and ground then re-constituted and caramelized with sugar and wrapped with a beautiful piece of paper?

It might be in an attempt to prevent Pokemon over population (they do seem to bread prolifically, I think Pidgies may take over the world soon.), or it could just be a sadistic twist of the professor.  I’ve tried to communicate with several Pokemon I’ve sent and not been able to hear back.  The professor has not been available to talk either, but he has been more than willing to take my Pokemon.  This is all just a theory, but I think something is rotten in Kanto.  I have been tempted to taste the Pokemon Candy, but I haven’t figured out how to get it out of the phone yet. Once I do I’m still not sure how to tell if it is made of the remains of another Pokemon, but I’ll keep investigating.

(update)

After posting this I was informed that someone else already had this idea and made a cartoon strip of it.  I got this idea from a comment in a group chat, and I just ran with it, I had no knowledge of the pre-existing cartoon. Although I think the cartoon is awesome.

Day 0 – What a start.

Introductions

The basics, I am not a literary person. I’m not a writer or much of a reader. In fact the only reason 50% of these words are spelled right is spell check. My grammar is horrible and my use of punctuation probably makes most 3rd grade teachers cringe. Not to say I don’t want to get better, but understand I’m starting off with a pretty low bar.

I used to think my strength was in Math and Physics… that was before I went 16 years without picking up a math or physics book. Now I am a self taught programmer who hates what it is to be a programmer, but loves the concept of programming. I hate the un-ending metrics, meetings, and TPS reports of being a programmer. I love the problem solving, and the creative thinking it takes to find new solutions.   I HATE taking a template and copy/pasting it over and over like a mindless monkey hoping you don’t miss one of the things  you need to change. If you want to watch someone die slowly on the inside… make them do the same thing over and over again day in and day out, using metrics to drive them ever faster, and never allow for variety or change.  But maybe that is just me… maybe everyone else likes being metrics monkeys.  I can’t speak for them… just me.

Lately my mind is shot… almost literally. (There is a joke there but you’d have to be in my life to get it.) So the creative juices in my head have dried up… I’ve looked for creative KY but apparently they don’t make it.  I was told LSD might work, but my doctor won’t prescribe it despite my arguing that it has many wonderful medicinal uses in the show Fringe and that Walter is a genius.

My family life is complicated, to sum up quickly: separated, but not separated. Mostly friendly, most of the time. My kids are amazing, unless they are moody, crying, fighting, whining, or complaining. Then they are amazing AND that other thing they are being. Sometimes that equation does not balance out… but I don’t write the rules of these equations I just get to observe them.

That is the basics.