Not here to crush dreams, but to crush entropy

Chaos begone!

Very good read on Medium by Rands about project managers and the need for them when your company is growing a tad too big. Don’t be afraid to slim down on your responsibilities to what you really need to be doing (for instance, managing code, not people). A good project manager will be able to provide clarity amongst all the moving pieces because that is what they are there to do. They have the big picture view of where everything is and what’s going on so you can focus on what you are best at.

A good project manager is one who elegantly and deftly handles information. They know what structured meetings need to exist to gather information; they artfully understand how to gather additional essential information in the hallways; and they instinctively manage to move that gathered information to the right people and the right teams at the right time.

Source: https://medium.com/@rands/entropy-crushers-fd552252dfff#.dduq017qe

Project Management – Manage Wha??

You would be person #5 who I have told that I got a “promotion” at work this past January! (!!!!) I put quotations around promotion because it wasn’t a direct move up the work ladder, but more a sideways leap into a different team and a completely new role. I gain a lot more responsibility, and I’m hungry for it.

I’m now a project manager at my start-up! Way to go me! *pats self on back*

The position encompasses working with other project managers, engineers, and some business partners down the road. Because of how different this job is compared to my previous duties, I am trying to get myself into a mindset of ultimate learning. Learning at work from my new colleagues and learning at home on my own with the textbook I borrowed, “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)”. There’s a whole line of published materials on this kind of stuff, and it may strike someone to find that there’s so much you can write about how to manage projects. I don’t know if this will lead me to certification, but it’s a start to moving forward in my career.

I haven’t done this much learning since college! Kind of exciting, really.

May 1944 – Little House

It’s not the transmitter. Etienne is wrong. It was not the radio the German was interested in. It was something else, something he thought only she might know about. And he heard what he wanted to hear. She answered his one question after all.

Just a dumb model of this town.

-Page 426 of All the Light We Cannot See

Magnocellular Deficit

Magnocellular (“magno” for short) deficit is related to dyslexia. The magno cells are associated with processing and detecting movement of stimuli coming through your retina. In autopsies of dyslexics and non-dyslexics, the former has a smaller cluster of magno cells that can bring in rapidly changing information. Because of this, images would tend to clump together and an activity like reading proves to be extremely difficult; the brain simply cannot parse out the many images (of text) going into your eyes. Without clean breaks between one word to the next, the words on a page seem to shimmer and jump on a page. It is not surprising to find that people who are dyslexic also do not like crowds or places with lots of movement – city streets, for example, with its many moving cars and people.

Parallel pathways of magno (fast-processing) and parvo (slow-processing) cells

In The User’s Guide to the Brain (page 105) by John J. Ratey, a researcher gives her story of how hard it was for her to believe that her mother is a dyslexic.

No, it couldn’t be, I thought to myself. My mother couldn’t possibly be dyslexic. She had graduated at the top of her class, she’s a perfectionist, and she absolutely loves to learn. How could she of all people be dyslexic?

We often do not realize that dyslexia can happen to anyone, and that being smart and motivated does not mean that it is easy to read. Reading, after all, is not an innate ability. Humans are not born knowing how to read but we certainly are capable of doing so. Dyslexia does not equate the lack of intelligence.

Book Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief didn’t really hit home as it did for so many other readers that I’ve seen on GoodReads. The Book Thief is the first novel I’ve read that takes place in World War II that isn’t non-fiction. I’ve always enjoyed reading about this period of time, not because World War II happened, but because of the many components that caused it to happen was intriguing in a painstakingly, twisted way. I picked up this book because of the interesting premise  and because of the many good reviews I’ve heard about it. Unfortunately, I didn’t come to enjoy it as much as I thought I would even though this is a good, good book. I do recommend it to anyone interested in reading a piece on historical fiction. The Book Thief is written from the perspective of Death/Grim Reaper, and I suspect that because of this, I just was not so emotionally attached to the main characters.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Cover found on Wikipedia.org.

During WWII, Death makes his rounds collecting souls from those who died, and this particular story focuses on Liesel, a poor German girl living in a outskirts of Munich. Death constantly premeditates important plot points – the time when Liesel steals her first book, the upcoming death of Rudy, the death of Papa, etc. Death’s narration interrupts the flow of the otherwise third-person ‘neutral’ perspective when he gives these previews, and I can’t quite make up my mind whether I like this or not. On one hand, I do not get the element of surprise and am fully prepared to find out what happens to Liesel’s friends and family. On the other hand, this is war. What else can you expect to come out of this treacherous period of our history?

The key element I like about The Book Thief is that it focuses its attention on the lesser talked about folks – the poor Germans who live in the countryside. Those who are just trying to make ends meet. Those who do not really give much of a pig’s butt whether Jews live or die. These are the folks who join the Nazi Party so their family is not punished. They join because they know better than to resist. For me, this is the more interesting parts of the book and is what keeps me moving along. The Book Thief is not a page-turning, fast-paced novel, but it is one where you can pick back up at any point and still remember what happened before.