I really like seeing happy people; it makes me feel better about the world when I see happy people. Kindness, great attitudes, respect for others and hope for tomorrow are a huge part of what make communities and workplaces thrive. My appreciation for happiness is why it has taken me so long to write this article because I feel like I am complaining about happy people. For this, I sincerely apologize.
I have worked in a few IT shops that have attempted the Scrum and Agile process. From my limited exposure to this process, I have noted a few disturbing similarities:
- The crazy amount of face time chatter that occurs in multiple planning meetings with coworkers. I can look past this because, as a long time introvert, I am highly skilled in tuning out humans that are speaking yet saying nothing. I bring work to these meetings that I can delve into when the clock passes the time limit of 10 minutes and extends into 90 minutes of giggles, jokes, complaining, etc.
- The unusual and frequent “sprints” of activity that seem to exist for the sole benefit of providing eye candy to clients. From what I have witnessed, this activity does not keep clients in the loop; it only provides a platform for clients to add more requirements to an already agreed upon set of requirements. I am all for scope creep because we are human, it keeps me coding and I am giving clients what they want. However, enabling extreme scope creep means you are promoting an environment where no one has to sit, think and plan before meetings. I rarely see extreme scope creep, but when I do it is when participants have to attend many meetings and they arrive at each meeting unprepared where they then rattle off unrelated and messy concepts about processes.
- The Agile and Scrum process seems to attract feverish support from the more social application developers. They talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk about anything and everything and at the end of the day, there is no code. I appreciate this type of developer for their great attitude but when they are in charge of Scrum and Agile processes, they end up keeping many people in meetings with them each week that far exceed what is needed.
The to do list, client and IT communication, and weekly accountability of the Scrum and Agile process are WONDERFUL but these are things I already do so I don’t really have a solid argument for Scrum and Agile due to what I have experienced to date.
If you are in the midst of implementing the Scrum and Agile process, my advice to you (based on my meager experience with it) is:
- keep the 4 billion meetings to a strict time limit
- ensure the welcoming of scope creep does not promote lazy preparation for documenting processes and determining requirements
- avoid thoughts of destroying happy people, they are critical for the survival of the human spirit
Most cable/internet service providers offer an array of services besides cable TV and internet access, they also include things like email accounts. It is delightful to have one bill per month that covers this many services but the email piece could present problems for you in the future. If you get email accounts in your package, I recommend not using the email addresses they give you for any important accounts you hold with companies (ex banks). Based on my own experience of moving to other cities, getting married, having the cable/internet account in my spouses name and my provider being bought out, keeping the email accounts active and unchanging has proved to be a stressful task long term.
Something as minor as the provider installing a new modem in your home can inadvertently disable all email accounts (yes, this happened to me). This simple activity should have taken no more than thirty minutes but it ended up taking an entire day to resolve and my husband was the only person tech support would speak with because his name was the only name on the account (and this is the way it should be for security purposes). This event left me with the possibility of having to do a tremendous amount of paperwork with several companies (banks, web hosting companies, etc) that rely on my email address as part of how they identify me. With my email suddenly gone, these companies would no longer be able to verify me via this very important method of authentication. I was lucky, by that evening my email accounts were re-enabled but this was the final event that caused me to break my dependence upon the email address that comes with our cable/internet provider package.
So what options do you have when it comes to email? There are many free options available like Yahoo, Gmail, etc but understand that free means they are using the accounts to make money in some way so if you are concerned with privacy and stability then you will want to actually pay for email accounts. Several good ones are listed here (you will want to opt for the pay version): https://www.lifewire.com/best-secure-email-services-4136763 or if you are paying for your own domain hosting account already then use the emails associated with your domain hosting account.
When a few of my family members started using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, I was quickly reminded of how humans seem to be naturally inclined to believe everything they see in print. I had to cover a few basics with them once they started interacting on social media platforms because they initially went through a phase where they believed, in some instances, that they were interacting with real people when it fact they were actually just interacting with bots.
Keep the following tips in mind if you are new to social media, they may help you identify fictitious online accounts (and the rule is to just ignore them or if they are posting threats then report them):
- look at the list of followers the person has and ask yourself: does each follower have a “perfectly beautiful face and model clothing?” – if so then the person is probably not real and neither are any of their followers
- look at the list of followers the person has and ask yourself: does the person have a very small number of followers (like 10) but they are following thousands of people? – if so, then the person is probably not real
- does the person only forward existing posts from other people and never actually say anything themselves? – if so, then the person is probably not real
- does the person only post the same “type” of material all day long? (like they only post quotes from famous people, never posting anything “genuine”) – if so, then the person is probably not real
- does the person send private messages to you that are generic phrases that would apply to a million scenarios? (like this: “Hey, so nice to meet you, it is a big world out there, I like to connect) – if so, then the person is probably not real
- does the person post messages at the same interval each day (like at the top of every hour or every day at exactly 2:30pm) then the person is probably not real
Avoid using social media for anything other than socializing. Obtaining news about current events for your community and nation should be obtained from traditional news organizations who have a track record of many years of attempting to produce facts for the public.
Have you seen the Tile commercial? The gadget demonstrated seems innocent enough: a family tracks down a cute lost teddy bear in a big city for their adorable child via a tiny gadget clipped to the teddy bear. As I watch this sweet moment unfold I can’t help but envision a serial killer sipping coffee at a quiet little coffee shop somewhere in my town, dark thoughts churning through his strained brain. His name is something calm like Robert. He casually walks around the coffee shop, unnoticed in his khaki pants and brown wool pullover, and drops these gadgets in the BAPs (Big *** Purses) of women he wants to track and later dismember in his basement of evil that is obviously wallpapered in disturbing patterns of over-zealous vines climbing the walls. I will write a book about Robert some day.
I realize I have a very active imagination so in all honesty I seriously doubt the coffee horror house of deception is ever going to happen, even if the community of Tile trackers grows exponentially, but just in case it does I will give you this advice: To all the glorious gals out there like me that carry BAPs, actually clean the purses out once a week so you know exactly what is in there at all times. If you happen to find a Tile in there that doesn’t belong to you then be sure to leave it in a public place for the serial killer to later find – maybe create a chalk outline on the ground with white tape and place the Tile in the center of it.
If you have a BAP but have lost the desire to lug it around with you, please reconsider. Pick that bag up and go! It is like walking around with your very own tour bus. Here are a few items I highly recommend adding to your BAP – so dust it off, fill it up and get out there and live:
- huge bottle of hairspray
- box of strawberry Pop-Tarts (frosted)
- paperback murder mystery
- cozy socks
- journal and pen
- jar of peanut butter and baggie full of bird seed (you won’t eat this, this is for when you are in the park – twirl pine cones in the jar then dip the cones in the baggie full of bird seed and leave pine cones on the ground to attract big foot – he gets hungry to you know, stop being so selfish.. what evs)
framed 8×10 of Betty White
Creepy aside, the Tile is an outstanding product. I’ve seen it in action at my sister’s house, they use it to locate sets of keys. I am especially interested in using the Tile in the arena of stolen vehicle recovery (cars, boats, snowmobiles), especially for older models that do not contain any traceable wireless signals by default. The Tile can easily be permanently concealed within the frame of a vehicle and then utilized for tracking should the vehicle ever be stolen. Just don’t be tempted to track the use of the vehicle if it has not been stolen….you know you want to! Cut it out! Behave! You are such a maniac…
My circle of peeps since as far back as me being a kid in Lima, Ohio, and playing heated games of softball in the boulevard after school, have always been a mixture of active and/or intelligent humans with an over-the-top zest for life.
My first FANTASTIC introduction to video games during my childhood, Atari, never pulled my focus away from living in the real world for long each day and why would it? How could it? With the sun shining, the birds singing, bugs biting and bikes to ride, it never dawned on me (even as an introvert) to hide on the couch and jump into digital make-believe for hours at a time.
I reflect on my childhood now when I read the news and when I listen to some of our friends complain of their children’s descent into long periods of digital nothingness. I worry humans are becoming more and more detached from society. I understand the attraction of the digital world because reality is difficult, scary, painful and messy with the rare and perfect sprinkle of fabulous that makes it all worthwhile. But I also understand, as does the scientific community, what happens to humans and animals long-term when live social interaction is significantly diminished: physical and mental health deteriorate.
If you or your children are descending into a nothing abyss via the Internet or video gaming highway, make a resolution to makes some changes. Nothing drastic, it can start with taking a walk each day or pick up the phone and call your Great Grandmother Mildred who is probably cursing you right now because she hasn’t heard from you in 5 years, or get a hamster – http://www.myhamsterzoo.com. What are you waiting for?
Here is your year-end IT guilt trip if you post content, photos and videos to social media: clean up your hot mess at least once a year by deleting things you should not have posted to begin with like things you did not have explicit permission to post (photos/videos of other people), content that contains false information and content that contains the embarrassing dirty laundry of your 3rd cousins nephews son who got into a fight with another customer at the pack n’ go over the last pack of smokes on the shelf.
I only know a few people that consistently complain in real life as well as on social media regarding topics of pet care all the way to politics. Their level of complaining in-person is high and is fairly consistent with their level of complaining within social media platforms. In the years I have known them I have noted two discouraging behaviors:
- They continue to complain regardless of whether the problem they are complaining about is solved or not.
- They put forth very little or no effort towards a meaningful resolution to the problem they are complaining about.
These observations, over time, have left me with no patience when listening to or reading complaints from anyone about anything.
A constant barrage of complaints can make for a terribly negative atmosphere where nothing other than rage and impatience are accomplished. If you find yourself frustrated with complainers in your own life, look to science for solid suggestions on how to change your own behavior to better communicate with unproductive complainers. Science peeps have spent a lot of time studying humans and have really helpful suggestions on how to make things better (example: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201107/how-deal-chronic-complainers). As opposed to my method which is normally a snarky rebuttal like “you know, I have a feeling you would complain about winning the lottery” which often garners a shocked and hostile response of more complaining. Yes, I am the worst example of how to interact with other humans – this could explain why I don’t leave the house much:)