88Pro Thinking

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Change Begins at Home

I was recently reading a book titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People” on one of my friend’s recommendations. Much to my surprise, I learned that the book was first printed in 1953 and still maintains an Amazon sales rank of 118 (lower sales rank indicates better sales). I guess it is human behavior; needs and wants in fundamental state has not changed much after all this time. Here is a small extract from the book, which taught me a very valuable lesson.

If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back and even despise you, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don’t wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence.

(Page 106, chapter 4, part two, by Dale Carnegie)

The chapter aims to teach us to be a good listener. Although, I am generally considered to be a good listener, I have to shamelessly admit that I don’t pay much attention when it comes my home front. Even if I do listen, I’m always in a hurry, in most occasions “standing in the rush” in spite of the many occasions my mother tells me otherwise.

When I get back home this time after my work assignment, I really want to try and change this bad habit of mine. I think it’s absolutely useless to listen to the whole world and not to do the same in the home front.

posted by 88Pro / Thursday, January 29, 2004

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Fix the Problem, Not the Blame

I recently got down the book The Pragmatic Programmer from Amazon. I am probably quite late in getting hold of the book but I am glad that at least I have it now. The book is great. An absolute ‘eye’ and ‘mind’ opener. When you start reading the book, most of the time you realize “Oh, yeah! I know what it feels like, to go through that”. One thing I understood after reading the book is, that the day to day difficulties every programmer faces are universal.

The chapter Reversibility (Chapter 2 Section 9) starts with a quote

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea if it is the only one you have.”
By Emil-Auguste Chartier

Right after reading that quote, I had one of those realizations; “Oh, yeah! I know what it feels like, to go through that”. Recently I was working on a RMI client/server based application. The initial design was to load the RMI client to an Oracle Database, so that it could be invoked using a SQL stored procedure.

Everything works fine, but the moment you load the RMI client to the Oracle Database and invoke through it through the SP, you are thrown an OutOfMemory Error. After days of unsuccessfully battling and testing the error through different configurations, we filed a Technical Assistance Request (TAR) with Oracle. Within 10 days of submitting the TAR, the error was announced as a bug and an internal bug was filed at Oracle and reported it will be fixed in the next Oracle release 10g.

Fortunately, when the problem first occurred, I realized that we might face a roadblock ahead and started to reverse the design and move the RMI Client out, so that it could reside outside Oracle. At the time, I felt that I may be wasting my time on this backup solution, however now I am quite glad we had an alternative, and can imagine how difficult it would have been to meet the dead line if we had not had one.

It doesn’t really matter where the bug is your fault or someone else’s – it is still your problem, and it still needs to be fixed. (Tip 24 from The Pragmatic Programmer)

posted by 88Pro / Saturday, January 17, 2004

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