Thursday, November 24, 2005


We are chained by our experiences. They bind us, control us, enslave us. They provide our definition of normality, by which we judge the world. We can obviously break from the bonds, but it is not easy. People who were abused as children have a higher chance of abusing their own children. Why? Because to them, abuse is normal. Notice that I didn't say right, but normal. I believe they still understand that it is wrong, and they still feel pain and remorse. However, it was what was done to them and therefore, they see it as normal behavior.

My father died when I was 20. To me, not having a father when you are an adult is normal. It seems weird to me when I hear my friends talking about thier parents. I don't have those experiences to draw on, so I have to extrapolate how it would have worked out, but it doesn't feel normal to me. Even as I look at my children's future, I often don't picture myself with them when they are grown; it wouldn't be normal.

How much do we judge people and situations based on our view of normality? How much could we prevent abuse by working to alter people's view of normality? How much do you try to extend your experiences to understand other people's view of normality?

For those who want to dispute my definition of normality, feel free. But, all things in life are tied to perceptions. What is normal is just another perception. In fact, what is right is just another perception - the only difference is who is doing the perceiving.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

MIS Degree

Over on Code Craft, Kevin describes Three Theories on How to Use Developers Effectively. He describes theories by really smart techies, really smart business people, and the theory of interchangable parts. What does this have to do with MIS degrees you ask? Well, an MIS degree holds to the theory of interchangable parts. The person who seeks out the MIS degree doesn't have a specialty. He is not super technical, nor is he a business man. Instead, he spent one to two years studying different domains. While learning is always useful, I can't imagine how those two years wouldn't have been better spent learning the domain of the company for which you work, or learning the domain of the tools which you will use to solve those problems.

I must say that I understand the temptation. When I finished my bachelor's degree, I thought about getting a business degree because I wanted to help people solve their problems. However, I would have gotten an MBA because that would have given me enough details to understand the domain of the people whose problems I wish to solve. Paul Graham once said that a metaphore is a function applied to an argument of the wrong type. Specializing in technology, pursuing an MS or Ph.D. is designed to give you additional functions and additional types on which to build metaphores. Specializing in business, pursuing an MBA, is designed to do the same thing. Getting an MIS is an attempt to get you more comfortable with the functions and types you already know, which is not nearly as important to me.

If you're going to learn it, then specialize, you can always back up and be a generalist later, but your generalizations will be a lot more correct if you understand the specializations that determine them.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

House pt 2

This week's house was great. I was just thinking today that they should show him more in a T-shirt and Jeans b/c that is what his personality type dictates he wear. Sure enough, that is what he was in tonight. I would love to meet the writer, he must be my twin. I think I'm going to start wearing a T-Shirt and Jeans to work and see how long I can get away with it. Even if someone complains, how long can I go without some kind of action...keep watching here for updates!

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