I think that change is a wonderful thing - and it is inspirational - you have the opportunity to put into action that which you have had a chance to evaluate... Sure, you can evaluate constantly but none is more effective than that done right before of some major required action. That being said, it is not always the case though, and change can be seen as an opportunity or failure.

The SAS for example, suggest that inducing unexpected circumstances in military training best confirms the effectiveness of the application of learning. I would probably agree with that and suggest that it would probably boost confidence in soldiers also.

Opportunity and failure: I believe which one depends not only on your mindset but also how persistent you are. The latter being a function I think of the practice, particularly of endurance generally, but perhaps specifically in overcoming obstacles consistently and dealing with new situations as they occur. I mean that's life pretty much, isn't it?

I think programmers deal with new and unexpected situations all the time - we rationalise, evaluate, apply and move on without any hoo-ha. In this way, I think we consume a lot of uncertainty. The next problem, however, is always more interesting.

Interestingly I think a lot of time is spent not on solving the problems but choosing the solutions that solve the problem for the longest time...as change is inevitable in software engineering. I have come to realise that trying to find the best solution is impossible, there are not enough knowns in any software project and it comes down to pretty much civil law: a balance of probabilities that the solution is effective given what we know.

It's not easy to remember past events, specifically the influences, feelings and effects that events had without revisiting them, which I think is crucial for well-being and confidence. Exercising and thinking about things helps to plan what to do next.

Voltaire once said: "No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking", but I'm paraphrasing because he was french - and would probably have said something like : "Aucun problème ne peut résister à l'assaut de pensées résolues."

For example, earlier this year I had to complete a three-part programming exercise online and it was daunting at first (this was as lockdown started, so tons of uncertainty), and I guess with any unexpected event, a degree of trepidation was felt for sure. After overcoming the difficulty of the exercise itself, not just the technical complexity of the scenarios, but also the psychological growth that occurred as a result, was the sense of self-determination...

I also participated in a live group-work session via skype to solve a much larger problem, using hand-drawn diagrams, evaluating requirements and establishing a strategy. I'm a whole lot more comfortable with this now and I guess that is what experience is: everything I've done in the past and have encountered has taught me something that I can use in the next round.

I've become a lot more confident for example because I realised while doing it, how much I really enjoy solving problems and modelling situations and the whole experience was actually a lot of fun. I ended up developing a parser for markdown in one scenario. The other scenarios required me implementing a tracking system by using virtual functions to invoke overriding behaviour in base classes and the other was to do with sorting.

Small things like the above, you often brush away as just being part of the work to be done, but in doing so you lose so much of the valuable tacit knowledge that is ultimately lost with time.

After this, I started a big project at work, research and the development, and learnt so much about distributed databases and sharding it's quite amazing. I'm well suited I think to work on large projects that are high in uncertainty. I also learnt a new language, (not french - Ruby) which I've quite enjoyed. See my discussion around Deadlocks and databases.

I also began a new course on Information Security which is pretty neat, I'm working in a more theoretical aspect in this course than I did in Network Security which, like Digital Forensics was highly technical. It is basically implementing ISO27001 by implementing an ISMS (Information Security Managment System), so I'm doing a lot of assessing of criteria, risks, controls, security requirements, policies etc... It's pretty interesting.

Besides that, recently I've been working on my 2D game engine which is currently undergoing a major refactor. I find if I can reason about a system within an A5 page in my notebook, then the system is sufficiently complex

I've got pretty much most of the basics in place, a resource manager that swaps in scene resources in and out of memory - that works ok, scene management is there a system of layer hierarchies to manage drawing using the painter's algorithm - zorder that is.

What I need now is to write a level editor to interface with the format of my resouces.xml file and scene{n}.xml file formats so I can create levels and co-ordinate placement of assets etc. I'll probably do this in C# using WPF. 

My current focus right now is on my event manager which is my baby right now. I built it from scratch using some primitive ideas but which has translated into a pretty robust system, handing the distribution of work throughout the subsystems. What I'm looking to do now is incorporate some tests to keep the system green through its lifetime and have just recently introduced some using the same framework I used when testing my circular buffer in my audio programming class. 

Apart from this, I've watched all the Alien movies, which are frankly quite awesome. I've also watched all the John Wick films too. I clocked up about 35+ Kms last week but my feet are all torn up and I've been hobbling around at times. I also performed a mini-surgery on my foot to strip away all the old skin after a pretty major blood blister - this was a major success.

The company I write software for bought me a pull-up machine for my apartment and offered to pay my gym membership which I think is pretty great, so during covid I've been pretty active: I can do about 10 pull-ups with relative ease now.

I wrote an article on  Design Patterns: Representation, Transmission and Dependencies which I found interesting (but I'm biased)  and released my architecture design in Mazer Game Architecture Report for my game architecture class.

I think the next 6 months are going to be even more intense and I'm gearing up for it!

You can't do everything but you can do something.


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