Be Open

We all have our ways of doing this, is our way the best?  When someone tells us that we could do something better another way, don’t be close minded.  Is the other person’s way the best, maybe not, but be open to their idea because it could be better.

Something that has taken the computer world by storm has been open source software.  This is beyond just the comradery of contributing to something bigger than oneself but it is also the free exchange of ideas and being able to build on the collective good of all people.  This openness has advanced may projects at a rapid pace.

I am not going to say that close source software is better or worse than open source, I am just pointing out that open source software gives the ability of the many to contribute and advance the cause.  So in a sense the open source software movement is fueled by people that are open to criticism and that is what we all need to be in general.

Deliver Your Best

Doing your best doesn’t mean you are perfect.  The enemy of good is perfect.  Sometimes you need to get it done and making it perfect will mean that it will never get done.

Bob Ross said it best that we don’t make mistakes we make happy accidents.  We learn the most from our failures. 

At the end of the day, is this your best work?  Are you lazily going through each day just getting by?  If you are just throwing stuff together, you need to figure out how to get out of that rut and make it work.  You don’t have to be perfect but you should deliver your best. 

Be Creative

Creativity isn’t necessarily painting happy trees or composing the next symphony but we live our lives in a world that offers a wide range of ways to be creative.  Doing things, the same old way, may be comfortable but the same old way can be boring.  Humans can find their greatest joy in coming up with their own way to accomplish a task.

We can be creative with everything we do.  Something that I did a long time ago was to add a flower petal on a console application that was doing data processing.  I needed to know that the application was continuing to process data and I could have done this any way, but I thought it would be good to do this with a flower petal.  There was more time involved with showing progress this way but it was well worth it to me for my thought processes. 

Creativity for me is finding cool ways to do something sometimes just changing it up a bit by using different methodology to solve a problem or writing a blog post to help others.  This is the first post in a series of posts that outline how I have become successful as a developer.  I will post these over the course of the next couple of weeks and at the end will give you a cool acronym to go along with this series (having some creative fun). 

It's PI Day...

PISo it is PI Day and I thought I would write something up about PI.

First, what is PI?  PI is a number that is the exact ratio between the diameter and the circumference of a circle or the distance across to the distance around.  PI is an irrational number meaning that its precise number in decimal notation is infinitely long and will never repeat.  So PI is the best way to get a glimpse into the mind of God and how He designed this grand part of the world.

Second, PI... is it 3.14 or is it 3.14159 and what does that matter?  This comes into accuracy and precision.  Accuracy is the closeness of a measured value to a standard, think of hitting a bullseye.  Precision is the closeness of measurements to each other, think of grouping all of the hits on a bullseye near each other but not on the bullseye.  When a measurement is both precise and accurate then it will would be the center of a bullseye.  The greater number of decimals used with PI would increase the accuracy of the number.

So it would appear that using a more accurate number of PI would be beneficial, but when you start using highly accurate numbers with computers issues with data types begin to come into play.  Depending on the data type, the processor on the computer will have optimization for doing the calculations.  Float for example is used for high performance but isn't accurate.  This would mean that even if a highly accurate number with PI is used with a float will not generate precise or accurate numbers.  

So how accurate is too accurate?  Well, suffice to say there is a certain point of diminishing returns for using a highly accurate number of PI.  So according the the Jet Propulsion Lab, fifteen decimal places will calculate the a circle that is 78 billion miles around with the accuracy of 1.5 inches.  If PI with fifteen decimal places is used to calculate a circle that can fit on the earth, it will have an accuracy to within one molecule.  Forty-six decimal places of PI is able to calculate a circle to an accuracy of less than the diameter of a hydrogen atom for a circle that would just fit within the entire visible universe.

So the reality of the world is, 3.14 is a great number and a precise number for every day life.