Things People Should Know: Parkinson's Law Of Triviality

(For people that have to work in groups or have a "project manager")

Also sometimes referred to as the "Bike Shed Problem" or "bikeshedding".

This is the newest phenomenon that I have added to my great list of Things People Should Know. It is not a new concept (first mentioned in 1957) and I have known about it for awhile, but recently I have been noticing it more.

What is the Bike Shed Problem? Let me provide an example: (From Parkinson's book, as quoted in Wikipedia)

In the third chapter, "High Finance, or the Point of Vanishing Interest", Parkinson writes about a finance committee meeting with a three-item agenda.
The first is the signing of a £10 million contract to build a reactor, the second a proposal to build a £350 bicycle shed for the clerical staff, and the third proposes £21 a year to supply refreshments for the Joint Welfare Committee. 
The £10 million number is too big and too technical, and it passes in two minutes and a half.
The bicycle shed is a subject understood by the board, and the amount within their life experience, so committee member Mr. Softleigh says that an aluminium roof is too expensive and they should use asbestos. Mr. Holdfast wants galvanized iron. Mr. Daring questions the need for the shed at all. Mr. Holdfast disagrees. 
Parkinson then writes: "The debate is fairly launched. A sum of £350 is well within everybody's comprehension. Everyone can visualize a bicycle shed. Discussion goes on, therefore, for forty-five minutes, with the possible result of saving some £50. Members at length sit back with a feeling of accomplishment." 
Parkinson then described the third agenda item, writing: "There may be members of the committee who might fail to distinguish between asbestos and galvanized iron, but every man there knows about coffee – what it is, how it should be made, where it should be bought – and whether indeed it should be bought at all. This item on the agenda will occupy the members for an hour and a quarter, and they will end by asking the Secretary to procure further information, leaving the matter to be decided at the next meeting."

So, now that you know about Parkinson's Law Of Triviality, hopefully you will be able to better recognize when others do it and when you do it yourself. It is a natural thing to want to give input when you can, but don't let it become a hindrance to getting the most important things done.

If you know ultimately that a feature really doesn't matter, then make sure you work on the important stuff first. Also, be aware, don't always think you know better than others.

More Reading:
- Coding Horror
- Wikipedia

~ Simply Advanced ~


How To Programmatically Batch Resize A Folder Of Images

(This post gives a walkthrough on how to automatically resize a bunch of pictures at once. I provide four different ways to do the resizing, in order of least optimal to most optimal IMO. There may be more ways for programmatically resizing, but I'll most likely be using the fourth method below all of the time.)

1. ImageMagick
2. IrfanView
    2.1. Benefits
    2.2. Limitations
    2.3. Walkthrough
3. Photoshop's Automate Batch
    3.1. Benefits
    3.2. Limitations
    3.3. Walkthrough
4. Photoshop's Scripts Image Processor
    4.1. Benefits
    4.2. Limitations
    4.3. Walkthrough


1. ImageMagick: Allows you to run image processing in a Windows command windows. So, you must be comfortable creating BAT (batch) files. I did not use this method, but here's the documentation for batch resizing this way: http://www.imagemagick.org/Usage/windows/

FOR %a in (*.jpg) DO convert %a -resize 50% small_%a
ImageMagick Example

2. IrfanView: When I tried this method, I got the feeling this tool was very old, but it still seems to be regularly updated. Also, IrfanView has many image manipulation features available for it. Many of them seem useful, but this time I was only interested in the resize feature.
2.1. Benefits: Very lightweight program at 2MB.
2.2. Limitations: When I tried to batch resize, each of the images lost their alpha transparencies, and the backgrounds all turned black.
2.3. Walkthrough: Drag a selection of images into the screen, then in the menu bar, choose Image-->Resize/Resample
IrfanView: Program when opened

IrfanView: Menu bar --> Image --> Resize/Resample

3. Photoshop's Scripts Image Processor:
3.1. Benefits: Quick to being resizing without having to setup anything else.
3.2. Limitations: Only resizes to JPG, PSD, or TIFF files. There was no option to save as PNG, which is what I needed.
3.2. Walkthrough: Menu bar --> File --> Scripts --> Image Processor. Then the window that pops up allows you to choose the folder of images you want to manipulate and where to save them.
Photoshop's Scripts Image Processor

4. Photoshop's Automate Batch: Basically, with this method, you change one image whatever way you want to, then record those steps, then you are able to perform all of those steps for a folder of images.
4.1. Benefits: Very versatile! The recorded actions you create will always be available in the future, and easy to manipulate for future projects.
4.2. Limitations: Just requires a little more setup before starting the batch image process.
4.3. Walkthrough:
Step 1. Open Action Window.
Photoshop: Open Action Window

Step 2. Create New Action. Before you can record some actions, you must have an image open. It doesn't matter if it is just a new blank image, or one you would eventually edit anyways. One other useful feature is the ability to stop and record actions at any time.
Photoshop: Create New Action
Photoshop: Saved New Action. List of available actions.

Step 3. Open Batch Window.
Photoshop: Open Batch Window

Step 4. Setup and Start Batch Command. In the first section (Play), choose the action you would like to perform to all your images that you will choose in the second section (Source). In the third section (Destination), you can either replace all of the images or save the manipulated images in a new folder. After all that, choose the "OK" button located at the top right.
Photoshop: Setup Batch Command

Feel free to post any questions or comments about programmatically resizing many images.
~ Simply Advanced ~

Cleanliness: Grass versus Concrete

Is laying on grass more sanitary than laying on concrete?

Concrete may be easier to wash off the surface (via rain) and grass/ground may more easily absorb things on it.

Regardless, people [mostly] rather lay on random grass than lay on random concrete.

~ Simply Advanced ~

ps - I had another sentence that stated my conclusion, but my posts are [typically] different from other blogs. For other blogs, you can just read them and say "okay", then move on. For many of my posts, they just state a few things or a new perspective and I leave the ability to further expand the readers mind up to the reader. I know many people want quick wins, but in the long run people (IMHO) need to be able think for themselves and always be doing so.


Idea: Delete All Your Music

(Do you like discovering new things? Or do you feel that you are in a musical rut?)

Well, I love music and have a playlist for every occasion and in just about every genre.

Or so I think...

This next experiment has three steps:
1. The first is "deleting" all your music off your computer. (When I say delete, you can just move them or choose not to access them.) This way you aren't temped as easily to just go back to the old ways.
2. Forget about all of your favorite artists. You are biased, so you can try to limit your biases.
3. Search online for "Random Music" or "Music discovery service". The later is probably better if you feel that you are picky about your music.

Try this out for a week. And I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results and the great new artists and music discover services that you find.

~ Simply Advanced ~

ps - In order to keep my biases out of the process, I decided to keep my favorite music discovery services off this post. If you would like to know them, then please feel free to message me and add me on Google Plus. On non-mobile screens, there is a link somewhere on the right side of the page.

Common Knowledge

I think there is a lot of "common knowledge" because of the people I hang out with. College-going people have different experiences than non-college individuals.

I can't say definitively whether or not going to college is most beneficial for individuals, it depends highly on a person's self-motivation and willingness to learn.

One of my favorite XKCD comics just happens to be about common knowledge: http://xkcd.com/1053/ (I've spread around this link so much that I have it memorized.)

~ Simply Advanced ~


Social Norms

Social norms are group think and bandwagon, each of which have a negative connotation.

I [typically] don't want to tell people what to think. I'd rather teach somebody how to arrive at the same conclusion that I did. That leaves my method more open to attach/criticism, but I am fine with that. I would very much like to better my thoughts and thought process.

~ Simply Advanced ~