Saturday 31 December 2005

New goggles for 2006

Day 365
The year 2005 would go down in history as the year 2005; almost as if one wakes up suddenly and it is December the 31st.
Anyway, traditionally one has always closed the year from the 21st of December since one has the advantage and disadvantage of a birthday close to year end but the closeness to Christmas deprives one of the generosities of two presents every so often.
Clean bloods
Besides that quibble, one does have a lot to be grateful for, firstly, health and well-being after a battery of tests that included venesection (blood-letting) for analysis revealed a better picture of health than one could have expected - health matters for the purposes of doing everything else.
After 5 vials, one did wonder if some serious light-headedness would result, I hate needles apart from when one re-attaches that button that just came off.
Consulting for fools
A number of opportunities came by in which ones expertise was called to change and improve practices that were failing the organisations that had “smart” in-house architects feeling threatened.
However, ones professional slant has never been to prove a wrong implementation but to address situations with the view of renewing confidence in the architects and changing the implementations for the better.
Reactions to the deftness differ, one welcomed the opportunity and despite the huge cost of having such expertise on hand one was redeployed to mentoring and development which was quite instructive as normally nonchalant staff got up and took the job to heart with fervour.
As for the other, each suggestion was met with extreme analysis by the self-same architects who implemented a dud. It made one wonder why we were needed if it was all right in the first place.
Besides that, the shameful misrepresentation of facts by the managers to higher management was unconscionable and disagreeable; it is not surprising that after six months they are still talking about talking about talking about how to talk about getting on with it.
This time next year, one would not be surprised that another batch of consultants would have come and gone with the same situation being the same set of problems.
People who want no change would get no change no matter how much expertise, wisdom and insight they gain or hire to review what has now been conclusively proven to be completely wrong.
Online school days
I returned to school last July for a Masters programme in Information Technology with the online programme offered by the University of Liverpool.
This programme is an 8-module programme which last 8 weeks each consisting of weekly seminars of lectures, discussions, projects and assignments.
Four of those modules were completed this year, and though the intention was to finish 5, some radical changes to the specialisations and the programme itself which afforded a realignment of my selected modules.
Now, I have just two to finish in 2006 and then the dissertation with the plan to graduate in summer 2007.
Competing for relevance
What I have learnt is the quest to succeed is on two levels, the first being winning the battle to remain relevant in a mixed-ability class and then the competition with oneself in wanting to achieve the best grades.
All the results for this year came down to the last week of activity I made it away with half on excellent grade and the other half on distinction grade.
The relevance of online degrees is a growing and interesting debate; commentary indicates that business and academia are warming up to the usefulness and validity of such endeavours. [1, 2, 3].
Like the university says, it might be online and flexible but it is neither easy nor laid-back.
It is both been enlightening and instructive, a sure recommendation to anyone looking to enhance their career profile by formal educational methods without losing out on relevant working experience and income generation.
Opinions in general
Whilst one has done be too consistent with this blogging activity, a number of issues have excited commentary from my perspective.
In the light of that, we can rest assured that the preponderance of religious influence on the American presidency would continue as highlighted Terri Schiavo case and stem cell research as would the issues of abortion, gay marriage and the death penalty that exert undue influence on critical political and judicial appointments.
Every public show of acquiescing to demand unpopular with the White House should be scrutinised with greater detail, since the agreement to accept the abolition of torture by US personnel came through after the Department of Defense changed the Army Field Manual just in time to accept what would have been generally unacceptable.
The topics of ethnic minorities, immigrants, immigration and integration would be burning issues through debate and physical realities as we saw after Katrina, in France and Australia.
The fact is the closeness of Mexico to the United States has not led to the prosperity by osmosis in Mexico, many of them still think the opportunities are in the United States.
If the United States cannot bring progressive change to their neighbours in Mexico and Cuba that form does not offer promise for Iraq or Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, no one seems to be able to clear highlight the blatant hypocrisy that leaves ones backyard a mess and seeks to right things in courtyards further afield.
Bad laws encroaching in civil liberties in the quest against terrorism both perceived and real would continue to be promulgated though as least the legislators in the United States are giving the Patriot Act a closer look than before.
Europe however is in need of knowledgeable parliamentarians that understand but the social and technological implications and try not to be carried away with the hysteria of child porn, terrorism and sovereignty.
Get up and do something
We all now need to get involved in a lot of things for the protection of our freedoms and liberties starting with the news.
Filter out the propaganda and extreme analysis, take the news and research the issues and how they affect you, your community, your nation, your affiliations and the globe.
Refuse to be fobbed off with officialdom, walk the red tape if you have to, engage others to weed out the inefficiencies and brick walls that stand in the way of people who are not knowledgeable of rights they have because some mandarin can exploit them better.
Start to blog, you have opinions that need to be aired, probably debated and sometimes corrected a very instructive process.
Machiavelli is alive and well in this civilised age but in a democratic process the end cannot justify the means with due process consigned the bin of expediency and changed times.
Our parliamentarians are either getting hoodwinked with falsehoods or blackmailed with accusations of being unpatriotic, we have to prod them to prevent the dereliction of duty on all sides yours and theirs.
Even if you are not an expert in a field, the expert is not the ultimate authority; your acquisition of knowledge that allows you to make good choices should be your authority. Ask questions and when you get answers review the answers to ensure that is the answer to your question.
If you had all the answers to life you will still have one other question about if that is all there is, be inquisitive, be acquisitive, be interrogative and listen carefully – life will always be the sum of what you make it in terms of how you us knowledge, apply wisdom and exercise prudence.
Become the change you want to the world to become, change yourself, change your life, change your job, change your career, change to remain relevant but keep your beliefs, keep your principles, keep your relationships and grow them productively.
Each New Year offers promise, work to fulfil those promises, then look back and count your blessing.
Happy New Year my friends – you teach me love and enemies – you teach me compassion.
Best wishes and the kindest regards.
[1] "[Employers] gain a certain amount of admiration for [online students]. They consider them savvy and creative enough to succeed online."
[2] Of the 330 useful replies, 92% accepted online-only degrees (compared with 100% acceptance for traditional 4-year offline degrees)
[3] In addition, according to Consortium findings, three quarters of academic leaders at public colleges and universities believe that online learning quality is equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction (The Sloan Consortium: Entering the Mainstream, October 2004.)

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