Film: Summer Wars

Written on December 30, 2010 – 2:07 pm by Ding

 Summer Wars follows a young mathematical genius who poses as the boyfriend to a girl he knows as a favor when she attends a family gathering for her matriarchal quasi-warlord-like grandmother’s 90th birthday in the scenic Japanese countryside.  The plot of the film concerns the threat of collapse of a digital environment called “Oz” that the world has grown to depend on at the hands of a rogue AI program that has been released by the American military that is absorbing the accounts of users and gaining all of the administrative privileges of said accounts which is in turn affecting anything that the owners of those accounts could do and generally wreaking havoc in the real world.  *takes a breath*

If those two sentences seem at odds with each other, I wish to state that is entirely purposeful:  Summer Wars is a film about conflict as implied by the title, but it’s about a conflict of different generations, of different worlds and how as things change the basic details remain the same and all adversity can be overcome through working together.  It’s a very effective and beautiful film that’s admittedly a little strange in places and it takes a while to sink in, but the short version is that I would definitely recommend it to anyone that gets a chance to see it.  A good fully dubbed / subbed slightly-more-English-language-friendly version is due to be released in March.

 And now for the long version.

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Process Maps

Written on December 9, 2010 – 4:15 pm by Ding

A process map is meant to make a process more obvious by displaying it in a visual form.  I occasionally have to do this in my current role.

Things like this baffle me:

A process map apparently can't just have two boxes. That's less of a process and more of an event I suppose.

This is not from my company and I’m not saying who it’s from, other than it’s from a regulated financial services firm, all of which are potentially facing some slightly stricter complaint handling requirements fairly soon.

 It seems mostly unnecessary.  The obvious diagram for me would just be “complaint received” followed by “log complaint”, but maybe that’s just me.

I see this quite a lot at the moment.  Documents that have a purpose and are a business requirement often take so long getting to the point and so much longer talking around the point that by the time they’re finished and published, nobody in their right mind is ever going to read them, much less update them.  In fact, the only people that will read them are going to be regulators inspecting a business, by which point you have provided your own noose by producing process documentation that nobody has read, nobody updates and most likely does not reflect your current business practises.

All the same, inexperienced staff like myself look at these things for inspiration on how they should be doing things and feel their productions are inferior if they don’t have a similar word count, so the cycle repeats.