Friday, April 27, 2018

Funny code comments – zen

We've all been there: that moment you're so tired that you just do a crappy code and you place a comment admitting it's not good. That funny comment because you know someone will look to it later and laugh. Below is a compilation from several sources, grab a beer and have fun!







Shared in stackoverflow

Note: These were compiled from this Stackoverflow thread and this post.

.NET Core

We're doomed! (Source: ConcurrentExclusiveSchedulerPair.cs)

Maintenance (Source: Parallel.cs)

Zombies... (Source: Scheduling.cs)

Curve ball (Source: DebugTypeDescriptor.cs)

Legacy (Source: isymwrappercore.cs)

I can't prove it! (Source: EventLogInternal.cs)

Don't touch (Source: compareinfo.cs)

I don't understand (Source: methodbuilder.cs)

Hooker? (Source: console.cs)

Note: These are from a post I wrote in 2014
The .NET Core is OpenSource.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Preliminaries are as important as the act – Part II

So, it's a "sexual" quote. True. But apply the idea to a public presentation. Most people don't give the appropriate importance to the preparation (preliminaries) and just focus on the presentation (the act). But the most important tasks for a good presentation don't happen during the event itself.

About 4 years ago I wrote an article on this topic, preparing a presentation. It was called "Preliminaries are as important as the act". This one is the sequel and is about improving your presentation skills.

The sequel

Jerry Seinfeld, in one of his stand-up shows, used to joke that speaking in public was number one fear for the average person:

Although part of a stand-up comedy act, it's somehow true. Do you ever get anxious before a big public presentation? Always feeling you could have done much better after the presentation? Well I did too. And that's ok: some people are natural speakers. I wasn't. So I had to work (a lot) to get where I am. If you ever been part of a sports team, you certainly witnessed that most of the work is done in practice, during the week. It's not when the game is on that one can improve a lot, it's when "nobody's watching. Cristiano Ronaldo didn't got to where he is by improving during matches only: it's mainly hard work that you don't' see. Performance in matches is just the result.

So, what to do if you think "you're not there yet" when it comes to public presentations? Work! Hard! Here's some preliminaries to have a good act:

1. Identify key aspects to improve: just saying you're not a good speaker doesn't help. Too vague. What's the real issue? Do you get nervous? Don't know what to do with your hands? Sweat? Write down all the issues.

2. One step at a time: don't try to improve everything from one presentation to the next. Overnight success is overrated. So, start with a couple of issues. Focus.

3. Talk to a mirror: out loud, with the same voice tone you use when presenting. How do you feel doing it?

4. Present to family/friends: Let's assume you like these people and you are comfortable around them in a social context. Great! Now do a presentation to them, doesn't matter the topic nor if they understand the content. Can you do it? Should be easy right? Maybe...

5. Record and review one presentation: then look at the full video and identify what you did like and didn't like. If possible, find someone to analyse it with you. Grab some beers, it will be fun.

6. Learn to work with your voice: I said this in the first article, but it's really important. Others hear your voice different than what you hear. That's due to the "Skull effect". Learn to vocalize for the audience and not how you like when you talk. What you hear is not what others hear.

7. Understand your body: Not everybody looks the same doing gestures with hands and so on. Maybe you look better moving around. Maybe you are 2 meters tall and moving all around makes you look clumsy and funny. Is that the image you want or not?

8. Build confidence: yes, it's a must. We're animals. We can smell "fear". So, you have to "look" confident, even if your not. Come on, these people took 1h of their precious time to listen to you, that's gotta mean something!

9. Contextualize: Contradicting a little the previous point, learn to put things in perspective. If someone told you that you only had 3 months to live, how important would the presentation be to you?

10. Expose yourself: have as much presentations as possible. If you only play one game per year, it's gonna be hard to master that game. To improve, you must see how things go live, fail, learn.

...2011... 2012... 2014...

I used to have all kinds of issues when I started 10 years ago. I would get nervous, always thinking I could have done much better afterwards. I would avoid exposure. I have great soft skills, always did, but I felt uncomfortable talking in public. But I knew that at some point in my career I would need (and want) to be a better speaker. So I went through a learning process. And I forced myself to it because I wanted to be better. For the first years I would do as much as 10 public presentations a year.

...2011... 2012... 2014...

Today I don't do them as much as I did because I don't feel the need to. Today I have fun when I'm on a stage. What about you?