Milestone #2 – 1500 Views & 50 Followers

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you for your tremendous support. 🙂 2 weeks ago I posted that 366degree had surpassed 1000 views. It might have been an insignificant number for some but it was a huge achievement for me, as I had only started blogging this year. Continue reading

Is Facebook shaping your online friendships?

I have opened Pandora’s Box by thinking about how algorithms shape our world. I am now in the matrix. Everywhere I look, I see algorithms. Algorithms decide what I get to see in the digital world. Given that I spend most of my time online, algorithms’ impact on my life is immense. I cannot stop thinking about how algorithms are manipulating my views this very minute. Now I know what Neo must have felt when he was first confronted with the matrix. Overwhelmed is an understatement! 🙂 Continue reading

Thank You Teachers!

During my secondary school years I hated mathematics. Math was a nightmare for me. Somehow I could not memorise formulas or the rules to solve algebra equations. In the following four years, none of my math teachers could find a way for me to see the sense in what I was supposed to learn. Just before my GCE ‘O’ Level examinations, I was put in a special class together with others, who were in danger of failing the Math final examination too. Continue reading

Algorithms Led Me To Panda

Today’s blog is inspired by Huffington Post’s Best of TED 2011 list. The 18 TED Talks on the list are portrayed as ideas worth spreading in 2012. Talk #18 is by Kevin Slavin and is titled How Algorithms Shape Our World. Here goes – I am doing my part in spreading these ideas to the four corners of the earth and beyond, if aliens have found a way to infiltrate the internet. Continue reading

Happy Thoughts

Dear Reader,

I survived today’s trial work day with only a terrible headache to show for it. Could have been worse, I guess. 🙂 The feedback I received was positive but still no contract, so it is too soon to open that bottle of champagne. I was in my element today and I am convinced that this is the right career path for me. I will write about my experiences with more details soon.

Here is a poem I wrote today. I find it extremely difficult to write happy poems. The ones about loneliness and pain are much easier to write. The irony is that my real situation is one of happiness and I am neither lonely nor in emotional pain.

Therefore I decided to end today on a happy note. Here is my attempt at a happy poem. Hope you like it. If you don’t, I blame my headache for diminishing my literary prowess.

Yours sincerely,

Irene

HAPPY THOUGHTS

Heavenly moments fleet like the steam above a bowl of chicken soup.

Amore mio, winning your love is my greatest coup.

Picture perfect reality transports me into a state of total elation.

Propagating these pure emotions to the universe is my new vocation.

Yesteryear blues that I grieve not are gone in a swoop.

Statistics cannot be trusted

I kind of feel guilt that I am blogging instead of preparing for tomorrow. What is on tomorrow you ask? Do you still remember that I had my first job interview ever on the 16th of February? I received a call last Wednesday that they want me to come back for another full day assessment. In German it is called “Probearbeitstag” – which translates into “Trail working day” and it is set for tomorrow.

I wonder how a trial working day would look like. I am applying for the position of IT Project Manager. Would they want me to execute a case study on project management? They are aware that I have no knowledge of their ERP system, which is not Oracle. So they cannot expect me to work on their system. Then I was reminded of a point they mentioned during the interview. Given the small size of the company, some controlling tasks would also fall under the role of the Project Manager as well.

I remembered the numerous reports and statistics I have gone through in my career life so far. I hated being presented with a number or value, which I had to explain. How do I know where the 1 Million Euro difference comes from? Before I could explain a difference, I had to first verify how the numbers were calculated. (I know it is a repetition of tasks but it is also a matter of doing my job well.) I tried to find out what formed the basis of calculations or which exchange rate was taken to convert the currencies. Even rounding differences could add up to a substantial amount when there are thousands of transactions. These points usually helped in clarifying a part of the difference and I knew what I was supposed to clarify.

I am registered as unemployed since we returned from our RTW trip last April. Between August and December, I attended courses to get certified as a Project Manager. But I was officially not part of the unemployed statistics during this period, although I was still looking for a job. Therefore when it was reported in the news that the unemployment rate has gone down in the last quarter of 2011, I wondered how much was attributed to job seekers attending training courses.

See what I mean? Why it is not good to trust any statistics? Especially those you did not create yourself. There are so many possibilities to manipulate data and the way they are presented. Therefore keep that in mind the next time you get worked up because of some numbers you have read in the newspapers.

The abstract nature of written language

Written language is usually viewed as being more precise than spoken language – one supposedly has time to deliberate the choice of words. This is usually not the case in verbal communications. Sometimes the words come out before one has thought them through. However today I experienced an incident which reminded me once more of the abstract nature of the written language. Continue reading

What is in a name? Just about everything!

I read that a lot of parents regret the names they have given their children. One reason cited by parents for desiring a change is that the name is too popular. Don’t tell you did not see that one coming? I wonder why the name Edward ranks at about number 40 in the UK in 2010. Think you’re the only one who read Twilight and likes the old suave gentleman sound of the name? Continue reading

Learning Shakespeare through Confucius

This blog is inspired by a documentary I watched on TV entitled “For the love of Shakespeare”. It was the winning entry of The Asian Pitch in 2008. The documentary was shot in the village of Shanggu in Chengde City. Mr. Tong, the founder of a mountain school, used Confucius’ teachings to teach the pupils in the school he has founded. He was convinced that reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets by heart was the first step in learning English. Continue reading

Cultural Experts – An Endangered Species?

I grew up in a country, which is a melting pot of many racial groups. Chinese, Indian, Malay and Eurasians all live together in close proximity. Cultural diversity was nothing special in my childhood. It was normal for me that my best friend next door was called Li Ling. As a child I learned about the different cultural and religious beliefs both at school and through exposure in my everyday life. There were times I was not happy that my friends could do something that I was not allowed and often got to hear, “It is because we are Indians. Good Indian girls do not do such things”. Continue reading