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10000 Hours

Repetition can be considered the tool for deep and lasting impression. When you were in nursery school for instance, you learnt the rhyme Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and you have not forgotten it since then. Why? Because you sang it so many times it rang in your head. You recited the ‘Times Table’ several times a week now you do not need to think too hard to answer the mathematical equation (2×3)x(4+5).

There is a theory that an expert is someone that has spent a minimum of 10000 hours on a specific subject area or skill. This theory of experts surprisingly does not refer to the age of the expert but to the time spent on the subject. A child as young as two is already theoretically capable of reaching the 10000 hour mark. The key is talent and repetition.

Have you ever tried practicing the concept of repetition in more advanced academic tasks than your regular Multiplication Table? Do you realize that if you are studying mathematics in the university and your decide to solve the same quadratic equation 20 times you will discover things that will impress the technique on your brain; the very same equation.

As a literary student, if you read the same book 20 times over, at some point you will be able to tell the story without looking at the book. That is what has happened with certain religions that make it a practice for their children to memorize their scriptures at a very early age. The indoctrination effects of this practice can only be broken by the Almighty.

In the workplace, it is the same effect. The Human Resource question concerning your years of experience simply refers to how much time you have spent on a particular role. This means how many hours you have spent doing a set of similar tasks. Generally, people gain experience involuntarily but the effects of experience gained over years on a particular skill can be deliberately reproduced by focusing on that task not for years, but for hours. 10000 hours.

Omagh, 20 Years Ago

This morning I listened to the account of an aging man who lost his  21-year-old son on the Omagh bombing of 1998. Omagh is a town in Northern Ireland, a little of 100km west of Belfast, known for it’s interesting tourist attractions typically consisting of rich Irish heritage. The man I listened to this morning was heavily opinionated about the entire saga with thoughts such as why the Real Irish Republican Army chose 3:00 PM on a Saturday afternoon as a good day to make a political statement targeted at commercial damage. This result of this intent was 29 deaths and over 200 injured people. Commercial intents turned out to be fatal.

As the news spreads today, I cannot help but wonder at how the perpetrators of this and similar attacks feel decades after the impact of their actions are being talked about. I cannot help but wonder how their children and grand children manage to fit into society. For example, who are Hitler’s descendants? Where are they now and what are they up to? How will descendants of the leaders of ISIS live in the future Arab Peninsula when the history their ancestors’ deeds are repeated in history classes? I guess it should not be too difficult because the descendants of Slave Traders are right here with us and everyone is happy living together.

The Omagh bombing killed a large number of people from a variety of backgrounds, mostly women and children shopping for clothing. The subject of the long standing conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland were probably not affected by this dastardly act and today, most people have little or no interests in those interests that once got people killed: slavery, religion, caste systems and the likes of them. Such vanity. The key point all this terrorist ranting is about is the need to determine the kind of legacy we want to leave, what we really want to live for, what is really important to fight about at whatever scale we find ourselves involved in life.

Vision: Learning from Musk

A Book About Elon Musk

I recently read a book about Elon Musk written by a certain Andrew Knight. I was strongly impressed and inspired by Musk’s sense of vision and purpose. I could very well summarize Elon Musk’s life vision as “Sustainability and the survival of the human race”. Everything he is said to have accomplished borders on ensuring we are using renewable sources of energy, protecting the human race or making plans for where we are going to live next (which planet). His plans are always bold, always all-inclusive, always in millions or billions of dollars. Andrew Knight kept emphasizing that Elon Musk is not so much much driven by the quest for profit yet because he is delivering value, some way or the other is is making so much more profit that many people out there who are fighting tooth and nail to make as much money as they can.

Vision: A Leader’s Mark

I think that one of the  key characteristics of a sound leader is vision. Vision does not always mean having a vision statement, people see clearly your direction in life if you have one and are clearly following one. People willingly follow a leader whose direction or vision is clear. People are more interested in being part of something grand than simply pursuing money. Do not get me wrong, people will do what they need to do for money but what they really want to do is something that gives their lives meaning.

Vision Vs. Money

Many people would become elated at the promise of a million dollars if they were to play some lottery or sow some seed in churchh but if we probe deeply, we find that many people who talk about a million dollars have no idea what to do with a million dollars if it is suddenly made available to them. Having a lot of money may not be useful if a person has no vision, or if a person does not have a vision that matches the money.

Peter & Paul: Open Rebuke

“You Hypocrite!” Galatians 2:1-16

Paul the Apostle describes in Galatians 2 a certain occasion when he had to rebuke Peter, one of the first apostles the Lord Jesus called in public. It is very important to understand the background of these two apostles. Peter was called by the Lord Jesus quite early in His ministry, Peter spent three and half years of his life following Jesus and even identified Jesus as the Messiah long before Paul even accepted the Lord. Paul had persecuted Christians for years before he encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians. Yet, he had the effrontery to rebuke Apostle Peter? What?

“You Apostle!” II Peter 3:14-16

On the other hand, in Peter’s second letter to the church, had acknowledged Paul as a genuine apostle with profound revelation in the Gospel and a God-sent message for the Gentiles. I find this very interesting. This means that Peter had accepted Paul’s public rebuke in good fate and did not feel superior to Paul. He did not feel that Paul had insulted him or his “anointing”. He did not stop speaking to Paul and he did not ask his own disciples to stop listening to Paul because Paul had rebuked him openly. He must have realised that Paul had told him the truth.

Dear Believer,

It is very important to pick up the lessons from the relationship between Peter and Paul highlighted in this piece. Neither felt superior to the other, both felt accountable to God and to each other (as well as other believers). I believe that every christian who really wants to please God should surround himself or herself with others who can call him or her to order when the flesh shows up. If everyone in your circles thinks you are the “Only Wise Most High”, you are in trouble. be very deliberate in you effort to make yourself open to criticism, rebuke and correction (the Word of God is a tool for this) especially in this day and age where tiles and positions are more important to most believers that accountability to God. Your sycophants may revere you but “God is no respecter of persons”

Untrusted Domain

Just yesterday I got a call from a colleague about his inability to connect to a SQL Server 2016 instance from the application interface. The error being returned was “Test failed. Login failed. The login is from an untrusted domain and cannot be used with Windows Authentication”

In my past experience this error would happen under one of the following scenarios:

  1. The client machine is not joined to the same Active Directory Domain as the database server

  2. The user is trying to use an SQL Login for an instance configured for Windows Auth ONLY

  3. There is a mismatch between the the supported NTLM version on the client and the database computers. (See Server Manager > Tools Local Security Policy > Security Options > Network Security: LAN Manager Authentication Level)

In this particular case everything seemed OK. The problem simply went away when the password for the account being used to connect was reset. Any ideas on the cause are welcome.

REF:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/security-policy-settings/network-security-lan-manager-authentication-level

 

Doing Nothing

In the fast-paced world of the 21st century in which we find ourselves, there is the temptation to believe that one is lagging behind if one is not consistently doing something, going somewhere, expending some energy in some way. This ideology has consumed us so much that we fail to take stock at intervals to examine whether our never-ending series of activities are actually yielding the desired results. It is almost like the case of a child in a funny video who began running in the opposite direction with all his might as soon as the baton was passed to him in a relay race. He spent a lot of energy losing the race.

“The Sabbath was made for man…”. The concept of the Sabbath beyond being conceived as an item in the Law of Moses should be seen as an idea of God, teaching us to spend certain periods in the cycles of our lives simply doing NOTHING. Doing nothing for a short period can prepare us for a much more meaningful course of action the next time we do step out and take action. This week, find time to do simply NOTHING. It will be worth the effort.

Oracle | Virtual Circuit Waits

SCENARIO

Database BRANCH is running at a remote site and communicates with Database HOST and HOSTDR (Two-Node Oracle RACs) via a database link. The TNS entry was recently change to a format intended to ensure that when a Dataguard Switch is performance between HOST and HOSTDR, it would not be necessary to update the TNS entry on BRANCH (Connect Time Failover)

HOSTDB =
(DESCRIPTION =
(ADDRESS_LIST =
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = <SCAN IP of LIVE SITE>)(PORT = 1521))
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = <SCAN IP of DR SITE>)(PORT = 1521))
(LOAD_BALANCE = yes)
)
(CONNECT_DATA =
(SERVICE_NAME = SRVHOST)
)
)

PROBLEM

Following the change we found where was an abundance of Virtual Circuit Waits on the BRANCH database. Sessions would wait up to 30 seconds on this wait event and user experience was poor. An AWR difference report showed clearly that this problem was related to the change.

RESOLUTION

After much troubleshooting, we used the VIPs of the HOST and HOSTDR clusters respectively rather than the SCAN IPs. Virtual Circuit Waits dissappeared.

HOSTDB =
(DESCRIPTION =
(ADDRESS_LIST =
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = <VIP of LIVE SITE>)(PORT = 1521))
(ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = <VIP of DR SITE>)(PORT = 1521))
(LOAD_BALANCE = yes)
)
(CONNECT_DATA =
(SERVICE_NAME = SRVHOST)
)
)

REFERENCES

High Virtual Circuit Wait in Database (Doc ID 1225943.1)

Troubleshooting: Virtual Circuit Waits (Doc ID 1415999.1)

Reporting Services | Unable to Establish Connection to the Database Engine

 

So we were trying to create a data source configured on Reporting Services 2016.

On entering the credentials we found that we kept getting the error below.

On doing a trace using SQL Profiler, we discovered the authentication attempt was not getting to the database engine. It so happened that we need to add the desired principal as a privileged user on the OS of the server hosting reporting services.

Quality Over Quantity

In most organisations where performance is measured, the numbers are what matter. The number of tickets resolved, the number of telephone calls taken, the number of drinks packed etc. Numbers. This must stem from the age old ideology that quantity eventually translates to the bottom line.

However, I am inclined to think that while speed of of the essence, in service delivery scenarios, solving one problem with an over the top level of attention to detail, unique customer service and proper documentation of the problem and solution can have more serious impact on the growth of the organization in the long run.

A Support Personnel who resolves five tickets a day communicating (or attempting to communicate) via ticking tools or email may not make as much impact on the customer as alone who takes time to call the customer, provide feedback on progress, document steps taken to fix the problem and eventually ensures that the ticket is actually closed.

We all expect to be treated specially when we visit restaurants, banking halls or even when we place a request on an online tool. But we find it difficult to deliver the level of service we expect when we are sitting on the other side of the counter. This needs to be reexamined.

Bringing it all home to the IT Person, I do think that resolving one high impact ticket a day with an intense level of attention to detail resulting in permanent closure, sound customer service resulting in an excellent perception of IT and professional documentation that results in much shorter MTTR will be of more benefit to the organisation that just counting numbers.

Entangled: A Review

 

Book Title: Entangled

Author: Kenneth Igiri

Year of Publication: 2017

Size: 218 Pages

Reviewed by: Korkor Sackey

**********************************************************************************

Knowing the Author

 

I have always regarded my encounter with Mr. Kenneth Igiri as a privilege. I say so because ever since we met for the first time at ICGC-Christ Temple, Children’s Ministry,I have learnt a great deal from his passion and dedication to the work of God.

I thought it interesting to read Kenneth’s second book: Till Death. Till then, I never thought there was anything like a Christian novel, which could be as exciting to read as ever! As if it was an icing on the cake, I got the pleasure to read Ken’s latest: Entangled: A Little too Many. A Little too Close. This piece explores the concepts of sin and forgiveness, sonship and slavery, lust and love. It specifically enlightens readers on the power of the choices we make in life. They surely could enslave or liberate!

 

The Book in Chapters

 

As the sub-title suggests, ‘A little too many; A little too close’ – each a dangerous fact, if I may say. Why was Entangled written? In the mind of the author, it is basically to teach his readers to judge themselves first before judging others. In other words, that’s the way to be able to accurately analyse our true strengths and weaknesses and to be honest with ourselves. Now, this book is based on a true story. I kept wondering, whose story? Each time I did, a voice kept reminding me- most of us, if not all! Thus, these are undeniably true experiences wrapped in fourteen exciting chapters.

Chapter One: Who do we call friends? What kind of favours do we do for them and to what extent? Each and every day of our lives, we fight. Fighting to make the right choices, to stand for what we believe in. Sometimes, we let our emotions in, and it leads to many things….

“Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned”? (Proverbs 6:27) These are words or better still quotation that begins the second chapter. It is for all to answer.

Chapters Three and Four bring the realization that the decisions we make have greater consequences than we ever could imagine. We should be able to draw the line with what is lawful and what is helpful. Moreover, how do we define and use the freedom we have?

Chapters Five and Six reveal the reality of life to us. Life, we say, is sometimes unfair. But in truth, it is our actions that make life unfair towards us. Sometimes, as we overly place attention on us only complicate our lives situations. That’s the import of Chapter Five. The next chapter speaks for itself:

“Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down without walls”. (Proverbs 25:28)

Chapters Seven and Eight: As human beings we are truly entangled- with people, places and things. It’s hard to tell how strong or weak our attachments are until we meet reality- where the battle is. This chapter teaches us to always make the right decision no matter how hard.

In Chapter Nine and Ten, the writer makes us aware of the thin line between our Christian personality and our carnal personality. The writer enforces this by quoting Romans 7:21-23,

“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the war of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

We all struggle with our thoughts, with our integrity and with our identity- and we all need help at a point in our lives. We speak of the things we fail to sufficiently cry out about because we are simply reading then and not watching them happen in the graphic detail of real life. Chapter eleven and twelve portray this.

Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen: Forgiveness and Repentance. These two virtues are equally important in the life of any Christian. The writer tried to establish these using biblical characters Adam, Abraham, David and Solomon. According to the writer, “Some of the holiest and most respectable men whose lives were recorded in the inspired Scriptures carried the peculiar burden of the most jaw-dropping sins; dastardly unspeakable acts of profound wickedness.”

Observations & Style of Writing

The general layout and typeset of the book makes it friendly to the reading eye. Even though over 200 paged, the author articulated the chapters of the book beautifully, making reading Entangled fun-filled! He opens each chapter with a bible quotation. My favourite is that of chapter eight:

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7).

I appreciate Entangled because it’s not just about telling a story. I felt myself within the story, because the issues within are the realities of life especially among the youth. What made it more interesting to read was the additional lines from the Igbo and Twi languages. One could easily feel connected to the story one way or the other. At least, I learnt one Igbo expression – “Nne biko” meaning “Young lady, please”Another thing I found interesting was the writer trying to define critical terms in his own words. For example, the author had five unique “descriptions” for intimacy. One was:

 

“Intimacy is an intrusion. At the beginning, it is unpleasant to give in. But when the bombardment becomes unbearable, the walls begin to fall. They crack at first, it hurts yet is thrilling. Why does the trill hurts so much? Because stone walls are crumbling under heavy fire. The women of the city are on rampage. There is chaos in the inward parts. The boundaries are no longer relevant.” Beautiful expressions indeed!

 

Critique

 

I think Entangled is a solid piece. However, I felt a little lost within the sixth chapter, as I tried to connect Philip’s actions in that chapter to the previous chapters.

 

Recommendation

 

Entangled: A little too many. A little too close, makes a significant contribution to the lives of the youth and more especially the unmarried. It teaches that our destiny is in our hands. It cautions us to be aware of the iniquity in us and to make the right choices. Are we ready to cut of our right arm if it causes us to sin? – this is a call to action, most definitely a best time seller. I fully recommend it for all shades of readers, especially the youth!