STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Stateful Thunderbox

It's funny how in life there are things that everyone is aware of, but people generally don't talk about. Often the reason no one talks about it because they feel like they're a little unusual for thinking a particular way, when really everyone else is thinking the exact same thing. One of these things is the staff toilet at my new workplace, and by complete chance I found out that all of my workmates share the same dilemma that I do. Let me explain:

The picture above is a map of the Staff (unisex) toilet at my work. Mark A is a normal entry door with a door handle that has a push-button lock on the inside, and a keyhole on the outside. Mark B is a normal toilet stall door with a Vacant/Engaged lock on it, and a rather significant gap between it and the doorjam. Mark C is the toilet, which is substantially visible through the aforementioned gap, and D is a basin, with a paper towel dispenser and a bin next to it.

Now, the first thing to note is that all of my workmates have agreed that the room with the basin in it is straight away far too close for someone on the loo to feel comfortable if someone was in there. Not only that, but the gap in door B means that if you were on the loo, having someone standing in that room would just be horrific. So really, if the loo is occupied, it's not really appropriate for you to come through door A at all. However, if door A is closed, there's no way to know if someone is in there or not. And this is where things get tricky.

The problem can be defined as a number of states and results. The states for each item can be defined as follows (D was only really relevant for the diagram):
Door A: can be open or closed, and locked or unlocked.
Door B: can be locked or unlocked
Toilet C: can be occupied or unoccupied.

Now, the optimal state for you to find the loo in is with door A unlocked and open, and door B unlocked with C vacant. If you were to find A and B as above, with C in the occupied state, then you'd have to question the sanity of the user. So, the real problem is which A&B states imply which C states. Most preferable is being able to predict C from A, as if you can assess the state of B, and C is occupied, you're already in the occupant's personal space at a time I know I wouldn't want you in mine. The other day, I'd locked door A (which is always the best option) and someone UNLOCKED it to put something in the bin at point D. This is downright rude, quite disconcerting, and it made me feel violated for the remainder of the day.

So looking at this logically, there's a finite number of states, and it may well be worth listing them. For the exercise, we'll call A being locked/unlocked A1, and A being open/closed A2. When A1 or B is locked, we'll call that true and unlocked false. With A2, closed is true, open is false. C is true if occupied, or false if unoccupied. So it follows that:

A1 and A2 and B --> !C :someone has done the right thing, and locked A.
A1 and A2 and !B --> C :loo hasn't been unlocked this morning.

Straight away though, there's an issue. You can see that the state of B directly affects the state of C if A1 and A2 are both true. However, when A1 and A2 are both true, you can't ascertain the state of B without already going too far. If !C and you change the state of A1 and/or A2, then you've done precisely what we want to avoid. Anyway, let's continue.

A1 and !A2 and B --> !C :occupant hasn't closed A properly after locking.
A1 and !A2 and !B --> C :someone has pushed button accidentally on their way out the door.
!A1 and A2 and B --> !C :see below

This previous case presents another factor. By observing the state of B when C is occupied, you're effectively looking straight at the occupant on the loo through the gap. This is the most horrible of cases for the observer as you assume that someone would lock door A if they were using the loo, but some people just aren't that cluey. So you glance in at B, realise suddenly that you've just glanced at someone sitting on the loo, and get out of there as quickly as you can. Anyway - let me continue:

!A1 and A2 and !B --> C :Not optimal, as you can't assume B before opening A.
!A1 and !A2 and B --> !C :Occupant must have no inhibitions. Steer clear.
!A1 and !A2 and !B --> C :Best case scenario.

So we can see that there's a direct correlation between B and C: !B --> C and B --> !C. However, being able to assume B based on A1 and A2 is really key to avoid awkwardness in general.

Thankyou for allowing me to waste your life. Consider me however, as I'd been contemplating all of this for HOURS before finally spending the 30 mins it's taken me to post it. I must be crazy, I swear. Anyway - at least you've practiced some logic skills.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

And me with a mortgage...

See above link.

PS3 - worldwide, in November. Time to start saving. I reckon around $1000 at this point.

Gee, who'd pay $1k for a gaming console? Ah, that'd be: me.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The title of this post pretty much sums up everything that's going on in my life at the moment. Work, home, health... all hard.
I work in an office with (for the most part) one other guy who isn't what I'd describe as "chatty". Really nice guy, but just not big on talking. Me - I love social environments. It usually takes me quite a while to feel like I fit into it, but I love lively, social environments. I *thought* that this office was like that. But as soon as I got here, everyone started working elsewhere. Pure unfortunate coincidence, but just the way it happened. Even the boss has had strings of days out of the office with various clients, and currently is away on leave. This means that me, who has been in this job all of 6 weeks, is sitting in the office trying to deal with the bulk of the helpdeskyness and just basically do a job that I've only been in for 6 weeks with no one on hand to offer direction. Hard.

Then there's home. Home is hard. My wife seems to be about as interested in me as I am in amputating my own foot with a rusted bread knife. My son is tops - he loves me to bits, but I get to see him for about 2 hours each day, and that's it. Half an hour in the morning, and an hour and a half in the evening. The rest of the time that I'm at home, he's in bed. And that's just the thing - I spend at most 5 hours of my day at home and conscious - and an hour of that is getting ready for work. The rest of it, I'm either at work or asleep. I spend 8 and a half hours at work, and supposedly 7.5 of them working. I think I'm in the wrong line of living - I need to work for myself, from home. Either that, or for a bank. They close at 4:00pm most days. What a life - 9:30am until 4pm. That's almost criminal.
My work consumes 11.5 hours out of each day - 1 getting ready, 2 in travel, and 8.5 actually at work. So home is hard because I haven't got the energy to devote to it, and that's the fault of work. But I need work to support the house, so it's a catch-22. I guess I'll just have to suck it up...

Health is bad. To make a decidedly Justin statement, I might have cancer. I'm having a biopsy done in a couple of weeks. Looks kinda iffy at this point - might be, might not be. But with all of the stress of everything else, my brain just goes "you know what? It is. It must be. Everything else is hard, so this needs to be also". So that adds to the stress, and it's a never ending cycle. I also generally feel unwell, which I think is a product of the stress as well. I so so so badly need a holiday, but having just changed jobs, it's just not an option really. I should have had at least a week off between jobs, but hey - retrospect is a nice luxury I guess.

Well, that's it. I've been at work 5.5 hours and logged only 3 hours and 10 minutes of billable work, so I guess I should get back to it. If anyone has a big bottle of orange-flavored chewable "happy", I'd like a dose.