Archive for October, 2010

Website performance troubleshooting woes…

DynaTrace AJAX edition is great tool for alleviating webapp performance troubleshooting headaches. It can be downloaded for free, and once set up, can trace your browser actions (i.e. the website causing the headache), storing and displaying myriads of key performance indicators. A great thing about the tool is that you can measure and analyze end-to-end performance, meaning you get to peek at whats going on at the web server end. And the ability to trace click events, button events and other minute details along with their metrics and KPI’s are a gift from heaven. The tool can be downloaded from here once you register (registration is free). A great primer for using the tool can be found at this link, where the views and metrics displayed by the tool are explained in great detail.

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There are no dumb questions…

The habit of asking questions does not come easily to most of us, and I don’t mean the questions you have to ask out of necessity. For instance, being in the software industry, I question many things: are the requirements correct? are they mapped correctly to design? is their a bug in my code? All these questions are asked out of necessity, and some of them are answered by myself. But do we ask questions that open new avenues of thinking? Do we give free reign to our minds to think about what we know, what we think we know, and what we don’t know?
Its often the case that we will ask and ponder the same question over and over again till we get a satisfactory answer. This is evident from our younger days when we question everything we see or hear. But once we believe we have satisfactory answers for everything we need to know, we get into the comfortable zone. The ability to question the phenomenon we see around us deteriorates, and we take for granted many things in life. Take computers, radio, space
travel or any other development. These aspects of our life were not obtained in
the following manner:
F(x, y, …) = Computers or F(p, q, ..) = radio etc
There is no Universal function where we feed in variables to arive at a discovery. It would be nice to live in a universe that worked this way, because then I could have:
F(a, b, c, …) = <Anything i wish for>
I would just need the correct variables while knowing the final goal.
But this is not how things work, although there is a methodical approach to research. All manner of discoveries are the end result of long years of experimenting, prototyping and asking the right questions. Accidental discoveries themselves are born out of humans questioning negative experimental results or an unusual observation. Scientists are not about what they know, but what they ask. Almost all the time, when obtaining an answer to a question, new questions stem from that answer, and so on in a tree like fashion. This is what fuels the mind towards new discoveries or hitherto unknown facts in life. This manner of reasoning is inherent to all of us, but few make use of it. This is partly due to a mental block that convinces you that you know what you need to know, and you can get along well with what you already know. Breaking this barrier and finding answers to questions in life, will be a very fulfilling and fruitful experience. So don’t hesitate to go out there and question the how, why, what and where of daily phenomen you come across. you’d be amazed by what you discover.