Procrastination is my posse

Seventeen years ago I flunked university by working up a good speed for six years and then sliding out right at the other end. My funds had dried up and I decided it was time to go and do something else.

As it turned out my invisible diploma had a negative value on the job market. Even though there were plenty of jobs around, employers either thought I was over-qualified for having been to university or under-qualified for not having the piece of paper to prove it.

But I was lucky, because my experience working for the local student magazine was good enough to get me a job as a magazine editor and when I had had enough of that (for reasons that had little to do with this story and everything with the company I worked for) I slid out again, straight into a freelance career as a web developer.

And I discovered I was good at it.

Which was odd because I had never studied web development. To the contrary, putzing around on the web was something I did in my student years as a form of procrastination.

This brings me around to a great insight I gained after well over forty years, which is that I don’t learn well through rote learning, but the better through osmosis. Not that great an insight perhaps, but useful.

Another insight is that if it takes you forty years to realize you learn better through osmosis than through rote learning, maybe osmosis isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

When Windows refuses to let you rename folders

The past few months I’ve had it happen more and more that Microsoft Windows refused to eject a thumb drive or refused to let me rename folders.

Windows will helpfully tell you that this is likely because another program is still working with the file/folder/drive, but doesn’t tell you the name of the offending program.

Since this sort of thing generally happens two minutes before I pack up and leave for home, I’ve thus far simply ignored the problem. Today, however, Windows once again refused to let me rename a folder and I had the time to play the detective.

Today I found out that the program that has been hijacking my OS was a program called TGitCache.exe, which is a helper tool for Tortoise Git, which in turn is a version control package. A lot of my customers have started using version control recently and it makes sense therefore that I’ve only started to experience this in the last six months or so.

The Tortoise folks have said in response to a bug report about this issue that they’ve released a new version of the program in which they changed so much, they’re now closing the bug report.

Note that in your case it’s probably a different program. It’s probably a program you can see in your task bar. I singled out TGitCache.exe in this post because it runs in the background. This post is mostly useful for people who have noticed similar behaviour since they started working with Tortoise Git.

Update 8 October 2016: a simpler way than trawling Google for answers is to use Windows’ Resource Monitor which has a tab called Associated Handles (Broncontrole respectively Gekoppelde Ingangen in Dutch) which you can search for the name of your file. It will list all processes that currently have a lock on your file or folder. See here for further explanations.

Luis Suarez and the right to work

Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez was punished by FIFA for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup. FIFA has banned the player from participating in any football related activities for four months, including going to practice and watching games at the stadium.

Team mate Diego Lugano called the ban barbaric and a violation of Suarez’ human rights.

Now there’s something to consider. The right to work as enshrined in the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights reads as follows: “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.”

Surely this was written with people in mind who would otherwise be condemned to poverty, starvation and a life of no hope? With an estimated nett worth of 34 million USD, only two things have been taken away from Suarez, namely the possibility to indulge in his life’s passion for a while and the possibility to get even richer—the Uruguayan striker was hoping for a transfer from his current employer Liverpool FC to FC Barcelona.

We need to make sure we safe guard the human rights of the people whose clinging to these right is tenuous, but that hardly stops the privileged from having human rights at all. It is not FIFA’s task to tell Suarez what jobs he must and must not take—especially considering the association’s human rights record regarding the under-privileged, which is dismal.

FIFA are in a tough spot, though. Giorgio Chiellini also has the right to “just and favourable conditions of work” and surely that includes the right not to be bitten by his opponents. Chiellini has the rightful expectation of some protection against such practices.

How much protection? That’s hard to say. FIFA will give a player a four month ban for causing a small bite mark on a shoulder, but closes its eyes to career ending tackles. In fact they have a history of handing out bans for offenses that them makes them look bad. In 2006 Zinadine Zidane was banned three matches for a light headbutt in the shoulder of Italian defender Marco Materazzi that did not influence play and that did not injure Materazzi (although you get to see some lovely acting from the Italian player if you look up the incident on YouTube).

Here’s my conclusion. I think FIFA should be able to show some respect for the human rights of Chiellini and his colleagues by offering him a reasonably safe working environment. Using a ban as a negative stimulus would be a reasonable choice to help ensure this right even if it directly infringes upon the same human right of the player that causes the workplace to be unsafe. The association should weigh both rights fairly though and come up with a punishment that does not infringe upon both rights more than it has to.

In that respect I think a four month ban is way over the top, especially considering that FIFA had other options. My choice would have been to ask Suarez to come with a comprehensive plan to stop his undeniable passion and drive from spilling over into uncontrolled aggression. He should then defend this plan in person.