A Psychological Profile of Tony Soprano

Tony Soprano is one of the most intriguing and enigmatic characters in the history of television. Understanding him psychologically is a difficult proposition, although many of the shows other character’s have proffered some ideas. In one early episode, Dr. Melfi’s husband Richard refers to Tony as Alexithymic, the short definition being “the inability to talk about feelings due to a lack of emotional awareness.” This definition is definitely somewhat accurate, as Tony often reacts with rage during periods of confusion and frustration.

One classic example of this comes when Tony enters his office and sees that someone has purchased a “Big Mouth Billy Bass” and placed it on his desk. Seeing the singing fish reminds Tony of his dream about Big Pussy, and this memory floods Tony with multiple emotions that he is unable to process or understand. Tony reacts to this emotional flooding by beating Georgie, (A favorite pastime) who he learns placed the fish in his office, as this choice allows him to temporarily exorcise his uncomfortable feelings through this physically violent reaction.

At one point Dr. Melfi suggests Tony has an Anti-Social Personality Disorder. People with this disorder often show a persistent pattern of conduct disorder in their teen years which involves breaking the law, poor academic performance, disrespect for authority as well as several other more severe criteria including torturing animals and starting fires. Throughout the series we learn several things about Tony’s younger years. In Season 1, we learn from Uncle Junior and Livia that Tony and his friends stole a car, and also that Tony used to sell stolen lobsters in an effort to earn some extras cash. In another episode we see him skipping school, breaking into his father’s car, and generally being very willing to bend the rules.

Skip to Tony’s teen years and we learn that Tony has become good enough at sports to become a “varsity athlete” despite Junior’s claim that he wasn’t. He graduates from High School and attends Seton Hall for a semester and a half, before he “got into some trouble” (revealed to Meadow during the episode “College”) and goes to prison for a short while. While Tony is insisting to Dr. Melfi that he never engaged in Homosexual activities, we learn his time in prison was relatively short, and we can therefore assume his crime was relatively minor. Around this same time Tony robbed Feech Lamana’s card game, which was a major turning point in his life where he became officially respected as a gangster.

From this brief look at Tony’s adolescence we learn he probably did meet many of the characteristics for conduct disorder but possibly not enough to make a firm diagnoses. Which moves us to the diagnoses of Anti-Social personality disorder, which according to the DSM-IV, involves “a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

(1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest

(2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure

(3) impulsivity or failure to plan ahead

(4) irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults

(5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others

(6) consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations

(7) lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

B. The individual is at least age 18 years.

C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15 years.

D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.

So, does Tony meet at least three of these criteria? The answer seems to be that yes of course he does. Although he does not seem to meet the criteria for number 6, there have been multiple examples of his actions meeting the criteria for the other 6 components. But does this diagnosis truly encapsulate Tony Soprano? It doesn’t appear to. The fact is that Tony is capable of unselfish and extremely generous acts, although often these actions have ulterior motives. Therefore to truly get a sense of the patterns of Tony Soprano’s life, it is extremely useful to use an Adlerian model to examine the patterns of his basic convictions. The Adlerian model looks at key components of a person’s life, and also at their early recollections in an attempt to examine several key determinants that Adler believed made up a person’s unique lifestyle.

Gender Role Preparation perceived through Gender Guiding Lines and Role Models

Through observing their parents and the gender patterns they adopt in their relations, a person learns to conceptualize a personal definition of what a man is and what a woman is. From watching his father, “Johnny Boy” Soprano, a respected and feared Mafioso, Tony formed several impression of what it is to be a man. First and foremost Tony learned that the man is the breadwinner in the family, and that he needs to do whatever it takes, regardless of the law, to provide for his family.

Tony also learned a great deal about conflict resolution from watching his father deal with people from around the neighborhood. One particularly important observation was watching his father handle a man named Satriale who had been avoiding him because he owed him a debt. When Tony watches his father chop off the man’s finger as a result of this dispute, Tony formed an early impression that a man goes to any lengths, despite the law, when that man owes him a debt. This impression was again confirmed when he watched his father brutally pummel a neighbor named Rocco, who also owed Johnny a debt.

Tony also learned a great deal from watching his father’s work habits throughout the years, and this affected his own adult attitude towards work. The beatings Tony witnessed in the previous situations were both over an attempt to collect a debt, and Tony saw that a great deal of Johnny’s income was simply taken by force or the threat of violence. Therefore he learned that men don’t need to work if they can take things from others, and this was a lesson that appeared to resonate.

In one notable event that occurred in Tony’s teen years, he covers for his father to his mother when she correctly assumes he’s been with another woman. In this situation, Tony, who has most likely learned through watching his father lie many times before, that it’s OK for a man to lie when confronted by an uncomfortable situation.

Through Tony’s interactions with his mother he learned that a woman, although she works in the home, holds a great deal of power and control in interpersonal relationships. One early impression came from watching his father and mother interact after his father brings home a large order of meat, and Tony observes that this was the only time his mother was ever really happy. Tony also makes the connection that when his father brought gifts it was “probably the only time he got laid” which also created the impression for Tony that a woman only provides sexual gratification to men when they are given gifts, and this was an idea that also seemed to translate to his adult life.

Interpersonal Style perceived through Experience of Family Atmosphere

The family atmosphere in the Soprano family was one of storm and strife. As Tony’s sister Janice correctly explains to her husband Bobby, “In my family it was dog eat dog.” This was an accurate description of the Soprano household, and much of this difficulty stemmed from the interactions between Livia and Johnny which were based on repetitive patterns of incessant nagging on Livia’s part and extreme deceit on Johnny’s. Livia’s tyranny over the house may have even eventually contributed to Johnny’s physical decline, as in Tony’s estimation she wore this very strong man into a “little nub.”

Livia Soprano’s love was conditional love. Livia was extremely critical of her children and she did not demonstrate encouragement and support of their endeavors which appeared to stimulate a lifelong pattern of self-doubt in both Tony as well as his sister Janice. Discouraged children often grow up to be angry and unfulfilled adults, as they begin to feel that everything they do will not live up to someone’s standards. In these situations a kind of “learned helplessness” (Seligman 1965) can take place, where kids simply give up rather than continuing to compete in a seemingly hopeless situation. This appeared to be the case with Janice Soprano, who spends a lifetime avoiding any kind of useful activity rather than have to be judged a failure as she has so many times before.

Tony on the other hand compensated for this lack of love like his father did by lashing out at others, finding temporary gratification though many sexual conquests, and finding solace in acquiring material possessions.

Livia also talked openly of killing her children when Tony was a young man, which he must have seen as a great devaluation of his importance and worth in his mother’s life. In one notable instance Livia tells Tony she could “smother him with a pillow” which terrifies Tony and makes him question how far his mother might really go in enforcing punishment in the Soprano household. Johnny Soprano on the other hand freely used corporal punishment in the house, and in Tony’s words, “the belt was his favorite child development tool.” Johnny clearly demonstrated though many of his actions in the house that violence was an appropriate response to frustration, and this was also a value that Tony seemed to inherit.

Johnny Soprano was also consistently deceitful in his dealings with his family, and his constant deceit was often the trigger that sent Livia flying into a rage. One early example of Johnny’s deceit came following his arrest at a kid’s carnival, where he tells his children the cops made a terrible mistake and arrested the wrong guys, which would be difficult for even a child to believe.

Another important event that confirms Johnny’s constant deceit occurred when Tony was a teenager and Livia was in the hospital having suffered a miscarriage where she was in dire physical danger. Johnny, who was staying overnight with his mistress, concocts an elaborate lie that hinged on Tony supporting the lie and confirming the story for his hospitalized mother. Tony does go along with the lie, and this event marked as major turning point where he embraces the deceitful lifestyle and begins to head down the path his father has paved for him.

Personal Code of Conduct perceived through Acceptance / Rejection of Family Values

When Tony embraced his father’s lying ways, he was essentially accepting the Soprano family values, all of which were also modeled by Tony’s Uncle Junior. Although Tony made a brief attempt at following a different path by going to college, his robbery of Feech Lamana’s card game demonstrated an early lesson learned from his father that if someone wants something that it is easier to simply take it from others than to actually work for it. This idea was strongly reinforced when Tony was caught for this act and he was not only not punished, but in effect promoted into the “family” following this brazen and irresponsible action.

For Tony the term “family values” obviously had more than one meaning, but upon close examination the values modeled in the Sopranos household were the same that were necessary to survive and even thrive in the mafia “family” Tony was also a part of. For instance Livia used the threat of killing someone weaker than her to retain order in the house and get people to comply with her wishes. The exact same thing is used by the mafia family, as the threat of pending violence is one of the key ways the family perpetuates its wealth.

The family value of deceit in the house was also a necessary value to succeed in the larger Mafia family. The code of “Omerta” implies silence and avoidance of even discussing the organization, and this is an interesting connection to make considering the fact that Livia was so against Tony going to therapy as she felt he was there to “talk about his mother.” Livia, who preferred the family secrets stay buried, was so consumed by feelings of anger from thinking that Tony would reveal her secrets to a therapist, that she in essence convinced Junior to have him killed. Returning to the moment of the idea Tony is Alexithymic, one can speculate that this condition might stem from his mother’s absolute inability to promote the sharing of feelings in the Soprano household.

Perspective on the World perceived through Experience of Psychological Birth Order

As the second born child of three, Tony’s assumed the position of the classic middle child. The second born child often takes their cues from the oldest child, who has been in the world longer and provides a roadmap for the second child to follow. Second born children are often the rebels in the family, as the first borns tend to be responsible and can often even be like a second parent. The second child therefore often finds belonging through acting distinctively different than the first, as the first is naturally better at things because of their advanced age and physical development. This was partially true in Tony’s case, as Janis appeared to enjoy flaunting her position as the eldest, and at least in her early childhood convinced her father she was a well-behaved and accomplished child. Tony on the other hand showed immediate rebellious behavior, and found belonging through being as Junior described a “little hellion” who learned to fit in and get attention through misbehavior.

Adler made a strong point of emphasizing that birth order also had a psychological component to it, where the literal birth order may differ from the physical birth order. This can happen when the first born son usurps the first born female child and becomes the de facto leader of the children, as he comes from a culture that values males over women. This dynamic appeared to manifest itself in the Soprano household. In Tony’s case Janis, who enjoyed the power of being the first born but not the responsibility, in effect passed the torch of responsibility as the first born to Tony, who became responsible for the family as he entered into adulthood.

Range of Social Interest perceived through Other Particularities

Adler believed that the extent and degree that a person takes an interest in his or her fellow human beings was an excellent predictor of their mental health. Tony never developed this interest in others, and instead came to value others based on their personal usefulness to him. There are many examples of this in Tony’s life, one example being his relationship with Paulie, who fell out of Tony’s favor following a financial downturn in Season 4. Even in his dealings with Artie Bucco Tony often sizes up how Artie can be useful to him, and despite their imbalance of power Tony finds little ways to exploit this friendship for his personal gain.

Tony’s odd obsession with animals also demonstrates his inability to share emotions with other human beings, and again this behavior might have some its roots in the lack of love and support he received from his mother. Tony often projects feelings onto animals that he is unable to feel for human beings, and this trait shows how confusing and upset Tony gets when confronted by negative emotions.

Conclusion

In conclusion Tony Sopano’s life is one lived with little insight or mindfulness. This lack of insight has lead to an external locus of control where he views the bad things that happen to him as bad luck His statements “I can’t catch a break” and “I’m like king Midas in reverse” are example of this behavior, and these claims don’t jibe with the many, many fortuitous events in Tony’s life.

Tony also likes to present the idea that he is a “sad clown” but again the evidence in his life does not seem to support this. When Tony is angry or hurt he nearly always responds with physical violence, and occasionally with em0tional violence such as when he calls Melfi a “cunt” following her rebuke of his advances. The sad clown motif indicates the sense of pity Tony often feels for himself, and his general pessimistic attitude towards life.

Adler felt that by gaining insight into your behavior you could begin to understand the patterns and faulty thinking and logic that these patterns then created. Melfi, after many years has uncovered some of these patterns, but doesn’t seem to offer much assistance as to how to process this information. The result has been that Tony continues to repeat many of the patterns directly inherited from watching his parents, and despite his often empty promises to change his life, this is really not possible without going back to the beginning.

Adler referred to this idea as “soft” determinism, meaning a person’s patterns of behavior were firmly and deeply entrenched, and very, very difficult to change without a tremendous amount of insight. Although nearly dying was a kind of apotheosis for Tony, it is likely he will return to much of his former behavior as he falls back into these familiar patterns.



Source by Joe Guse

Reasons Why You Should Get Cheap First Class Tickets For Your Next Flight

First class flights are often most preferred since they often come with gourmet food, more leg room and better top-notch services, but did you know that you can fly first class or business class for the same price as flying coach and sometimes it is just as cheap?

The list below is full of ideas on how to get cheap first class ticket for your next flight:

· Sign up for newsletters from airlines

One of the many merits of signing up for newsletters from various airline companies is to receive word on sales, discount offers and coupons. Most carriers, if not all, have email sign up on their websites, which you can easily subscribe to and receive cut-rates on their flights. This is however available only for those with practical understanding to visit their websites and read their bulletins.

· Be a regular client to a particular airline

Flying a particular airline repeatedly equals to loyalty in the eyes of the carrier. This often rewards the loyalty with free or cheap first class upgrades. Different carriers offer different loyalty schemes, which are always beneficial to the client. Therefore, the next time you are flying, stick to your carrier to earn more loyalty.

· Use airline-branded credit cards to book your flight

It is possible to get airlines that might discount the cost, offer automatic upgrade or award essential free miles if you purchase their airline tickets with their airline-branded credit cards. This is however available to those who qualify to get these credit cards.

· Purchase tickets that allow first class upgrades

Some carriers offer special tickets that allow a first class upgrade. These economy fares allow you to travel in first class if there is available space. Moreover, it is possible to purchase the full-fare economy ticket. These tickets come with an option of complimentary upgrade.

· Check online for upgrade opportunity

Exactly 24 hours to departure, go online and check-in on your flight. Cheap upgrades may be available. If any, take advantage instantly for they do not last long. Many of the carriers offer this simply because the seats are going begging and hence opt to make little something rather than nothing.

· Know when is the best time to buy tickets and travel

It is essential to understand and do research on the best day, and time of the day to buy your flight tickets and travel.

Therefore, the next times you are to take that domestic or international flight enjoy the first class at such an affordable price.



Source by Mkamba M Juke

How to Make Money From Things Found in the Woods

There are numerous ways to make money from things you can find in the woods or even fields. Most people think of logging timber or cutting firewood, but I’m going to list some different options that involve less physically demanding work, less equipment, and less environmental impact. The majority of them will not affect the ecosystem if done moderately. Here are eight ideas to get you started.

Morel mushrooms, also known as dryland fish, can be found in the woods in the springtime across most of the entire Eastern half of the United States and a few places in the Northwest. Morels can sell for $20 or more per pound.

Pine cones come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be turned into crafts which can then be sold. You can also soak them in certain chemicals which will in turn cause them to burn different colors when put in a fireplace. These treated pine cones sell for around $15 for a 3 pound bag.

You can dig ginseng and other herbal roots such as goldenseal, black cohosh, and wild hydrangea. A pound of wild ginseng usually brings anywhere from $300 to $800 a pound depending on the market that year.

Arrowheads, flint tools, and other Indian rocks and artifacts can be found in fields and woods across the country. Just one nice artifact could be worth anywhere between $10 and $1000.

Keep an eye out for twisted, small trees or branches. You can make really nice walking canes out of these fairly easily. Just try to use trees or branches that have a unique, distinctive quality. This makes the cane a one of a kind item with character.

You can find giant cane, also known as river cane, in 23 states. It is often found in floodplains with sparse tree cover overhead. You can take a few of the larger ones and make fishing poles (cane poles) out of them and sell them.

You can find and sell antler sheds from deer, elk and moose. Many sell for several dollars a pound, but if you find a trophy-sized shed it could bring much more.

You might need to exercise some caution on this one. Most people wait until after the fall frost. It is gathering hornet nests. They generally bring around $20-30 apiece from people who want them as a type of rustic decoration or just collect them. Plus, hornets do not use an old nest, they build a new one each year.

Hopefully, you have gotten at least a few ideas from this article and maybe you have most of these things in your area. Just please be responsible when taking advantage of nature’s available resources and always check your local laws and regulations before proceeding.



Source by Jonathan L Moss

Species of Boa – The 4 Boa Species Best Suited As Pet Snakes

Boas are among the very best snakes to keep as pets. While most boas are large snakes, and not necessarily suitable for owners with no previous experience, in my mind there is no better snake. In fact, after 25 years of keeping snakes, if I could only have one it would definitely be a boa!

In general boas, while large and powerful, are normally a joy to handle, and generally docile by nature. There 28 recognised species of boa, and many of them can be kept in captivity, though some are certainly more suitable than others. This is a guide to the 4 species best suited to captivity.

Common Boas Boa Constrictor Imperator

The Common Boas, also referred to as Central American Boas or Columbian Boas, range from Mexico to central South America. Variable in looks, and also habitat, they thrive everywhere from rainforest to scrub-land. The majority of Boa Constrictors in captivity are Common Boas, most of which originated from Columbia.

While no boa is the perfect pet snake, the Common Boa comes closest to attaining that title. They tend to be considerably cheaper than other boas, such as the Red Tailed, and yet are still beautiful snakes, often with striking markings. They are usually very docile, will normally take defrosted prey with no difficulties, and in general are easy to care for.

Tending to be a little smaller than Red Tailed Boas, Boa Constrictor Imperator will generally reach 6 – 9 feet in length as an adult. Males will tend to be a little shorter and less well built than females, and sex can usually be determined by the anal spurs which are quite prominent on the males

Neonates will be around 14 – 20″ inches at birth, and will normally start feeding well on fuzzy mice soon after their first shed if given optimum conditions.

If you want a beautiful snake that is relatively easy to care for and good to handle, the Common Boa might well be an ideal choice

Red Tailed Boas Boa Constrictor Constrictor

The true Red Tails are only found in the Amazon and Orinoco basins in northern Brazil, eastern Peru, Suriname, Guyana and southern Columbia. They are generally light coloured with striking saddle markings which are a rich red, bordered in black, on the anterior third of the snake.

Generally longer, and more heavily built that the common boas, Red Tails can grow to over 12 feet in length, although 9 – 10 foot is more common.

They are generally considered suitable for more experienced keepers, mostly due to their larger size and the fact that they are more difficult to breed in captivity than the common boa. They are also considerably more expensive than the common boas. Having said that, they are still docile and generally easy to care for snakes. If you are prepared for the large size and can accommodate a large enough enclosure, they are truly striking animals. A large adult will require an enclosure of at least 6′ in length by 3′ and will typically take a jumbo rat or rabbit once a fortnight.

Dumeril’s Boas Boa Dumerili

The Dumeril’s is a CITES protected species from Madagascar. The CITES status of this species means that WC or CF farmed specimens cannot be exported, but it does not prevent CB snakes from being kept. If you do buy a Dumeril’s Boa however you will need CITES paperwork to prove its origin, and be micro chipped. Any reputable breeder or dealer with Dumeril’s Boas for sale will be able to arrange paperwork and advise on micro chipping (adults should already be chipped, but juveniles too small to be chipped will require a visit to the vet to have a chip inserted when they are large enough.

They are an excellent alternative to the Common or Red Tailed Boa for keepers wanting a large boa, but are daunted by the idea of owning an 8 – 10 foot snake. These snakes very rarely exceed 7 foot in length, and adults often to do not exceed 5 foot.

Similar husbandry to Common Boas is required for the Dumeril’s, although some specimens can be more problematic to feed and are slightly more prone to stress.

Rainbow Boas Epicrates cenchria

Rainbow boas get their name from an iridescence on their skin when they are exposed to the sun, or other bright light. There are several subspecies, found on much of South America, and of these the Brazilian (E.c. CenchriaI) and Columbian (E.c. Maurus) are most common in captivity.

In general, Rainbow Boas are considered a more advanced snake, and suited to experienced herpetoculturists only. This is largely due to the fact that these are typically much less tolerant of handling than snakes such as boa constrictors. Whether of not Rainbows Boas are suitable to be kept as a first snake really depends on what you want from a snake. If you want a snake which you can handle pretty much whenever you want, and not have to worry to much about the snake being aggressive, then a Rainbow Boa probably isn’t for you. If, however, you want a beautiful snake that you can observe in its vivarium in the way you would enjoy fish in an aquarium, then there is really no reason why a Rainbow Boa couldn’t be kept as a first snake, provided you are capable of giving it the environment and care it needs.

A temperature (controlled by thermostat) of around 78 – 80 F should be provided at night, rising to 85 – 90 F during the day. The humidity must be kept considerably high. In addition to a pool/bowl of water large enough to soak in, the enclosure should be misted daily. These snakes very rarely drink from pools, but will take droplets of rain water from branches and leaves, and even their own scales. Aim for a humidity of 75-80%. Since high humidity promotes the growth of mould and fungus, extra care must be taken to ensure cleanliness and good ventilation.

Other boa species

There are of course many other species of boa, including much smaller species such as the rosy boas and ground boas. But for the average snake owner, who wants a truly magnificent snake and is able to commit to keeping a large snake for 20+ years, one of these 4 superb species would certainly be my choice.



Source by Billy Deakin

Should I Be Taking Fish Oil Tablets?

It’s getting harder to ignore the weight of evidence in favor of taking fish oil tablets these days. Numerous facts are emerging from a whole host of sources attesting to the way they’re helping in such areas as the health of our brain, heart, skin, vision and immune system.

Even nutritionally our bodies need these oils which are also often referred to as essential fatty acids. They play an important part in how organs such as the brain works, and need to be got from our diet of via supplementation.

Even having mentioned just these few pluses for our bodily health, that’s not the whole picture as the list of benefits is indeed long. There doesn’t seem to be lot of bad news about these   fish  oil tablets either.

We’ll have a closer look at one or two of these health areas in a moment, but what some researchers have also discovered with omega 3 which is worthy of interest, is its anti inflammatory properties. This fact alone is something we should take notice of for a very good reason. Medical science has concluded that there seems to be an underlying factor with so many of the serious modern day illnesses and diseases which afflict us.

That is inflammation, and if taking a  fish  oil tablet can help our bodies to combat such a thing happening then that has to be one very good reason for sure.

A lot of attention has also been lavished on how such omega 3 fatty acids have helped to maintain a healthy heart. Cardiovascular diseases are still big killers globally and even the American Heart Association has recommended them as a way of keeping your heart in good shape. But there’s even a bit of good news for those at risk of heart disease, as they also say that it could also reduce the risks of getting an attack.

For even more convincing reasons on taking  fish  oil tablets have a look on my main site, which also offers some thoughts on finding a truly effective supplement that’s also good value.



Source by Tony Tucker

Importance of Apps on the PC

Technology has influenced each and every life. This has become an integral part of almost every person that we meet or come across every day. In fact, its effects are quite visible in the commercial and industrial areas. Everything in the world from economy to entertainment, from the sports to stock market all detailed information are available to us through laptops and desktops.

Have you ever wondered how these personal computers have become so important? The massive importance of computers has been achieved by the implementing the web applications into the computers. This can be availed by the users both through the browser and the client based applications.

What are these web applications?

A very important part of today’s life is the World Wide Web. If you want to know anything about the world we are just a click away from it. This has become so easy because of the presence of internet. The medium trough which this information is transferred is commonly called web application or app.

How are the apps helpful for PC?

The apps are helpful in many ways and have made the functioning of the PC grow. Some of the ways are-

• The portals from which we chat with our friends by creating IDs are web applications that help people to stay connected no matter where they are.

• Another creativity of this world is the video calling app that not only connects people, but also enhances their conversation experience. This is done by giving them face to face talking experience in real time.

• Fast and easy communication is ensured by emails. An ID should be created here to send emails to the people one wants to communicate with.

• The users are given the chance of editing information if they find something irrelevant. Similar chances are provided in Wikipedia and other such information based sites.

• In the case of social media and blogging where the individual user are given the power to include their own material or writings. This can be effective done through computers.

Although all of these are very easy to use, but the making of it is not so easy. Several software and tools are used to design them and give them the present shape. Thus the way to use each application may vary from one to another. Whatever it may be, it should be accepted that all these developments and innovations have made the internet easier, like the way it is today.



Source by Achal Mehrotra

Information Technology Problem Solving – The 6 Principles of Scientific Problem Solving

This paper will explain a scientific approach to problem solving. Although it is written to address Information Technology related problems, the concepts might also be applicable in other disciplines. The methods, concepts, and techniques described here is nothing new, but it is shocking how many “problem solvers” fail to use them. In between I will include some real-life examples.

Why do problem solvers guess in stead of following a scientific approach to problem solving? Maybe because it feels quicker? Maybe a lack of experience in efficient problem solving? Or maybe because it feels like hard work to do it scientifically? Maybe while you keep on guessing and not really solving, you generate more income and add some job security? Or maybe because you violate the first principle of problem solving: understand the problem.

Principle #1. Understand the *real* problem.

Isn’t it obvious that before you can solve, you need to understand the problem? Maybe. But, most of the time the solver will start solving without knowing the real problem. What the client or user describe as “The Problem” is normally only the symptom! “My computer does not want to switch on” is the symptom. The real problem could be that the whole building is without power. “Every time I try to add a new product, I get an error message” is the symptom. Here the real problem could be “Only the last 2 products I tried to add gave a ‘Product already exists’ error”. Another classic example: “Nothing is working”…

You start your investigation by defining the “real problem”. This will entail asking questions (and sometimes verify them), and doing some basic testing. Ask the user questions like “when was the last time it worked successfully?”, “How long have you been using the system?”, “Does it work on another PC or another user?”, “What is the exact error message?” etc. Ask for a screen-print of the error if possible. Your basic testing will be to ensure the end-to-end equipment is up and running. Check the user’s PC, the network, the Web Server, Firewalls, the File Server, the Database back-end, etc. Best-case you will pint-point the problem already. Worst-case you can eliminate a lot of areas for the cause of the problem.

A real life example. The symptom according to the user: “The system hangs up at random times when I place orders”. The environment: The user enters the order detail on a form in a mainframe application. When all the detail is completed, the user will tab off the form. The mainframe then sends this detail via communication software to an Oracle Client/Server system at the plant. The Oracle system will do capacity planning and either returns an error or an expected order date back to the mainframe system. This problem is quite serious, because you can loose clients if they try to place orders and the system does not accept them! To attempt to solve this problem, people started by investigating: 1) The load and capacity of the mainframe hardware 2) Monitoring the network load between the mainframe and the Oracle system 3) Hiring consultants to debug the communication software 4) Debugging the Oracle capacity planning system After spending a couple of months they could not solve the problem.

The “Scientific Problem Solver” was called in. It took less than a day and the problem was solved! How? The solver spends the day at the user to see what the “real problem” was. It was found that the problem only occurs with export orders. By investigating the capture screen and user actions, it was found that with export orders the last field on the form is always left blank and the user did not tab off this field. The system was not hanging, it waited for the user to press “tab” another time. Problem solved. It can be noted that the “Scientific Problem Solver” had very limited knowledge of the mainframe, of the order capturing system, of the communication software, and of the Oracle capacity planning system. And this brings us at Principle#2.

Principle #2. Do not be afraid to start the solving process, even if you do not understand the system.

How many times have you heard “I cannot touch that code, because it was developed by someone else!”, or “I cannot help because I am a HR Consultant and that is a Finance problem”? If you washing machine does not want to switch on, you do not need to be an Electrical Engineer, Washing Machine Repair Specialist, Technician, or whatever specialist to do some basic fault finding. Make sure the plug is working. Check the trip-switch, etc. “I have never seen this error before” should not stop you from attempting to solve. With the error message and an Internet Search engine, you can get lots of starting points.

In every complex system there are a couple of basic working principles. System A that reads data from System B can be horribly complex (maybe a Laboratory Spectrometer that reads data from a Programmable Logic Computer via an RS-232 port). But, some basics to test for: Does both systems have power? Is there an error message in the event log on one of these systems? Can you “ping” or trace a network packet from the one system to the other? Try a different communication cable. Search the internet for the error message.

Once you have established what the problem is, you need to start solving it. Sometimes the initial investigation will point you directly to the solution (switch the power on; replace the faulty cable, etc). But, sometimes the real problem is complex in itself, so the next principle is to solve it simple.

Principle #3. Conquer it simple.

Let’s start this section with a real-life example. Under certain conditions, a stored procedure will hang. The stored procedure normally takes about an hour to run (when it is not hanging). So, the developer tried to debug. Make some changes and then wait another hour or so to see if the problem is solved. After some days the developer gave up and the “Problem Solver” took over. The “Problem Solver” had to his disposal the knowledge under witch conditions the stored procedure would hang. So, it was a simple exercise to make a copy of the procedure, and then with this copy to strip all unnecessary code. All parameters were changed with hard-coded values. Bits of code were executed at a time and the result-sets were then again hard-coded into the copy of the procedure. Within 3 hours the problem was solved. An infinite-loop was discovered.

What the “Problem Solver” did, was to replicate the problem and at the same time tried to isolate the code that caused the problem. In doing so, the complex (and time consuming) stored procedure became something fast and simple.

If the problem is inside an application, create a new application and try to simulate the problem inside the new application as simple as possible. If the problem occurs when a certain method for a certain control gets called, then try to only include this control in the empty application and call that method with hard-coded values. If the problem is with embedded SQL inside a C# application, then try to simulate the SQL inside of a Database Query tool (like SQL*Plus for Oracle, Query Analyzer for SQL Server, or use the code in MS Excel via ODBC to the database).

The moment you can replicate the problem in a simple way, you are more than 80% on your way to solve it.

If you do not know where in the program the problem is, then use DEBUG.

Principle #4. Debug.

Most application development tools come standard with a debugger. Weather it is Macromedia Flash, Microsoft Dot Net, Delphi, or what ever development environment there will be some sort of debugger. If the tool does not come standard with a debugger, then you can simulate one.

The first thing you want to do with the debugger is to determine where the problem is. You do this by adding breakpoints at key areas. Then you run the program in debug mode and you will know between which breakpoints the problem occurred. Drill down and you will find the spot. Now that you know where the problem is, you can “conquer it simple”

Another nice feature of most debuggers includes the facility to watch variables, values, parameters, etc. as you step through the program. With these values known at certain steps, you can hard-code them into your “simplified version” of the program

If a development tool does not support debugging, then you can simulate it. Put in steps in the program that outputs variable values and “hello I am here” messages either to the screen, to a log file, or to a database table. Remember to take them out when the problem is resolved… you don’t want your file system to be cluttered or filled up with log files!

Principle #5. There is a wealth of information on the database back-end that will help to solve a problem.

The “Problem Solver” was called to help solve a very tricky problem. A project was migrating system from a mainframe to client-server technology. All went well during testing, but when the systems went live, all of a sudden there were quite a few, and quite random “General Protection Faults”. (The GPF-error was the general error trap in Windows 95 and 98). It was tried to simplify the code, debugging was attempted, but it was impossible to replicate. In the LAB environment, the problem would not occur! Debugging trace messages to log files indicated that the problem occurred very randomly. Some users experienced it more than others, but eventually all users will get them! Interesting problem.

The “Problem Solver” solved this after he started to analyze the database back-end. Not sure if it was by chance or because he systematically moved in the right direction because of a scientific approach. Through tracing what is happening on the back-end level, it was found that all these applications were creating more-and-more connections to the database. Every time a user starts a new transaction another connection was established to the database. The sum-total of the connections were only released when the application was closed. As the user navigated to new windows inside the same application, more and more connections are opened, and after a specific number of connections, the application will have enough and then crash. This was a programming fault in a template that was used by all the developers. The solution was to first test if a cursor to the database is already open, before opening it again.

How do you trace on the back-end database what is happening? The main database providers have GUI tools that help you to trace or analyze what queries are fired against the database. It will also show you when people connect, disconnect, or were unable to connect because of security violations. Most databases also include some system dictionary tables that can be queried to get this information. These traces can sometimes tell ‘n whole story of why something is failing. The query code you retrieve from the trace can be help to “simplify the search”. You can see from the trace if the program makes successful contact with the database. You can see how long it takes for a query to execute.

To add to Principle#2 (do not be afraid to start…); you can analyze this trace information, even though you might not know anything about the detail of the application.

Remember though that these back-end traces can put a strain on the back-end resources. Do not leave them running for unnecessary long.

Principle #6. Use fresh eyes.

This is the last principle. Do not spend too much time on the problem before you ask for assistance. The assistance does not have to be from someone more senior than you. The principle is that you need a pair of fresh eyes for a fresh perspective and sometimes a bit of fresh air by taking a break. The other person will look and then ask a question or two. Sometimes it is something very obvious that was missed. Sometimes just by answering the question it makes you think in a new directions. Also, if you spend hours looking at the same piece of code, it is very easy to start looking over a silly mistake. A lot of finance balancing problems get solved over a beer. It could be a change of scenery, and/or the relaxed atmosphere that will pop out the solution. Maybe it is the fresh oxygen that went to the brain while walking to the pub. Maybe it is because the problem got discussed with someone else.

Conclusion

After reading this paper, the author hope that you will try these the next time you encounter a problem to solve. Hopefully by applying these six principles you will realize the advantages they bring, rather than to “guess” your way to a solution.



Source by Andre Maakal

An Honest, Critical Review of the Dani Johnson Scam

Who is Dani Johnson?

Dani Johnson began her career in the Network Marketing industry as a broke, homeless cocktail waitress with $2.03 to her name. Within her first several hours of starting her new business, she had made several thousand dollars of profit. She made more than $250,000 her first year, and more than $1,000,000 her second year, becoming the #1 international producer in her company.

Since that time, she has founded Call To Freedom International, and travels around the world teaching whoever will listen (or, whoever can afford to listen, as we shall see) her principles of success.

Can She Help Me Succeed?

That depends. You’ve probably visited Dani’s site and seen the impressive array of testimonials from people of all walks of life. Her website boasts well more than 10,000 unique testimonials from people of all over the world. Pretty impressive, to say the least.

My personal experience with Dani Johnson is not that inspiring.

I first ran into Dani’s teaching when I was living in Fairbanks, Alaska. At the time, I was for the first time in my life making a significant income from my company, around $4,000 a month only working about 2 hours a day. My organization was growing by 30-40% a month and I was really enjoying the process.

I came across Dani’s teachings and really believed it would take me to the next level of success, and help my team to experience the success they had been looking for. I bought every single training on her website (quite the pretty penny, but worth the investment, or so I thought)…

I gathered my whole team together and we had a huge house jam-packed full of people listening to ‘Prospect and Close Your Way To Millions’. ALL of them got fired up. (Dani can be pretty darned convincing). I personally invested 3-4 hours a day listening to Dani’s training, thinking I had finally found the ‘Golden Key’.

So What Were The Results?

My income immediately dropped by $1000, that very month, and recruiting almost completely stopped. The funny thing was, nothing in the company had changed and we were more excited than ever. So what did we do?

Instead of dropping Dani Johnson like a bad habit (like we should have), we heard Dani say that we needed to go to a seminar, so a bunch of us flew down from Alaska to L.A. and attended her well known ‘First Steps to Success.’ I personally spent more than $1500 between airfare, lodging, and the outrageously priced tickets, and between my group I think the price we paid was around $15,000.

That month, my income dropped by another $1000. Convinced that I needed to invest in my skills, I went to Dani’s ‘Creating a Dynasty’ and bought her ‘Prospecting and Closing’ classes, spending well over $2500 two months later.

What happened? My income went from $2000 to less than $1000, and from then went down to around $400 before I did what I should have done, and that’s drop Dani’s teachings like a bad habit and do what is proven to work!

So is Dani Johnson a Scam, or what?

Although there are many people who claim to benefit from her teachings, I certainly was not one of them. I invested 1000’s of hours of listening, called more than 5000 leads, and spent more than $5000 of hard earned cash flying all over the USA and buying trainings that completely destroyed my business. When I called and asked for a refund, (politely), they declined. I certainly feel I was scammed.

However, the good news is, when I learned about ‘Attraction Marketing’, my business started exploding faster than it ever had in the past, and now I am recruiting more people than I can handle, or could ever imagine…

Conclusion

If you are thinking of investing serious money in Dani Johnson’s material, just remember that when you sponsor a distributor, you have a responsibility to help them be successful as fast as possible, and that most of them are not expecting, (nor do they want), to fly all over the country paying their child’s college savings to go learn something that only works for sales superheroes. Any good, legitimate MLM organization should provide this training to their people, free of charge, with the understanding that if you benefit, they benefit.

That’s how this business is supposed to be, people helping people, building each other’s dreams through service, leadership, mutual prosperity and integrity.

If you want to spend $25,000 a year on training, learn from Dani Johnson. If you want to live a life of prosperity, learn Attraction Marketing. You decide.

Aloha,

and God Bless.



Source by David Michael Wood

They Talk About Sustainability – Really, What Intellectual Fraud And Hypocrisy

The buzz words today are quite interesting but so ill-defined that they can mean anything you want them too, allowing one to prove their point, no matter what their point is. In fact, it’s getting so bad that when people use these terms, there is an unspoken rule that you are not allowed to challenge them on it or else you are a bigot, racist, homophobe, or some sort of hater. What are these words or terms I speak of? Well, let’s discuss two of them shall we?

– Sustainability

– Equality

First, sustainability, that word is now being used in corporations, government, schools, academia, churches, no-profit, military, economics, health care, politics, and even on sports teams. The funny thing is, that just about every time it’s used, it is used in hypocrisy – which is ironic in itself, because using a term in hypocrisy isn’t sustainable either – “trust me” on this, I am a writer and so I “must” be an expert and know these things – see what I mean. So, why do those on the left-side of the political spectrum, especially its leaderships use this word so early and often – I speak of folks such as:

(1) Professors

(2) Big City Planners

(3) Hollywood Celebrities

(4) United Nations Agenda 2030

(5) United States Democratic Leadership

Professors are notorious for using ‘sustainability’ and yet, there is nothing more unsustainable than higher education – as academia continues to raise tuition at rates 10-times that of inflation, all the while University faculty members demand better benefits, higher pay, and expect unprecedented pensions, and once tenured – why bother coming to work – let the grad students lecture and go on long-term sabbatical. This whole unsustainable la, la, land is about to collapse as the student loan bubble bursts, probably in 2017-2018.

Big City Planners use the word sustainable in practically every sentence, but big cities draw resources from far outside their glass kingdom as they throw rocks at the rural folks with heavy tax burdens which is siphoned away to quench the unending thirst of the failing inner cities. Cities like LA, NYC, Chicago, Boston, Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco pretend to be sustainable and efficient, but we all know they are not.

Hollywood Celebrities – those wonderful limousine liberals – their whole lives are unsustainable yet they preach to us about climate change as they fly around in private jet aircraft putting out more CO2 than your entire family in a year with one-flight. They think this is alright? Sustainable? Not.

The Democrat Leadership brings us more socialist programs every year, supposedly sustainable and affordable due to economies of scale, but there is nothing affordable or sustainable about ObamaCare or anything else they put forth. But, they do it in the name of “equality” and without equality, our society is unsustainable.

Fact is, in nature there is no such thing as equality, and last time I checked nature seems to be doing just fine, and has sustained itself for 4.5 Billion Years, I’d say that’s sustainable, but practically nothing humans come up with seems to be. Beware when someone starts bantering these terms – chances are they are just trying to convince you of something that simply isn’t so. So there, think on this.



Source by Lance Winslow

Where is the Future of Robotics Heading?

Developing a humanoid robot has long since captured the human imagination and will be the continued focus in the future of robotics. Scientists say there are two obstacles to creating a robot with human or super-human intelligence: vision and processing sensory information. “It is almost impossible to predict when machines will become as clever as humans,” admits Ronald Arkin, a robotics expert at the Mobile Robot Laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia. “Although work in magnetic resonance imaging holds great promise, researchers can now watch areas of the brain light up as individuals carry out specific mental tasks. When we have that knowledge, we can pass it on to computers.”

Motor vehicle production is one area where robotics automation is already being used. Yet imagine a world where we can read, have a glass of wine, talk freely on our cell phones or take a nap while our personal automobile drives itself from our workplace to our doorstep. Or perhaps we’ll abandon the wheeled prototypes altogether and kick back in our personal flying car like numerous science fiction films predict. So how far are we from such a future?

Well, in 2007, the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency had 83 robotic system vehicles driving through a 60-mile urban course, navigating around other vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles; all without incident. Just three years ago, robotic vehicles couldn’t even drive straight across the wide-open desert without crashing. “The robotics industry is developing in much the same way the computer business did thirty years ago,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates observed.

So what is in store for the future of robotics in the workplace? The US military is one of the biggest donators to robotic research, as they hope to replace human lives with robotics automation, reducing our casualties in war. Robots are already completing reconnaissance missions, disassembling explosives and firing on enemy combatants.

Military chiefs are aiming to make a third of all ground vehicles driver-less by 2015. Researchers are also looking at robots similar to those featured in Isaac Asimov’s “I Robot” that cooperate together in a swarm-like way to complete complex tasks. Just the size of a small bug, these insect swarms look unassuming but are capable of jamming communication lines, gathering intelligence and firing at enemy combatants.

The future of robotics is taking aim at the rapidly aging population, with the end goal of providing for the elderly in places like the US which will see 97 million baby boomers in need of care or in Japan, where 22% of the population is over 65. Currently $1 billion is spent each year researching how autonomous robots can care for the elderly. Secom’s “My Spoon” robot, for instance, can feed disabled people by breaking up food into chewable morsels and spooning it into their mouths. “Paro,” another Japanese invention, looks like a baby seal and responds to the affection of lonely elderly patients, while also monitoring their heart rate and health symptoms.



Source by Mike Ramidden