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Saturday Musings - Simple Solutions


I’ve just been trying to debug a pretty complex program. One screen displayed the error logs, another the database changes while yet another the actual code. For some stupid reason, nothing appeared in my browser when I run the application……it’s safe to say that I'm pulling my hair out in frustration!


It was then that it dawned on me…..you moron! I’d forgotten to save my code. Yep, the most obvious of solutions lay withering on the vine of my single-minded focus. A simple control-S saw everything instantly display as it should and my universe come into alignment….well, almost anyway.

Have you ever been so focused on finding a solution to a problem that you forget the obvious? You may even have other people suggest ideas and you ignore them with as certain amount of cynicism as “what would they know” resounds in your brain.

My wife has a bad habit of leaving her glasses anywhere and everywhere. I usually get involved when I hear her yelling at herself in frustration, “Where did I put those stupid things!”

Being the helpful husband that I am, I suggest a few locations (guys, no matter what you say in these circumstances understand that you’re wrong)….this usually results in her frustration being focused in my direction. Nine times out of ten there on the bedside table or the bench…..and matrimonial harmony is restored once again to the Gilmour household.

For some idiotic reason us humans often ignore the obvious solutions to problems and are absolutely convinced that there are aliens or gremlins at work. Worse than that….anyone that attempts to help us seems to be breathing fire and have grown horns out of their head. Oh dear!

Back in the 14th century a monk named Occam developed a principle which has now been named, “Occam’s Razor”. In essence it means, “Choose the simple solution over the complex one as most of the time you’ll be right.”

For example, let’s imagine a tree had fallen down in my yard. I’m trying to work out if was the wind from the storm last or a meteorite. Which would you choose? While both solutions are possible, which is the simplest? Obviously, the wind……and Occam would congratulate you on your deduction.

So if you’ve lost your glasses then look on the bedside table and bench. If you’re struggling with a complex programming problem then hit control-S. Learning to think like Occam first will usually save you a lot of heart ache and angst.

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, 23 January 2019
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