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  • My Personal Blog


    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

    Is USA a Democratic country - and should it be?

    As a Swedish citizen I tend to look at the USA elections with morbid fascination. While we have our own issues with politics the USA seem to go all in and for months the country go into a state of near war like frenzy. While it seem obvious from the outside that the election process in the USA is a strange process that appear promoting corruption, one question always comes up for me: is the USA really a democratic country?
    Why would I have this question? Well, there are a few reasons why I wonder just how democratic the USA really is and to what level you can actually claim to be a democratic country. I know this is a touchy subject for some Americans and I rarely write about politics, but I write this because for every election this question is getting louder and louder around the globe.
    As I do not claim to be a political expert take this with a grain of salt. It is just my reflections based on my limited understanding of the complex presidential election process in the USA.
    Indirect voting system
    The USA is not a direct democracy, meaning that the people do not vote for a party or a president directly. They instead employ an indirect elector process where a group of people do the actual election for president and vice president.  This group is referred to as the United States Electoral College and while the presidential electors mostly vote according to the popular vote of their state, they are not obligated to. If someone cast their vote differently they are referred to as a faithless elector. In fact there has been incidents where presidential electors
    While a federal constitutional republic is technically a democracy, I can't help feeling that if you can't really trust that your vote will actually count towards the desired outcome, then how democratic is that system really? In fairness this has not been used more than 165 times in the history of the USA, but it does happen. 33 states have laws against faithless electors, though the laws in half of these jurisdictions have no enforcement mechanism. In 2016 there were 4 faithless electors.
    The Plurality System
    The plurality system, or the winner takes all system, is common in the USA. What it means is that only the winner of a certain district count. This means that all votes that is not made on the winning candidate are lost and essentially useless. Because of this system there will be as few candidates as possible to avoid dilution of votes. As a result the people have very limited choices for whom they can vote for.
    Not only will this make voting less appealing if the candidates are few and not to your liking, it can also lead to a situation where a presidential candidate loose even if the majority of the people vote for that person.
    The Design of voting districts
    This is something I did not know existed, but apparently it is the right of the ruling party to redefine the boundaries of voting districts between presidential elections. This even has its own name: Gerrymandering. What it means is that the ruling party redefine voting districts in a way that have the potential to give the best outcome in  presidential election. This to me is a very bad way to manipulate the outcome of an election by rigging it beforehand to tip the scales in your favor?
    This also have the potential to make it more difficult to know what district you are in and where to go to vote.
    Making voting difficult
    If designing the districts add a barrier and the plurality system make it less likely that you will vote the design of the vote itself and how information on voting is managed may be worse yet. Back in 2010 there was a big debate over the design of the Florida ballot and how it might have caused people to vote for the wrong candidate. This led to a guideline for better designs of ballots, but it is not enforced as they are just guidelines.


    There has been quite a few issues where legal and illegal methods of voter suppression have prevented people from voting, misinformation is used to make it harder to vote and so on. In This election we see quite a few concerns over mail-in ballots for example. Overall it seems that the fear of voter frauds seem a bit strange considering that there are almost no confirmed cases for that in the USA? To me, it seems that the risk of manipulation and corruption is a far greater threat than voter fraud?
    Conclusions
    Considering the way people's votes are managed, the risk of manipulation through the design of districts, information and the ballots themselves is it fair to say that the USA are not a democratic country? I am not sure to be honest, but I do think that the people in the USA deserve better. I think a good start would be to scrap the United States Electoral College and use a direct voting system so all votes count equally. Then make it as easy as possible to vote and I think many of the issues currently in the USA can be mitigated if not completely fixed?
    In the end however this is not up to me to judge or demand a change for. It is up to the people of the USA if they are happy with the current system or if they want to see it changed.
     
    I leave you with a presentation by Mike Monteiro who is slightly more critical than I am. This is from 2017 at a Swedish event called from business to buttons that I attended.
    Mike Monteiro
     

    Attitude change - letting go of the grumpy

    After reflecting a bit lately I have realized that I have been a bit grumpy lately. This has been extra noticeable on Twitter where I have been a bit aggressive in certain discussions. This is something that is not really me, so it is time to change that. It is time to kick out the grumpy!
    With the current situation in the world maybe it is not very strange that the mood takes a bit of a hit due to isolation and so on. Not having an assignment also is a bit frustrating, moving to a new company and all that comes with that and cold that never seem to be going away.
    Still, it is not a good feeling and I have decided that the grumpy need to go.
     

    A constructive week - Making progress

    This week has really been a roller coaster. I have worked hard on the Martin & Servera assignment and I also made some slides to present to Stockholm Exergi that led to a new assignment there as well. We got a visit from Alexandra and Milton from Falun and this weekend I pushed through a new design here on the site. Overall it has been a busy week.
    The Stockholm Exergi assignment is a 50% assignment that goes well with the Martin & Servera assignment. I start that tomorrow and it will be a project to test out the Atlassian suite for a ITSM and Agile setup. I will be in charge of setting up the systems, the training and driving the proof of concept project.
    I have also received several offers ranging from design lead on a new startup and Agile coach at a telecom company. It is flattering of course and I probably will have an interview next week if things go as planned.
    On the site here I got inspired this weekend and created a new design in Sketch that I liked and then pushed it out in code. There are some bugs still, but I am working on them. With this I now have a new design in place and I can remove the old plugin I had. The only thing left is to build anew form, but that is not a high priority right now.
    I really enjoyed building this new template this weekend as there were some interesting challenges. I now have automatic color changes based on category for all databases I use. The exception is the Swedish blog that I have given a generic layout. this was pretty easy by targeting that particular database for some classes.
    I also updated the graphics for DISC and 16personalities and uploaded them as SVG instead of PNG. This felt much better and I still have quite a few to create.
    Overall this has been a very good week.

    Book plans and working again - Back in the saddle again and making plans

    A pretty good week have passed, and I am officially working again on two projects. I am also planning a presentation of Jira Service Desk as an ITSM tool for a company next week. To top that off I have also been going over my old book that I have been writing on and off for quite a white and I think I will put it up here on the site. Overall a very productive week to say the least.
    This week I started working on TheLeft, an Invision Community project that I am having a lot of fun with. I also confirmed a project for Martin & Servera where I will do a prestudy to implement Atlassian products. On Monday I have been asked to show Jira Service desk to another company that are looking at tools and methodologies for their future operation.
    While setting up the demo for Jira Service Desk I realize that I have not posted that much about it. I also have not posted much about ITIL och ITSM, even though I work with it quite often. When adding the new ITSM templates currently in early access I have to say things look pretty good. So I will probably write a bit about it in the Atlassian Series that I need to pick up again.
    While I was thinking about the Atlassian Series I realized that I have not looked at my book for quite a while. I do have quite a bit of content already, so I am wondering if I should actually add it to the website. It's not that hard to add a new database and recreate the structure as I have it now. I will need to add another template design of course, but I think the listing version I already had planned would work just fine for that.
    I also realize that I do not have issue types for the ITSM flows in the Jira Icons package. So I will probably add a second set, or update the existing one with the new icons. I will probably add some additional packages, like for the Deviniti app or QMetry. I also feel that I should update the PowerPoint for Designing Jira Workflows as it is branded with my old company.
    There is no shortage of things to do and it feels fantastic to be honest.

    A pretty good week that give hope for the future

    This week was a good week. I had several good meetings, including one long conversation about methods and processes with the always amazing @Nicklas Egilie. I also had a good meeting with a company that might be a future client. We got some great new features from Sketch and I discussed a potential passive income opportunity.
    My cold is slowly letting go of me, which means slightly higher energy levels. This in turn mean my mind start spinning its creative juices a bit more. As we got the new features from Sketch with their Sketch 69 update I am eager to get into design mode again. I have played around with the features a bit and started a new design during the week for a fun potential project.
    I also had a nice meeting with a potential client this week, where organization models and processes is in focus. A lot of talk about the challenges mixing traditional ways of working like ITIL and how that mixes with Agile and Lean, which is similar to the work I did for H&M. So this also means I am brushing up a bit on ITIL 4 and the latest and greatest when it comes to SAFe and other frameworks.
    There is a bit of an influx of potential assignments now, which means a lot of CVs and reading assignment descriptions. Some roles I read are like Frankenstein's monster. It mixes multiple roles that do not really go well together in a way that you almost wonder what the people behind the ad really think they will get with that ad.
    I am also given the task to set up a new hosting and move a WordPress installation there. It is something I have done hundreds of times so it will not be a big thing. I do realize that a lot of people find this difficult to do if you are not familiar with cPanel for example. So I might write a blog post about it later.
    Speaking of writing that has felt a lot better lately and I have a pretty big backlog of topics already lined up. Now that I have better overview of what I will focus on, after doing a bit of mapping, I feel more relaxed about it. I also have a nice breakdown of the different "sizes" so I know what to expect from myself.
    This has been a good week, but I lost some energy at the end of it for some reason. So this weekend I will relax and focus on reading a bit I think rather than planning as I usually do.
    I hope you had a great week as well?

    FontAwesome - Could it be a good investment?

    FontAwesome is a popular service and I use it quite a lot on this website for example, but only the free version. As FontAwesome is moving forward with their version 6 I am considering to purchase a Pro license. The question is if it is worth the cost?
    FontAwesome Pro cost $99/year and with that you get a lot of additional icons and icon weights. You can also upload your own icons to be distributed in the same instance. This is great as I do not need to create a separate icon font for distributing my icons. It is even better as FontAwesome Pro have both a better CDN distribution and also comes with auto-subsetting.
    The downside is that I get stuck with a yearly cost. If I do not pay that I will not just loose the license, but icons part of the Pro package will acually stop working. That is a pretty big drawback as I would put myself into a situation where I could risk getting caught in a financial trap or risk having to redesign the site based on iconography.
    Still, it is something I am considering. I do tend to rebuild and redesign bi-annually anyway so maybe it will not be such a bad idea after all.
    What is your opinion? Is it worth the cost?

    Feeling creative again and it feels very good indeed

    In the last few days I have felt a bit creative again after a few weeks of not feeling to good. Most of my cold seem to be gone and I have more energy again. As I work on adding all my raw data into the new software used at work for CV's I feel energized about making changes here as well.
    It is strange how adding data about projects, skills and things like that can inspire, but it does. In a spur of creation I have added some new design aspects of the site. This is directly related to the work I do to add my data into the system at work, or at least it is what inspired me.
    So I have added some new banners for the different sections to be used in various ways. While doing that I also added a value definition for each area and I also broke down each area a bit into smaller portions. This is nothing that will happen soon for content, but it help me define to myself what each section is all about.
    Based on these I also played around a bit with the design for my Portfolio and I think I have something interesting to work with. One side effect of this creative burst is that I think I will update some colors. I realized that the colors for Operations and Security was quite similar. It turned out it was because I had not updated the colors properly in my Sketch file, but I think I will keep them because they felt pretty good.
    So, some interesting new things have seen the light of day and we'll see what comes out of it!
     

    The man in the mirror - a poem from my heart

    Silently I stand before the mirror
    watching the man that stand before me
     
    I see his sad eyes and troubled face
    and I see the darkness clawing inside
    trying to break through
     
    I see the struggle and the tear
    that flow down his cheek as it succeed
     
    I see the fear and sorrow as it sweep over his face
    I see his lips form the words
    softly whispered to me
     
    please help me,I loose my footing
    I can no longer make sense of this world around me
     
    my soul ache from the evil I watch each day
    Is there no hope?
     
    Frozen I watch as despair
    wrikle his face and slowly
    the light fade in his eyes
     
    I see his hands clasp
    and his pale lips close
     
    I have no words to ease his pain
    no gesture that can end his suffering
    so he begin to fall as I watch...
     
    Then from outside the dark room
    I hear a sound, a soft laughter
    and a soft light
    is lit inside his eyes
     
    The pain fades slowly
    the darkness slowly vanishes
     
    and I see the man in the mirror
    wipe his tear and smile
     
    as the soft knocking on the door
    wipe away the sorrow inside
     
    A single word shatter the mirror
    a true miracle in this dark world
     
    my saviour in the dark hours
    the sweetest word in the world
     
    ...Dad...

    I Think I will - A poem from my heart

    I look at the bills before me and frown,
    I ponder on my life, feeling stuck and lost,
    I rage against the world that changes,
    I get frustrated over not being in shape.
     
    Then I remember.
     
    I remember that there are those in the world that have no money,
    I remember there are those that have no freedom or hope of one,
    I remember that in some parts of the world change never happens,
    I remember that there are those that starve to death.
     
    Then I feel ashamed.
     
    What problems could I possibly have that others do not face a thousandfold each day?
    Our world is ravaged and exploited, man and beast alike are tortured and killed,
    greed and envy break bones and kill infants before they are even born.
    What could I possibly have to complain about that could rival the fate of others?
     
    I am blessed.
     
    Not just with a healthy and protected life,
    but with freedom others only dream about,
    food, water and shelter I take for granted,
    while others starve, die of dehydration or face the elements without protection.
     
    I look in the mirror.
     
    I no longer see the jagged edges of my existence,
    I see the things that make me whole.
    I see family, friends, peace and comfort,
    and I know that I am truly blessed.
     
    I look outside my window.
     
    Out there people are hurting,
    out there people are hungry,
    out there I can share my good fortune,
    I can reach out and make a difference.
     
    I think I will.

    I do not have COVID-19 according to the lab results

    Yesterday I submitted a self test for COVID-19 and today I got the SMS with the result. Fortunately it was negative, at least for now. That means there is another reason why I have had symptoms of a cold for weeks, so I will check that up.
    It's a bit weird making self tests for COVID-19 because it's not exactly and easy test to take on your own. Because of that I can't help but to feel that maybe I failed because I did the test wrong...
    My situation is however far better than that of my wife who is down with far worse symptoms than I am. I would not be surprised if she have been infected with COVID-19 because she have a really bad one now.
    That means that all three of us are down with a cold that seem to drag on forever.
    Fortunately it is not COVID-19 for me at least.
    ...unless I failed taking the test...

    Updating my personal blog for a new beginning with more structure

    As I move further inte Year 2 I have also updated this blog a bit. I am adding a new color that is brown-redish and I am updating the fonts on the banners. I am also restucturing things a bit to make this blog a little easier for me to understand how to organize.
    Adding a new color makes sense because this is very much a personal space for me and I want to make sure that is clearly visible. I have added some new icons as well, but that is less important right now. For me it was more important to define the areas and prevent the chaos I felt was going on.
    Now the blog is defined into four sections, which should be more than enough for me for the time being.
    Thoughts - This is the general area where I put my thoughts. The bulk of posts will be here. Debate - Things that upset or confound me. Probably the one category that will incite most interactions. Health - I am getting old, but this is not just physical health, but also mental health. Hobbies - Anything related to movies, martial arts, going to the gym, books and so on will end up here. The aim is to write a bit more here now that things are less cluttered. Probably will be far shorter texts, but more frequent.
    I hope you will enjoy it.
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