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Short Journal Entry! Anathema!

4: Adsense

Alright, fine, I just can't do it. I can't post a short journal entry [grin]

Actually, this is really just a half post-script. I have a feeling it won't make for anything long, but usually, the stronger I get that feeling, the more wrong I am - and the longer my posts get. Oh well.

Anyways, I just realized something about myself. I was working on putting together a mathematical model for balancing the rewards issued to the player when they complete missions in the game, based on a few input factors. I solved the problem the way I normally do: sat down, scribbled out some core observations and goals for the system, and then proceeded to stare vacantly into my lap for about 30 minutes. At one point I nearly fell asleep.

Then, after a while, I sort of popped "awake" and just spilled out a fully-formed, completely solved model, including ways to handle all the input factors (I even concluded that one of the proposed factors would have no beneficial effect and could be rolled into another factor). I wrote a 15KB email, entirely off the top of my head, in a single sitting. Didn't pause to think through anything, stop and reword anything, or whatever - it was basically fully formed in my brain already.

I probably would never have noticed that at all, except that I then proceeded to take a quick visit to the Lounge, and came across a thread on meditation. I read through the description of one of the meditative techniques, and realized that it pretty much identically matches what I do when I think about hard problems. That got me into Navel-Gazing Turbo Gear.

Looking back, I've been solving problems that way for as long as I can remember. I don't consciously sit there and think out-loud thoughts about whatever I'm working on - I sort of zone out, and after a while I just know the answer. Most of the time I can't even really express what I did to get the answer - which got me into a hell of a lot of hot water when I took Algebra in high school, let me tell you.

In fact, even then, I didn't really see what was going on; I just solved the problem, and never really was clear on why everyone seemed so obsessed with how I'd solved it. I knew I wasn't cheating, so it wasn't that - right? Bugged the heck out of me for quite a while, too; eventually I learned to suppress it, thanks to the carrot/stick of partial credit.

But left to my own devices, that's just how I do things. I think maybe that's why everyone at my Old Day Job had trouble realizing I was working on stuff - I probably look like I'm high or something.

That, of course, raises an interesting question: am I just insane for doing that, or is that how everyone works on hard problems? Is this some kind of weird psychological quirk that only appears among INTJ type people, or do I just do it more "strongly" than most people?

Inquiring hypochondriacs want to know [wink]

Apr 22 2006 02:43 PM
Another INTJ :P

But yeah, spacing out is always helpful to my thought process - you're just sitting there staring at the screen and then the thought pops into your head - "Oh, the tiles are stored in a vector, which is causing an iterator invalidation. DAMN VECTORS!"

Always a nice feeling :)
Apr 22 2006 02:56 PM
I think you're a bit stronger than most (or at least me ;P) by the sound of it. I do that a lot when I'm doing game design -- actual design, not that code mish-mash -- and it seems to work. Things like to eventually surface in my mind.

But when I'm trying to solve a problem with my code it's usually cold, hard, merciless logic that gets me to the answer. Usually. [smile]
Apr 22 2006 03:32 PM
Funny, I'm INTJ too. Anyway, I have found meditation to be extremely useful. It gives me a vigor that you don't get taking a normal break. Far better to stop what you're doing and meditate for a few minutes, than stop what you're doing and play video games for a few minutes.
Apr 22 2006 04:18 PM
What you're describing is typicla behaviour of an idiot savant, we'll just start calling you rain man :P [razz] I too fall into the categorey of having to understand the steps to solve the problem. As I've gotten older, I tend to learn logical steps a lot easier, as well as retain the information, so count your blessings, and just run with.

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