Versalytics - Lean Execution - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Executable Python on Windows

May 9, 2014 Leave a comment

We provide solutions to our clients in a variety of forms.  Customized software solutions is just one of them and knowing more than one programming language makes it possible to choose an effective and efficient platform accordingly.

Python is a relatively simple yet powerful language. I was concerned that anyone wanting to use programs written in Python would also have to install Python on their system. After spending a little time researching Python on the internet, I was pleased to learn that Python programs can be converted into executable files – at least on Windows.

You can visit the py2exe.org website for more information including a tutorial and links to download the software required for your version of Python. To quote the first line of the py2exe.org Tutorial page:

py2exe turns Python programs into packages that can be run on other Windows computers without needing to install Python on those computers.

The py2exe installation wizard checks the version of Python installed on your machine. Be sure to select the py2exe version that matches the version of Python installed on your system.  The wizard will not install py2exe otherwise. I’m running Python version 2.7.6 on my Surface Pro 2 and successfully installed py2exe from Source Forge – py2exe for py 2.7

If programming is of interest to you, check out Python for yourself. Like so much on the web today, you can get everything you need to get started free of charge.  All you need is a computer, time, and a little determination.

Your feedback matters

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you would like us to address, please feel free to leave your comment in the space below or email us at feedback@leanexecution.ca or feedback@versalytics.com.  We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for visiting.

Until Next Time – STAY lean

Versalytics Analytics

Teaching with Analogies

May 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Over the past few weeks we’ve been taking on the challenge of learning C++. We’ve made our way through the first of 7 books in the C++ All-In-One For Dummies 2nd Edition, by John Paul Mueller and Jeff Cogswell, and we’re working our way through chapter 6 of Sams Teach Yourself C++ in One Hour a Day Seventh Edition by Siddhartha Rao.

Analogies

We’re going through both books at the same time and it’s fair to say that the approach for creating a foundation of knowledge on which to build is unique to each of them. Both books make heavy use of analogies to explain and build on the concepts as a means to create a form of intuitive instruction.

Remember Goldilocks

Both books assume little or no prior programming experience so establishing a base line from scratch is clearly a challenge, especially when there is no way for printed copy to determine our level of comprehension. C++ All-In-One For Dummies tends to offer too much explanation for even the simplest of concepts – almost to the point of creating confusion.

C++, like C, allows comments to be inserted throughout the code to help the developer and others understand the code in real English. I question why the authors of C++ All-In-One For Dummies chose to formally introduce comments in Chapter 8: Using Advanced C++ Features. Introducing comments earlier in the book would’ve allowed the authors to use comments to explain the code as part of the program listings rather than resorting to a drawn out line by line explanation in the text.

The presentation of material in Sams Teach Yourself C++ in One Hour a Day tends to be more thorough and the progression of topics from one chapter to the next is not as aggressive. Though analogies are used, the introduction of concepts is seemingly more structured – concepts are followed by relevant program listings and analysis. Each chapter concludes with a Summary, Q&A, and a Workshop comprised of a quiz and exercises to reinforce the concepts presented.

Goldilocks reminds us that we should present content that is “just right” – not too much, not too little – and in the right context. Suffice it to say that analogies are an effective tool for teaching abstract concepts, especially when it comes to learning a new language.

Your feedback matters

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you would like us to address, please feel free to leave your comment in the space below or email us at feedback@leanexecution.ca or feedback@versalytics.com.  We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for visiting.

Until Next Time – STAY lean

Versalytics Analytics

Back to Class with C++

April 18, 2014 1 comment

What does C++ have to do with lean?

The language itself may not do much for lean as we know it, however, learning a new language affords us the opportunity to become students once again.

When we share and teach lean principles, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be on the receiving end of all that information.  In other words, we often lose sight of what it means to be the student.

  • We ask questions:  Who, what, where, when, why, and how?
  • We overcome resistance to change when we recognize and value our vested interests in the current state.
  • We have a threshold for learning – small units at a time improve absorption and keeps us from getting overwhelmed.
  • We imprint – we learn by doing to improve retention and enhance our learning experience.
  • We understand and work on the premise that there’s always a better way and there’s more than one solution.
  • We celebrate our successes.

Computers are a part of our everyday life both at work and at home. Learning another language provides the opportunity to create and develop software applications that enhance our experience and the experience of others in the future.

Why C++?

Computers have evolved over the years from desktops, laptops, and netbooks to tablets, mobile phones, and even watches! This rapidly changing ecosystem has enabled new technologies that require more evolved object-oriented languages like C++. A growing number of platforms and devices makes choosing a language to support them that much more difficult. Our decision to choose one language over another is dependent on the Operating System and / or hardware that will run our applications – Apple, Microsoft Windows, Unix, Linux, or Android.

There was a time when we used Basic, Fortran, Assembly (x86), and C to develop applications. As Microsoft’s Office suite became more popular, we even extended our expertise to include visual basic for applications (VBA). Assembly language is a low-level language that requires a thorough knowledge of both the hardware and the operating system for a given machine. A medium to high level language such as C/C++ allows us to concern ourselves with the functional aspects of the application rather than the details of the hardware itself.

C++ is fast, fully compiled, object-oriented, portable, and standardized (ANSI and ISO). Standardization assures a higher level of stability and support for a minimum set of language features across multiple platforms. While other object-oriented programming languages exist, like Java and C#, we selected C++ for now. Texts for Java and C# are also part of our language library for consideration on future projects.

Getting Started with C++

The first book you read on a given language will become the lens through which all others are viewed.  In other words, your first book will establish or heavily influence your baseline thinking going forward.

Before selecting any book on programming, read the inside and outside covers as well as the introduction to determine if the book meets with your level of experience and requirements. You should also note that authors typically choose a development system that forms the basis for the lessons that follow.

Though a standard exists for the C++ language, use of the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and compiler options depends on the product you choose.

The books:

Each book discusses the resources, including software, required to successfully set up C++ and the applicable Integrated Development Environment on your computer. Using a well designed Integrated Development Environment (IDE) simplifies the process of programming, compiling, and linking your programs.

We successfully installed CodeBlocks with the MinGW compiler as well as Microsoft’s Visual C++ Express. Use the internet to see what resources are available – you’ll be surprised at the amount of information that’s available and much of it is free. It’s worth your time to Google “C++” to see what’s out there.

Our Goal

Our goal is to review each book’s ability to teach us the C++ language. As we are learning the language, we cannot attest to the “correctness” or integrity of the content being taught in these books. We’ll share our experiences and thoughts as we dig deeper into the world of C++.

Your feedback matters

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you would like us to address, please feel free to leave your comment in the space below or email us at feedback@leanexecution.ca or feedback@versalytics.com.  We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for visiting.

Until Next Time – STAY lean

Versalytics Analytics

International Women’s Day

March 8, 2014 2 comments

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day and an opportunity to recognize the many contributions that women have made around the world.

So many women have changed history and so few have received the recognition they deserve for doing so.  This day also serves to remind us that so many more opportunities for women remain open.

Celebrate and embrace International Women’s Day.

Your feedback matters

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you would like us to address, please feel free to leave your comment in the space below or email us at feedback@leanexecution.ca or feedback@versalytics.com.  We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for visiting.

Until Next Time – STAY lean

Versalytics Analytics

The Pulse of Leadership

February 9, 2014 2 comments

In theory, Employee Opinion Surveys provide a pulse of the workforce and the workplace in general.  In practice, they measure the performance of executive leadership and the management team.  They serve as a tool to understand what is working and to identify opportunities for improvement.

Unfortunately, collecting and compiling survey data is very time-consuming and only represents a snapshot in time.  While the survey data captures the essence of what is occurring, every good leader knows, things can change very quickly – even too quickly, as  in times of crisis.

The attitude of Leadership is reflected in the gratitude of their Employees. ~ Redge

Leaders who are actively engaged with their teams are likely to dismiss the need for an employee opinion survey and we would tend to agree with them.  The attitude of Leadership is reflected in the gratitude of their employees.  The only way to get a real pulse for what is happening is to regularly walk the floor and engage with your teams.

Make the time to take the time to engage with your teams.  A regular “walk and talk” will yield more benefits to you and your teams than any survey could ever provide.  Acting on their suggestions and offering regular feedback will foster a culture of trust, respect, accountability, integrity, and open communication.  For that, your employees will be truly grateful.

Your feedback matters

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you would like us to address, please feel free to leave your comment in the space below or email us at feedback@leanexecution.ca or feedback@versalytics.com.  We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for visiting.

Until Next Time – STAY lean

Vergence Analytics
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Welcome to 2014

January 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014. We wish you the best of continued successes in the year ahead. After a much needed break, we’re excited to get back to work.

We recently celebrated 5 years of blogging here on WordPress, reaching over 160 countries and more than 160,000 views. While this is very encouraging, we are motivated to share our lean leadership insights and experiences on the simple premise that:

“Life isn’t worth living, unless it is lived for someone else” ~ Albert Einstein

Thank you for allowing us the privilege and pleasure of sharing our thoughts and insights and for providing our services to you in 2013. We proudly look forward to continuing to do so in 2014.

Your feedback matters

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you would like us to address, please feel free to leave your comment in the space below or email us at feedback@leanexecution.ca or feedback@versalytics.com.  We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for visiting.

Until Next Time – STAY lean

Vergence Analytics

Desk Jockey Leaders – Where Did That Come From?

October 27, 2013 Leave a comment
desk jockey

desk jockey (Photo credit: notorious d.a.v.)

The inspiration that tipped the scales and served as a motivator to write about Desk Jockey “Leaders” came from a headline that appeared on the front page of Friday’s edition of the Toronto Sun (October 25, 2013):

“Despite $862M repair backlog, housing boss says: I need a bigger office! – Keeping Up With the Jones – TCHC Eyes $2-Million Reno to Rosedale HQ”

I would like to think that when people are struggling to survive with the most basic necessities of daily living, renovating the offices of the very corporation that’s helping them would be the last thing on everyone’s mind.

At least one city councillor echoed the voice of reason stating, “I don’t think it’s something we can justify to either the taxpayer of the City of Toronto or our tenant base.” I’m certain this statement also resonates with most people who read the accompanying article.

The CEO of the TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corporation) suggested that a more professional environment would be more appealing to visitors and tenants and a larger office could be used to host meetings.

I would suggest that focusing on the purpose of the corporation’s existence is first and foremost. Could it be that some people have decided to make a career out of an ever-growing problem that should never have risen to the scope and scale that it has

Whatever hardships the CEO and fellow TCHC employees must endure to perform their work could hardly compare to the conditions that the tenants must live with each and every day.

What could make this any worse? Knowing that our Liberal government wasted $1.1 Billion to cancel the construction of two gas plants – a decision that was sure to win them a few more seats in the last provincial election. No one is accountable and no one is responsible. Unfortunately, the one’s who suffer most are the taxpayers who fund it all.

As I complete this follow-up, there is some good news. The CEO of the TCHC has withdrawn the motion to renovate their headquarters. Maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel after all.

Two of my greatest pet peeves are working with people who 1) attempt to manage everything behind their desk , and 2) believe meetings are the answer to resolve everything else that can’t. This article presented a CEO who was planning to do both – in the same office!

As many quickly discover, being a desk jockey “leader” simply just doesn’t work.

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