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  • Jim Costa

Jim’s Daily Rant. Problem Solving With Slide Rules And A Restatement Of The Problem.

Updated: Mar 12

Note:   This is a different kind of Rant today. It is for when your world has been majorly rocked, for whatever reason. It is a problem approach to be certain that you really have a problem, to determine if it needs to consume you in its resolution, or to determine if it can just be abandoned. This goes back to my ole Risk/Gain Analysis.

Up to recently, most of my Rants were disguised to foretell you the immediate future. There are things I know and feel that I cannot just come out and tell you because you then wouldn’t be able to hear the words. This is the life problem of an intuitive, one who clearly sees the premonitions. If you tell someone you are strange, they can no longer hear you; they suspect you.

But our time together is speeding up and shortening on the theater show we are watching, so I need to put my cards on the table now, to live with myself. Therefore, the past few weeks have all had predictions in the very core of them. But this Rant is the exception except for two special readers – you will know who you are.

The rest of you can use it to re-evaluate your planned future as you crawl out of the chaos train-wreck.

Facts & Assumptions:  

A) Most of us have been trained to believe that all questions have only one right answer. This is untrue. Ever heard of Discrete math? Some problems have multiple correct answers.

B) Many of us must have the answer calculated out six decimal places, just because.

C) There is no book in the library titled All The Right Answers.  Thank god for this as we all would live cursed lives of only mistakes instead of choices that lead to more choices. If there were only right answers we would be terrified to choose.

D) We all have the ability to see premonitions. Only some choose to use them and most deny they feel them at all. It is a skill we each can develop ourselves. We are rapidly approaching the time when most of us will recognize and use our premonitions.

E) We are heading into a massive life change (evolution) that will cause many decisions and changes in our lives.

F) Many times we think we have problems when we really don’t. Some problems are opportunities trying to show themselves.

G. Slide rulers were used before electronic calculators were invented. It was designed to think in terms of round numbers. Math problems using extremely large numbers could be solved instantly, but rounded, not exact.

My Personal Experience:

I feel I was born to see systems. I was originally trained in the art of Accounting. I then studied computers and writing program procedures. This taught me technical writing, or why I write with so damned many commas, colons and semi-colons. Then I studied law some and added a lot more underlined words, commas and semi-colons. Technical writing is the result, not a class. It is the nature of the beast. It is a way of thinking.

I was recently reminded that how our minds work is based on the way we read, write, communicate and think. I watched again the movie Arrival. The central character found her mind changing back and forth automatically as her thinking methods were changing. There are times I slip from current to future and back. Over my life I saw problems then began seeing them as non-problems or opportunities.

As an accountant, I saw a problem and immediately did as trained, reconciled it. Then as a programmer, business manager, Financial Controller, I saw systems and procedures. If an accountant brought me a problem, first I had to prove to myself it was a problem. After reading law, in chasing a problem down, I again had to first prove the problem existed.

This would occur as a knee-jerk (fast calculation) or an actual Problem Restatement. A restatement is when it is boiled down to its most basic self, without the fat and water in it. No emotions, absent meaningless details to just the basic problem. Then you can analyze it and get to the Risk/Gain analysis to determine how much energy it demands and deserves.

Case Example:   

A month ago I visited an Accounting friend. He gained a new client whose records needed to be loaded into his accounting software. Newby brought a 19 page Depreciation Schedule that needed to be loaded into his own Depreciation Software. An accountant was going to have to spend two days keying in each line item with all of its details so they can predict the future annual depreciation, then reconcile the reload for errors. This is a job most accountants consider suicide over – a shit-job that teaches them nothing. I left without saying a word; free will you know.

But in my life experience the whole thing could have been done in 90 minutes or so.

Step I. Identify the items with the largest Un-depreciatedd value remaining in them.  This should reveal about 70% of the remaining value in just a few dozen lines. Key them into the Depreciation Program, one line at a time, to continue with its current depreciation method.

Step II: Begin Assuming.  Assume the 70% above could all be on one page of the 19 pages, Step I dealt with 60 line items out of 750 line items. The 60 dealt with 8% of the data entry, leaving 92% of the line items to be dealt with.

Step III: Analyze the Grand totals from the 19 page report, with the 8% numbers backed out. This puts all the remaining 92% that now can be keyed in as one class on one line only.

Step IV: Rounding in Step 3 required. You could then convert the remaining Un-depreciated Amount into a Straight-Line 3 Year life asset. In three years it is all out of the system.

Final Recap: All of this might be done in as little as 90 Minutes. No auditor would ever argue with this because the Depreciation for those three years is so minor it doesn’t matter; the ole Slide Rule.


I have another friend that is haunted with a website problem he cannot get under control quickly enough. I suggest we first Restate that Problem together.

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