What I Hated the Least Today 194/365: Minimax


Minimax is a time-saving (and ultimately life-saving) strategy in which you achieve maximum effect with minimum effort. I utilise this strategy the other way round. I often find myself undertaking maximum effort and achieving minimum effect. Such as today, when I spent a few hours copywriting an obscure article for an even more obscure online magazine on a subject which I had no knowledge of and no interest in (which no way stops me from writing about it).

The article was to be delivered in my mother tongue (which I hate using, by the way) and I threw it together from a bunch of English-language sources. It didn’t occur to me to look first if Czech-language resources were available. After I finished the article, I viewed the source code of one site from where I was going to steal a picture to go with the text (legitimate theft, the site allows reuse of images if credited). I went in the source code so that I could open the picture on the attachment page and save it on my drive in the original size. Part of my maximum effort–minimum effect strategy. In the source code, I discovered a link to a Czech mutation of the site.

I could have saved myself probably an hour or so on translating, had I looked properly to start with. I wouldn’t have of course copied and pasted any text, but I wouldn’t have had to bother trying to figure out how to translate some tricky terms. The nice discovery was that I translated it more or less in the same way as the official translation, in some cases better, in one case worse. Another curious discovery could be that I’m losing the ability to read output text and gaining the ability to read input code. I wish.

To make up for the time wasted on working with maximum effort for minimum wage, I applied the minimax approach in the right way on the featured image of this post. It’s completely irrelevant to the post content and it’s edited in two clicks. One click was a one-click smart fix in Corel PaintShop, another click was to apply a filter in Perfect Effects. The photo looks about the same as it would if I devoted fifteen minutes to fiddling around with it manually, as opposed to auto filters. I suspect it may even look better. May I serve as a cautionary role model. Don’t be me. Use minimax in the right way.


Author: Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

22 thoughts

  1. I usually research new projects that I do at work before I start, if relevant, it can save a bucket load of time, which I would rather spend doing something more enjoyable, like anything other than work..


        1. That’s not my preferred way of learning. Provided that I have a preferred way of learning. But yours is an intriguing statement which is worth noting down for posterity.


  2. I will take your word for it. I myself like to think that for the minimum of effort i can get what i think is a maximum result…..now there is no doubt an argument that suggests I get a minimum of effort as I don’t spend enough time on what I do but I work on the theory that if it looks ok then it probably will be and any time I do write something that I think is of some merit no one will read it it anyway…..i get far more hits and comments from what I think is mediocre work…sad isn’t it….


    1. I have the same experience as to the popularity of my posts – my personal favourites are the most neglected and some posts I dislike get popular for no obvious reason. It’s one of the mysteries of blogging life 🙂 But you’re right – if it looks good, then chances are that it is good for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Think of it this way Mara, those of us who are IT illiterate gain a modicum of benefit from your maximum/minimum efforts. Some of your learning will undoubtedly rub off on at least one of us – eventually 🙂


    1. That’s a great way to think of it! I’ll see if I could adopt your positive approach, though I have some doubts, with me being such a negativist. Meanwhile though, let’s please all practise the minimax strategy the right way.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Never heard about minimax until now. It sounds about right. I don’t do anything … meaning, I don’t work at all, just household chores. I’ll try to apply that to window cleaning.

    A couple of years ago, I took a picture with the phone, of some flowers downtown. They came out as it it was a painting, and I swear … it was straight out of the phone, no filters, or editing … nothing! People asked me what filters I’d used.

    I never really had any thoughts about my native tongue before. Now, I don’t hate it — I feel a little sad it’s going to the dogs. They’re mixing in so much English now, so it’s taking over. I know languages are constantly evolving, but this is something else.

    It’s a good thing you seem to get a lot of jobs. How do you find/get them … is it word of mouth or do you advertise?


    1. The minimax strategy can be applied to anything, including window cleaning. So go ahead 🙂

      Sometimes we get such lucky shots – like your shot for the Look Up challenge!

      I’m also unhappy with my language being mixed up with English – it’s happening in an insensitive and insensible manner. I was in a shop the other day and they were selling Basiky. It took me a while to figure out that they contorted the English Basics. It makes absolutely no sense in Czech to say Basiky. I’d rather just coin the English word, including the spelling, and keep it in one and the same form without trying to add any Czech endings to it. It’s ridiculous.

      I do get a decent amount of work, but it’s erratically paid. It’s almost like volunteering. I know a person who has some connections, so that’s the primary channel through which work comes. I’m thinking of advertising on local public transport – it’s comparatively affordable and I think it might have good results.


      1. The exact same thing is happening there; they put Swedish endings to certain words. Take for example the word ‘drafted’ (he got drafted to NHL). Then the sports reporters say “han blev draftad till NHL”. There are oodles of that type of stuff. I overheard a guy saying in Swedish that he felt very edgy that day. That turned out “jag känner mig så edgy idag”. There, he just took the word, right off the bat. Grrr …

        Yes! Go for it, if it’s affordable! Can’t hurt, and in the long run the rumour spreads.


        1. Apparently English is intruding in all languages. A natural process, I guess, but it’s confusing – I don’t expect an English word to be used in Czech utterance and so I might not catch it, not realising it’s English. It’s not like I have any better idea how to go about languages blending into one another.


          1. I don’t know either … it is what it is. But I shudder when I see a word (like I did today in a Swedish, respected newspaper), where they take the English word and spell it the way it’s pronounced: hype = hajp. If I’d seen it in some online forum, I wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow, but this newspaper I used to respect.


          2. That too! Czech, as a language spelled as it is pronounced, has great prerequisites for borrowing words and twisting them beyond recognition by czechifying the spelling. Some of those contortions have become legit dictionary words.


          3. At some point, the Swedish language board suggested that juice should be spelt “jos”. I don’t think they got that through, but date is “dejt” … OMG.


          4. Dejt? Oh well, we have míting for meeting, to name but one. I’ve also seen dizajnér for designer and the language board expects this spelling will prevail over the English spelling. sigh


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