No 'Bite' today

"You've lost the bite in the bit!" my dad yelled.


I was about nine and we were installing a swinging gate on our farm, drilling two holes in this gigantic post my father sunk into the ground in front of our tobacco barn.   I was excited to be helping him, since I was a general doughy screw-up (his pre-conversion past time was calling me 'Lardy').

Anyway, I'd been using the brace and bit apparatus because we were probably 100 yards from the nearest electrical outlet.  It was a neat hand tool: You basically put the drill bit where you wanted a hole, put your shoulder to the knob at the back, then turned it until you bored the hole desired....

...unless, that is, unless the drill bit lost its 'bite'.  The front of the bit had to be cutting fresh wood.  Mine was spinning uselessly.  There was little to do but withdraw the bit from the hole, clear out the debris, and begin again while pressing much harder.

* * *

All that to say: That'…

Dr Who Series 10: Bill Saves the Day?

So, after the dirge that was series nine--Clara's gone, yay!--we waited.

We waited since DECEMBER 25, 2015.  We noticed there'd be a new companion and she'd be "cool and different".  We heard Moffat was leaving.  We noted Capaldi was bowing-out.  None of these were good signs.

This sounded much like Poochie had come to the Whoniverse

Thus far, it would seem that's entirely wrong. 
Bill's a (slightly unintelligible) delight, and Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor is now....well....spry.  Wiping his memory clean of dour Clara seems like it made him whole again, like he's once again the madman in the box, with all of Time and Space.
Want to take a ride?  For the first time since Matt Smith's 11th hung-up his bowtie and fez, the answer seems to be: "YES!"
The first two episodes have been small, almost in the way that Series 1 and its zero-budget was small.  In "The Pilot," we're largely stuck on earth, learning who the doctor is wi…

Let Brad Code

I'll never forget M.

M was my mentor, and we didn't always get along.  I chose him as a mentor because we didn't get along.  I needed someone who had different perspectives than I did.

Anyway, one of our early meetings, I talked about people at work I admired.  I expressed that I admired a guy we'll call Brad.

Brad was a guy I'd worked with many times.  He was part of senior leadership, and he still found time to write code, on the evenings and weekends if necessary.  At the time, his architecture team was embroiled in doing the scut work of rolling-out "Agile Development" to a hardware-development organization.  (Another really long post for another day....)

....but M wasn't so happy about it.  M was a Principal Engineer (there's another name for it there, but let's just call it 'Principle') and he took a dim view of people that wrote code at that level.

"Do you really think Brad should be writing so much code?" he asked.


Software Development: Study Tactics and Logistics. Forget Strategy.

Herein, I shall commit heresy.

I'm going to suggest that "Software Strategy" is useless:  Enabling success involves the very large, and the very small, leaving "Strategy" in the useless middle.

Who am I to say this?  I've been in software for 18 years, and I've been in a leadership role for the last 8.  I've spent innumerable hours in "Strategy" meetings.  I've had just about enough of that and I'd like to suggest a better way.
What I'm Not Saying I'm not saying that "Business Strategy" is useless.  Knowing what your business is and (more importantly) what it is not is a key to success.
I'm not saying that perfecting your tactics and logistics will lead to success.  I said they "enable" success. That being said, I shall try to show that concerning just strategy without caring for tactics or logistics will lead to failure no matter how good the strategy. Definitions So, some working definitions: Tactic…


Here's a shot at some frequently asked questions:

'Harvid'?? My name seems hard for most humans to say.  One day, my academic team coach in college conflated the terms 'Harold' and 'Harvard' and what came out was 'Harvid'.  Thus a nickname was born.'miniharryc'? The year was 2003 and as a member of Blogger, I had early access to this newfangled webmail thing called GMail.  I needed to come-up with an email address, and I was tired of my perennial shortname 'hcombs' or 'hcombs0'.   At the time I drove a MINI (2003 R50 5-speed British Racing Green w/white top), so I prepended those 4 letters to the front of an easier way to say my name.  Thus, 'mini-harry-c'.How did you get into programming?  I was never a programmer in High School.  I've always been a computer geek since DOS 2.11 and an Tandy 1000 EX, but was never particularly into programming.  I took a 'CSC 111' class in the Spring of 1998.  I took the ne…

On Regaining and Retaining Your Perspective

Why is it so hard to keep perspective?
No, Ansel Adams, I'm not talking about the physical perspective you have on a landscape, but rather the dispassionate distance from a situation needed to keep you from punching the clerk at the Kwik-E-Mart when he screws up giving you change.
I certainly know what losing perspective looks like: You're afraid, alot.Your lower-brain puts you in fight-or-flight mode at any point.You increasingly focus on yourself to the exclusion of the greater good, morality, or simple humanity.You say things you don't mean.You do things you don't really mean, either. One thing I've noticed is folks in tech lose perspective faster than most.  I have some ideas on why that is.
First, our brains are bathed in dopamine for hours per day.  We're doing something we genuinely love, and like junkies, when we detox, we get the shakes.   We lose our rationality.   Anything that takes us away from creating siphons-away that sweet, sweet buzz and we sta…