On Outlawing Semi-Automatic Weapons

I posted this to Facebook in October 2017 after the Las Vegas shooting.  It remains valid after a weekend of carnage, and no end in sight.  FWIW, I am for constitutional gun ownership.  

I am not for the capability of killing 30-50 people (not feral hogs) in under a minute. 

After today, I'm struggling to see the use in an AR-15 with a binary trigger and a 100 round drum magazine.

I've been next to a guy with a setup like that at the range. While not strictly speaking an automatic weapon, the purpose is clear: Sling as much lead as fast as possible downrange.

Look, I'm a proud and safe gun owner. I support the right to bear arms, per our Constitution. But, if an event like today never happened again, I'd happily support outlawing semiautomatic weapons of any kind.

In all candor, any legitimate use you have for a firearm works fine with a bolt action rifle, pump shotgun, or revolver.

Can you really not keep someone out of your house with a .44 or a .357 mag…

Avoiding Team Cascade Failure

Disclaimer: There's probably a term for this, but I've this pattern in teams and I'd like to discuss it.

Scenario You have a high functioning team of 6-10 individuals.  Team culture is great.  Everyone is pulling in the same direction, and lots is getting done.  Yet, in under 4 months half the team will be gone and the rest will be considering it.  As a manager, you'll realize you can't deliver anything and it all seemed to crumble overnight.  What happened?

Team Cascade failure happened
Definition I'm applying Cascading Failure from engineering to teams because I propose the same causes apply. Taking the definition from Wikipedia the failure of one or few parts can trigger the failure of other parts and so on Teams get paid to produce.  At my current employer, they're paid to both produce and operate the things they produce.  As time goes on, a given team will produce up to its natural carrying capacity, when the cognitive and schedule load equates to the p…

I'd like to use Mass Transit. It just doesn't seem practical.

Traffic in Austin seems almost reasonable during Summer.

I live in Georgetown, Texas, and I work in The Domain, just off MoPac @ Burnett Rd.  For the uninitiated, that means I have a commute of about 25 miles down one of the worst highways in America.  It costs me about $2.50 in tolls to roundtrip to work, but often the toll section of MoPac is a parking lot between 8 and 10 am, and 5-7 pm.  A full work-month means I'm putting about $70 depreciation, $100 in gas, and $50 in tolls out of my pocket.  Call it $220 all-up.

During the summer, this looks like me leaving the house around 8 and getting to work around 8:45 to 9.  Sixty minutes to go twenty-five miles.

Believe it or not, that's a GOOD day.  Once the school year starts, the hour can easily be 90 minutes, meaning I'm on the road for 3 hours every day. 

What to do?

The most obvious thing is work-from-home regularly.  Nothing about my job requires my physical presence on Alterra Parkway.   That's not my company'…

"Past it"? On (Maybe) Losing a Step

I'm a 40 year old working software engineer.

I'm not a program manager, project manager, team lead, architect, business analyst, sytems analyst, or whatever other term means "Doesn't code anymore."

I make my living by telling machines what to do so the company I work for can make money (alot of it) and pay me money (a little of it, but an obscene amount still).

As I sit here, I'm 2 days away from ending a three year stint with one team, and picking up with another within the same company.  The reasons aren't complicated, but it's impolitic to go into them.  Suffice it to say, I've been looking around for about 6 months internally and it took about a month to get through the transition.  Monday is 'Go' day.

So I ponder: How many more of these do I have in me?

If I think really hard--then give up and look at my CV--I have had these jobs professionally:
IT support (scripting, custom apps) for a group of 200 mechanical engineersProgramming a Ja…

Middle Age: Where I Actually Go Blind

I'm scared I won't be able to see when I'm 50.  If I make it to 50.

I've always had poor vision, especially in my right eye.  My misshapen head grew disproportionately on the right side, so my eye sockets elongated....blah blah blah.  I'm functionally blind without glasses.  Have been since I was 8.

I learned to deal with it.  I wore glasses reliably through all of my school (including college) and finally got a set of Toric contact lenses when I was 21, and I was had actual peripheral vision until I dispensed with the contacts around age 32.  They were just too much trouble.

Fast forward to last year.  Thirty nine years old, and "Wow, you have a HUGE cataract!" I'd noticed I had zero depth perception, and I increasingly just could not see at work.  The last straw was a trip to KY where driving at night was, well, a nightmare.   My eye dominance was effectively 95% left and 5% right.  The Opthamologist was almost gleeful; I'd need surgery to repla…

Time is a Pretty Pony, with a Wicked Heart

So, I made some rocks for my daughters' rock ceremony last night.

The left, JOY, is for Grace (all-caps intentional) and the right Perseverance is for Maria.  Then today, I got the "memory" of the rocks last year.

That was exactly 364 days ago (Understanding == Maria, Enthusiasm == Grace).  As cliche as it sounds, it really seems like yesterday.  I'm reminded of reading the Stephen King short story My Pretty Pony.  The summary seems apt:

The man also "gives instruction" on the nature of time: how when you grow up, it begins to move faster and faster, slipping away from you in great chunks if you don't hold tightly onto it. Time is a pretty pony, with a wicked heart. Another year.  I've hardly written, despite being a much changed man from a year ago.

Last summer was our last with Joey.  As I write this, he's to graduate on Saturday,  enlisted in the Army and moving with his father to Alabama before that.  I did enjoy having him with us durin…

Things I Really Wish I Knew about LOVE

Having just ended my second trip through The Five Love Languages by Dr. Chapman, there are things I really wish I could get through my thick skull.

Apropos: We just got through Valentine's Day and the occasion seems right.

1. Being "In Love"Ends I remember my friend Dannah my freshman year.  She was one of the strongest women I'd ever met.  She had the grit and determination of her military dad, a sharp wit, and a heart as big as Dayton, Ohio.  But there was one thing.

Dannah was terrified that her hometown beau, Tom, was going to "fall out of love with her."  They'd been in love for years, and with distance and experience, it seemed like that ooey-gooey feeling of "love" was going to stop. did.  The thing idiots like us didn't realize was: IT ALWAYS STOPS.

Chapman argues in his book that the "in love" feeling that consumes you and spackles over every bump in your relationship might last about 2 or so years on average. …