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…

No, I Don't Want to Play Games at Work

I'll never forget taking Tyler on a tour of our new offices in Building 001 at Lexmark HQ.

Back in the day, 001 had been a manufacturing line that made the iconic IBM Selectric Typewriter and the Model M buckling-spring mechanical keyboard.  People still like those things today.   Suffice it to say, it was a quarter-mile long building with a floor flat as a pancake, and roughly 35 yards wide.

For a good decade after I hired-on, most of that building sat empty, home to a disused loading dock and stacks of IBM standard issue desks and chairs.  In 2012, our control-freak CFO decided we needed to do some "space consolidation" so he spent millions of dollars outfitting that area as a massive cubicle farm and moved us from our private offices and labs into that farm.

We got one concession out of that, though: A Game Room.   My second line (she'd go on to be my direct boss, and she was a hell of a good one) pushed relentlessly for the sort of gaming room that would attract…

A Year Elapsed...Now What?

So, April 1st will mark a year since Lexmark paid me to find a new job.

To recap, I agreed for that year, I'd not besmirch the name of LXK, recruit anyone of my old colleagues, or attempt to work there again.  The last is really not an issue, but the former two are tougher.  I'd dearly love to reach out to folks and get them to work with me again.

That middle item is the reason I'm writing tonight.  As I write this, I've just done 170+ miles in our Sienna minivan, shuttling goods from our garage to a Life Storage facility up in Georgetown, Texas.  Our daughters have been accepted to a private academy up there, and the place seems much more like us than Austin proper.  We're house-hunting and trying to cache stuff up there for the inevitable move sometime in April, May, or June.

Anyway, that much time on the road gives one a chance to think, especially what the right thing to do is once my contractual gag-order expires.

On one hand, oh the stories I could tell!   St…