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Showing posts from May, 2011

What I've been doing lately

Cleaning-up my life, mostly.

Next week will mark 9 months on the upward swing, moving from a place of depression, passivity, and "life of quiet desperation" to a place of reality, assertiveness, and self-confidence.  I'm not "there" yet.  Likely, I never will be, fully--that's the humility that comes with this process.  Growing-up and gaining contentment (NOT complacency!) is a continuous process.

Things that have helped me along the way, so far:

My wife.  Really, I can't say enough about her.  She is my match, in all ways, and I know now why God put her in my life, and BACK in my life.  She's taught me logic and certainty.  Her belief is the bedrock of everything she does, and it's led me back to God.  Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth (Ps 5:18)My children.  It sounds like a platitude, perhaps it is: Having kids changes you forever.  Joey made me understand vulnerability and self-control.  Maria saved me from my…

What pisses me off about...the 24 Hour News Cycle

In a phrase: It obviates your need to think.  It encourages you to simply react.

I'm reading this great book by Andy Hunt called, Pragmatic Thinking and Learning.  A key thesis in Chapter 5 is "Think, Don't React".  Reaction is emotional, and involves the fear-based lower brainstem, engaging in stuff like "Fight or Flight," Territorialism, Hissing at problems.  If you've read my blog from years past, I've done plenty of hissing at a problem.

My assertion is this: There's a certain speed at which the human mind can absorb and process events.  With the 24 hour news cycle, we surpass that mark and enter a land where Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh compete with one another for the next superlative villification of another thinking, breathing human being, alternately lionizing their own cause and demonizing their opponent.  Reaction breeds reaction, leading to escalation.

It's a national Jerry Springer episode, and I'm glad I'm no longer …

Hi, My Name is Harold, and I'm an Intuitive Thinker.

This is part confessional, part "working it out on paper".

I am an intuitive, synthetic problem solver.  That is, more often than not, a holistic solution pops into my head.  I don't really work it out; I just wait for inspiration to strike and then try like hell to keep up with it.  It oftentimes feels like someone else solved the problem when I'm done.

So, what's the big deal?  I mean, the problems get solved, and my paychecks keep coming, so what of it?  Well, it's tough being a Computer Scientist with this frame of mind.

"Computer Science" so my old professor used to say, is misnamed.  Really, computer science is "Algorithmics," as in the study of Algorithms.  Algorithms, simply, are a sequence of unambigous instructions for solving a problem in a finite number of steps.  The steps in the algorithm must be simple and unambigious, because the Computer Scientists job is to express, code, and combine them in such a way that they can be ex…

SCRUM, two months (or years?) into it.

I've been part of two SCRUM rollouts so far.  One was a grassroots effort, the other organizational.  I have some thoughts I'd like to share, in no particular order.

It's no silver bullet.  Repeat that last sentence 10, 50, 1000 times until you believe it.  If your work habits, talent, training, and support roles suck, your (insert work product here) will still suck using SCRUM.  On the bright side, you'll understand that in 2 weeks to 2 months, instead of years after the product is in the fieldSCRUM teams: 10 people max, and that's pushing it.  Five is better.  I was on a 6 person SCRUM team, and it was great.Team of Specialists versus Team of Generalists?  I've no idea.  I've arguments for either approach, and no one answer fits everywhere.  Yay, "It depends."  I could be a consultant.The team must see the value in SCRUM.   It's a lightweight process, but it requires them to think and communicate on a level they haven't before.  If it'…

Instantaneous midlife crisis, and the reply thereto

So, the other day, Whitney and I found ourselves at the UK Arboretum enjoying one another's company and remarking on how little clothing 18-22 year olds wear while exercising.  As part of our walk, we discussed the next step in our lives.

You see, the last 5 years hasn't been all roses for us.  It's only in the past 8 months that I've gotten my head screwed-on straight about my faith, my place in this world, and my attitude towards life.  If you read enough of this blog, you can chart my up and downs like a sine wave, especially when I was 25->30.  Sometimes, I've been there for my family; other times, I've hidden at work or in my own destructive pursuits, leaving Whitney to be a single parent to 1, then 2, now 3 children.

I'd like to say all that's past now, and for 8 months this week, it has been.  Here on out, it's one day at a time of integrity.

The above is a long way of saying, my wife and I are in a really good place right now, praise God.…