Fanax: the Mycenaean term for "king"; pronounced "wanax". The funny initial letter, "F", is called digamma and shows up in Archaic Greek epigraphy (papyrus and tablet writings). The sound, if not the letter form, and its linguistic equivalent initially show up in the heiroglyphic writings (Linear B) of Bronze Age Greece both at Pylos, in the far west of Greece (Peloponnese), and at Knossos in north central Crete, the funny "F". Specifically, digamma shows up in the Greek of Homer's Iliad with the word "F"anax, but there it's a "rough breathing" in the form "(h)anax", where the term is linked to an important individual at Pylos. In Classical and Hellenistic Greek, the F continues in this aspirant, or "h" sound, form at the beginning of many Greek words.

Entries Tagged as miscellany

What Went Wrong?

January 26, 2017 ·

What went wrong that lead to your last job change? A brief look at servant leadership versus management.

[Read more →]

Tags: miscellany

thoughts on programming ... and life

February 27, 2012 ·

Zen and the art of programming is certainly not a new concept, but the stuff in this post really is quite solid.  #s 4 and 5 probably inform the other 8 points he makes, in my opinion.

Tags: miscellany · software development

Developer Value

December 08, 2011 ·

This is a fascinating look at the value of good developers.  Not only interesting insights into developers and their role in the economy, but also some great insights into company structures which may have impact on every type of company in the economy over the next few years.

"As every company starts to re-organize around a recognition of the criticality of software to its business model, cataclysimic changes will ripple through the economy. To the extent that the growth of the base of software talent cannot keep up with demand, companies and entire industry sectors will start to collapse as they fail to adequately fuel their need for software talent."

Tags: miscellany · software development

Science

July 28, 2011 ·

This is just truly outstanding.  He nails it:  the problem with "science" in the modern sense, and not just in the MSM sense.

"If scientists want to be considered in the same boat as the guys who think aliens built the pyramids, then fine, they should keep going the way they are going."

Tags: miscellany

the nature of love

March 30, 2011 ·

Another little exploration from Ben Nadel, who just can't help but mix philosophy with coding.  In particular, though, this quote really caught my attention:

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."

-- Tara Parker-Pope, For Better:  The Science of a Good Marriage

Tags: miscellany

paint notes

December 28, 2009 ·

All paints Sherwin-Williams.

Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room:  Classic Light Buff, on Extra White base, Super Paint, Interior Satin Latex
     Y3 Deep Gold - 3 1 -

White trim is non-tinted Extra White base, Pro-classic, Semi-gloss Acrylic Latex

Living Room, green wall:  Artichoke, on Deep base, Super Paint, Interior Satin Latex
     B1 Black - 56 1 1
     G2 Green - 37 - -
     N1 Raw Umber - 19 - -
     Y3 Deep Gold 4 14 1 1

Tags: miscellany

The Oddities of Leaving

November 04, 2008 ·

Have you ever left a job that you didn’t feel bad about leaving?  I don’t know that I have, not really.  Looking back across half a career, it seems like there have been two general categories:  jobs that sucked but it felt like "if I could just [fill in the blank], I could help this thing turn the corner ...", and then jobs that were fine or even great, the kind you leave because the new opportunity is simply too good to pass up or because the current job is great but not a great fit.

In the rough spots, that first category, there are the good people that you’re leaving behind.  They’re still there, dealing with whatever made the place rough to begin with.  Lingering doubts of “could I have done more?” coupled with the knowledge that I could have done more, but not probably enough to make a difference.  Lingering doubts of “maybe it was just me being a jerk or being out of touch” but then watching a parade of others leave every month or two for a year after I’ve left.  Watched my boss leave once a few months after I did, inspired, she said, by my decision.

So, when you’re in a good spot, in that second category, why in the world would you leave?! What, are you nuts??  I’ve been functioning as a business analyst (BA) for the past year or so, a professional IT consultant tasked with helping to define and guide software projects.  This is a highly valuable role in today’s market, so when I float a resume on a job board, even when the resume is development-oriented, I get regular contact from HR reps and consultancies offering to discuss Great BA Opportunities.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually really do enjoy doing BA work, which is why I left my last job to focus on that area of the market.  Huge need in market, I have strengths there, great match and a good move on my part.  Problem is that it’s not all I want to be doing.  Secondary problem is that if I want to be a BA, there’s no way I would leave Cardinal to do so … I can already be a BA, change companies every year or so, get opportunities to learn new businesses and new processes, all while having the support of a well run, employee-centric consulting firm.

So, the decision to jet comes down to one of two causes, which can be related, although they don’t have to be.  One possibility is that the current great job is simply not the best fit, “You know, I really want to be doing X”, whether it’s more or at all.  Another possibility is that an opportunity comes to you which is simply excellent, either because of the career opportunities, the money, or the fit, which is where the 2 causes can be tightly related.  People are known to make lateral or even backwards moves to get a better fit with their hopes and dreams or preferences.  Sometimes these things only come clear over time, so “fit” is distinctly changeable.

Business analysis was certainly one of those areas for me.  I have been doing BA work in one capacity or another since I started doing freelance software development projects back in the mid-90s.  I like talking to users, I like figuring out what they really need to be doing, and I love designing software solutions that can meet those needs efficiently and effectively.  As I noted earlier, there is a huge need in the market for these skills, and so it was an excellent career move to narrow my focus and to head off in that direction.  But I miss the execution.  Especially in large corporations, in huge IT groups, it’s impossible to even get visibility into design and development because the execution is so many steps removed from the users and the BA.  Forget about influencing design and development.  For me, that’s simply no good.  I am a strong system designer, a strong database designer, and I see solutions in all their complexities.  That ability to analyze and to track all the variables is what makes a good BA, but no one reads documentation, period, they just don’t, which means that a good BA can only bring his expertise to bear if he can influence / participate in design and development, at least at some level.   In my opinion this is what makes agile methodologies like Scrum so strong:  get the business rep (BA, PM, whatever) on the project team, make the whole team accountable to each other, define short bursts of clear direction, and get out of their way while they figure out how to nail it.  Keep documentation to manageable levels and make sure that the business rep (BA, PM, whatever) is fully engaged.  Let the ScrumMaster help keep the work clean and the wheels moving, and let ‘er rip.

All that being said, this Friday I roll off my consulting gig, to no longer be a Cardinal Solutions consultant bringing my BA skills to Fortune 500 clients in the Cincinnati area.  As of next Monday, I will be the Manager of IT for Gardner Publications, a closely held publishing company, managing their department of programmers, database folks, and network specialists.  Whether or not I push code, or regardless of how much code I end up pushing, I will be once again deeply involved in actually architecting and delivering solutions for problems both immediate and strategic.  And so, as much as I hesitated to leave a company as supportive as Cardinal has been – and they have been amazingly supportive, I cannot express how excited I am to be making this move!

New challenges, a new industry (it’s not seasonal textbooks this time, it’s trade magazines in the manufacturing world), management responsibilities, and a return to the ‘real’ business of tech! for a company that was looking for exactly my skills and background to help them into and through new transitions.

God is good!

Tags: family · miscellany · software development

Fun With Hurricanes

October 05, 2008 ·

Just ran across this blog post on living with the after-effects of Ike.  Sure it applies to any major storm, as many of these entries even apply here in Cinci where "all we got" were super-high winds.

Really, really funny!

Tags: miscellany

Still missing some stuff

April 23, 2008 ·

Well, found the old site data and pushed the old stuff into the new blog, but now I realize that any old pic links are busted.  The content, however, is all in place, going back quite a few years, really.  At any rate, no clue when I'll find the old images and get things re-wired on that score, but it's nice to see it all back in line.

Tags: miscellany

Old Stuff

April 23, 2008 ·

And, yes, although no one knows or remembers, we did used to have some stuff up here, including the Cicada Chronicles from that summer of misery and bugs.  I hope to get it all posted back up here this weekend.

Tags: miscellany

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