The Clockwork Mind
...armed with the knowledge you get by simply paying attention...


…the blog

This is a record of my life as an analog to digital converter.

I know, just what the world needs: Another programming blog. With 50+ programming feeds in my Feedly now, I don’t anticipate this one adding too many revelations that haven’t already been covered.

However, one thing I know about myself is that I feel better when I write things down. Writing helps me think, and remember, and organize, and solve, and right now those are my most valuable skills.

So, this blog is going to be a place for me to write down things I know and learn and have them in one place instead of hoping I can remember that one Google search or bookmark that explains everything. But, if others find anything valuable in this blog, that’s a great bonus.

Oh, and the tagline? One of my favorite ever quotes from a Reddit thread. Paying attention is underrated.


My name is Shane Thacker, and I’m currently living in Durham, NC, USA. I’ve been working for years in various technical fields related to computing, sometimes in programming roles, sometimes in management, and ofttimes in both. During that time, I also had some adventures as a writer and editor, but even then it was still about the technology.

A lot of my experience is in ColdFusion. I’ve worked with it since ColdFusion 4.5, and it has been a decent niche that has enabled me to make a decent living as a government contractor. This blog won’t be a CF blog, though. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m looking for new ways of thinking, and it can be hard to do that with a language where you’ve developed a lot of habits, good or bad. Plus, like a lot of jobs, I can’t necessarily share some of the most vexing code.

I also have some experience in:

  • Data
    • Oracle
    • PostgreSQL
    • MongoDB
    • EHCache
    • JSON
    • XML
  • Code
    • JavaScript, inside and outside of frameworks
    • Oracle PL/SQL
    • Python
  • Tools
    • Jenkins
    • Ant
    • Subversion
    • Git
  • Testing
    • Selenium
    • MXUnit
  • Server
    • Apache
    • Tomcat

A fair amount of my time has been spent on teams small enough that DevOps was inevitable, even before we knew what it was called.

I fix things. I’d like to be that rockstar creator, but I’m much more of a problem solver. It’s a great feeling to look at unfamiliar code and understand why it exists in its current form, to look at the internals of a system and understand the business environment that birthed it.

Fixing things also tends to minimize one of my weaknesses: I hate to release imperfect code, which is ridiculous for a person who loves agile development as much as I do. (My compensation tactic is to always pay close attention to release schedules.) The first thing you usually find out about a fix is how urgent it is and how much damage it’s causing. When your minimum viable product is “Make it stop hurting us,” it’s easier to focus on making things good enough. Which is great, because what does perfect code look like?

I’m hoping this blog will help with that as well. I plan on throwing code up here as I learn, so there’s little chance it’s going to be perfect.

I’m also a Certified ScrumMaster, and I’m sure I’ll talk a fair amount about agile on here as well.

…the tech

I decided to host this blog on GitHub Pages for now. Might as well have it close to my projects.

The blog is based on GitHub’s version of Jekyll. The theme is Lanyon, by @mdo.

I’m typing this up on Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code right now, but I’ll probably use Notepad++ as well. (Actually, what I’m noticing is that I need a spell checker.)

My personal computer is from Framework. Work is all Windows. Getting Jeckyll to work properly on Windows is interesting.