My Blog - Michael Hentges

Well, this is my blog. I'm not sure where this is going to go - but for now, it's a place for me to collect my thoughts in a permanent location.

I'm not a terrible writer - just slow. Maybe because writing doesn't have the same immediate feedback that writing a computer program does (it compiles!). The combination of problem-solving (why is it not compiling?), and the satisfaction of building/creating something, combine to provide endless enjoyment.

I've spent a career as a developer/technologist. I still remember my very first program - on the Apple II, drawing squares in an 80x25 grid to fill the screen in a variety of patterns - somewhere around 1981. From there, taking Pascal at the U of MN - and running my account out of its allotted time-share minutes trying to debug an infinite loop on teletype terminal for the final. Had to find a friend to help me print the program to turn it in.

From there, most of my technology skills have been self-taught. From "Turbo C" on the PC, learning about Novell Networks (eventually earning a CNA badge), writing C on the Mac before XCode - and then learning about systems programming and signal handlers for Unix systems. Wrote a library to help my team with triple pointers - ***resultset (pointer to a 2-dimensional array of row/column values...).

It took me a while to realize that my "superpower" wasn't in technical competence though - even when I was the one that always tackled the low-level difficult problems. Spent a lot of time writing .dll and .com components for GUI-based windows tools.

No, my "superpower" is/was communicating technical topics to non-technical people. First as the technical leader on projects - letting the project manager know what was going on and why. Then as the PM communicating to the business, then as a Sales Engineer explaining how the project was going to work - and what the benefits of the technology would be in their terms. Eventually as CTO and business co-owner setting product direction for the company - and spending a lot of time communicating to potential and existing customers.

Now, I'm done. Well, kinda. It was a good run, but selling the business has allowed me the flexibility to retire. Or, at least not have to work for anyone other than myself again - unless I want to. The retirement plan always had lots of travel in it - but Covid has pretty much destroyed that plan, for now.

So what do I do now - why not learn some technology! I've taken some time to explore the Rust programming language - an old Unix/C hack like me sees a lot to really like about it. I purchased an OneFinity CNC machine - making things with wood is almost as much fun as making a new computer program. Looking at gaining the AWS Certified Solutions Architect badge - never had a chance to learn as much about AWS as I've wanted. I also have been a life-long Chess addict, and now have the time to go to a few tournaments again. I've picked up my Tennis game again - and looking to add PickleBall to my activities soon. Some biking - road and mountain - and running with the wife is also in the mix.

But those are all things for me. They've worked to keep me busy for now, but I don't think that will be all that I do. Something fun/interesting will show up, a non-profit group that could use some help, or who knows what else. Follow along with the blog and see what turns up!