The 2017 Word-a-Day challenge is off to an amazing start, and I wanted to share just a few of the incredible insights and amazing stories being shared in that space. If you hadn't heard about it until now, you can find all the entries here: Word-A-Day  Challenge 2017 .


Meanwhile, a quick reminder about the challenge rules: Each word will appear around midnight US Central time, and you have until midnight the following day to post a *meaningful* comment (you know, something more than "yeah!" or "great job!") for 150 THWACK points. You have until midnight Monday night to make comments on the words that post on Saturday and Sunday, since we here at THWACK would never want to pull you away from your valuable downtime.


So what were people talking about this week?


Identity (Posted by Leon Adato Expert)

Michael Probus Expert Nov 30, 2017 9:27 AM

I find the Where You Are an interesting addition to authentication.  Back in my day when I was teaching class, it was always the first three.  I'm wondering how many organizations are taking into account location when authenticating.  We have monitoring applications that log IP address, so it can easily be obtained, but I don't know that they are being factored in when the user is logging in (except for those that are blocked by ACL).


Simeon Castle Dec 1, 2017 6:11 AM

A personality, in a loose sense, is the sum of all experiences to date; everything from all our senses builds how we think and act and live. From this also comes the desires and ways we would act, talk and think. I've very recently taken the step to leave a decade career and lifelong ambition to join you in getting Thwack points IT administration. When I took that step, I changed my identity - who I am and who I will become. Sometimes it takes the Earth to make a small change, and sometimes it takes a word to change a life.


Mark Roberts Expert Dec 1, 2017 9:27 AM

An immediate thought that came out of reading the first days challenge, is related to me finding out I had a half brother I did not know existed (as did my Father) 3 years ago. We, along with my brother, Father and Mother became close very quickly after our first meeting, with the relationship very much based on our shared identity. The premise that we are who we are based on our life and the experiences within has also very strongly been proven to be based on nature as well. The similarities in our looks is one thing, but the shared mannerisms, way of speaking and many other traits along has brought much debate and sometimes with our wives consternation as now our sense of humours are spread across three of us.



Access (Posted by Eric CourtesyIT Expert)

Mercy K Dec 3, 2017 7:38 AM

Access is a big deal, it shows you where one belongs in a particular place; it is the evidence of belonging.


James Percy Dec 4, 2017 9:56 AM

Access is ones ability to gain entry into a place. For some that place was Studio 54, where it was difficult to gain access. For others access is gain entrance to a place that gives us an ability to do something, like gaining entrance to a group that allows me to change permissions in a virtual world.


Damon Goff Dec 4, 2017 12:56 PM

At my previous job access seemed to be a daily fight. I can't remember a single day where there wasn't a user testing to see if they could weasel their way into having access to something that they shouldn't have, and didn't need (they all thought they did). The biggest fight was always over WiFi access for personal devices. Our setup was simple, one SSID for company owned devices that only two people knew they password to and a second for guests/personal devices. Enough of the managers complained to the big boss over this that he came to me and told me to change the way we do things. Give all users the password. I argued with him over it and we came to an agreement that we would do an isolated test before allowing everyone access. I would broadcast a new SSID that was a clone of the existing and only hand out the password to a small group. Not even a day had gone by before I start noticing strange activity and unknown devices connecting to this new SSID at all hours. And wouldn't you know it, a select few almost immediately gave the password to just about everyone they knew! I really enjoyed the I told you so after I showed the big boss.


Insecure (Posted by Peter Monaghan, CBCP, SCP, ITIL ver.3 Expert)

Thomas Iannelli Expert Dec 3, 2017 11:23 AM

I recall a conversation when I was in the Air Force about how fighter jets are very dependent up their thrust to stay in the air, unlike the good old C-130s. It was the fighters' very instability that made them such a dynamic force in air combat. It makes me look at the instability of what I know in IT and feel comfortable with that. While it may make me insecure, if I apply the correct amount of thrust to stay in it, I can keep flying in the very dynamic career of IT professional.


Ani Love Dec 3, 2017 11:47 AM

Confidence is silent, insecurities are LOUD


Steven Carlson Expert Dec 4, 2017 12:07 AM

Admittedly, my initial introduction to a lot of SolarWinds MVPs made me feel pretty insecure - "They know so much more than me! Why am I here?".  Over time however I have realised that this has pushed me to increase my depth of knowledge and that there are times where I have been able to provide assistance to them. We're better as a whole than the individual parts.


Imposter (Posted by Joshua Biggley Expert)

Michael Probus Expert Dec 4, 2017 7:32 AM

Good write up.  Not what I envisioned when I saw the title, but I assume that is what you were going for.  Thinking outside the box. Too many times, people just try to fit in.  They are afraid to be themselves as they don't know how they will be perceived by others. Then there are the times when someone pretends to know something they don't for fear to being looked upon negatively. As you said it.  Be yourself.  If you don't know something, just ask.  Everyone had to learn at some point.  If someone doesn't like you for how you are, then they don't deserve to know you.


Kamil Nepsinsky Dec 4, 2017 9:03 AM


James Percy Dec 4, 2017 10:08 AM

At first I wanted to ask if I am Batman, or an imposter. But then I think when the band Kiss replaced their drummer Peter Chris, and Eric Singer then puts on the make up and persona of the original character, is Eric now an imposter? Or is he just playing a roll that was passed on.



Code (Posted by Craig Norborg Expert)

Ethan Beach Dec 7, 2017 4:16 PM

My kid at only 8 years old already took a Minecraft coding class. Man how young they are learning.


James Percy Dec 5, 2017 12:45 PM

When I think back on childhood, a code was more like a cipher, something you needed to de-code to understand. Something you needed the secrete decoder ring or tool for. In later life as I became a magician the code was more about ethics, where we agreed to not frivolously or intentionally give away certain secrets that may be revealed in how something may work. At work we have a code of conduct or a list of rules we must abide by. And in IT I feel here code bandied about as a term referring to programming.


Just looking over all the contexts and definitions and meanings of the work code, leads me to ponder other languages. It is interesting how in English we can have one word that can mean multiple things depending on context, however in other languages, even ancient ones, like Greek,  there are multiple words used that making those languages more complex but also more descriptive and precise.


Graeme Brown Dec 5, 2017 10:14 AM

I remember seeing the word code in many places but what first struck me was how the word applies to genetics AND information technology. When you consider the history of the word, it's a simple word with a very generic meaning, now it's use seems restricted to mystical deep uses. that will change however as people learn to question the norm and seek out true all things.



FUD (Posted by thegreateebzies Administrator)

Michael Perkins Dec 7, 2017 10:38 AM

I first heard about FUD from geeky pursuits. For along time, though, I actually used it far more to describe things political, especially in political campaigns (e.g., negative campaign ads).


The way, in short, that I like to deal with FUD hits each aspect:
Fear - Apprehension is generally OK. It is alright to be concerned, but not to be paralyzed or ruled by fear.Uncertainty - The more I know, the dumber I think I am, since I realize even more of what I don't know. Not being G-D, I cannot know everything, so some uncertainty is understandable.

Doubt - F and U definitely imply D. That doubt, however, can lead you to ask questions to perhaps catch something not foreseen, which is good.

Use FUD to guide you to where your concerns are and put efforts there to research and prove or alleviate them. Turn FUD into a productive force. Just don't let it paralyze you.


Alex Sheppard Dec 7, 2017 8:42 AM

"I must not fear!  Fear is the mind killer!  Fear is the littledeath that brings total obliteration!  I will face my fears.  I will allow them to pass over me, and over me."

   - Paul Atreides, "Dune"


Also, for those who don't already know, F.E.A.R is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real!


Steven Carlson Expert Dec 7, 2017 8:09 AM

While not work-related, I've gone through a bout of FUD lately with my first home purchase. We went in with a bit of risk knowing there was some existing damage that needed repairing (uncertainty) but the damage looks to be more than anticipated. I have had doubts about whether I've made the right choice, and fearful of what else would come up. However, I've since overcome most of that (except for a little bit of the fear) and we're pushing ahead with what we have and fixing it up properly for our peace of mind.



Pattern (Posted by kneps)

C Potridge Dec 7, 2017 2:38 PM

Better safe than sorry, run from all tigers, real or imagined.


Richard Schroeder Expert Dec 7, 2017 2:56 PM

I loved the "Faces In Places" search--thank you for sharing that.


Yes, sometimes the pattern only appears from far away--not being able to see the forest for the trees is a hurdle we don't sometimes don't even know we've encountered.


Other times we are in our own pattern (a.k.a.: "rut") from having recently diagnosed and troubleshot an issue with a particular technology. Our solution, and that recent troubleshooting pattern, can lead a person to easily waste time by digging into that specific issue, when in fact the problem is unrelated.


There's a character in Ursula K. LeGuin's EarthSea saga called "The Master Patterner" who is enigmatic and subtle.…   Enjoy her works as I do, and another pattern is made.


Thomas Iannelli Expert Dec 7, 2017 3:18 PM

I recently listened to an episode of the "You Are Not So Smart" podcast that had interesting comments to make on how artificial intelligence is using patterns it finds in historical input data which create biases that we may not want as a society as we go forward. The ability to recognize patterns and go "Oh, that one is bad, we should change that," is going to an important part of how we code AI.


Virtual Posted by Richard Letts Expert()

Richard Schroeder Expert Dec 8, 2017 9:34 AM

A definition for virtual I learned long ago, is "In essence, but not in fact."  An important distinction! And I learned "virtual" has nothing to do with the goodness of "virtue"; the two words are not related except by spelling and sound for my purposes. Knowing this, you can better understand product claims and news reports with a more critical eye when you hear "virtual" or "virtually".


Virtually the only differences between a "real" router or server and equivalent "virtual" models are form factor and management/setup process.  We may be accustomed to a hardware box dedicated to routing, or to a pizza box server taking requests for applications or files.  We reduce costs and extend flexibility and increase uptime by moving to virtual hardware that performs the same services when our environment and budget scale to the need.  But the function of the original hardware server or router is duplicated exactly by the virtual appliance, and more flexibility and options are gained through the virtues virtual routers and servers.


William Gonzalez Dec 8, 2017 9:56 AM

The challenge is trying to get management to virtualize very server. They keep insisting that we need physical boxes and it drives me crazy.


Matt R Expert Dec 8, 2017 10:43 AM (in response to Christopher Good)

I will always be forever reminded that virtualization (nee virtual) is good, as long as it is *understood*. It's critical that people know what it means to virtualize and what it doesn't mean. Do you have flexibility? Yes. HA? Ideally yes. Do you have redundancy? Hopefully yes. Do you still have physical hosting that virtualization? Yes.  Do you have enough hardware and properly allocated hardware so that people can do what they need? Again, hopefully yes. So it's helpful to remember that not everything can or will ever be virtual because we still live in a physical world. That being said, the benefits are immense, but the planning needs to be there from the start. Otherwise it's trying to ask normal people to figure out rocket science and realize they missed something (core) to keep a virtual environment up. Or pushing to go virtual when you don't even have enough resources to do it.



Again, that's just a sample. Check out the Word-a-Day 2017 forum to get the full story. Meanwhile, stay tuned this coming week as we ponder Binary, Footprint, Loop, Obfuscate, Bootstrap, Cookie, and Argument!