Reaction: Overly Attached

10 June 2019 | Comments Off on Reaction: Overly Attached

In a recent edition of ACM Queue, Kate Matsudaira has an article discussing the problem of being overly attached to a project or solution.

The longer you work on one system or application, the deeper the attachment. For years you have been investing in it—adding new features, updating functionality, fixing bugs and corner cases, polishing, and refactoring. If the product serves a need, you likely reap satisfaction for a job well done (and maybe you even received some raises or promotions as a result of your great work).

Attachment is a two-edged sword—without some form of attachment, it seems there is no way to have pride in your work. On the other hand, attachment leads to poorly designed solutions. For instance, we all know the hyper-certified person who knows every in and out of a particular vendor’s solution, and hence solves every problem in terms of that vendor’s products. Or the person who knows a particular network automation system and, as a result, solves every problem through automation.

meeting madness, ONUG, and software defined

22 May 2019 | Comments Off on meeting madness, ONUG, and software defined

Jordan, Eyvonne, and I sit down for a conversation that begins with meetings, and ends with talking about software defined everything (including meetings??). Outro Music: Danger Storm Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater (No, you’re not Google, but why does this matter?)

6 May 2019 | Comments Off on Throwing the baby out with the bathwater (No, you’re not Google, but why does this matter?)

It was quite difficult to prepare a tub full of bath water at many points in recent history (and it probably still is in some many parts of the world). First, there was the water itself—if you do not have plumbing, then the water must be manually transported, one bucket at a time, from a…

About that Easy Button …

29 April 2019 | Comments Off on About that Easy Button …

We love layers and abstraction. After all, building in layers and it’s corollary, abstraction, are the foundation of large-scale system design. The only way to build large-scale systems is to divide and conquer, which means building many different component parts with clear and defined interaction surfaces (most often expressed as APIs) and combining these many…

Choose Simple Solutions

1 April 2019 | 1 Comment

In my experience, simplicity is not valued enough in software development. Instead, there is a lot of emphasis placed on flexibility. —Felix Replace “software” with “network,” and think about it. How often do network engineers select the chassis-based system that promises to “never need to be replaced?” How often do we build networks like they…

Social Media, Limits, and Productivity

27 March 2019 | Comments Off on Social Media, Limits, and Productivity

If there is one question I get most often, it is “how do you get so much done?” One answer to this question is: I limit my use of social media. There is, another angle to social media use which is a bit more… philosophical. Some of you might know that I am currently working…

Bridging the Gap

12 March 2019 | 3 Comments

Mike Bushong and Denise Donohue join Eyvonne, Jordan, and I to discuss the gap between network engineering and “the business,” and give us some thoughts on bridging it. Outro Music: Danger Storm Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

The Revenge of the Ancillaries

28 January 2019 | Comments Off on The Revenge of the Ancillaries

Have you ever tried to make water flow in a specific direction? Maybe you have some particularly muddy spot in your yard, so you dig a small ditch and think, “the water will now flow from here to there, and the muddy spot won’t be so muddy the next time it rains.” Then it rains,…

When Metaphors Fail

21 January 2019 | Comments Off on When Metaphors Fail

We often use metaphors to describe a particular part of a thing or the thing itself. For instance, we might say “I’m as hungry as a horse,” to describe how much we think we could eat (although a more appropriate saying might be “as hungry as a bird,” as it turns out!). Network operators and…

Short Take: Nerd Knobs

17 December 2018 | Comments Off on Short Take: Nerd Knobs