Learning from Germanwings

7 April 2015 |

On the 24th of March, the pilot of Germanwings flight 4U9525 into a field, killing everyone on board, including himself. This is a human tragedy — beyond what many of us will experience in our lifetimes. But it’s also an important object lesson to those of us who live in the world of engineering. Think…

The Problem with Peanuts

23 March 2015 | Comments Off on The Problem with Peanuts

I was hungry. Perhaps that’s a good excuse, or perhaps not. Either way, I sat down after ordering, took a peanut, broke the nuts out of the shell, and ate them. After eating the peanut, I felt less hungry. So I picked up another one and ate it, as well. Soon enough, long before I…

A Neutral ‘Net?

16 February 2015 | Comments Off on A Neutral ‘Net?

This week I’m going to step off the beaten path for a moment and talk about ‘net neutrality. It appears we are about to enter a new phase in the life of the Internet — at least in the United States — as the FCC is out and about implying we should expect a ruling…

Friends May Come and Go…

9 February 2015 |

We overuse the word “friend” in our world—especially the technical world. We tend to call anyone we’ve ever met a friend. In this environment, friends come and go almost constantly, flowing through our lives like the leaves in a brisk fall wind. The depth to which Facebook and LinkedIn dive into our personal relationships—reminding us…

But Does it Work?

19 January 2015 |

When I was in the USAF, a long, long, time ago, there was a guy in my shop — Armand — who, no matter what we did around the shop, would ask, “but does it work?” For instance, when I was working on redoing the tool cabinet, with nice painted slots for each tool, he…

On Losing

5 January 2015 | Comments Off on On Losing

When I got off the phone, I knew I’d blown it. I’d gotten so wrapped up in the discussion on eVPNs that I might have crossed over that magical line between, “this is a really neat technology,” to, “this technology will solve world hunger.” It brought back to mind my first “real fight” in the…

The Inner Ring

27 October 2014 |

An avid reader of C.S. Lewis, I often find his thoughts and statements applicable far outside his original intent. For instance, in 1944 (at least a few years before I was born I feel safe to say), he gave an amazing lecture at the Memorial Lecture of King’s College, University of London. The entire speech…

Get Out of the Way

29 September 2014 |

I have a lot of memories that have emerged from my years as a network engineer — from funny stories to profound moments to those times when I felt like a complete idiot (because we’re all idiots sometimes). One of those formative moments was when I was agonizing over the decision to leave the Global Escalation…

Jim — I’m an Engineer, not a…

22 September 2014 |

Doctor McCoy, on the original Star Trek series had a signature line — he was forever complaining about this or that with the exclamation that he was just a doctor, and not a… Well, whatever, from shuttle driver to politician. And how many times, in my career, have I wanted to stop in the middle…

What I Learned by Being Laid Off

8 September 2014 |

There’s nothing quite so unnerving as being laid off. I know, because I’ve been let go in a “limited restructuring” twice in my life. Through the process, I learned some “life lessons,” that apply to just about every engineering in the world. While I’m safely ensconced in a great place at Ericsson, I thought it…