The right tool for the job

This last weekend I set a toilet, replaced five faucets, and put together the beginnings of a workbench. No, I’ve not resorted to working in “the trades,” to make a living — I’ve been slowly but surely finishing and refashioning our “country house” to better accommodate the time we spend “in the country.” One of…

Review: The New IT

The New IT Jill Dyche Research has found that almost half of the CEOs described CIOs as being out of touch with the business and unable to understand how to apply IT in new ways. Over half also considered IT “a commodity service purchased as needed.” So begins Jill Dyche in her examination of the…

Waste Not a Moment (Time Management)

One of the legends surrounding people who get a lot done is they simply don’t sleep. It’s long been said that I have some number of clones who do part of my work, or perhaps that if you ask different clones the same question, you’ll get different answers. This has, of course, been verified scientifically……

Data Can’t Lie?

A statistician is someone who can put their head in a hot oven, and their feet in a bucket of ice, and say, “on the average, I feel fine.” Before we move completely into a world where people are counseled, “use the data, Luke,” disregarding their own beliefs and feelings, we need to have a…

Eschew Obfuscation (Communicate Clearly)

Many years ago, I worked for a manager who had two signs on his desk. The first was a pencil with the words, “Pencil 2.0” printed above them. The rest of the sign went on to explain how the pencil had undo (the eraser), was renewable (it can be sharpened), etc. The second sign was…

Vendor Neutral

And then Bilbo held the router up to the light and wondered aloud… Whatever is, vendor neutral? Vendor neutral certainly receives a lot of play in the world of network engineering. You might have even heard the words come out of my mouth during my case study on the Telepost Greenland network at Interop a…

General Howe’s Dog

The morning after a battle — one of the first won by the American army in its battle for freedom from the British Empire — if you happened to be on the scene, you might see an American soldier, under a white flag of truce, struggling with something small he is carrying between the lines.…

A GUI and a Wizard

One of the brilliant things about conferences like Interop is the hallways (and if you’re not going to Interop, this is why you should be!). It’s not that I don’t enjoy the sessions, but—like the IETF—I often get much more out of the conversations with folks who know networking, and yet have a completely different…

Own the Problem

In the late 1990’s, I was on the routing protocols TAC team in Raleigh — which means I answered the phone, and said things like, “This is Russ from Cisco TAC, how can I help you?” Generally what followed was a crash, or, well, just about anything. The design on the left is what we…

Observations on Ownership

We are clearly moving to a software focused world — this conclusion is almost as inevitable and natural as taking your next breath (or eating that next Little Bits burger — but don’t get the big one unless you’re really hungry). But, as with all things, there is a flip side to the world going…