The facts, while interesting, are irrelevant

20 April 2015 | Comments Off on The facts, while interesting, are irrelevant

Maybe my excuse should be that it was somewhere around two in the morning. Or maybe it was just unclear thinking, and that was that. Sgt P. and I were called out to fix the AN/FPS-77 RADAR system just at the end of our day (I normally came into the shop around 6:30AM after swimming…

Freedom to

13 April 2015 |

Pardon me if I go a little bit on the philosophical side of life as a network engineer this week, but we need to have a little talk about freedom. This last week, Ethan wrote a post on his new criteria for network design and architecture. While I agree with the points Ethan makes in…

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…

Talk to the Dummy

30 March 2015 | Comments Off on Talk to the Dummy

You’ve hit brain freeze. It seemed like such a great idea at the time, but now that it’s 2am, the application is down, and you can’t find the problem, maybe it wasn’t after all. Or maybe it’s 4pm, and you’re sitting at your desk trying to figure out how to resolve a problem, or build…

Act!

16 March 2015 |

Part 1: Getting Inside the Loop Part 2: Orientation Part 3: Decide! Once you’ve observed, oriented, and decided, it’s time to act. This might seem like a minor concept, but it’s actually really, really hard to act in a lot of situations. There are two elements here — the first is our willing suspension of…

Decide!

9 March 2015 | Comments Off on Decide!

Last week we talked about orienteering — using models and information to orient ourselves to what’s going on in the network. This is part of the OODA loop, which we talked about two weeks ago. This week, let’s look at the next step — decide. In fact: Decide! Now! How many hours have you spent…

Orientation

2 March 2015 |

Quick — can you OODA? Last week we talked about the general idea behind the OODA loop; this week we’ll cover one more step; next week we’ll cover the last two steps, and then, in the last post, we’ll review and wrap up. Orient is the second step: once you’ve made a set of observations,…

Getting Inside the Loop

23 February 2015 | Comments Off on Getting Inside the Loop

Metadata doesn’t just apply to data science or protocols — it applies to engineering life. Think about the concept of epistemology — the study of how we know what we know — or the concept of hermeneutics — the study of how we understand communication — and you can quickly see that stepping outside what…

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…

Jack of All Trades

31 August 2014 |

“Jack of all trades, master of none…” How many times have you heard that in your life? In your career as an engineer? I’ve probably heard it hundreds of times, if not thousands, from working on RADAR and various sorts of radio and other electronics in the US Air Force to as recently as last…