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…

Leaky Abstractions

12 January 2015 | Comments Off on Leaky Abstractions

Much of our life, as engineers, is about building, manipulating, and using abstractions. For instance, C is nothing but an abstraction on top of the actual register set provided by a particular processor. HTML is nothing but an abstraction for formatting and display (a markup language), implemented in — well, C. There is a lot…

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…

Why Your Presentation Stinks (Part 2)

29 December 2014 | Comments Off on Why Your Presentation Stinks (Part 2)

Last time, we talked a little about making certain your presentation has a point — or a porpoise, as the case might be. This time I want to talk about a few other common mistakes I see network engineers make when building presentations, and actually presenting them. First, you put too much text on your…

Why Your Presentation Stinks (Part 1)

15 December 2014 | Comments Off on Why Your Presentation Stinks (Part 1)

Powerpoint doesn’t stink. Our presentation skills do. So how do we fix it? First, you must decide: what do I want this presentation to be? We’ve all seen the brilliant TED talks about new ideas. We’ve all seen the really cool sample presentations from those online presentation sites about someone’s trip around the world. When…

Powerpoint Doesn’t Stink

7 December 2014 | Comments Off on Powerpoint Doesn’t Stink

“Presentations are just a waste of time.” “Powerpoint stinks.” “Can’t we do something other than another long, boring, presentation?” “We should just ban Powerpoint.” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone complain about Powerpoint, or presentations, I’d be rich enough to quit work and stop blogging. 🙂 Isn’t it about time…

The Degree or the Certification: Answering the Question

24 November 2014 | Comments Off on The Degree or the Certification: Answering the Question

Okay, finally, I’m going to answer the question. For some value of the word “answer,” anyway. I’ve spent three weeks thinking through various question you should be asking, along the way making three specific points: Stop asking “should I get a degree or a certification,” and start asking “what do I want to learn next.”…

The Degree or the Certification: You are Not a Widget

17 November 2014 | Comments Off on The Degree or the Certification: You are Not a Widget

One of the things that bothers me the most about the Internet of Things (IOT) is how blithely we slip from talking about objects as things to people as things. Among all the things I do not want to be, a “thing,” attached to the “Internet of Things,” is not one of them. What does…

The Degree or the Certification: Learn to See

10 November 2014 | Comments Off on The Degree or the Certification: Learn to See

This week I was reading through various RSS feeds, and ran across a couple that fell within the scope of last week’s topic. So, rather than moving on to more practical concerns, as I had planned to do — well, I thought I should respond to some common lines of thinking. First of all, the…

The Degree or the Certification

3 November 2014 |

Having just come off doing a presentation on “being a great engineer,” I can tell you what the number one question people asked was: Should I get a degree, or a certification? In fact, several people were irritated that Denise and I were even talking about anything else, because it’s the only question that counts.…