Entries from September 2008 ↓

Mentors, congratulations, and humble pie

On Friday I was thrilled to find out that an old colleague of mine, Steve Todd, was honored as one of EMC’s Distinguished Engineers.  I worked with Steve when I was fresh out of college, building Navisphere out of twigs and rocks (well, it seems like it was that long ago).
Continue reading →

Working on something Cool

One of the common complaints you hear in Resource Management Software development is that you’re not working on anything Cool.  There’s just something pedestrian about writing software that (at its core) monitors hardware.  I mean, there are exceptions, some stuff that we do is really cool, but it’s seldom capital letters Really Cool, like, say, VMware.  Or video game development (which I imagine is fairly pedestrian in itself, but at least has an output which your average in-law can appreciate).

But yesterday I sat in on a meeting about something that is Pretty Cool, if not Really Cool.  And it’s not even software.
Continue reading →

Who owns this?

I’ve been involved in software development for over a decade, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this question: Who owns this code? Generally, if someone has to ask, it’s already a bad sign, but the real bad sign is what comes next.  “Oh, Bob used to own it, but he left the company, and then it was Kumar, but he transferred over to the other team, now I guess Sue could probably answer questions about it,” but nobody owns it.

Well, that last part is seldom verbalized, but it’s on everyone’s mind.
Continue reading →

Casual Friday: Geocaching for Geeks

(I occasionally use this blog to talk about non-professional topics.  I confine these posts to Fridays, hence the term 🙂 ).

This summer, I was re-introduced to the hobby of geocaching.  I had read about geocaching many times over the years, but nobody I knew had gotten into it, so I ignored it.  When a few family members started getting into it, I took another look.

First off, for those unfamiliar with the hobby, geocaching is basically a game in which participants retrieve coordinates and/or hints from a common web site, travel to those coordinates using GPS receivers (GPSr), and find “caches” hidden by other players of the game.  Upon finding the cache, finders sign a logbook and report their success.  Caches are hidden on urban street corners and mountain peaks, and everything in-between.

So what makes this hobby fun for geeks like me?  A few things….

Continue reading →

Tell me a little about yourself

I wish I had a picture to accompany this post — me, sitting on a chair, in front of a green screen, with high tech A/V equipment all around me, and bright lights shining in my eyes.  Me, nervous, blabbing off topic.  How did I get into that mess?
Continue reading →

Why do any of this?

When I started this blog, with my real name and occupational information prominently displayed, I received quite a few concerned comments from friends, family, and colleagues. In general their issues boiled down to this: why expose yourself to this? Why put yourself out there, increasing the risk of someone using the information you have out there against you in the future?

Continue reading →

More gameday advice: Get sacked!

In my continuing effort to add to the cluttered world of sports analogies in business conversations, today’s post covers a rather sensitive topic to this Tom Brady fan.  You want your quarterback to get sacked once in a while.
Continue reading →

The Object of the Game

Some time back, I talked about some lessons I’d learned from a couple different (fairly geeky) games.  There’s a valuable lesson I didn’t include there, and I think it deserves its own post.  In honor of the start of the American Football season, I’ll even add some sports analogies.

The lesson is simple: don’t ever forget the object of the game.  But there are a couple side lessons which follow from it.
Continue reading →

There are no faceless corporations

If, like me, you read the Consumerist, you are greeted on a daily basis by stories of idiocy, incompetency, and outright evil done by “faceless corporations.” Home Depot did this, Target did that, Wal-Mart did this other thing. Oil companies, airlines, cable companies, retailers, you name it. The common thread is that a paying customer has a bad experience, and the person whose job it is to interface with that customer is unwilling or unable (due to corporate policy) to fix things. Often, the issue is escalated enough, common sense is eventually applied, and the customer is appeased (for now).

We hear this story almost daily, with different players in different roles. And yet there’s still this image that corporations are faceless entities.
Continue reading →

Personality Profiles: I am what I am?

Peter Quirk recently forwarded an interesting post to me.  It discussed the idea of creating a “User’s Manual” for a manager, based on the manager’s leadership style and personality traits, to help employees function under that manager.  Knowing my interest in people management and transparency, he thought I might have some ideas on it.  He was right.

Continue reading →