Debugging Human Nutrition

by Tom Harrison Jr on May 1, 2016

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During my lifetime multiple foods have been deemed either good or bad — many both. Salt. Eggs. Meat. Carbs. Organic. Butter. Margarine. Fat. Vitamins. Sugar. High-fructose Corn Syrup. Broccoli. Kale. Donuts (Mmm, donuts). Too many ingredients. E-Coli. Preservatives. It doesn’t seem to be converging.

The Value of a Computer Science Degree? Null.

by Tom Harrison Jr on April 23, 2016

With Spring comes the green shoots of recently minted CS graduates. They are smart, hard-working, eager, and excited to be working at a real software company. If only they had even the remotest preparation or skills needed. I have interviewed a lot of recent grads over the years. I have worked at a lot of […]

Using StackOverflow to Learn by Teaching

April 17, 2016
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“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough” is a quote attributed to Albert Einstein. Working in a technical world, I know this to be true. I am learning lots of new things now, even more than usual, which is excellent and why I love software and systems development. At the […]

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Brilliance is not so Bright

March 20, 2016
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I work for software companies so I have been lucky enough to work with a lot of really smart people in my career. Working with smart people is a blast. Intelligence is by no means limited to software or other high-tech or other careers involving college degrees. Ed Timilty is a plumber, boiler mechanic and […]

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Another Approach to Testing Big Data

February 13, 2016
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There are some good strategies for how to test in a big data context, in this case Hadoop. Most rightly point out that you need to test: data that has been staged on Hadoop from its source the logic and process of transformation the correctness and completeness of the target data sets There are challenges […]

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Declare Your Variables to Communicate Clearly

February 3, 2016

Ah, Bob. One of the first incredibly brilliant engineers I worked with. Funny, great, and a friend for life. But Bob didn’t declare his variables. Conversations from him would start “So I tried that thing. I think it worked. This issue is that it was wrong, but the doc didn’t mention it so I checked […]

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Developer vs. Engineer, An Alphabet Angle

January 24, 2016
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Back in 2013 I wrote of a distinction between developer and engineer that my excellent boss Babis Marmanis often talked about. Many people, he said, could develop a method of crossing a river. Engineers would design and oversee construction of a proper bridge that would last for centuries. I was at Pubget at the time. […]

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Change is hard in people, companies

January 16, 2016

Companies and people may be more alike than we think. They seem to resist change in similar ways. I am working to try new things in my current company. No company could be more open, willing, accepting and encouraging of change than ours. Compared to other companies, both large and small, our leadership is wide […]

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Don’t Sell Past the Close: Don’t Solve Past the Solution

December 11, 2015

We’re QA’ing a release. Everything’s great except for one of the tasks. Actually, it’s a one-time thing — we need to fix a bunch of records up. The problem is not the code — we tested it on a small set of 10M or so records and that was OK. The problem is that it’s […]

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The Magic of Agile: No Magic

September 11, 2015

I have worked at many companies developing software over the years. When Agile came around it was clearly a far, far superior way of doing software than other approaches. But it’s not magic. Many companies fail to successfully adopt Agile. I have seen the same failure in several different places. Remarkably few companies get the […]

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