Podcasts, good sleep, and Trump

by Tom Harrison Jr on October 16, 2016

I haven’t been sleeping normally for the last month or two.  I blame Trump. Could also be some other things.  But I still blame Trump. So I seem to have found a pre-election solution.  I got a set of “CozyPhones” — comfy headphones with a headband that you can wear while sleeping … or trying […]

The Joy of Programming … in Scratch?

by Tom Harrison Jr on September 21, 2016

My high-school daughter is taking a programming course this year. This is kind of stunning since my wife and I are both software engineers — don’t kids these days know to do the opposite of what your parents do? Anyway, she had a few few assignments and I had the chance to re-experience the joy […]

Sqoop and Sqoop Metastore: Be Careful!

September 11, 2016

It’s 2016 and we’re using CDH 5.x. The recommendation from Cloudera is still to use Sqoop 1. We use Sqoop to copy data from our relational SQL database into datasets in Hadoop, and also use it to copy data from Hadoop up to the SQL database. In either case, the targets of copies are “staging” […]

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Making Technical Debt A Feature

August 15, 2016
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A few months ago, I wrote a post about technical debt just after we had decided to move ahead with a project that looked like a great investment in plumbing with no clear sellable benefit. I proposed that we figure out how to make paying off that debt look like a new feature. It worked. […]

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US Digital Service: Now We’re Talking!

June 18, 2016
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I heard of the U.S. Digital Service while reading Hacker News, from a TED Talk, and then I saw that one of my heroes, Matt Cutts has joined. I applied today. (Update below, 6/24/2016) I think there’s a bat’s chance in hell that I will be considered. But as a software engineer, I feel as […]

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It’s A Feature, Not Technical Debt

June 14, 2016

Our product offers customers the ability to send us certain data that we ingest into Hadoop. With this data we can do some pretty amazing analytics on their behalf. This is a feature with immense value, and it works exactly as designed. It was designed by engineers, however, and lovely people though we may be, […]

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Debugging Human Nutrition

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.

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The Value of a Computer Science Degree? Null.

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 […]

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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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