Scaling Up: It’s Never What You Think

by Tom Harrison Jr on November 25, 2016

I am fortunate enough to be working at a company whose problem is how to scale up … fortunate because it’s a good problem for a business to have, and fortunate because we are enlightened enough about the nature of the problem to realize it can be a terribly difficult problem. I have dealt with […]

Shouldn’t My Router be Preventing the Dyn DDoS?

by Tom Harrison Jr on October 23, 2016

This week we saw yet another hint of the new kind of warfare coming to a planet near you! The DDoS attack against Dyn was remarkable for its intensity, and the claim is that it was because now all our Internet of Things devices have been turned into bots. Yeah, no shit. This was a […]

Podcasts, good sleep, and Trump

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 […]

Read more →

The Joy of Programming … in Scratch?

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 […]

Read more →

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” […]

Read more →

Making Technical Debt A Feature

August 15, 2016
Thumbnail image for Making Technical Debt A Feature

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. […]

Read more →

US Digital Service: Now We’re Talking!

June 18, 2016
Thumbnail image for US Digital Service: Now We’re Talking!

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 […]

Read more →

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, […]

Read more →

Debugging Human Nutrition

May 1, 2016
Thumbnail image for Debugging Human Nutrition

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.

Read more →

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 […]

Read more →