Earlier this week I was on an episode of Jerry Landry’s wonderful podcast the Presidencies of the United States Ep 3.34. On this episode I read one of the opening quotes about former VP Aaron Burr stirring up trouble around the Mississippi River in 1806-1807.
Earlier this week I was a guest on another episode of Russ White’s podcast The Hedge Ep 74. On this episode we discussed a quote from Michael Collins’ autobiography about test pilots helping to create new Fighter Jets. I though the quote also applied to creating and using networking gear so we discussed.
I was honored to be a guest on Russ White’s wonderfully nerdy show. Here is a direct link to the audio file Link or just go your favorite pod-catcher and subscribe to get all the other great episodes.
I didn’t think I was nervous but once the Zoom recording started, I indeed got very nervous and tripped over my words on at least one occasion. I really thank the editor of the podcast for making me sound a lot better.
Yesterday, I was a guest on my first official podcast1. It was Episode 64 of Russ White’s podcast The Hedge. On this episode we discussed burnout. I was honored to be a guest on Russ White’s wonderfully nerdy show.
Here is a direct link to the audio file Link or just go your favorite pod-catcher and subscribe to get all the other great episodes.
1FYI, I was on a group Zoom call back in April of 2020 and that was posted as a podcast. Link I sorta count it, you’ve gotta start somewhere.
This is what I do to try to ensure I don’t lose any pictures.
The first obvious step is I take a picture. I take all of my pictures with my iPhone. My wife takes her pictures with a combination of her iPhone and her Canon camera.
Next, I upload all the pictures to the computer. I use a cable to connect the phones to the computer and import the photos to iPhoto on our family desktop iMac. I take the SD card out of the Canon camera and import those photos into iPhoto as well. As iPhoto imports those photos, they are all placed into a central location on the hard drive.
After the photos are imported into iPhoto, several things happen in the background. The first is that Google Photos looks at that central location on the hard drive and it starts uploading them to their cloud service. Next, once an hour, the Mac’s built-in backup utility takes all of the new files and adds them to the external hard drive sitting under the monitor. Finally, every few hours BackBlaze takes everything from the desktop and backs it up to one of their datacenters in the PST. With BackBlaze, I pay every 2 years so it is a nice chunk of change but it works out to be only a few dollars per month. Having an offsite, full backup is priceless to a neurotic nerd like me.
When I take pictures on the iPhones, the photos are automatically geo-tagged but any photos from the Canon camera need to be manually geo-tagged. I have tens of thousands of photos in iPhoto and only a few are not geo-tagged, I am very diligent about doing that and making sure it is as accurate as possible. I am not as diligent about the “facial-tagging” in iPhoto. iPhoto can be really hit-or-miss on picking out a face and then knowing which person it is. I know that small sample size isn’t an issue, it has thousands of pictures of the people in my immediate family. Google Photos is almost perfect at picking out faces and knowing who it is so I’ve stopped worrying about managing it in iPhoto.
I am very diligent about getting all of the photos off my phone within a day or two of taking the photo. That’s not a big deal since I hardly take any photos. My wife is constantly taking photos and I normally go weeks or months before I can connect her phone to the computer. So what I do is every few days I will open the Google Photos app on her phone and have it sync to the cloud so they are not only on just her phone. I’ve noticed that Google Photos has a great deduplication algorithm so if it sees that a photo was already uploaded from the phone and it tries to upload it again from the computer, it will only keep one copy.
My two favorite conferences to go to are the Carolina VMUG in Charlotte, NC every June and the Triangle InfoSeCon in Raleigh, NC every October. Last week I went the Triangle InfoSeCon 2018 and as usual, it was awesome.
I used to go to a lot of local meetups about all kinds of topics but my available time outside of work keeps shrinking with a growing family. So I try to go to fewer things but make them higher impact. Also, I am far enough along in my career that I now can get something out of those conferences. That’s why now I only go to big conferences. I’d like to start going to some local meetups but with a more narrow focus.
I love going to conferences and meetups so I can meet new people and get new ideas. At work we sometimes get into a rhythm of doing the same things over and over again. Hearing how other people are solving the same problem is very cool. It is ever better when I hear about problems that I’ve never heard of. It would be nice if there’s a solution to it but I still want to hear about it.
At Tech conferences, almost all of the talks have the same format and they sound like there were written by the marketing department. Part 1 is how something is broken, Part 2 is how our product can fix it. It makes it even worse since every company has the same handful of major problems so it gets really repetitive. Most of the conferences are paid for by these vendors so I understand they want to at least break-even, maybe even make a few bucks but can they try and make it a little more interesting. My favorite talks have funny and/or interesting stories with some product placement sprinkled in.
I know I shouldn’t complain so much because the vendors cover most of the costs. But I don’t think anyone is going to buy your product if the presentation was so boring that they don’t know what the product does even if they were awake for it.
Most of the time I like a live demo and I don’t care if it goes perfectly. I know how difficult it is to do a live demo and I really appreciate the effort. I learn a ton about the product from the demo whether it is successful or not. An unexpected error with live troubleshooting can turn into presentation gold if handled properly but it is at least entertaining either way if it goes really badly.
Overall I’m really glad that I get out of my shell and go these events. Hope to see you soon IRL (In Real Life).
When I was growing up, I was fascinated by computers and technology. Back then, I knew what programmers were and that was about it. At some point I learned about DBAs but I put that into the programmer bucket since I heard they wrote scripts to manage a database. I always knew about sales and at some point I found out about technology sales but just the thought of commission-only sales still gives me stomach pains.
My first real job out of college was at the Apple Retail Store. I worked there for almost 4 years and slowly learned from my coworkers and customers about some of the many jobs and roles in IT. At some point, that Apple Store closed for about two weeks for renovations. Near the end of the renovations, a guy came to work on the network rack. I can only guess what he was there to do but it fascinated me.
With new technologies constantly being created, new roles are being created to manage those technologies. Some of those technologies stay around for a while and others quickly disappear. The technologies that stay around for a while will eventually fade away but they never seem to fully go away. Since they never seem to fade away, those roles never seem to fully go away.
An example is Cobolt. It seems there will always be a need for Cobolt programmers even though it has been decades since anyone wrote new Cobolt code but someone has to maintain those ancient Cobolt applications.
Now when I think of the IT industry, it’s usually just IT infrastructure and even that is huge now. Networking, servers, voice, virtualization, data center, security, storage and wireless now adds video, containers, SD-WAN, automation and the cloud. Each one of those sections has numerous sub-sections and some roles combine multiple of those topics listed above. We still haven’t even mentioned where everyone starts, the backbone of every IT organization, the helpdesk. Finally there is the Network Architect that has to bring it all together.
The IT department provides more than just email. Now it is expected to provide so many services and be available from anywhere on any device at any time. It will take all these groups working together to make it happen. In order to do that we need to be more friendly to our fellow IT folks, building up walls around our territories is counter-productive (See the Datanauts podcast for more silo-busting). Also, we need to be welcoming and help train others. The machines are coming for your job but before that happens, there is a lot of work to do and we need all the help we can get.
Everyone would love to have a network that is always up and available. The problem is that few people want to design it and absolutely no one wants to pay for it.
There are many ways to make your Network more resilient. Some are necessary for your organization, others would be nice to have and some are overkill. A difficult part is to know which solution goes into which bucket (necessary, nice-to-have or overkill). Then those pieces need to implemented, monitored and maintained.
One example that I have seen at dozens of companies is about the uninterruptible power supply (UPS). A UPS has a battery that is supposed to “kick in” when the normal power source goes out, kind of like a fancy generator. The goal is for the critical equipment to stay alive and the non-critical to power-down gracefully. Most companies have a UPS at their sites but they are not ready for two main reasons, the battery is dead and/or it isn’t cabled properly. Just like any other battery, over time it won’t hold as much of a charge so the battery needs to be replaced.
Another example is if a branch office invests in two ISPs for redundant internet, make sure everyone knows exactly how redundant it is. If both ISPs use the same physical path to the branch office, they aren’t as redundant because the same backhoe will still take them both out. Or if the network isn’t setup for proper failover and failback, then it isn’t as redundant as we thought.
A competent network designer should be able to tell with a high degree of certainty just how resilient the network is and in which ways. Probably the toughest part is to explain to upper management the pros and cons of the new proposal and get their buy-in. Management needs to listen and understand what all the scenarios are and their impact so everyone will be informed and aware of the possible situations. Those meetings are time consuming and can be very boring but they are necessary. The other option is for the engineer to write all this up and email it out but we all know that no one reads anymore.
The FCC should approve the T-Mobile and Sprint merger. The main argument against it is that the US Wireless market would go from 4 to 3 major carriers and that would lessen competition.
I think allowing the merger to go through would actually increase competition because in reality, the US Wireless market currently has 2 major players, Verizon and AT&T.
T-Mobile and Sprint as of today are too small to be on the same playing field as Verizon and AT&T. If the T-Mobile Sprint merger went through, the US Wireless market would go from 2 to 3 major carriers and that would lessen competition. Fewer overall player but an additional player in the top round. Ask most sports fan, the top level of play is the only one that really matters, almost no one cares about the minor leagues. The lower levels don’t move the market.
This is a list of my favorite podcasts. I love listening to podcasts and therefore I listen to a lot of them. Hopefully you all will get as much enjoyment out of theses podcasts as I do. Or atleast use it as jumping off point to find something that you do love. Podcasts are mostly very friendly medium and therefore are known for promoting each others shows so I’m always finding more stuff to fill my ears.
One question I often get is how I can listen to so many podcasts. The answer is that I listen to most of them at 1.5x or 2x speed. Also, most of them are only weekly.
The list is broken up by categories. Not everything fits neatly into one single category but I tried.
I left off several podcasts that are no longer producing new episodes, that had very short runs and/or I only listen to certain episodes. I will only include it on this list if I listen to almost every episode but I will still stay subscribed to it. Also, I omitted podcasts below about politics and religion for hopefully obvious reasons.
Updated May 2019
Hardcore History by Dan Carlin Link
One of the best and most entertaining Podcasts. The podcasts are so long, they are basically audiobooks, amazing juicy audiobooks. Dan Carlin was one of the first and most successful podcasters so it’s not a surprise that most History podcasts sound like his because, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
15 Minute History Link
History professors and grad students from UT Austin
Bowery Boys Link
The First: Stories of Inventions Link
Another series from the Bowery Boys
History Author Show Link
Interviews with authors about new History books.
10 US Presidents featuring Roifield Brown Link
In depth interviews about the US Presidents and the history of the US Presidency
Stuff You Missed in History Class Link
High level overview of most history topics in a laidback style
Ben Franklin’s World Link
Early American History
In The Past Lane Link
Scene on Radio Link
Slow Burn Link
American Political Scandals
Fierce City: A London History Podcast Link
Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History Link
Malcolm Gladwell “will go back and reinterpret something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.”
Mobituaries by Mo Rocca Link
Similarly great to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast
Against the Rules by Michael Lewis Link
Also similarly great to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast
Hit Parade Link
Music History and trivia
American Revolution Podcast Link
25 minute podcasts every week going over US history from the early 1750s to late 1780s.
Pessimists Archive Podcast Link
A history of why we resist new things with a healthy splash of humor.
Business Wars Link
Famous and interesting conflicts from the business world
Sports Wars Link
Famous and interesting conflicts from the sports world
Legal Wars Link
Famous and interesting conflicts from the courtroom
50 Things That Made the Modern Economy from the BBC Link
Fascinating stories about everyday objects and how they got that way
American Innovations Link
Household Name Podcast by Business Insider Link
These are the surprising stories behind our biggest, household name brands
Twenty Thousand Hertz Link
Stories about sounds
FAQ City Website
Random questions answered about Charlotte NC
Away Message Website
Remote spots in North Carolina
Mental Floss magazine’s Favorite History Podcasts Link
Website with a list of History Podcasts Link
Baseball Tonight Link
Daily Baseball show from ESPN’s Buster Olney
Baseball PhD Link
Get your PhD in life through Baseball
The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap Link
Mini audio documentaries by the wonderful Jeremy Schaap
Bill Simmons Podcast Link
JJ Redick Podcast Link
Jonah Keri Podcast Link
Podcast Network with lots of great shows focusing on the Enterprise Networking Industry. Some of my favorite are:
◊◊ Network Break Link
◊◊ Datanauts Link
◊◊ Full Stack Journey with Scott Lowe Link
◊◊ IPv6 Buzz Link
Zigbits Network Design Link
Network Collective Link
Podcast Network that describes themselves as “an independent podcast network for people who are creative, curious, and maybe even a little obsessive – just like its hosts.” Some of my favorite are:
◊◊ Analog(ue) Link
◊◊ Clockwise Link
◊◊ Under the Radar Link
◊◊ Ungeniused Link
◊◊ Upgrade Link
The Talk Show with John Gruber Link
Vector with Rene Ritchie Link
Internet History Podcast Link
Interviews with people who were the leaders of the tech industry back in the 1990s
Two MBAs discuss the technology industry from a business perspective
The Tesla Show Link
Tesla as viewed through the lens of two technologists
The West Wing Weekly Link
Recap of West Wing Episodes
The Rewatchables Link
Myke at the Movies Link
The Incomparable Link
Robot or Not? Link
Jason Snell asks John Siracusa to rule on the meaning of various words and concepts.
The Hamilcast Link
Broadway Backstory Link
Behind the Music for Broadway shows
Political Beats Link
Political reporters discuss their musical passions
Freakonomics Radio Link
New ways to look at world from smart people with data
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know Link
Fun and brainy game-show from the Freakonomics crew
Hidden Brain Link
Similar to Freakonomic IMHO
99% Invisible Link
The Memory Palace Link
The Longest Shortest Time Link
After On Podcast Link
Interviews with scientists who are at the tops of their individual fields