A Systems Programming Interface

I have the pleasure of working with a lot of very smart people who challenge me and help me grow every day. Recently we have been talking a lot about moving to a model where we have an API for our CTO organization rather than so many carefully hand crafted integrations. If a tool or solution we consume has five different patterns for integration we will happily use them all. It creates fragility and complicates our operators lives, not to mention it makes an upgrade of said solution arduous. The concept of interfacing rather than integrating has been around for more than thirty years and I dare say we are still trying to get good at it across all of IT. I posit that we need a Systems Programming Interface approach in the spirit of W. Richard Stevens and Stephan A. Rago’s Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment which was ubiquitous in the libraries of all my mentors early in my career. That book and the related series on Network Programming set out how to reliably plumb everything you needed to make Unix systems and their software hum efficiently. I differentiate between a System and Application Programming Interface because I believe one supports the other, the system focused on the environment we run high quality applications in.

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DevOps for Ops

A horse of a different color

We spend a lot of time focused on DevOps for Devs in the industry. A lot has been written about how we can make life better for developers through automation, Lean, Agile, Kanban, etc. etc. but it seems like there isn’t a ton of information out there written from the Operations perspective, or maybe I have just been incurious about it until recently. DevOps for a team or a tribe is pretty straightforward, there are a lot of resources available to help out from tooling to knowledge sharing, patterns for consumption and what have you. And that is true for both the developer and operations side of the equation. Certainly structured platforms like Cloud Foundry and Open Shift and container technologies are starting to make things better for operations as well, but they are really helpful again at the team or tribe level. Adopting DevOps at scale is really a horse of a different color.

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More Behavioral Guidance for the Newly Employed

If you’re looking for another snarky take on common foibles our newly minted consultants show off like a peacock’s feathers, you’ll have to wait. That’s coming. The next one is going to be a rant, so I need to lay a foundation here with someone more professional than myself.

Scott Cameron is one of the Cloud Architects (along with the 7 other hats he wears) I work with and he’s helpfully prepared a few pieces I wish every fresh out of college worker would read. With that:

Seven E-mail Tips and Tricks
Don’t be fooled, these aren’t tips for using Outlook. These are tips to help avoid getting your sorry ass fired.

Do You Know When to Shut Up?
Scout’s honor, Scott had no idea I wrote this piece on the 3-Shut-Up Rule when he wrote his screed. Just read his whole article in your most annoying grandparent’s voice and you’ll get a good sense for how you’re ruining everything.

So You Want Computer Consultant Scott Cameron?
If I’m being honest, no. I don’t. You, however, do. This one should be mandatory reading for our job applicants and university outreach participants before jumping in with both feet to the consulting lifestyle. It’s more a bit on what makes a good consultant than an advertisement for Scott’s services (he’s already gainfully employed, thanks).

This should keep the HR folks and Resource Managers who troll PracticalPolymath for their latest talking points busy for a few weeks while I finish off my next epic whinge.

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A few of my favorite 2017 things . . .

This has been a very interesting year in my household. It certainly seems to have flown by as well. I’ve been fortune enough to have discovered some really cool stuff this year, and they certainly show where my priority lies outside of the office and family. My wife was charitable enough to let me travel back home to Chicago to attend this year’s Axpona where I discovered what would become my favorite thing of this year, the Sony MDR-Z1R headphones. I’ve really enjoyed Axpona over the last few years, lots of incredible audio systems on display and a really welcoming community. This year the seminars were very disappointing compared to previous years, but they made up for it with more live music acts. One of my favorite things about Axpona is the Ear Gear Expo, a great collection of booths from the growing headphone community. I’ve gotten a lot more into headphones the last several years since my wife has trained my daughters to complain every time my system got above a whisper level. I wish I could find out how she bribed them. I took the move to Scotland as an opportunity to get rid of my two channel set up and refocus on headphones, and another system I’ll talk about in a bit. Continue reading

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Animation Throwdown Rumble Strategy Guide

Incredibly Biased and Probably Daft
Peter Kraatz, aka KinzuaKid
Last Updated December, 2017

Introduction

This is a strategy guide for Animation Throwdown Rumble Play. I wrote this guide with my current guild in mind. Thanks for the feedback, Robot High Council! Yes, there are zillions of videos and tons of strategy discussions on Reddit and Kongregate but I’m not a Redditor (FARKer here) and I hate watching people play games. I play them. I don’t spectate. Also, you could just play the game and learn all this yourself but that’s not helping or you wouldn’t be reading this. It’s way too long and complete garbage on several points, so take it all with a grain of salt.

Naturally, all game images below belong to the publisher and are included here for reference only. Continue reading

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It’s been awhile

Howdy. It’s been awhile since I’ve darkened this particular internet doorway. Peter’s been doing a standup job keeping the site running and churning out interesting content, much thanks to him! A lot has happened since I last checked in, I’ll try to catch you up on the interesting parts and talk a bit about what’s to come.

I was approached in late 2015 about an opportunity with a key EMC customer (now Dell Technologies customer!) and after a few conversations and a quick trip to Scotland I was seconded to a large Bank to act as their Head of Cloud Services. It’s been interesting creating an entirely new role inside my home organization, Resident CTO, and acting on behalf of the Bank for the last two years. I’ve learned a lot about our products and how they’re optimized and consumed, and a lot about what it takes to drive value from these solutions. I’ve moved to Scotland with my family, selling what I thought would be my last house in the process (and my Tesla 🙁 …), and have been supported by Darlene and the girls throughout the whole process. We’ve settled in rather nicely, it is beautiful here and the people are great. I don’t know what 2018 is going to bring but the last two years have been great.

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Livestream (yes, again)

Oct. 25, 2017 | 2 p.m. EDT | 11 a.m. AZ

This time I’m hoping the entire state doesn’t jump on the Internet simultaneously and shatter our data flow. No promises, though, because I’ll be sitting with Juan Orlandini and Irwin Teodoro. Unlike me, people like them.

We’ll be talking about Cloud, Workload Alignment, and the evolution of IT and infrastructure services. If you’re in the business, I’ll probably drop some jokes only insiders will get and nobody will appreciate. If you’re a family member, here’s your one chance to see what I look like this year.

Visit the link below to register:

https://www.datalink.com/Livestream-Cloud-Platform-Workload-Alignment

 

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KinzuaKid Does Science

I heard recently there’s this eclipse thing coming on August 21 and while I’m going to be doing much the same as Randall Munroe’s character on the street (staring mouth agape at awesomeness) I’ll be pretending a bit at some actual science, too. We’ll be live streaming the view from our vantage point on YouTube, here. Continue reading

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The Message and the Medium

edit: updated video link
edit: H/T to my brother, Paul Kraatz, for pointing to the one episode of The Office I had not seen for the video below.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for years now but it took the combined efforts of a thousand-person bureaucracy to shake it loose. That bureaucracy is the Oceanside Unified School District.

Now this isn’t a rant about the awful OUSD. On the contrary, they’re mostly nice folks who do a pretty decent job but they, like many other districts, are a horror show when it comes to communication media. So are you. This is why they’re the perfect example to trot out in the hope that you embrace a little self-improvement.

As parents of schoolchildren, the district needs to notify Mrs. Kid and me of many different goings on in the schools. For a time it was restricted to snail mail and phone calls home. The district soon discovered cell phones which led to calls and text messages, followed by e-mail, then Facebook, Twitter, and I think the last few bricks thrown through my window came from them. It’s hard to say with all the spelling errors on the threatening note but that was either the local gang or my son’s English teacher, probably the latter. Their motto: “if one communication channel is good, all of them are even better!”

They’re “Wuphfing” me.

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Three Shut Up

shut UpAnother year, another new crop of Analysts has suffered through my Speech Communication bootcamp. We ran out of time for one of my favorite sidebars, though, so I’m bringing it to you now, here: the “Three Shut Up” rule.

The origins of the Three Shut Up rule are mysterious and clouded in apocrypha. The only thing we know for sure is that it works and a whole mess of you folks need to start using it.

Right off the bat I need to credit my colleagues Julie Goldklang, Sunil Ahuja, Bryan Delorme, John Mulach, and Ed Crowthers. They’re the ones who have held the torch on Three Shut Up for the last decade or two and as far as I know, this is their creation. I’m just instructing you on its use and abuse. I’m sure I’ve missed someone who will naturally get all butthurt over that and if that’s you, use one of your shut ups at this time. Continue reading

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