Cameron Watters Musings of a Proto-Millenial Software Engineer in the Pacific Northwest

MOAR Reading!

A couple years ago, I published a reading list for first year software engineers. I've compiled a more complete list.

We Hate Singapore!

Nobody actually hates Singapore…

Well, nobody in this story, anyway.

The e-commerce web server cluster was due for an upgrade. New hardware was purchased. Windows and IIS were installed. Microsoft's NLB clustering was configured and the various e-commerce websites and services were deployed to the new two-node cluster.

And everything seemed just fine.

First-Year Reading List

The software industry is constantly evolving, and you must actively pursue skill and knowledge growth in order to stay relevant. Some small amount of growth will occur as a a natural side effect of your daily work, but that isn't enough. The best engineers I have worked with over the past 20 years are constantly reading1 and aggressively developing their skills.

  1. I focus on reading because it is my preferred medium for information acquisition and there is a plethora of good material. If you're into audio or video, and you're able to find enough good, relevant content, excellent. 

Honesty Requires a Thick Skin

In the fall of 1996, during my first quarter at UW, I took an engineering design class. The class mostly consisted of group projects for which we built some kind of structure or device. Each project was worth a substantial portion of our grade.

A List Of Movies From Which I Draw Cultural References The Nineties

This continues the list of movies you probably should see if you'd like to get all of my film-quote references. See the original list for more context.

A List of Movies From Which I Draw Cultural References: The Eighties

Like many people, I often refer to movies that I watched during my formative years in conversation. Recently, I encountered someone roughly my age who was unfamiliar with many of the movies I assume everyone from my generation has seen. I've also recently encountered a number of individuals decade or more younger than I who are similarly unfamiliar with the movies of my youth.

As a service to members of both groups, I am compiling a list of movies. I am not necessarily recommending all of them, though I would watch any of them again. I'm presenting them a decade at a time, starting with the 1980s. I've grouped them by year of release.

Yet Another Reason Why I Avoid Microsoft Technology Like The Plague

Today I called Microsoft to order some Windows 2000 Terminal Services CALs.

On Brand Naming

The word "brand" has so many meanings now, some more whacked-out than others, that using it has ceased to be useful. — Hugh Macleod

Some marketers seem to believe that the quality and effectiveness of a brand is a function of the evocative name they assign it and the nifty messaging they supply alongside it. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Marketers may be able to pick the name, but nothing influences a brand more than the execution behind it. No amount of messaging will convince people that Microsoft is tops when it comes to security. And Microsoft is certainly not pushing the idea that the Zune is a clunky turd, but that's the word on the street. No amount of messaging or naming can overcome poor execution.

Links for December 2006

A collection of interesting links from December 2006

Links for November 2006

A collection of interesting links from November 2006

Business Casual Dress Code Considered Harmful

Dressing For Success

I'm not sure who comes up with these jewels, but it's probably the same crowd that thinks vacuous motivational posters and their platitudes are actually effective. This principle suggests that dressing up will positively affect our performance. These people actually believe that employee productivity is directly proportional to the "professionalism" of their attire. It may be helpful for some, but it depends on the assumption that everyone associates "well-dressed" with "successful". I'm not talking about interaction with the public or customers here. I'm talking about how people feel about themselves. The degree to which someone associates "well-dressed" with "successful" is primarily influenced by their cultural upbringing. A person that grew up in the Midwestern United States in the 50s and 60s will likely feel very differently about this than someone raised on the West Coast during the 80s and 90s. It turns out that this argument is little more than the cultural preference of regional and generational subgroups masquerading as a general principle. In many cases, this approach to dress also reflects cultural socio-economic prejudices. In past decades, particularly east of the Rocky Mountains, jeans and t-shirts were the traditional garb of the working class (read: poor).