Effectiveness – Network Truths, Principles and Fallacies

I gave a 13-minute talk to the Irish Network Operators Group (INOG) recently. In this 13-minute video I argue that you can become more effective, and happier, by standing back and reflecting on how you work, leveraging existing truths, fallacies and principles.

I introduce The twelve networking truths and the 8 Fallacies of Distributed Computing. I then describe a handful of my own learnings and fancy terms like Chestertons Fence and the Gordian Knot.

Check out the video folks, I’d love your feedback.

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Network config backups – just the beginning

An emergency switch replacement can ruin your day. However, having network config backups is not enough. Restoring full service may not be as easy as just copying the running configuration from your RANCID CVS repo, or your colleagues hard drive. Restoring the ‘identity’ of your original switch is a multi-step and somewhat complicated process.

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Planning projects instead of burning benjamins

iStock_000007817002SmallEngineers are often unstuck by poor planning and get hit with large financial penalties as a result. Projects can become mired in delays and complications due to unforeseen costs and expenses. There are some unavoidable bumps in the road, but most could be foreseen and eliminated in advance. I want to share a few tips based on some experiences I’ve had over the years. Continue reading

Career – Zen and the art of network maintenance

Getting Zen


Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance‘ by Robert Pirsig is a modern classic.  When I first read this book I didn’t quite get the zen I was looking for. But then again maybe I was trying too hard which isn’t very zen-like.  It is a wonderful book and although I missed many of the metaphors I gleaned some solid advice on how to enjoy my work. I think Pirsig’s motorcycle maintenance tips can help us in our day-to-day life. I’ve even dared to add a few tips of my own.

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Spiral & mastery learning

 Spiral Learning

Image by; Mets501 at the English language Wikipedia under CC.

I recently attended a curriculum night for my eldest son who is starting 2nd grade.  The teacher talked about a learning method known as ‘spiral learning’ and that the kids would continue to cycle through a range of topics in each subject, revisiting each topic at a deeper level later in the year.   I had never heard of ‘spiral learning’ before.   After a few passed I realised that I use the ‘spiral learning’ approach all the time without having a term to define it.

Spiral learnings’ nemesis is mastery-based learning. In mastery-based learning you must master each topic before being permitted to proceed to the next topic.  I can’t remember too much of my secondary level education but I think we were supposed to be following the mastery-based approach.

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