Category projects

Making this blog

This is an old post from a now-deprecated website. I’m keeping it around only for historical preservation reasons. Not much of it is relevant to the website you’re currently reading on.

Category ideas

Idea for training volunteer in Kathmandu

This is an old post from a now-deprecated website. I’m keeping it around only for historical preservation reasons. Not much of it is relevant to the website you’re currently reading on. Also, this was a terribly-planned and executed post in general, I should have started writing earlier.

Category engineering

On Burnout

I spent so much time and effort working on this blog that I forgot that consistency mattered more than immediate output. There was some burnout because I was spending so much time writing and making changes here and there, that it stopped being fun or interesting. I know now how...

What a 1,300-year-old temple can teach us about software maintenance

Don’t entomb your applications, make them flexible, ready to make a change here and there. That way, they won’t need an overhaul from scratch when the time comes.

Diverse hobbies for igniting engineering innovation

My journey with juggling multiple unrelated hobbies suggests that engineers with a diverse interest are assets to foster innovation and creativity.

Duct-Tape and Strings vs. Building to Spec in Software Development

The “duct-tape and strings” approach to building systems prioritizes functionality and rapid iteration over achieving architectural perfection. While it might raise eyebrows among proponents of meticulous planning, it’s borne out of real-world pressure and can lead to successful outcomes.

The Innovation Trap: Aligning Technology with Business Needs

Don’t be seduced by the latest ‘innovation’ fads; instead, focus on aligning innovation with your core business goals and customer needs. This approach will help you avoid the innovation trap and achieve long-term success.

The Symphony of Trust: Building High-Performing Engineering Teams

A strong engineering team with high degree of trust between indiviudal contributors, and between leadership and the rest of the team can be a potent force for effective organizations. Here’s how to create such teams, and the pros and cons.

How to evaluate the right choice of technology for your team

Choosing the right tool and framework for software engineering projects can feel like navigating a minefield. This essay will offer a practical framework for evaluating competing technologies and making informed choices that align with your project’s specific needs. Each option promises unique advantages, but understanding the potential pitfalls and trade-offs...

How my Fermentation Hobby Helps Me as a Software Engineer

While technical expertise is crucial, I’ve discovered an unexpected wellspring of professional growth: fermentation. This seemingly unrelated hobby has become a secret weapon, nurturing valuable skills that translate directly to my engineering life.

What's next for AI? My predictions for the next 10 years

Explainable AI, optical AI, analog AI, and meta-learning. I predict the culmination of optimizing massive generative models will result generative AI being turned into a commodity, and these four areas will be the next frontiers of innovation in machine learning.

Their IP mountain was drilled away by AI 'mining' companies for profit. Are they owed anything?

Data ownership in the context of large language models is a thorny, complex and contentious issue. AI companies have unlocked huge productivity potnetial by training their gigantic models, but at the cost of freely appropriating data from original writers, artists, musicians and creators in general, who were never paid. How...

Book Review: Learning to Learn and the Navigation of Moods by Gloria P. Flores

In her book Learning to Learn psychologist and researcher Gloria Flores argues that the key to a mindset open, receptive to learning is to manage one’s ‘moods’. She argues that only by modifying the less-productive (for learning) moods towards more productive ones, does learning get easier.

Understanding what kind of leader you are: a new lens to look at Engineering leadership

Here’s a novel way to help engineering leaders understand themselves, and evaluate the best way to leverage their skillsets.

How our squad integrated data scientists and software engineers

We learned valuable lessons in integrating data scientists and software engineers into the same team as we tested various team structures and planning regimen until we got to the one that was the most suitable for us. This essay takes us through the journey of that discovery.

A tale of the treacherous task of Kubernetes upgrade

A tale of unmitigated blast radius, in this essay I discuss how I broke one of our developer environments and our recovery attempts.

Infrastructure management: from chaos to Cloudformation CDK to confusion

Our team decided to use Amazon’s infrastructure-management tooling versus other available tooling a while back. We are now reconsidering the decision.

Don't hoard your star performers, let them out in the field

Even well-run organizations can fall into the trap of ‘hoarding’ their star performers, keeping them ‘on the bench’, unwilling to put them on use in challenging everyday projects. That’s an unnecessary inefficiency. Much like in sports, allowing your strongest players to go out to the field not only gives them...

Category software

What a 1,300-year-old temple can teach us about software maintenance

Don’t entomb your applications, make them flexible, ready to make a change here and there. That way, they won’t need an overhaul from scratch when the time comes.

Diverse hobbies for igniting engineering innovation

My journey with juggling multiple unrelated hobbies suggests that engineers with a diverse interest are assets to foster innovation and creativity.

Their IP mountain was drilled away by AI 'mining' companies for profit. Are they owed anything?

Data ownership in the context of large language models is a thorny, complex and contentious issue. AI companies have unlocked huge productivity potnetial by training their gigantic models, but at the cost of freely appropriating data from original writers, artists, musicians and creators in general, who were never paid. How...

A tale of the treacherous task of Kubernetes upgrade

A tale of unmitigated blast radius, in this essay I discuss how I broke one of our developer environments and our recovery attempts.

Infrastructure management: from chaos to Cloudformation CDK to confusion

Our team decided to use Amazon’s infrastructure-management tooling versus other available tooling a while back. We are now reconsidering the decision.

Don't hoard your star performers, let them out in the field

Even well-run organizations can fall into the trap of ‘hoarding’ their star performers, keeping them ‘on the bench’, unwilling to put them on use in challenging everyday projects. That’s an unnecessary inefficiency. Much like in sports, allowing your strongest players to go out to the field not only gives them...

Category leadership

Duct-Tape and Strings vs. Building to Spec in Software Development

The “duct-tape and strings” approach to building systems prioritizes functionality and rapid iteration over achieving architectural perfection. While it might raise eyebrows among proponents of meticulous planning, it’s borne out of real-world pressure and can lead to successful outcomes.

Srini Pillay's Tinker Dabble Try: The Power of an Unfocused Mind, A book review

Planned “unfocused” activities can enhance your cognitive toolkit. In “Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: The Power of an Unfocused Mind,” Dr. Srini Pillay challenges the idea that laser-sharp focus is the key to success, particularly for engineers grappling with complex problems.

The Innovation Trap: Aligning Technology with Business Needs

Don’t be seduced by the latest ‘innovation’ fads; instead, focus on aligning innovation with your core business goals and customer needs. This approach will help you avoid the innovation trap and achieve long-term success.

The Symphony of Trust: Building High-Performing Engineering Teams

A strong engineering team with high degree of trust between indiviudal contributors, and between leadership and the rest of the team can be a potent force for effective organizations. Here’s how to create such teams, and the pros and cons.

Book review of Children of Ruin and Chlidren of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s captivating science fiction books, Children of Time and Children of Ruin, transcend genre boundaries to offer a profound exploration of evolution, intelligence, and consciousness. There is a third part in the series that I haven’t read and don’t intend to. The trilogy’s world-building, thought-provoking themes, and grand space...

The Checklist Manifesto: A Guide to Better Software Engineering

A review of Atul Gawande’s seminal book ~ The Checklist Manifesto ~ and the lessons it holds for engineers and engineering leaders.

A blogger's plea (and a proposal) to Google: bring back Blogger!

This essay proposes a strategic revitalization of Blogger through a premium subscription model, enhanced features powered by Google’s AI capabilities, and a renewed focus on user needs. Blogger, once a dominant force in the blogosphere, has stagnated in recent years. While competitors like Medium and substack have thrived in the...

Book review of David Epstein’s Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Epstein’s central thesis in “Range” is bold and potentially disruptive to our ingrained beliefs about success. He argues that individuals who embrace diverse experiences and develop a broader range of skills outperform specialists in complex and unpredictable environments. This flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that champions early...

Book Review: Learning to Learn and the Navigation of Moods by Gloria P. Flores

In her book Learning to Learn psychologist and researcher Gloria Flores argues that the key to a mindset open, receptive to learning is to manage one’s ‘moods’. She argues that only by modifying the less-productive (for learning) moods towards more productive ones, does learning get easier.

Understanding what kind of leader you are: a new lens to look at Engineering leadership

Here’s a novel way to help engineering leaders understand themselves, and evaluate the best way to leverage their skillsets.

How our squad integrated data scientists and software engineers

We learned valuable lessons in integrating data scientists and software engineers into the same team as we tested various team structures and planning regimen until we got to the one that was the most suitable for us. This essay takes us through the journey of that discovery.

Don't hoard your star performers, let them out in the field

Even well-run organizations can fall into the trap of ‘hoarding’ their star performers, keeping them ‘on the bench’, unwilling to put them on use in challenging everyday projects. That’s an unnecessary inefficiency. Much like in sports, allowing your strongest players to go out to the field not only gives them...

Category cloudformation

A tale of the treacherous task of Kubernetes upgrade

A tale of unmitigated blast radius, in this essay I discuss how I broke one of our developer environments and our recovery attempts.

Infrastructure management: from chaos to Cloudformation CDK to confusion

Our team decided to use Amazon’s infrastructure-management tooling versus other available tooling a while back. We are now reconsidering the decision.

Category terraform

Infrastructure management: from chaos to Cloudformation CDK to confusion

Our team decided to use Amazon’s infrastructure-management tooling versus other available tooling a while back. We are now reconsidering the decision.

Category infrastructure

A Kubernetes Odyssey in setting up the NVIDIA GPU drivers and time-slicing

This essay chronicles an unexpected adventure in implementing GPU time slicing on our EKS cluster. What began as a seemingly straightforward task – installing the gpu-operator – blossomed into a multifaceted exploration that unearthed challenges, refined processes, and ultimately yielded substantial benefits across our infrastructure.

A intro workshop for interns and new engineers on software infrastructure and databases

This is the syllabus I originally designed to train Hack.diversity fellows for a 8-week workship (1 hour weekly classes, 2 hours of expected assignment load) to help them perform well on their internship/co-op interviews. I’ve worked on this with the engineer I mentor with the organization, and will be proposing...

A tale of the treacherous task of Kubernetes upgrade

A tale of unmitigated blast radius, in this essay I discuss how I broke one of our developer environments and our recovery attempts.

Category kubernetes

A Kubernetes Odyssey in setting up the NVIDIA GPU drivers and time-slicing

This essay chronicles an unexpected adventure in implementing GPU time slicing on our EKS cluster. What began as a seemingly straightforward task – installing the gpu-operator – blossomed into a multifaceted exploration that unearthed challenges, refined processes, and ultimately yielded substantial benefits across our infrastructure.

A tale of the treacherous task of Kubernetes upgrade

A tale of unmitigated blast radius, in this essay I discuss how I broke one of our developer environments and our recovery attempts.

Category teamwork

How our squad integrated data scientists and software engineers

We learned valuable lessons in integrating data scientists and software engineers into the same team as we tested various team structures and planning regimen until we got to the one that was the most suitable for us. This essay takes us through the journey of that discovery.

Category styles

Understanding what kind of leader you are: a new lens to look at Engineering leadership

Here’s a novel way to help engineering leaders understand themselves, and evaluate the best way to leverage their skillsets.

Category learning

Book Review: Learning to Learn and the Navigation of Moods by Gloria P. Flores

In her book Learning to Learn psychologist and researcher Gloria Flores argues that the key to a mindset open, receptive to learning is to manage one’s ‘moods’. She argues that only by modifying the less-productive (for learning) moods towards more productive ones, does learning get easier.

Category skill

Book Review: Learning to Learn and the Navigation of Moods by Gloria P. Flores

In her book Learning to Learn psychologist and researcher Gloria Flores argues that the key to a mindset open, receptive to learning is to manage one’s ‘moods’. She argues that only by modifying the less-productive (for learning) moods towards more productive ones, does learning get easier.

Category book-review

Srini Pillay's Tinker Dabble Try: The Power of an Unfocused Mind, A book review

Planned “unfocused” activities can enhance your cognitive toolkit. In “Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: The Power of an Unfocused Mind,” Dr. Srini Pillay challenges the idea that laser-sharp focus is the key to success, particularly for engineers grappling with complex problems.

Book review of Children of Ruin and Chlidren of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s captivating science fiction books, Children of Time and Children of Ruin, transcend genre boundaries to offer a profound exploration of evolution, intelligence, and consciousness. There is a third part in the series that I haven’t read and don’t intend to. The trilogy’s world-building, thought-provoking themes, and grand space...

The Checklist Manifesto: A Guide to Better Software Engineering

A review of Atul Gawande’s seminal book ~ The Checklist Manifesto ~ and the lessons it holds for engineers and engineering leaders.

Book review of David Epstein’s Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Epstein’s central thesis in “Range” is bold and potentially disruptive to our ingrained beliefs about success. He argues that individuals who embrace diverse experiences and develop a broader range of skills outperform specialists in complex and unpredictable environments. This flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that champions early...

Book Review: Learning to Learn and the Navigation of Moods by Gloria P. Flores

In her book Learning to Learn psychologist and researcher Gloria Flores argues that the key to a mindset open, receptive to learning is to manage one’s ‘moods’. She argues that only by modifying the less-productive (for learning) moods towards more productive ones, does learning get easier.

Category ai

Introduction to Large Language Models (LLMs) and Running Them Locally on Your Mac Using OLLAMA

This essay will provide an introduction to Large Language Models (LLMs) and explore the process of running them locally on a Mac using OLLAMA.

LLM's will be the next spellcheck assistant, not the next robotic overlords!

This essay proposes a nuanced perspective on the LLM revolution, one that views AI as a collaborator, not a competitor. AI, particularly generative models, can amplify human capabilities, creating a workplace symphony, not a solo act.

Book review of Children of Ruin and Chlidren of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s captivating science fiction books, Children of Time and Children of Ruin, transcend genre boundaries to offer a profound exploration of evolution, intelligence, and consciousness. There is a third part in the series that I haven’t read and don’t intend to. The trilogy’s world-building, thought-provoking themes, and grand space...

What's next for AI? My predictions for the next 10 years

Explainable AI, optical AI, analog AI, and meta-learning. I predict the culmination of optimizing massive generative models will result generative AI being turned into a commodity, and these four areas will be the next frontiers of innovation in machine learning.

The risk of production, customer-facing LLM's let lose

Remember the recent case where a Canadian passenger, Jake Moffatt, sued Air Canada after its online chatbot misinformed him about bereavement fares, costing him hundreds of dollars? Air Canada ended up losing the case, and now must stand by the commitment made by its AI agents. This incident, a real-world...

Their IP mountain was drilled away by AI 'mining' companies for profit. Are they owed anything?

Data ownership in the context of large language models is a thorny, complex and contentious issue. AI companies have unlocked huge productivity potnetial by training their gigantic models, but at the cost of freely appropriating data from original writers, artists, musicians and creators in general, who were never paid. How...

The tasks LLM's are good at, and the tasks they're sh**t at: a personal review

Here’s the story of how I became an LLM convert. LLM’s can be quite good at some tasks, and awful at others, and being able to create a clear distinction between the two modes is crucial. This essay discusses the aras of opportunities of LLM’s for personal use, and how...

Category llm

Introduction to Large Language Models (LLMs) and Running Them Locally on Your Mac Using OLLAMA

This essay will provide an introduction to Large Language Models (LLMs) and explore the process of running them locally on a Mac using OLLAMA.

A intro workshop for interns and new engineers on software infrastructure and databases

This is the syllabus I originally designed to train Hack.diversity fellows for a 8-week workship (1 hour weekly classes, 2 hours of expected assignment load) to help them perform well on their internship/co-op interviews. I’ve worked on this with the engineer I mentor with the organization, and will be proposing...

LLM's will be the next spellcheck assistant, not the next robotic overlords!

This essay proposes a nuanced perspective on the LLM revolution, one that views AI as a collaborator, not a competitor. AI, particularly generative models, can amplify human capabilities, creating a workplace symphony, not a solo act.

What's next for AI? My predictions for the next 10 years

Explainable AI, optical AI, analog AI, and meta-learning. I predict the culmination of optimizing massive generative models will result generative AI being turned into a commodity, and these four areas will be the next frontiers of innovation in machine learning.

The risk of production, customer-facing LLM's let lose

Remember the recent case where a Canadian passenger, Jake Moffatt, sued Air Canada after its online chatbot misinformed him about bereavement fares, costing him hundreds of dollars? Air Canada ended up losing the case, and now must stand by the commitment made by its AI agents. This incident, a real-world...

Their IP mountain was drilled away by AI 'mining' companies for profit. Are they owed anything?

Data ownership in the context of large language models is a thorny, complex and contentious issue. AI companies have unlocked huge productivity potnetial by training their gigantic models, but at the cost of freely appropriating data from original writers, artists, musicians and creators in general, who were never paid. How...

The tasks LLM's are good at, and the tasks they're sh**t at: a personal review

Here’s the story of how I became an LLM convert. LLM’s can be quite good at some tasks, and awful at others, and being able to create a clear distinction between the two modes is crucial. This essay discusses the aras of opportunities of LLM’s for personal use, and how...

Category collaboration

A intro workshop for interns and new engineers on software infrastructure and databases

This is the syllabus I originally designed to train Hack.diversity fellows for a 8-week workship (1 hour weekly classes, 2 hours of expected assignment load) to help them perform well on their internship/co-op interviews. I’ve worked on this with the engineer I mentor with the organization, and will be proposing...

How to evaluate the right choice of technology for your team

Choosing the right tool and framework for software engineering projects can feel like navigating a minefield. This essay will offer a practical framework for evaluating competing technologies and making informed choices that align with your project’s specific needs. Each option promises unique advantages, but understanding the potential pitfalls and trade-offs...

LLM's will be the next spellcheck assistant, not the next robotic overlords!

This essay proposes a nuanced perspective on the LLM revolution, one that views AI as a collaborator, not a competitor. AI, particularly generative models, can amplify human capabilities, creating a workplace symphony, not a solo act.

The risk of production, customer-facing LLM's let lose

Remember the recent case where a Canadian passenger, Jake Moffatt, sued Air Canada after its online chatbot misinformed him about bereavement fares, costing him hundreds of dollars? Air Canada ended up losing the case, and now must stand by the commitment made by its AI agents. This incident, a real-world...

The tasks LLM's are good at, and the tasks they're sh**t at: a personal review

Here’s the story of how I became an LLM convert. LLM’s can be quite good at some tasks, and awful at others, and being able to create a clear distinction between the two modes is crucial. This essay discusses the aras of opportunities of LLM’s for personal use, and how...

Category ethics

Their IP mountain was drilled away by AI 'mining' companies for profit. Are they owed anything?

Data ownership in the context of large language models is a thorny, complex and contentious issue. AI companies have unlocked huge productivity potnetial by training their gigantic models, but at the cost of freely appropriating data from original writers, artists, musicians and creators in general, who were never paid. How...

Category generative-ai

Their IP mountain was drilled away by AI 'mining' companies for profit. Are they owed anything?

Data ownership in the context of large language models is a thorny, complex and contentious issue. AI companies have unlocked huge productivity potnetial by training their gigantic models, but at the cost of freely appropriating data from original writers, artists, musicians and creators in general, who were never paid. How...

Category machine-learning

Their IP mountain was drilled away by AI 'mining' companies for profit. Are they owed anything?

Data ownership in the context of large language models is a thorny, complex and contentious issue. AI companies have unlocked huge productivity potnetial by training their gigantic models, but at the cost of freely appropriating data from original writers, artists, musicians and creators in general, who were never paid. How...

Category blogger

A blogger's plea (and a proposal) to Google: bring back Blogger!

This essay proposes a strategic revitalization of Blogger through a premium subscription model, enhanced features powered by Google’s AI capabilities, and a renewed focus on user needs. Blogger, once a dominant force in the blogosphere, has stagnated in recent years. While competitors like Medium and substack have thrived in the...

Category product

A blogger's plea (and a proposal) to Google: bring back Blogger!

This essay proposes a strategic revitalization of Blogger through a premium subscription model, enhanced features powered by Google’s AI capabilities, and a renewed focus on user needs. Blogger, once a dominant force in the blogosphere, has stagnated in recent years. While competitors like Medium and substack have thrived in the...

Category review

The Checklist Manifesto: A Guide to Better Software Engineering

A review of Atul Gawande’s seminal book ~ The Checklist Manifesto ~ and the lessons it holds for engineers and engineering leaders.

Category fermentation

How my Fermentation Hobby Helps Me as a Software Engineer

While technical expertise is crucial, I’ve discovered an unexpected wellspring of professional growth: fermentation. This seemingly unrelated hobby has become a secret weapon, nurturing valuable skills that translate directly to my engineering life.

Category hobbies

Diverse hobbies for igniting engineering innovation

My journey with juggling multiple unrelated hobbies suggests that engineers with a diverse interest are assets to foster innovation and creativity.

How my Fermentation Hobby Helps Me as a Software Engineer

While technical expertise is crucial, I’ve discovered an unexpected wellspring of professional growth: fermentation. This seemingly unrelated hobby has become a secret weapon, nurturing valuable skills that translate directly to my engineering life.

Category tooling

How to evaluate the right choice of technology for your team

Choosing the right tool and framework for software engineering projects can feel like navigating a minefield. This essay will offer a practical framework for evaluating competing technologies and making informed choices that align with your project’s specific needs. Each option promises unique advantages, but understanding the potential pitfalls and trade-offs...

Category architecture

Duct-Tape and Strings vs. Building to Spec in Software Development

The “duct-tape and strings” approach to building systems prioritizes functionality and rapid iteration over achieving architectural perfection. While it might raise eyebrows among proponents of meticulous planning, it’s borne out of real-world pressure and can lead to successful outcomes.

The Innovation Trap: Aligning Technology with Business Needs

Don’t be seduced by the latest ‘innovation’ fads; instead, focus on aligning innovation with your core business goals and customer needs. This approach will help you avoid the innovation trap and achieve long-term success.

The Symphony of Trust: Building High-Performing Engineering Teams

A strong engineering team with high degree of trust between indiviudal contributors, and between leadership and the rest of the team can be a potent force for effective organizations. Here’s how to create such teams, and the pros and cons.

Category trust

The Symphony of Trust: Building High-Performing Engineering Teams

A strong engineering team with high degree of trust between indiviudal contributors, and between leadership and the rest of the team can be a potent force for effective organizations. Here’s how to create such teams, and the pros and cons.

Category workshop

A intro workshop for interns and new engineers on software infrastructure and databases

This is the syllabus I originally designed to train Hack.diversity fellows for a 8-week workship (1 hour weekly classes, 2 hours of expected assignment load) to help them perform well on their internship/co-op interviews. I’ve worked on this with the engineer I mentor with the organization, and will be proposing...

Category innovation

The Innovation Trap: Aligning Technology with Business Needs

Don’t be seduced by the latest ‘innovation’ fads; instead, focus on aligning innovation with your core business goals and customer needs. This approach will help you avoid the innovation trap and achieve long-term success.

Category data-science

A Kubernetes Odyssey in setting up the NVIDIA GPU drivers and time-slicing

This essay chronicles an unexpected adventure in implementing GPU time slicing on our EKS cluster. What began as a seemingly straightforward task – installing the gpu-operator – blossomed into a multifaceted exploration that unearthed challenges, refined processes, and ultimately yielded substantial benefits across our infrastructure.

Category tutorial

Introduction to Large Language Models (LLMs) and Running Them Locally on Your Mac Using OLLAMA

This essay will provide an introduction to Large Language Models (LLMs) and explore the process of running them locally on a Mac using OLLAMA.

Category creativity

Srini Pillay's Tinker Dabble Try: The Power of an Unfocused Mind, A book review

Planned “unfocused” activities can enhance your cognitive toolkit. In “Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: The Power of an Unfocused Mind,” Dr. Srini Pillay challenges the idea that laser-sharp focus is the key to success, particularly for engineers grappling with complex problems.

Category rewrite

What a 1,300-year-old temple can teach us about software maintenance

Don’t entomb your applications, make them flexible, ready to make a change here and there. That way, they won’t need an overhaul from scratch when the time comes.

Category blogging

On Burnout

I spent so much time and effort working on this blog that I forgot that consistency mattered more than immediate output. There was some burnout because I was spending so much time writing and making changes here and there, that it stopped being fun or interesting. I know now how...

Category burnout

On Burnout

I spent so much time and effort working on this blog that I forgot that consistency mattered more than immediate output. There was some burnout because I was spending so much time writing and making changes here and there, that it stopped being fun or interesting. I know now how...