Wow, it was De­cem­ber 2014 when I climbed on board this train. I’m sit­ting in a pret­ty in­ter­est­ing place and feel I owe the world some re­portage.

In terms of what it’s like to work to work here, I don’t have much to add to last year’s write-up.

Since then I’ve got my fin­ger­prints all over two AWS ser­vices: CloudWatch Events and Step Func­tions. There are few things as much fun as help­ing ship some­thing and watch­ing peo­ple start to use it.

If you want opin­ions on what those prod­ucts mean and how well they work, there are lots of blogs out there writ­ten by peo­ple who are less bi­ased.

But here’s one amus­ing side­light. When I came to work here I felt like I was fac­ing a thousand-mile-high wall of tech­nol­o­gy and knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence, and damn lit­tle of the stuff I knew felt rel­e­van­t. After six months it was less scary, but I still feel like a Perma-noob much of the time. Wel­l, ex­cept for the Ama­zon States Lan­guage  —  they need­ed a JSON DSL, with a spec­i­fi­ca­tion, and a pars­er in­side the ser­vice, and (it be­came ob­vi­ous) a down­load­able command-line ver­sion. I smiled, be­cause had this rare feel­ing of “I know ex­act­ly what needs to be done here, as well as al­most any­one in the world, and how to do it.” I won­der if that’ll ev­er hap­pen again in my whole life.

What makes me hap­py · Turn­ing IT from Capex in­to Opex.

Writ­ing code that pro­cess­es bil­lions of mes­sages per week with good O()-notation be­hav­ior.

Work­ing in an almost-entirely-asshole-free en­vi­ron­men­t.

My pay­check.

Hear­ing about the weird shit peo­ple do with the in­fras­truc­ture we rent ’em.

Work­ing in Van­cou­ver.

Cloud hy­per­growth.

What makes me scared · Cloud hy­per­growth.

What makes me un­hap­py · Work­ing when it’s nice out­side.

Video­con­fer­enc­ing tech­nol­o­gy.

Male-dominated pro­fes­sion­s.

I-5 be­tween Van­cou­ver and Seat­tle.

What makes me im­pressed · Net­work de­sign that en­ables things like VPCs at scale.

Server­less. I’m pret­ty sure there’s a there there.

Lin­ux. Se­ri­ous­ly, no sense of strain af­ter all these years.


CloudTrail. Maybe the most rad­i­cal AWS ser­vice. I can’t imag­ine run­ning a se­ri­ous busi­ness with­out some­thing like it. The com­bo with CloudWatch Events makes me smile too.

What makes me du­bi­ous and cyn­i­cal · AI. *gasp* OK, the best im­ple­men­ta­tions can now beat hu­mans at Go and (even more im­pres­sive) re­li­ably dis­tin­guish be­tween pho­tos of cats and dogs. But OMG the hy­pe. My ad­vice: Try lin­ear re­gres­sion first.

Node and NPM.




Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Doug K (Feb 13 2017, at 09:30)

Perma-noob is the way of the world in IT/CS, though I do know a few guys still making a decent living out of COBOL.

A friend was with Cisco for decades, ending up high in the cloud(s) management area. He just started a new job, told me he feels like he's not earning his paycheck yet.

Does this happen in the other professions I wonder.

CloudTrail is a thing of radical beauty as you say.


From: Bob Haugen (Feb 13 2017, at 12:22)

cynical and dubious: Node and NPM.

Not arguing, just curious about your reasons.


From: Peter J. (Feb 13 2017, at 12:58)

I'm curious to learn what about Node and npm makes you queasy. I agree on the latter---although yarn helps a lot, it doesn't (and perhaps can't) fix the model, IMHO---and am relatively agnostic on the former.


From: Bruce Thomas (Feb 14 2017, at 03:19)

I object to the notion that the I5 freeway enters Canada. The last time I checked, its northernmost point was the Peach Arch.


From: Maggie (Feb 14 2017, at 04:00)

I feel the same about AI. It’s crazy to hear some people’s fears regarding it.

It seems that even Elon Musk has some fears regarding AI, and he said that we must become some kind of cyborgs, in order to compete with future AI entities.

Any chance of writing about the weird things people do with the infrastructure that you rent to them? Just asking out of curiosity! :)


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