Author: elvisboats

Short Version: I'm married to the amazing (and amazingly forgiving) Jennifer, proud possessor of two amazing kids, crazy about all things trouty with fly fishing. I'm an Application Development Manager with Microsoft, and am based out of Portland, Oregon. Long Version: I grew up in Oregon, and moved down to California with the original goal of finishing my education in Civil Engineering, but I found application development and RDBMS systems much more exciting! I do miss the mountain biking in California and the awesome Mexican food, but Oregon is my home and I have never regretted moving back to start a family. Plus it gives me more time for fly fishing for trout and steelhead on the beautiful Deschutes river in central Oregon! ;-) Working for Microsoft has by far been the best experience of my professional life; it's great working with a group of people that are passionate about writing good code and continually improving development practices and firepower. Past assignments have included Providence Health Plans, Kroger, and managing a .NET development team at Columbia Sportswear. Working at Columbia in particular gave me a great customer-side perspective on the advantages that Azure offers a fast-moving development team, the dos and don’ts of agile development/scrum, and the cool rich Ux experiences that SPAs (Single Page Applications) can offer with Breeze, OData, WebAPI, and modern Javascript libraries. Microsoft did a fantastic job of engaging with Columbia and understanding our background and needs; I witnessed their teams win over an initially hostile and change-averse culture. The end result was a very satisfying and mutually beneficial partnership that allowed Columbia to build dynamic applications and services using best-of-breed architecture. I’m a MCDBA and a Certified Scrum Master.

Tyler Hardison of Redhawk Security

Had such a great conversation recently with Tyler Hardison, the CTO of Redhawk Security. When I originally reached out to him for an interview in my book, I was primarily interested in what he had to say about DevSecOps and building security into the software lifecycle. What surprised me was the breadth of his experience – it ended up being a much different conversation than I was expecting. In this podcast we talk about what the formations of the Roman army can teach us about ideal team sizes, how to build a workable (not mean, not toothless) peer review, and how to lure and select the best talent.

 

 Some of what we talk about in the podcast:

  • How does Redhawk look at the 3 pillars of security?
  • How to find the best and brightest people – even in a smaller market like Central Oregon!
  • Microservices and a more pragmatic approach to partitioning out workloads

And the quote of the day – “If you look at your job now and there’s areas where you are just pulling levers, chances are that job is going to be automated and moved away from you. So be flexible!”

I think you’ll love this discussion, which dives a little deeper into some of the topics we covered in his case study in Achieving DevOps! A link to the interview is here – and it’s on the podcast platform of your choice.  We’re on all the major platforms now, including AnchorAppleGoogleSpotifyPocketCasts, and RadioPublic.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the podcast!

References and Links

Ryan Comingdeer of Five Talent

I got a chance recently to get reacquainted with a very prominent figure in the Oregon tech industry – Ryan Comingdeer from Five Talents Software, based out of Bend. What he told me about security, how to learn from failure with gamedays, and how microservices and security are not just the domain of the big boys might surprise you.

Here’s some of the topics we cover:

  • Gamedays and project retrospectives
  • The biggest selling point behind Infrastructure as Code
  • Lunch and Learns at Five Talents
  • Some little-known benefits behind microservices
  • “Our culture is defined by how we give feedback.”

I think you’ll love this discussion, which dives a little deeper into some of the topics we covered in his case study in Achieving DevOps! A link to the interview is here – and it’s on the podcast platform of your choice.  We’re on all the major platforms now, including AnchorAppleGoogleSpotifyPocketCasts, and RadioPublic.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the podcast!

References and Links

John Weers of Micron Semiconductors

A great talk with John Weers of Micron Semiconductors. I think I interviewed about 2 dozen people for the book; John made more impact than anyone else. I owe John greatly – one of his emails ended up being the conclusion of my hero character’s story in the book!

The Micron story intrigued me because it’s not an “easy get” – fab facilities come with some unique constraints, including absurdly long lead times and absurdly expensive hardware, stringent security requirements, and a vast amount of legacy and technical debt to pay down. Micron is a $48B company with 36,000 employees; it simply doesn’t pivot like a startup pure software company can, and leadership has to be judicious with the bets they make.

Not just anyone can successfully maintain momentum with that kind of environment; John’s one of the best in the industry at engaging with software teams at their level and working cooperatively to meet goals. If you learn half as much as I did from our talk, you’ll find this hour of time to be very valuable. 

Here’s some of the topics we cover:

  • What John’s personal rendezvous with fate taught him about creating change and delivering on what really matters.
  • Balancing autonomy versus cohesion – how do we align without blindly enforcing rules?
  • How long does a good KPI last at Micron? What does John do to reset things when the numbers stop working?
  • Reputation is key – and that’s all based on how we treat people.
  • “If it comes easy, it doesn’t stick.”

I think you’ll love this discussion, which explores some of the topics we covered in his interview in Achieving DevOps! A link to the interview is here – and it’s on the podcast platform of your choice. AppleGoogleSpotify, blah blah…. We’re on all the major platforms now, including AnchorAppleGoogleSpotifyPocketCasts, and RadioPublic.

Enjoy the podcast!

References and Links

PartsUnlimited hassles with grunt-sass …

I’m putting together some notes for an upcoming presentation on LaunchDarkly and feature flags, which I love… This is some notes around some issues I had with setting up the sample PartsUnlimited project. You’d think this would be a slam-dunk; as with all things Visual Studio, it’s not always a direct route that gets you there.

First off, I first tried standing up a dev environment in Azure (slam dunk, and got a souped-up box for $0.11 an hour – whoa!) – and pulling down the demo content. This all worked great, until I tried to build the solution in Visual Studio 2019. I get this error message though that there’s a broken dependency – “local Npm module grunt-sass not found”. Hmm.

After having repeated issues with it, I gave up and walked through these steps start to finish, explicitly – including installing VS2017 Enterprise in parallel with 2019. That means you install an older version of .NET Core (2.2.108), NodeJs (v6.12.3). Guess what? Still had the same issue around grunt-sass. So, looking back, I think I could get it to run on VS2019 no problem – I just had to clean up the project dependencies using “git clean-fdx” cmd-line at the project level, or – last resort – npm uninstall node-sass, followed by install.

Anyway, just to wrap up – for a starter project it’s a little disappointing you have to jump through a fair # of hoops to get it to work. The references are badly out of date and you’d think it wouldn’t take much work to keep it up to date with current versions. But, the fix was fairly easy – navigate to the solution folder (root) and running “git clean-fdx”. If that had failed, I could have uninstalled and then installed node-sass packages (npm uninstall node-sass, then npm install node-sass)

Some thoughts:

  • So much good stuff there on the Azure DevOps Demo Generator site. Once I’m done w/mucking around with Terraform, I’m coming back to explore?
  • Is it annoying that they completely changed / lobotomized the MSDN subscriber downloads site? You bet it is.

 Anyway, the project builds, no errors. Really a very minor hiccup and in a bizarre way I kinda had fun knocking down potential issues until we hit on the right path.

New Podcast – interview with Nathen Harvey of Google

Great interview with Nathen Harvey – I sat down with him again after a year or so, back when he was at Chef. I love that guy and he’ll continue to rise in our industry! I knew I’d found a goldmine the first time I talked with Nathen, way back a year ago… He has so much practical experience around configuration management – he was a longtime employee at Chef and rocked a lot of great presentations. A very engaging and stimulating guy – you’ll love it. I think you’ll love this discussion, which explores some of the topics we covered in his interview in Achieving DevOps!

A link to the interview is here – and it’s on the podcast platform of your choice. Apple, Google, Spotify, blah blah…. Click below to check out the podcast. We’re on all the major platforms now, including AnchorAppleGoogleSpotifyPocketCasts, and RadioPublic.

Here’s some of the topics we covered:

  • So there’s a few Git flavors out there when it comes to branching – gitFlow, Github-flow, Gitlab-flow, etc. What do you favor? (And how long lived can a feature branch be anyway before it becomes an antipattern?)
  • How do you build up empathy between different roles – i.e. engineering and Operations/IT?
  • In the dawning era of containers and provisioning tools like Terraform – do we really still need configuration management tools like Chef, Ansible, etc?
  • Let’s say we want to start up a DevOps Dojo – a POC. Where do we start? (i.e. why is a Hello World project not enough to get traction…)
  • How do we get executive buy-in?
  • What’s resilience engineering, and why is that important?

Enjoy the podcast!

 
 

 References and Links