Working with My Former Self

I’m doing some verification of specifications at work that involves going through documents and making sure that stuff is up to par. A couple of times, I’ll come across a document and think to myself, this is a pretty good document (i.e. it looks well formatted, has at least most of the information I need, etc) and I’m generally impressed with this persons work.

One of the other things I have to do is go through and update the document properties, and this is when I see that this persons who’s work I’m so impressed with is me! As an intern! Some three years ago!

Kind of crazy.

I think this is an excellent example of how long projects can last, especially at a big company. It’s also amazing to think back four years ago and how much I knew then about this project and how much I know now. It’s a pretty complex project and understanding how everything fits together, from a technical and from a business standpoint, takes lots of time.

Apply for My Old Job

My group at work, Mission Computing Hardware, just had a requisition posted for a new intern! The last intern was hired in 2006 and would later go on to get hired to full time. The last intern also happened to be me.

Now, I obviously can’t make any guarantees about you getting hired (or even getting the internship). However, I would recommend that you apply if you are at all interested. And if you do get the job, you get to work with me! But don’t delay; the position closes by June 10, and I think it can close earlier if they find someone earlier.

From jobs.boeing.com:

Position Description: Engineering College intern to support 40/45 AWACS Program Mission Computing Hardware. This individual will work with guidance from other members of the IPT framework, supporting the development of Qualification Procedures, Analysis, Test Reports, Data Packages, Safety of Flight Memos, COTS equipment evaluation and selection prior to technical refresh cycles, Ethernet architecture development and implementation, Storage Area Network and Network Access Storage architecture and implementation, encryption/firewalls, and servers.

Competencies:
Collaboration, Communication, Continuous Learning, Customer Focus, Managing Work

Other Job related information:
Prefer candidates seeking electrical engineering degrees.

Image: Air Force file

Whack Whack

Often during a conversation someone will say something like, “Did you check whack whack elmo whack system whack data?”
It didn’t take very long to figure out what “whack” actually was: a backslash. Thus, the above phrase becomes, “Did you check \\elmo\system\data?”

See also: http://www.unixwiz.net/archives/2004/11/whack_whack_1.html

Note: This wasn’t posted until 6/19/2006. I needed to review it and didn’t have time until now.

It’s All About the DNS

Domain Name Servers (DNS) might be considered the single most important aspect of the Internet, yet many people don’t know what they are and those that do probably don’t know how they work. In the end, this ends up being a good thing. But over the last week or so, they’ve unknowingly been the bane of my internship.

Domain Name Servers really serve a single purpose: they take a domain name (such as AndrewFerguson.net) and return an IP address (such as 70.96.188.33). In reality, there are many DNS which talk with each other and share information and (usually) ensure that you get to the website you’re trying to reach.

But what happens if a DNS goes down? Or actually: What happens if the person responsible for add the names of a half dozen DNS to your TCP/IP settings fails to do this? Short answer is: You can’t do any work. Long answer is: you spend days trying to figure out why you don’t have permissions to access a network share despite the fact that permissions aren’t the issue.

So yea, all fixed now. Today was probably one of my most productive days yet. I started playing around with some code to get a proof-of-concept design for DeIcer and made some great headway on that.

Java’s so weird.

In case you really want to learn more about DNS, check out HowStuffWorks and Wikipedia.