Author: ccie14023

Cisco Live is over! Long Live Cisco Live!

I think it’s fair to say that all technical marketing engineers are excited for Cisco Live, and happy when it’s over.  Cisco Live is always a lot of fun–I heard one person say “it’s like a family reunion except I like everyone!”  It’s a great chance to see a lot of folks you don’t get to see very often, to discuss technology that you’re passionate about with other like minded people, to see and learn new things, and, for us TMEs, an opportunity to get up in front of a room full of hundreds of people and teach them something.  We all now wait anxiously for our scores, which are used to judge how well we did, and even whether we get invited back. It always amazes me that it comes together at all.  In my last post, I mentioned all the work we do to pull together our sessions.  A lot of my TMEs did not do sessions, instead spending their Cisco Live on their feet at demo booths.  I’m also always amazed that World of Solutions comes together at all.  Here is a shot of what it looked like at 5:30 PM the night before it opened (at 10 AM.)  How the staff managed to clear out the garbage and get the booths together in that time I can’t imagine, but they did. My boss, Carl Solder,...

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Inside Cisco Live

  While I’m thinking about another TAC Tale, I’m quite busy working on slides for Cisco Live.  I figured this makes for another interesting “inside Cisco” post, since most people who have been to the show don’t know much about how it comes together.  A couple years back I asked a customer if I could schedule a meeting with him after Cisco Live, since I was working on slides.  “I thought the Cisco Live people made the slides and you just showed up and presented them!” he said.  Wow, I wish that was the case.  With hundreds of sessions I’m not sure how the CL team could accomplish that, but it would sure be nice for me.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case. If you haven’t been, Cisco Live is a large trade show for network engineers which happens four times globally: in Europe, Australia, the US, and Mexico.  The US event is the largest, but Europe is rather large as well.  Australia and Mexico are smaller but still draw a good crowd.  The Europe and US shows move around.  The last two years Europe was in Barcelona, as it will be next year, but it was in Berlin two years before that.  The US show is in San Diego this year, was in Orlando last year, and was in Las Vegas for two years before that.  Australia is always...

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What are we getting ourselves into?

It seems to be rank heresy for someone working in the valley to say it, but let me say it anyways.  I don’t agree with the axiom of the technology industry which states that all technological progress is always good.  Many in our society instinctively realize this, which is why they oppose genetic engineering and plastics.  Still, the technology industry is so persistently in love with itself, and so optimistic about its potential to solve every human problem, that when anyone points out the consequences of technological progress, we quickly respond with AI’s potential to solve the problems it’s bound to create.  (Sorry for the long sentence, but I’m going to quote Plato in this essay, and by Platonic standards that last sentence is short.)  AI is the solution to everything.  AI will unlock the mysteries of human existence.  AI will allow human beings to live forever.  AI will cure cancer.  AI will solve the dangers of, well, genetic engineering and plastics. An example of this is the extraordinarily concerning essay in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago by computer scientist and 60’s icon Jerry Kaplan.  Dr. Kaplan reviews the recent accomplishments of functional brain imaging technologies, which are starting to become more precise in identifying how people are feeling, and even which words they are thinking.  “With improved imaging technology, it may become possible to ‘eavesdrop’ on a person’s...

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Blog Updates

A lot of the blog posts I write begin with “I’m just too busy to blog these days!”  Luckily, I have dozens of drafts so often blogging is just a question of cleaning up something I wrote a long time ago.  However, I’d like to keep things up here even as life becomes more hectic here at Cisco.  (I don’t know how things can get more hectic but they seem to each day!) I don’t have many comments on this blog.  I think this is largely due to the fact that most of my readers are spambots.  However, I know there are a few out there who actually read and enjoy some of the posts.  For years I’ve required users to enter a name and email address to post a comment, and while many users just fill out fake information there, I’ve always thought it kept spam down.  This policy probably keeps genuine comments low too.  So, I’ve flipped the setting to allow anonymous comments.  I’ll test it for a few days, and if the spam is out of control I’ll flip it back.  My spam filtering software gets the vast majority of spam comments, so I hope it will continue to do its job with anonymous commenting. The performance on this blog is also slow.  I’m looking at moving to a more fully managed offering from my hosting provider...

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Interviewing #1: How I got my first networking job

I’ve wanted to kick off a series for a while now on technical interviewing. Let me begin with a story. My first job interview for a full network engineering role was at the San Francisco Chronicle in 2000. I had been working for five years in IT, mostly doing desktop and end-user support. I then decided to get a master’s degree in telecommunications management, which didn’t help at all, followed by a CCNA certification, which got me the interview. My first interview was with the man who would be my boss. Henry was a manager who had almost no technical knowledge about networking, but I didn’t know that at the time. “Do you know Foundry switches at all?” Henry asked. “No.” I was already worried. “I doubted you would. That’s ok because we want to replace them all with Cisco and you know Cisco.” He pulled out a network diagram and handed it to me. “If you look at this, do you see a problem?” he asked. I had never worked on a network larger than a couple switches, and now I was staring at a convoluted diagram depicting the network of the largest newspaper in Northern California. I was looking at subnet masks, link speeds, and hostnames, trying to find something wrong. “I’m not sure,” I had to reply meekly. He pointed at the main core switch for...

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