on Professional Computing

Avoid “not made here” syndrome – some companies try to roll their own software for every situation. In most cases you’re better off buying a package from someone who specializes in making and supporting that product. To decide which to do, figure your cost to develop that software. Triple it. If you can buy it for less than that number, buy it. Otherwise, go ahead and roll your own. (AOL, c.1999)

Consultants aren’t the solution – first there’s the problem of coordination and communication (see: “the Mythical Man Month”, Brooks). But mostly, consultants have different short & long term goals than their customers. They want the job done as fast as possible, and they want to generate future work. Neither improves the quality, performance, or maintainability of the product they create. (AOL, c.1998)

Contracts without performance benchmarks are just licenses to steal – for the reasons pointed out above, every contract should have performance as well functional criteria. Otherwise, you might as well hand the other party a blank check. (AOL, c.1998)

Databases are slow – at least relational databases are. This isn’t obvious, but all the really fast databases in the world are running on flat files. Use flat files and you’ll just have to solve the ETL (extract, transform, load) problem. For that, call Ab Initio Software. (unknown Airline engineer, c.1999)

You don’t really want UDP – I know you think you do, but you don’t. The modern Internet infrastructure doesn’t scale as well with UDP. Use TCP with selective acknowledgement (and if necessary timestamps) instead. (AOL, c.1999)

Mess with routes at your own peril – more people have been fired for messing with routes than any other single mistake in IT. It doesn’t matter if it’s a static or dynamic route, tread lightly. (multiple)

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