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Software Engineering is the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the design, development, operation, and maintenance of software.

We who make our living building and maintaining software are very much in demand, are paid well, and are expected to demonstrate the competence and skill of professionals. Sadly, not all of us are the professionals we could be. Learning programming languages does not, by itself, make one a software engineer. It is only a start. Writing code is a small part of creating, deploying, supporting, and maintaining software. As our profession transitions through the latest major paradigm shift —…


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How to Make Implementing Cloud-Native Applications Easier

From the first programming languages, to advanced programming paradigms, to the development of virtualization and cloud infrastructure, the history of computer science is the history of the evolution of abstractions that hide complexity and empower the creation of ever more sophisticated applications.

The development of reliable, scalable applications for the cloud is far harder than it ought to be. The current (2/2021) difficulties many states are having with overloaded COVID-19 vaccination scheduling Websites is a case in point.

In recent years, containers and container orchestrators like Kubernetes have proved to be an important abstraction that dramatically simplifies the development of…


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What Happened to Honor?

Each and every person who holds any office of the United States takes a solemn oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. That includes the President, the Vice President, and all the Senators and Representatives in the Congress. It also includes every officer in the United States military. It is not an oath to be taken casually or for purposes of evasion.

53 years ago, I took that same oath when I was commissioned an officer in the U. S. Army. The oath does not expire. I am still bound by it and it takes…


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Why We Cannot Kick the Can Down the Road

There is little doubt that the 25th Amendment to the Constitution could be used to remove an obviously mentally incapacitated President, if only the Vice President and the Trump-appointed Cabinet have the moral courage to do so. Unfortunately, that would only solve a part of the our Nation’s problem.

What happens in 2024 if a well-financed Donald Trump, backed by the alt-reality media, makes another run for the White House? Do we want to go through this again? Do we want to give a dark dystopian alternative reality another bite at the apple? Can we afford to give Donald Trump…


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January 6, 2021 — A Bridge Too Far!

The Capitol of the United States was invaded for the first time since the British burned it during the War of 1812. A mob of insurrectionists was incited to invade the Capitol building by a sitting President. Our grandchildren will read about it in American History books. The only question will be whether those grandchildren will read about how American democracy was saved by patriotic public servants defending the Constitution — or how the Great Leader seized absolute power and ended the dangers of socialism, making America safe for real Americans.

This is not hyperbole. We are at a tipping…


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The Key to Digital Transformation

Fluency is the property of a person or a system that delivers information quickly, accurately, and with expertise. Another important attribute of fluency is the ability to understand a subject as an integrated and interrelated whole — not merely a collection of parts. The effective design and implementation of digital systems requires this perspective.

Realizing the potential of digital transformation (DX) requires fluency in all the aspects of digital transformation as well as the ability to view the digital enterprise holistically. …


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What is herd immunity and what does it mean for us?

You probably already know this, but I keep hearing that herd immunity will end the COVID-19 pandemic. That is true, but herd immunity is not free. We have to pay for it by getting vaccinated or with lost human lives. I’m not spouting propaganda. In my younger days, I studied Biology at Brown and was trained as a Biological Warfare officer (defense, not offense) in the Army. I know the meaning of the terminology and I know how to run the numbers.

Herd immunity, more properly called group immunity, is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs…


Trump and Trumpism Are the Lineal Descendants of McCarthy and McCarthyism — What Will You Do About It Now that Trump Has Lost?

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Despite his specious bleating, Donald Trump has lost his bid for reelection. Will you let him take the Country and the Republican Party down with him? Trump’s legal and political mentor was Roy Marcus Cohn, an American lawyer best known for being Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel during the Army–McCarthy hearings in 1954, for assisting with McCarthy’s theatrical hearings on suspected communists, and as his top political fixer. …


How the political need to preserve the economy has had the opposite effect

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“The economy, stupid” is a phrase coined by James Carville during the successful 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. It is still true and American politicians ignore it at their peril. Except in times of war, the state of the economy is always the issue most important to the most voters. The global COVID-19 pandemic adds complexity but does not negate the phrase. Polls indicate that more than 50% of potential voters consider it their primary concern.

The Trump administration and campaign are acutely aware of the importance of the economy to the President’s re-election. That concern has had an…


What do we really want our country to be?

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Please think about what you personally want America to be— not what partisan politicians tell you to want.

I want a country that provides its citizens equal opportunity to exploit their talents and labor in order to live a satisfying life and meet their personal needs (all very subjective). Wasting human capital is poor economics.

For very practical reasons, I want a country that provides all of its citizens with adequate medical care, regardless of their wealth. If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it is that no modern developed nation can afford not to have universal health coverage.

Dick Dowdell

I’m a US Army veteran of the Vietnam War, have a wonderful wife and family, am a working software engineer, and a committed citizen.

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