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 —…

Being a good software engineer takes work

Courtesy of

Software is a magical thing. With it you can build anything your imagination can conceive. Just like a sculptor, a painter, a boatbuilder, a cabinet maker, or the people who built the the Brooklyn Bridge— to make real the thing of your your imagination you have to understand and have a feel for the material with which you are working. For the professional artist, boatbuilder, cabinet maker and civil engineer that takes training, discipline, and experience. The software developer should be no different.

My father graduated as a mechanical engineer from Brown University. When I began my civilian career (after…

If They Take Away Our Guns

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. — 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

I believe in the importance of the 2nd Amendment — but I also believe that Wayne LaPierre’s scorched-earth, no compromises, take-no-prisoners approach to the NRA’s defense of the 2nd Amendment is compromising public and political support for it.

My Southern mother taught me to safely handle and shoot a .22 LR bolt action rifle when I was in elementary school. Though I’ve since…

When I Was Twenty-Two …

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

When I was twenty-two, America gave me one of the most precious gifts I have received in my almost 75 years of life. In many ways, it was the gift that enabled me to receive all the other amazing gifts that have come to me since — a wonderful wife and family, caring and steadfast friends, a long and fulfilling career, and sufficient good health to take joy in them all.

At the time I received this priceless gift, it seemed hardly a gift at all. I almost didn’t accept it. After all, I was young and foolish. What did…

The Republican Knee-Jerk Response to COVID-19 Relief

America is about to see a storm of criticism of the COVID-19 relief bill recently passed by Congress and signed by President Biden. The Republicans and Fox pundits will scream about “socialism”, the demise of capitalism, the destruction of our way of life, and the pending economic disaster to be brought about by deficit spending — none of which can be supported by any provable facts. The recovery from the Great Recession was short-circuited by Republican fear mongering that led to the radical Tea Party taking over the House of Representatives in the 2010 Election.

Mastering the Actor Model

The development of reliable, scalable applications for cloud environments is far harder than it ought to be. Here we describe a proven architecture that creates a multi-cloud application framework to meet the tougher challenges of managing distributed data across multi-cloud clusters — reliability and automatic failover, high performance and auto-scaling, and near real-time data consistency. This is the first of six parts that describes how to build multi-cloud applications with minimal frustration and error. If that is interesting, read on.

In recent years, containers and container orchestrators like Kubernetes have dramatically simplified the development of multi-cloud, reliable, scalable, distributed systems…

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 seems to be far harder than it ought to be.

In recent years, containers and container orchestrators like Kubernetes have proved to be an important abstraction that dramatically simplifies the development of reliable, scalable distributed systems. Though containers and container orchestration are just now entering the mainstream, they are…

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…

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…

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…

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.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store