software development

I Love Balsamiq Mockups

Let me just say right off the bat, that I hate, hate working on Functional Specifications, and the reason for my loads of loathing is the user interface (UI). Managers want specifications to include screenshots of the UI, but as I’ve tried to explain, it is a chicken-and-the-egg situation. Do you want a specification, or do you want me to work on the UI?

The answer to this problem is usually creating wireframe mockups of the eventual UI. However, I’ve yet to find a mockup tool that I like. I’ve tried tools like Visio and OmniGraffle which are good tools, but they focus more on diagraming and process flow than wireframe design. Not to mention the aforementioned applications share a particular trait with an almost standard for creating mockups — Axure — complexity. The barrier to entry for these applications for doing something as simple as creating mockups is relatively high. I have longed for something simple, powerful, and straight-forward.

And then I found Balsamiq Mockups.

Continue reading

software development

i18n f4n

When designing EMC VSI 4.0, early on I made a decision that the entire core framework was going to be i18n compatible from the ground up. Unfortunately this led to colorful weekend. While this topic has been discussed time and time again, it’s so important that it bears repeating: just because your copy of Windows is set to use a different region’s locale doesn’t mean that you’re not still using good ‘ol en-US when it counts.

Continue reading


2010 in Review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meterâ„¢ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 18 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 62 posts. There were 30 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was March 10th with 767 views. The most popular post that day was SimDK.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for simdk, andrew kutz, backuppc archive, snow leopard ipfw rules example, and stylecopcmd.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


SimDK March 2010


Software June 2008


Building a Better OS X Firewall (or How I solved the NAT problem for VirtualBox) August 2009


A SimDK Virtual Appliance March 2010


How To: vSphere Client to vCenter Using HTTP March 2010


Cataclysm Cannot Control Them

I finally broke down and resubscribed to World of Warcraft. The reviews of Cataclysm were too good to not give a go, so I rolled a Worgen druid and off I went. And I really enjoyed the first 10 levels or so; the ones with story. Then I got dumped in Darnassus and it was the same old grind of game all over again. The reviews failed to mention this part. But the part that has me really bummed, and thinking of quitting again already is the other players.

At the university where I used to work, my colleagues and I would joke that the university would be a great place to work if it weren’t for the students. Obviously we saw the irony, and it was more of a comment on the behaviors we did not care for that the younger undergraduates typically displayed. On that note, World of Warcraft would be a fun game if it weren’t for the other players.

Hey Blizzard, is there some way you can add an option so that I only have to interact with players who are older than 25, have a full time job, families, and don’t live with their mom? You could call it a maturity or politeness filter. C’est la guerre I suppose, but it really does stink that an otherwise interesting experience is still ruined by people who have no room for those of us just trying to have fun. I guess when your life is so bad in the real world, it’s much easier to take a game so seriously.

software development, storage, virtualization


When I agreed to join EMC I was not sure what to expect. I’d worked in academia, a start-up, dabbled in reverse engineering, and contributed many projects to the open source community. However, EMC is unique with respect to all of the positions I’ve previously held or projects I’ve created. Higher education is a lot like open source, there is an implicit freedom — you get to play. A start-up is small and fast, and reverse engineering is all about figuring out how to gleam the rubik’s cube. EMC is the titan, the behemoth, the first IBM-like company that I decided to work for. Would I be consumed, or would I manage to stay relevant even as employee number 123456?

Eight months later, I have my answer. I’m tremendously proud to introduce to the world, in all its gory detail:


EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) 4.0 for VMware vSphere

Continue reading

security, software development

Internet Sandboxes and Digital Signatures

I’m super excited because after eight months at EMC, I’m a part of my first software release, EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) 4.0 for VMware vSphere. VSI 4.0 not only contains all of the functionality of previous incarnations, it also represents a completely new approach to cross-team collaboration and feature interoperability. Stay tuned for an upcoming post all about VSI 4.0!

This post, however, is all about two issue we ran into when we released VSI 4.0 to industry insiders. Right off the bat people had problems downloading the installers. One person even had an issue running the installer because of the operating system’s restrictive security settings. This is known as “The Caper of the Internet Sandboxes and Digital Signatures!”

Continue reading