3 min read

On "Soft"ware 🍦

haven't you heard? its eating the world 🌍
On "Soft"ware 🍦


Snippet A from the definition of “soft”
Snippet B from the definition of “soft”

of allll the engineering disciplines software engineering is allegedly the most accessible and malleable

so why is it everywhere you turn someone throws out “oh the system can’t do that” or “I know its funky the button is over there and the reports only spit out 1x a week but that’s just how it is” or the dreaded “you don’t have permission to access this feature please contact your administrator”

me post-SWE/SRE life when I don’t have god mode on everythinggggg

software, unlike say bridges, internet cabling infrastructure or freeway overpasses can be changed from almost anywhere with an internet connection.

so why then does changing software become a Sisyphean task?

I suspect its due to forces beyond an individual user or engineer’s control - more ~*Market Dynamics*~  econ kind of stuff I’m mostly ignorant about.


the appeal to me getting into this field was precisely the ease in which software can be hacked on and infrastructure spun up and down. so imagine my disappointment when getting to the Real World and finding out that the gulf between “technical” vs “non-technical” folks is massive and ever-widening in addition to causing all sorts of chaos.

so so so so much detail and nuance gets lost in translation between an average end-user to someone in a customer-facing role to someone in a technical-product role to finally an engineer getting wind of things.

this isn’t to say everyone and their mom should suddenly go out and run Arch as their daily driver (lol can u imagine??? let’s get everyone using a pwd manager first) but more that users should have a semblance of what is and isn’t possible with the system they’re working in.

this is all so strikingly clear as I sink into my new role (still cross-functional and emergent and inter-disciplinary as was SRE) which squarely sits on the Business end of things.

I now have a Salesforce account and have the keys to something called Enterprise Data Warehouse….its rough out here for the business folks fr. and when I ask “why is X this way” or “how would we go about changing from Y → Z” my boss gets a sad faraway look in his eyes and tells me the tale of How This Came To Be and points out a winding path up a foggy hill and tells me what to pack in my backpack and to beware.

me seeking a smol change to instrument a web page that is owned by 1-2 other teams

there’s not much of a wrap up here (as there rarely is with these stream-of-consciousness point-in-time posts) but if changing your system is hard that’s the problem to solve imo

also while I’m here…death to pop-ups. I’m leaving Spotify bc they’ve assaulted me with pop ups for the LAST TIME. I never ever ever want software I’m paying for to have a pop-up. Also I do not want to buy into a bloated shitty platform experience anymore (see: the devolution of Instacart, any older observability tooling, Spotify). I believe in purpose specific software and tooling that is well-maintained and runs natively if possible- see: Pinboard, Llama Life, Obsidian.

alice in wonderland inspired drawing
just a lil dude appreciating some Art

paigerduty out!