Software Highlights

 

    For many years, the type of software I produced has been around the configuration of hardware. It began with software to enable support of new modems for the UNIX OS. At 3Com, I wrote software (scripts, actually) that could pull the configurations off of a router, or switch, and then install them onto a new router - enabling a field technician to perform a hardware swap without having to know how to configure the device.

    On arrival to Cisco, these types of software efforts continued. Generally, the way the software efforts at Cisco worked is that I would prototype some new software, using HTML, Perl, Java, etc. Then, once I had the prototype working, I would show it to the engineering team and they would create the real version - using better and more modern programming techniques. My contribution was the idea, the algorithms and the general look at feel.

    Cisco Fast Step software was one of the first software packages that I designed at Cisco.

    Fast Step was intended to provide a customer experience “like a MS Windows wizard” - while installing a Cisco router.

    The actual software was written by a team of engineers at Cisco. My contribution was a screen by screen mockup of what it should look like along with what it should do.

    Unfortunately, this software is no longer available on Cisco’s web site.

    Cisco Configmaker software was started, stopped and started again many times. The team just couldn’t figure out how to tie all the ideas together into something viable. Jeff Goldberg and I were the two that were finally able to produce a viable set of specifications for engineering that enabled them to deliver. Subsequently, Configmaker went through several revisions after Jeff and I left the team.  Unfortunately, this software is no longer available.

    It had been quite a while since I had personally written code when I determined that this software was required. The Cisco AccessPath product included between 3  and 21 AS5X00 access routers, 2 Catalyst 5000 switches and a CISCO 7200 router.        

    The AccessPath provided the means by which Boeing, Stanford, and other companies were able to turn on dial-up and ISDN ports, for thousands of people, in a week. However, it was really hard for customers to get the configuration right - even though it wasn’t really all that difficult, after you did it a few times.

    I had to learn Perl in order to write the original code for this program. I wrote the first 4-5 screens - a couple examples are shown to the left.

    Then, I had the pleasure of handing over the prototype to Parag Bopardikar, who took the prototype and brought it to life.

    I am very proud to have originated this software because it was very popular with Cisco customers. It is still available:

                    http://www.cisco.com/support/toolkit/Accesspath/

    In 2003, I was asked to move from Serviceability Design Engineering into Services Marketing. They needed to increase the technical skills in the department and it was time for me to leave one of the best jobs I ever had. I went to work for Mike Farabelli - one of the greatest guys I’ve ever worked for. He asked me to look into the creation of a new service offer on the low end, for Cisco SMB customers.

    After a fair amount of research, and collaboration, a vision for a new service offer was created and I documented it. I was awarded the “innovation award” for the program and that program was called, “SMB Support Assistant” for Small And Medium Business Support Assistant - or SMBSA.

    Over time, the program has grown and the name has been changed to Cisco Smart Foundation Service.

    It would not be fair to leave out Ryland Greene and Robert Wright, key contributors to this service. Ryland was in the field, in constant contact with customers and resellers. Robert was key, to actually making it work. We discussed, debated and even argued at the time. The result was that we come up with something that worked for us, and in turn, our customers.