Category: worth reading

Worth Exploring: PCAP Analysis with Generative AI

John Capobianco published the source code of his Packet Buddy application on GitHub. It’s a Python UI that takes a PCAP file, converts it to JSON, and includes that JSON as part of the ChatGPT chat, allowing you to discuss the captured packets with ChatGPT.

His idea is one of the best uses of generative AI in networking I’ve seen so far, as long as you remember that you’re dealing with an overconfident intern who has no problem making up an answer just to sound smart. Have fun!

Finally, if you don’t want to use ChatGPT (I wouldn’t blame you) or send captured data into The Cloud, someone already adapted his idea to use local LLMs.

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Goodbye, Subscription

I ran the first webinar as an independent author almost exactly fourteen years ago1, with the first ticket sold just before New Year’s Eve. I kept focusing on individual webinars until someone asked me, “Would it be possible to buy access to everything you did?” His question effectively created the subscription, with the first one sold in late 2010 (I still have the email that triggered the whole process).

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Worth Reading: The AI Supply Paradox

Eric Hoel published a spot-on analysis of AI disruptiveness, including this gem:

The easier it is to train an AI to do something, the less economically valuable that thing is. After all, the huge supply of the thing is how the AI got so good in the first place.

TL&DR: AI can easily disrupt things that are easy to generate and thus have little value. Seeing investors trying to recoup the billions pouring into the latest fad will be fun.

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Interviewing a Network Engineer Using a Single Scenario

I always said that the Trivia Pursuit certification tests (or job interviews) are nonsense and that one should focus on fundamentals.

In a recent blog post, Daniel Dib described a fantastic scenario: using a simple “why can’t I connect to a web site” question, explore everything from ARP/ND to DNS and TLS.

Obviously, you’ll never see anything that sane in a certification test. An interactive interview doesn’t scale (beyond CCDE), and using humans (and common sense judgment) creates potential legal liabilities (there were rumors that had been one of the reasons a talk with a proctor who could flunk you was dropped from the CCIE test).

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Worth Reading: Cloudflare Control Plane Outage

Cloudflare experienced a significant outage in early November 2023 and published a detailed post-mortem report. You should read the whole report; here are my CliffsNotes:

Also (unrelated to Cloudflare outage):

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Git Rebase: What Can Go Wrong?

Julia Evans wrote another must-read article (if you’re using Git): git rebase: what can go wrong?

I often use git rebase to clean up the commit history of a branch I want to merge into a main branch or to prepare a feature branch for a pull request. I don’t want to run it unattended – I’m always using the interactive option – but even then, I might get into tight spots where I can only hope the results will turn out to be what I expect them to be. Always have a backup – be it another branch or a copy of the branch you’re working on in a remote repository.

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