20 Questions with Arcweb Software Architect Howard Swope

In this month’s “Meet an Arcweber,” we sit down with Arcweb software architect Howard Swope. Let’s get to it…

Arcweb-Howard Swope

Full name?

Howard Swope.

Nickname?

Howard.

Title and role at Arcweb?

Software Architect.

What were you doing before Arcweb?

I was Manager of Engineering at a large technology products company. My team created software that produced real time, 3-D simulations of traffic for television news. We later rolled this business unit into a separate company in which I held Director and Principal Engineer roles.

What excites you about Arcweb today?

The enthusiasm of its people for their craft.

What do you tell your parents you do for a living?

I tell them the same thing I’ve told them for the last 25 years. I am a software engineer.

What’s your tech setup?

My home lab currently consists of:

  • A full size StarTech rack
  • A Cisco 24 port programmable gigabit switch
  • 2 Tripp Lite 200 AMP UPS
  • 2 CyberPower power units
  • A white box, intel quad core hyperthreaded, 12GB, Raided 1TB, active directory server
  • A Dell, dual intel quad core hyperthreaded, 16GB, Raided 500GB, active directory server
  • A white box six core intel hyperthreaded, 16GB, 500GB, 1GB NVIDIA graphics workstation
  • A white box 1U, 4 hot swap – 12TB, NAS running FreeNAS.

 

My mobile setup is:

  • iPhone 5S
  • iPad Air 2
  • 15 inch Macbook Pro Retina i7, 16GB, 500GB Solid State, NVIDIA Graphics, running multiple Linux and Windows virtual machines.

 

If you weren’t Arcwebing, what would you be doing?

Building handmade furniture and subsistence farming on a small farm situated in the middle of many acres of evergreen forest.

When you’re not Arcwebing, you’re…

Spending time with my wife and our dogs, traveling, taking classes, running, hiking, cooking, gardening, and building things around the house.

Which fellow Arcweber would you trade places with and why?

Jess Victor, who besides being a young, intelligent, and talented woman, is embarking on a trip around the world.

What is one crucial element to a successful project?

The correct level of engineering. One want’s to plan for tomorrow but engineer for today. But the most important element is communication.

What’s the furthest you’ve been from home?

Prague or Vienna. They are relatively equidistant from Philly.

What’s your favorite view of Philadelphia?

The hilltop of the Mann Center.

What city do you want to visit?

Top on my list currently are Lima, Cusco, La Paz, Casablanca, Athens, Istanbul, and Lhasa.

Any hobbies you are passionate about?

Running, hiking, cooking, gardening, and carpentry.

You get one superpower. What is it and why?

Astral projection. It would make my commute easier.

What is the best advice you ever received?

From a technology standpoint, master and religiously use debuggers. From a life standpoint, understand that karma is only loosely tied to life’s corporeal reality.

Best meal you have ever had?

A custom four course meal at a friend’s rehearsal dinner at Alma de Cuba. The friend was a sommelier and selected and provided excellent wine. This was ten years ago and I still remember the ceviche and the foie gras sandwiches.

Go to Lunch spot during work?

Right now, Square One.

In your opinion, what’s the number one reason why a business would hire Arcweb?

We are a group of skilled, conscientious professionals with a strong desire to envision, design, and build technology products that are holistically successful for our clients.