O R G A N I C / F E R T I L I Z E R: what makes a sysadmin? (a response to call out)

Jul 2, 2008

what makes a sysadmin? (a response to call out)

i hope this ends up being a terse response to hal’s call out.  you should have seen his original “bio”.  wow.


how old were you when you started using computers?

i don’t remember.  i was just a kid.  it was sometime after the commodore vic-20 was released because i was insanely jealous of my neighbor.  i ended up getting a commodore 64 not long after that.  i guess whatever time frame that is…

what was your first machine?

read above.  the commode-door 64.  my sister ruined it with kool-aid and markers.  ended up with a commode-door 128, master-flush cover edition.

what was the first real script you wrote?

i didn’t write any of my own.  my parents had no interest in getting me any programming books so i wrote all the examples in the crappy manual that came with the c64.  i don’t even remember what they did.

what scripting languages have you used?

batch, vbscript, and breaking into powershell.

what was your first professional sysadmin gig?

i handled pc support at a health insurance company.  of course, stating even that makes it sound pretty glorified.  i spent most of my time decollating print jobs that ran off the as/400s.  you remember, right?  the triple-layered printer paper with the perforated edges, with the holes on the side, with a carbon sheet between each layer.  yeah.  every morning, 6am, get in and break them apart.  run them through the decollating monster, load a cart with paper reams a mile high and go to every floor, dropping off reports.  fun.  killed lots of trees there.

if you knew then what you know now, would you have started in IT?

hell yeah.  i would be the master scripter by now!  :)  there’s lots of things you learn along the way that you wished someone had told you before.

if there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new sysadmins, what would it be?

be diligent in your pursuit of knowledge.  it’s not enough to expect your trade on-the-job.  if you want to be really good at what you do, invest time in it.

what’s the most fun you’ve ever had scripting?

i’m not even indulging this question.  i wish this question was about horrifying experiences.  i have plenty of those.

who am i calling out?

john the hann
pete zerger
rory mccaw
bryce kinnamon
andy dominey
blake mengotto
anders the burning village bengtsson