Hi everyone,

It seems that I'm full of the competitions, contests, and the calls to help us out lately. Though, I won't claim that one in Geek Speak as mine, though I had to recreate it.


I guess it's good that you are hearing me call for your participation: it means that thwack is rather stable and I'm not taking away any more features, right? So, our PR folks, who I really dig, are in need of your help. They need a bunch of you to take this survey on data center disaster preparedness. There's a chance to win some cash, some $50 Amazon gift cards, but even more than that, there's a chance to answer some insightful questions that may get you actually thinking to yourself, "Am I prepared? Is there a prepared enough?"


I guess, I'm never sure. I mean, I'm not digging a bunker in the yard or anything, but I still feel like it was only yesterday when I found myself in the selection process for the community platform. And, yes, there are times I've looked myself in the mirror and, all laughter at what I see there aside, thought I could have asked more questions. I could have figured out that one thing that dinged us. I could have thought about the fact that bots would eat our lunch for the first couple months... 20/20 hindsight my friends. I did drag all the vendors over the coals about data center disasters. I mean, RIM had just experienced another service blackout and I had just signed a new 2-year on my Torch.


But, what I would have really liked to have, before I listened to multiple folks wanting me to endorse them, was someone who made me think of the handful of question that might have given us that little bit of foresight to save us from some initial flakiness. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not wavering on my choice and I sure as heck am not disappointed. But, had I had the opportunity to take a quiz or survey that helped me figure if I'd left out some points, missed a couple questions, I would have been all over it. Anything that would make me think of the unexplored dark corners would have been helpful. Something that made me think again, evaluate my own needs... Who knows, maybe I could have reclaimed a couple hours of sleep.


Anyway, as usual, I digress. Please check out this survey from Network World and SolarWinds. If you could fill it out before Friday, that would be stellar. Oh, and here's their copy...


Floods, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, power surges. There are plenty of disasters that can derail your data center operations. How do you prepare for the worst? Do you have a disaster preparedness and response plan in place? How confident are you that your company could recover if a significant disaster were to make your main data center inaccessible? Please take our confidential survey and let us know.

Network World and SolarWinds want to learn more about how folks in IT are dealing with business continuity and disaster recovery. Our survey takes about five minutes to complete, and it's confidential. SolarWinds is also giving away five $50 Amazon gift cards, chosen at random from those who complete the survey.

CLICK HERE to take the survey.

The results will be the subject of a Network World article publishing shortly afterward.

Thank you all...

See you on the boards,



A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our SysAdmin Day contest. You rocked it and the web took notice. For those of you who dig the numbers, our contest space was viewed by over 13000 people our last week and over 10000 when we launched. Okay, I'll put away my numbers... but know that I'm grinning bigtime.


You knew the day would come; you had your bets placed; you had your favorites.... You brought your stories.You voted.

So, let's get right down to the winners, to heck with the drum roll.


Congratulations go out to chrisiaut !

Chris' tale "Even the best security system has no chance against the janitor" was selected as our grand prize winning story by our panel of judges (more about them below). So, who would have known that a little detective work while SysAdmin'ing for the school would ultimately reap such a cool reward... I mean really, do we do this for the rewards? ...okay, maybe don't answer that. But, you've gotta smile at the NetGear open AP. Ouch.


Our five other well-deserving winners, selected by you, our incredible community, and based on eligible entries with the most votes are:


Each of you, you gifted spinners of yore and classic yarns, receives a $50 gift card to ThinkGeek.


Let us not forget to once again thank our judging panel:

  • Wesley David, a sysadmin that has been in many trenches with many of his own tales, but he can't tell any of them without weeping. Wesley blogs at The Nubby Admin.
  • Denny LeCompte, VP of Product Management at SolarWinds. Denny believes that if a company understands its customers and the problems they face every day, creating products that they can enjoy using becomes simple.
  • Trevor Pott, a sysadmin and writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada who built his first network at eight years old and hasn't stopped building them since. Trevor blogs at The Register on systems administration.
  • Matt Simmons, a 10+ year sysadmin, blogger at  Standalone Sysadmin, and active member of the League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA). He currently works for the College of Computer and Information Systems at Northeastern University.


Thank you all for your help, your stories, your contributions, your votes... most of all, thank you for getting that mystery box in front of me to talk to the pizza box in the closet to talk to the other pizza boxes and ultimately to the bigger world out there.


My proverbial hat is off to you all!



We all deal with difficult people. Maybe it is the web dev that hands you code without ever testing it on the staging site, leaving you with the 2am phone call when "the site goes down" during your web push or maybe it is the director of your department that knows how to manage people, but not devices... or worse, manages people like devices. Okay, so maybe we deal with them as little as possible, or we deal with them like they belong in a bell jar, or we deal with them like scorpions found in our shoes (yep, that was one of the less beneficial surprises about living in Austin), but we deal with them.

As our Contests & Missions comes to a close (voting ended today), I thought I would post another opportunity to share your daily dysfunction.


Dan Tynan is working on a story about the relationships (tenuous, brittle, disturbing, dysfunctional) between us and them: IT people and other departments we have to interact with... heck, even interdepartmental relationships gone strange. I mean if I build a hardened server to the spec given to me by my security team, why won't they let me deploy it in the DMZ? You know you've been there.


Anyway, if you have a story, please feel free to share it below in the comments. I apologize for the quick need, but Dan is on a deadline of Monday. If you have a story, please share.


If you'd like to see some of Dan's work before contributing, you can find some of his previous work here: http://www.infoworld.com/t/it-management/it-admins-gone-wild-5-rogues-watch-out-214 and here: http://www.itworldcanada.com/news/seven-tales-of-it-foul-ups-part-1/136067. Specifically, he is looking for "examples of classic dysfunctional relationships, who the players are, what their conflicts are, what caused them, and what they need to do to get along and mend the rift."


See you on the boards,


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