Head Geeks Office Hours

1 Post authored by: thommymac

As someone forced (sometimes at economic gunpoint) to use Nagios, I am doing a Snoopy happy dance. As the title indicates, I am at a place that has SolarWInds. A couple of me long time IT buddies just LOVE SolarWinds. I had a good bit of MOM (pre-SCOM for the youngsters) experience. Thank goodness I started out a VB6 guy or else that job would of taken on nightmare proportions. Wait, it did. Never mind. Where was I? I tend to ramble in me dotage. Ok, I been an IT guy a long time. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA during the 70s. We were taught our caste (mostly 1st and 2nd generation immigrants. Most Eastern European but my folks were from UK) were going to work in the steel mills. Indeed, I lived in the south side quite literally in the shadow of Jones & Laughlin Steel's smokestacks. It was where all our dads and uncles worked. Good wages for hard work but not much required in the thinking department. That's not to be disparaging, its just how it was. Heck, at South Pittsburgh Public High School, my alma mater, not only were we a Vo-Tech, we used J&L or US Steel's forms and employment applications for practice and career prep. College was for folks who didn't grow up inside the actual city. Besides, why'd you nancy boys wanna be an egghead anyway? Afraid of real work? were some of the responses to those of us who dreamed of going to Pitt.Then the classes of 1980, 81, & 82 had to deal with the collapse of the steel industry in the US. It was President Reagan, so there was zero talk of a bail out like Detroit a couple decades later. In hindsight, it was a great thing. t the time, not so much. In my class it wasn't a question of were you joining the service but a matter of WHAT service were you joining. I know every drunk or BS artist in America makes the claim but I really was an infantryman. I had wanted to be a Screaming Eagle since seeing 'Battleground' with Van Johnson as a kid. Not knowing thwack (heh) about the Army I walked into the recruiting station in Mt. Oliver on Brownsville Road. I told the recruiter I wanted to be a Screaming Eagle. "Oh, you mean an airborne infantryman" says he. Sure. I joined at 5'10 and 115 lbs. By the end of OSUT (Basic and AIT is combined for infantryman) I was 165 and at the end of the BAC I was 185. After a full hitch (I was a bonus baby, getting $ for being an 11B1P) I got out and started going to school. The plan was to get an A.S. in Foreign language (Mum was a Russian and the Cold War made that a hot item) and apply for OCS (Officer Candidate School NOT The OCS that X the Owl went to.) Dad died unexpectedly so full time work and part time schooling is now the plan. Thankfully a local bank counted being a junior NCO as management experience. Even more magic is the bank was large enough to have a lockbox running a couple DEC-VAX and an AS/400/AIX/UNIX link. This was just when DOS 6 came out. So I was managing a pretty big remittance processing area that included a couple mini-operators for my shift. The bank had a 286 for supervisors and managers to bust numbers a little more easily than with the "min" computers. It was love at 1st sight. I changed my major and never looked back. I was hired by a software company!!! Woo hoo! Except I wasn't all that hot as a programmer. I could crush my assignments but real world with PRE-MS BUYOUT SourceSafe and a dozen other programmers? Luckily years in the Army paid off again besides the NCO thing.


One thing any combat arms vet can tell you is ANY job where you are dry, fed, warm, and not in danger is a great job. They actually loved my attitude, work ethic, and (perceived) ability to learn. The CIO and MIS director offered me a deal. If I could certify on Server NT 4 in a month, NT 4 desktop in two and Exchange 4 in three, I would earn a seat on the MIS (IT) team. Not many events can be pointed to where you can say "That changed my life." The dot com bubble bust took down many honest to goodness places. It reminded me of the marketing folks scuttling now useless and looted vessels. But the paradigm had indeed shifted. Everyone wanted email and web sites.  To round out my MCSE at the time, IIS 4 was my other elective. Over the years I got comfy with Macs, really dig Linux, and still dig new MS products. I have a media server at home but once I am off duty I am pretty much PS3\Xbox or iPad. I spent many moons working on smaller networks and contracting but kept all certs current. Before attaining Nirvana with this current gig I was at an over-priced bush league fix it shop. So now I have a position that utilizes my experience, doesn't scare the kids, management knows I am not the scheming underling and ......... we have SolarWInds! If I can tie this baby in with BMC's Control M and/or Cherwell I will finish out me kids' college years working here. I doubt anyone reads member's blogs so i think I will during lunch each day.  The reason this is in "Head Geeks Office Hours" was it was one of the few optioned so I could save the draft of this. So now I actually published to a tech forum for the 1st time in way too long.

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