Tales From IT: Cultural Differences

When I started as an IT dogs-body I was lucky enough to do quite a bit of travelling.  For a young guy this was awesome;  configure Exchange servers, see the world!  But it also meant I was hopelessly naive AND due to my extreme Britishness I didn’t speak any other languages (even English was ropy).

So I occasionally suffered from Culture Shock, like when I was sent to Rome to set up Exchange on short notice…  Continue reading “Tales From IT: Cultural Differences”

Tales From IT: How I got paid to play World of Warcraft for 3 months

Upset customers, complex systems, poor documentation, high-pressure situations, bizarre legacy choices.  Working in IT is hard work.

Except when it’s not.

Watching installations / patches run, interminable meetings, deciphering manuals (“What does ‘Klaatu barada nikto’ mean?”), hanging around for a change window to open;  there can be plenty of waiting around.

“I found the regular expression documentation!”

But waiting around for 3 months with a client that had nothing for you to do but refused to let you leave?  That’s a pretty unique situation… Continue reading “Tales From IT: How I got paid to play World of Warcraft for 3 months”

Tales From IT: Don’t Confuse Relative and Absolute Pathnames!

This incident occurred in the first place I worked and it proved to me just how much damage a little ignorance can do (unfortunately I was the source of the little ignorance in this story).

More specifically, a little ignorance, god-like permissions and a hacked-together backup system built out of scripts. Continue reading “Tales From IT: Don’t Confuse Relative and Absolute Pathnames!”

Tales From IT: I Don’t Want To Win If They Don’t Lose

IT projects past a certain size get quite complex.  They have a lot of moving parts and often those parts have to be aligned correctly and at the right time to make everything work.  In turn, that means you need the various people to pull together to make sure the project as a whole delivers.  Sometimes the team doesn’t succeed but normally everyone is pulling in the same direction.  There is no “I” in team!  Etc Etc

There are exceptions.  In one place I worked the IT departments were actively trying to push each other under a bus.  Think ‘Game Of Thrones’ with RAID arrays.

Ethernet 1
Day 1 : How to Make a Garotte out of Ethernet Cable

It made delivering the project…. interesting. Continue reading “Tales From IT: I Don’t Want To Win If They Don’t Lose”

Tales from IT: Man Vs Pager

In the IT department where I first worked, there was a Network Admin who was a bit ‘highly strung’. He’d get quite short when things got tense and he liked things done the way things were always done (he supported the physical network and Novell; this was in the time when Microsoft NT was just starting to make inroads into business).

It’s a good thing stress and rapid-change aren’t a big part of IT work, eh? Otherwise, a meltdown might occur…. Continue reading “Tales from IT: Man Vs Pager”

Tales from IT : Installing Servers in Style

I’ve been lucky enough to do quite a bit of travelling throughout my working life. Most of the time it wasn’t particularly glamorous (“Be an IT guy! See the inside of server rooms in exotic locations!”) but occasionally I’d get to do something particularly cool.

Like being driven to the centre of New York City in a chauffeur in an enormous stretch limousine.

Continue reading “Tales from IT : Installing Servers in Style”

Tales from IT : The Great Snipe Hunt for DNS

One of the first places I worked was a software development house who’d built themselves up from a small group of developers into a pretty big (2-3 thousand) outfit.  Originally they had two IT departments;  one (where I worked) focused on the developers and one focused on everyone else.  When the company reached a decent size it was decided to merge the two as part of both unifying IT work and stopping all the squabbling between the two departments.

One of the first tasks was to bring all the company servers into a proper server room.  But first, we had to find the company’s servers…

Continue reading “Tales from IT : The Great Snipe Hunt for DNS”