Monthly Archives: September 2006

Calling friends in the sysadmin/tech business

OK, I have a few friends who happen to be sysadmins, or at least in tech jobs, so to help in my job search, I’d like some feedback and opinions on the following.

Theory: I am outgrowing the label “system administrator” and running out of challenges under that umbrella. So, to find the “next big thing” I should probably look for something that doesn’t have the Senior Sysadmin label on it. Probably something like “Perl tools coder” or the generic-sounding “System Engineer”.

Bit of background. I quit college 3.5 years into my 4 year degree when I had an opportunity for a full time job. I have been in SQA (Apple), SQA/Support lead/Sysadmin (a startup) and now Sysadmin and Sysadmin Manager (AltaVista and SGI). I have 10 years’ experience as a Sysadmin, Senior Sysadmin or Sysadmin Manager (5 years of that in management).

While I was a QA tester and QA lead, I started questioning myself as to whether I really wanted to Be A Programmer When I Grew Up. But, I haven’t forgotten about algorithms, data structures, C, asm, etc. Some of the best fun I have had as a sysadmin has been coding stuff in perl (like this thing). Right now, I’m not having fun, and I really want to get the Hell out of IT (I had a lot more fun and challenge on the production side than on the “serving internal users” side).

As a perl coder, I would probably be starting at a lower rung on the ladder, as compared to the Sysadmin game where I’ve got 10 years experience and I’m near the top. It may involve a pay cut (currently I’m at 110k) but it might be worth it if I can get back to my current pay level in 3-4 years and then end up going higher.

It’s possible that I’ll be hampered by not finishing my degree program. If so, an alternative might be to stay as sysadmin for a while, while finishing the degree in night school.

Last to consider but certainly not least, I would still like to find something that involves killing spammers and freeing the world from spam (well, at least reducing it for my customers and contributing micro-inventions that help the cause).

So. Questions for those in the know (or anyone with an opinion).
Does calling myself a System Administrator limit my options, or are there Super System Administrators out there doing what I’d like to do and making bank?
If I start looking for “perl coder” jobs, what would be some of the key words or job titles to look for? What skills or keywords do I need to add to my resume to make me marketable in that way?
Should I go back to night school for a couple years before trying to make this type of switch? Do I really need the degree, or can I get equal value from some targetted training in Java or other topics?

OK, let’s see those comments!!

problems with the “official” explanation of 9/11

I found this in the Metro last week, and I thought a few people on my flist would be interested in it. Here is a link to the electronic version.

9-11: Unquestioned Answers

Nonconspiracy theorist David Ray Griffin takes aim at the official 9/11 story

Quoting from the article:
“However,” he continues, “when the official account of 9/11 is stripped of its halo and treated simply as a theory rather than an unquestionable dogma, it cannot be defended as the best theory to account for the relevant facts. When challenges to it are not treated as blasphemy, it can easily be seen to not correspond with reality.”

USA is being attacked…

I was previously unaware of the provisions in Geneva Article 3 that say in effect, if a prisoner’s status as a POW is questioned, he should enjoy the protections granted POWs until status can be determined by a tribunal. (Thank you to bradhicks for linking to that. I think it’s tremendously important.) Bush, Rumsfeld and Gonzales made the decision that these individuals were not POWs. Without meeting them. That effectively means that they *were* the tribunal. To me, this is yet one more example of the USA reacting out of proportion to the actual threat, and using the occasion of a terrorist attack to manipulate the system and erode liberties in the name of temporary/perceived safety. (Didn’t Ben warn us about that?) Essay about liberty and safety follows

Going to Hawai’i

M and I are planning a trip to Hawai’i. Most likely this will take place a year from now, in October 2007. We will probably go to one of these:

Waikoloa Beach Resort – On the big island, new in 2006.

Hawai’ian Village or nearby Kalia Tower – On Oahu in walking distance to Waikiki.

Now, the reason I’m posting here is that I’d like to invite friends along with us. If you’re reading this, that probably means we know each other RL and you would be welcome to come along with us. If you think you might be interested, let me know and I will keep you updated on the plans, costs, etc. (Expressing interest doesn’t obligate you in any way :)

This is a timeshare, so if you have a timeshare of your own that is affiliated with RCI you may be able to use your RCI time there too. The rooms are bigger than normal hotel rooms and they all have kitchen facilities, so we usually save money by eating most meals in the room. The rooms can also be rented for cash if you don’t have a timeshare to trade… in fact there is usually a hefty discount if you’re willing to sit through a sales presentation. We are so far quite happy with our timeshare purchase and if you’re thinking about a timeshare, it’s a good one to check out, but if you’re not in the market, don’t feel pressured or anything… the point is to have a fun vacation with some friends, not to try to sell property :)

Kitchen update

Pictures of the new kitchen are here: New Cabinets.

Cabinets are all installed. Still to come are: countertop (want granite), plumbing sink and filter system, putting face plates on the electric items, and putting dishwasher and fridge back where they go.

Haven’t decided what to do about floors… thinking about vinyl tile for the whole downstairs (replace pergo and brick-red ceramic tile).

Happy 9/11 day!

It’s the 5th anniversary of 9/11/2001. I don’t have anything particularly eloquent to say about it, so I’ll post a link to someone who does.

Please read I Remember Townsend…

It’s a pretty long piece, but worth reading the whole thing. liz_marcs is a real journalist, and she lays out pretty clearly why those who forget history aren’t half as bad as those who would rewrite it as propaganda, such as the ABC Road to 9/11 fear-monger festival. If you choose to spend some hours on ABC’s propaganda piece, you owe it to yourself to read “I Remember Townsend…” as well.

At first it was called “War on Terrorism” and now it’s just “War on Terror”. Well, what I want to know is, how does keeping us in constant fear of something represent a victory over terror?