Spreading a Meme: Scripting/Sysadmin


Mind Of Root is spreading a meme!  What was one’s first job as a sysadmin and when did they learn scripting?

How old were you when you started using computers?

I was, um, 16, and a freshman at Salem High.  We had a PDP-11/60 and a computer lab.  I loved it.

What was my first machine?

My brother bought a TRS-80 Color Computer in my junior year of HS, and I used it through college, eventually buying enough parts for it that I had half ownership.  The first computer I owned personally was a 286 PC clone in 1991.

What was the first real script you wrote?

In high-school, I and my brother and several of our friends took turns being sysadmin for the PDP-11.  It ran RSTS, which was a BASIC-based timeshare system for educational use.  Its scripting language was BASIC!  I wrote a script to backup files from our system disk (a large removable disk pack) to our secondary disk (another pack).  The backup system on RSTS, like most all minicomputers at the time, was made to use tape as the backup media, like the (now old-style) NTBackup, and we didn’t have any tape drives.

What scripting languages have you used?

BASIC (!!), VBScript, CMD, Perl and now PowerShell.

What was your first professional sysadmin gig?

That would be the job I hold now at Salem Access Television, the first job I’ve had in a while where I get to be sysadmin, though of course I have much deeper responsibilities there.

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

When I got out of college, I felt a little disillusioned and considered technical writing.  I never seriously considered a non-technical career (like management), but I wasn’t going to be a coder as I had originally trained for.  After going through the “Parachute” job book too many times.  I now believe IT was the right thing for me after all.  It’s a craft of sorts.

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

Get involved with community;  it’s much easier to stay connected than it was when I was an intimidated freshman in college.  I was alone for too much of my college life.  Don’t be afraid to look at the big picture;  as you get more experience, you won’t see your world only through a shell prompt.  Also don’t forget the larger community—at SATV I am making a difference for us in how we serve our community.  Keeping things smooth can be its own reward. 

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

I have fun just learning scripting, though I admit I haven’t had the time or energy to get into the real esoteric stuff that’s in PowerShell CTP 2, though I do run it and do tinker from time to time.

Who am I calling out?

SBS 2008 has PowerShell built in.  It will be the first exposure to PowerShell for many SBS admins, so I want to call out people in the SBS community:


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