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Saturday, March 17, 2007


So much to say, so little attention span. Let's go.

I checked my landline voicemail about half an hour ago. 2 new messages.

Message 1 (cow-orker): Uh, we need the BIOS password on server "XXXXXX", the RAID isn't coming back up and we're don't want to do anything that breaks it. You probably won't get this message until June, so I don't know what we're going to do.

Message 2 (same cow-orker): Oh, nevermind. We did it anyway, and it seemed to come back up fine.

The backstory:

I was a system administrator and network administrator for most of my college years. I'm somewhat adept at getting systems and networks and whatnot working again, through kludges or voodoo or ritual sacrifice or just down-home technical mojo. I keep telling people that the trick is to remember to scratch behind the system's ears, and they'll like you more. It sounds goofy, but nobody has yet to come up with a better explanation for the times that I can solve problems just by standing near an ill-behaving machine.

I found over time that I wasn't happy doing the IT gig. Too often, I felt like the only time that I got any recognition was when something had gone horrribly wrong, and they were casting the hairy eyeball at me, whether it was something I could control or not.

By luck, it turned out that my brain was wired to understand the systems beneath the systems, and so I picked up a degree in computer science and landed a job as a software engineer. I've been on projects where I've exceeded by virtue of understanding what already exists, where I can take existing stuff and glue it together in no time at all, and I've been on projects where I'm told to recreate the wheel, no matter how I protest that there's already a proven facility in place. And I've been on projects that my management thinks of my IT past, and so they keep tasking me with system management issues.

A little too much of that last one, lately, and it's been putting me in a foul mood. Which brings us to the present.

I've not set a BIOS password on any of the machines I've set up, so I have no clue what they were talking about. It certainly doesn't help that they never explained why they reset the box to begin with, and even more petrifying, they didn't explain what "we did it anyway" meant.

As for the "won't get this message until June" comment, that's easy enough to explain. I gave them my landline number on the understanding that I'm prone to shutting my ringer off and that I'm not terribly attentive at checking the voicemail on that line. A trusted cow-orker has my cell number, and I trust his judgement when it comes to calling me on real emergencies, so I don't feel that bad about being somewhat unreachable during my off hours.

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