Monday, August 19, 2013

It's time to go

I just got back to work after a full week off for a summer stay-cation with the family. It turns out I was very relaxed. I didn't miss my job In fact, I've been very seriously a drastic career change the past few months.

Anyway, my first support call comes in this morning at 9:10 from one of my favorite employees. She's a super sexy Asian woman. And I like her. Fun to banter with and she's overly flirty with me, which I need in order to feel better about myself. However, her call confirmed for me that it's time to get the fuck out of this profession. On top of that, she went from a 9 to a 4 with her call. Here's a transcript from my shady memory:

*phone rings*
Me: "Hey, baby."
Hottie: "Hi! How are you? Um, is there something wrong with the Internet this morning?"
Me: "Not that I know of. Why?"
Hottie: "Because it's, like, acting, like, all retarded."
Me: "So, the Internet is retarded?"
Not-So-Hot Anymore: "Yeah. Well, you know what I mean? Can you, like, look into it?"
Me: "Of course I will. Bye."

My company was recently sold. The CEO walked away with over $200M (hey, he did earn it. He started the company over 20 years ago.) What's my purpose here again?

BTW, no, I'm not going to look into it. My boss still thinks a 10 Mb line is OK for 100+ users. Nothing I can do here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

To Cool Or Not Cool...

I don't know about you guys, but I'm super happy that spring has finally arrived. This winter was just cold, snowy and not a lot of fun. Luckily it looks like nothing but sunshine and butterflies from here on out. It'll be time to start busting out the bathing suits before you know it. With the spring comes the rain, it's a necessary evil that brings with it trees and shade which we'll need in the summer. Much to my surprise though, it's been raining indoors. How is that possible, you ask? It's a very easy explanation.

For as long as I can remember, one of the two air conditioning units in my server closet (I can't even call it a datacenter) has been malfunctioning. The room is not very big, but unfortunately the architects didn't take into consideration what was going into the room and didn't plan it out too well. There isn't a lot of space and there are at least a dozen servers and a dozen network switches in there pumping out heat. The AC units we have are barely enough to get by as it is. If one of them goes down, we're in trouble. Since my boss has only been in his new position for a year, he's still in the "SAVE MONEY, LOOK GOOD FOR THE SUITS, KISS AS MUCH ASS AS POSSIBLE" phase of his employment. It's completely understandable. He's thinking about his career and anyone else would do the same thing. The issue I have is where he's trying to save said money.

I have been bringing up the issue of this faulty AC unit almost since the start of my employment. I've worked at companies that had similar AC issues and it never ends well. In fact this particular issue was the reason that I worked 14 straight weekends last summer. Being that I am the only support guy here, 14 straight weekends can really take its toll on you. Both physically and mentally. Especially when it happens during the summer. Instead of being in the car heading to the beach, I'm on a hot subway heading to work.

Fast forward to this week...

The AC has failed for 72 straight days. When I say fail, I mean it starts blowing hot air instead of cold. Or in this case it starts dripping water, which is blown throughout the room. Normally, turning it on and off will resolve the issue. The problem occurs when it happens overnight. The room can get pretty hot. I lost count of how many times I've come in and the server closet has been 90 degrees plus (which is a great operating environment for servers). Now that my new boss is here and he's looking to make an impact I figure he'll want to nip this issue in the bud. <Charlie Murphy voice> Wrong, WRONG! I even went so far as to get a quote from our AC service company on how much it would cost to replace the unit. Their answer, $10k. $10k? That's it? Really? With labor included? WTF?!??! LET'S DO THIS!! Alas, the head honcho said that price is a little too steep. I went on to explain to him that we easily have $750k-1M worth of equipment in that room. Spending $10k to prevent failures is definitely worth it. I also went on to explain that a server outage will cost us money on missed orders, user downtime, etc. Guess what? It all comes down to the money.

So what's your opinion? Do you think it's worth the incurred cost to insure that your network can function properly? I sure as hell do. Unfortunately for me, I'm not the guy who makes the call on this. I'm just the one who has to come in on the weekend to get everything back up and running.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thanks For Trying

I had to leave the office early the other day. I took off around 2pm. I didn't know it at the time but there was a major issue being addressed. 

I come in the next morning and there is a brand new Windows 7 tablet on my desk. (See THIS POST for the reason we have a Windows tablet in the first place.) There is a note on it from my boss. He needed me to get it connected to the wireless network and that if I have any questions I should call him. My first question would be: How do you still have a job? You can't do this? Really, my girlfriend who is not technical at all could handle this in about 5 minutes, easily. My boss, his rock star comrade and the new desktop guy spent "the whole afternoon" (his words) trying to get it connected to no avail. Wait. What? The three of you spent a whole afternoon on this? Who was curing cancer or searching for intelligent life in the stars then? I wouldn't normally be so surprised but i built a wiki just for things like this that is only available to the people in IT. There is literally a document with step by step instructions on how to connect to our wireless network. Did I mention it has pictures too? Yep, I even took screenshots. 

It's really quite disturbing. The levels of ineptitude that I'm surrounded by is enough to break most people's spirits. I don't know what bothers me more. The fact that they were too dumb to figure it out, the fact that my boss and his comrade each make at least 40k more than me, or the fact that they were all too lazy to spend two minutes reading the instructions. Either way I had to waste a full three minutes of my day fixing this major issue for them. Glad i was there to save the day. It's just too bad there were no 4th graders around to do it instead.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thanks For Calling

As we all know, the economy is not in good shape right now. There are a lot of people that are out of work. There are a large number of Americans collecting unemployment. The people who have jobs are not doing well either. Many employers are cutting their workforce and asking employees to handle the load of 2 or 3 positions while not getting any extra salary or benefits in return. This is causing a lot of people to look for new jobs. From what I have seen and heard from many of my friends, and colleagues, it's happening all over the IT world.

I've been looking for a job for a few months myself. I actually have a job at the moment but I am severely underpaid (by about 25k) and have a work load that causes most people to stutter and repeat, "You have how many users?". During my job search I have found one undeniable truth. Recruiters suck. It seems they want to call you in for that initial interview since they like to put a face and a personality to a resume. Then like a date gone wrong you never hear from them again. Or in other cases, you hear from them regarding positions they have no business calling you for. I'll give you a couple of examples.

I'm very picky about the position I am looking for. I'm looking for a full time, non-contract, in-house Admin role dealing with Windows networks and VMware. I have a minimum salary that I want to achieve and I want to work in midtown NYC. That's pretty much my requirements.

I don't think that's too complicated. I just don't want to leave my current position and a steady paycheck for something that's not going to make me happy. Luckily I have that luxury unlike most people. Since I've discussed this with every recruiter I've met and put this in detail on every job board, such as Monster, HotJobs, Dice, etc. why is it that recruiters feel the need to send me almost exclusively contract positions? On top of that, it seems most of the positions I get emailed to me are for Linux Support, or Cisco Engineer positions in the middle of New Jersey. Just because I have experience with Cisco or Linux doesn't mean I want to commute 3 hours for a job dealing with it. Do recruiters even read cover letters or resumes in detail anymore? It seems that after the initial call, you're supposed to do all of the leg work. They have hundreds of candidates, how can they be expected to do their job and find the best ones? That's so much work. I had another recruiter contact me yesterday for a "Windows Administrator contract in NYC" position. He didn't give me any details though. I don't want a contract job but I figured I'd get some more detail before I completely disregard the email. I shoot the recruiter an email asking for a description of the job, salary, location, etc. and was floored by his repsonse.

"Unfortunately the company does not have a job description, they just asked us to find some consultants."

Are you kidding me?


Dude, really?

How can you fill a position properly if you don't know what the position is for? I just can't believe the stupidity in some companies. I just don't think it's possible to find the right candidate for a job when you can't figure out what skills the person needs to have. I'm starting to understand why there are so many unemployed folks out there. If these are the people trying to get them hired, we could be in for a rough future. Yet another reason why IT is HELL!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Importance Of IT Certifications

There is a long standing argument in the IT World about the importance of IT certifications. Some people swear by them and won’t hire someone without them. Others think they are great when you run out of toilet paper. I’m one of those people who is in the middle. Personally, I hold a number of certifications, ranging from Microsoft to Cisco to A+ to my newly acquired VMware certification. I think they are important as a learning tool, yet, I do not think they should be required. Nor, do I think that they are an accurate gauge of someone’s technical skills. The clip below highlights my point exactly.

 When I first started in this industry it was the late 90’s when Windows 98 and NT were revolutionizing the way we did things. Plug & Play (or Pray, like I called it) was everywhere. Microsoft was taking over the world. IT certifications were new at this point and not a lot of people had them. That was until Microsoft unveiled their new MCSE certification for Windows NT. Overnight, it seemed like, people were adding initials to their business cards and signatures and walking with a little more pep in their step. They were official, Microsoft said so. Bill Gates personally signed a document that said these people are awesome. The problem was (and still is) that not everyone was.
As I said earlier, I think certs are a good learning tool. I also think that they are somewhat watered down as an achievement. There are many ways to pass a certification exam. A lot of people put in the hard work and build a lab at home or in their office and actually learn the material. That’s the group that I fall into. I always thought that learning about what I was working on was more important that the signed paper from Mr. Gates. Not everyone thinks that way though. A lot of people study what the book says or what questions will be on the test without actually understanding what the book or question is saying. They just know that the answer to Chapter 3 Lesson 2 Question 7 is B. Some people go even further by purchasing brain dumps or “Real Tests” and they just memorize questions and answers. That’s where they go wrong. When the time comes and they are on the job and are faced with setting up a server, they don’t know what to do. They didn’t put the work in, they just passed a test.
I’ll give you a case in point. The guy that was just hired to work with me is in school. He’s taking an MCSE course and looking to get his certification. He already passed his A+ Certification (Kudos to him on that by the way). He’s done with one of his courses and in the middle of test prep for a Microsoft exam on Windows Server 2008 networking. He’ll be dealing DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, etc. I’ve actually been studying for the same test. So every day I throw a few questions at him. Nothing crazy, just questions to keep him on his toes. I asked him the other day, “What is an A record?” He proceeded to try and regurgitate what he remembered from the book. The only issue was, he didn’t understand what he was saying. Nor did he get what an A record actually is. That’s what troubles me. DNS is a requirement for Active Directory which almost all other Microsoft services are built on. If he can’t get that down, how can I expect him to get the more advanced topics? For those of you who don’t know, an A record is a mapping of a domain name to an IP Address. It’s what allows you to type in instead of That’s all I was looking for. The answer is as simple as "it maps a name to an IP".
The scary thing is he’ll be an MCSE before I will. Yet when it comes down to configuring a server network, he’s going to be lost in the sauce. The moral of the story is when you’re evaluating someone’s skills. Don’t just go off what you read on their resume. Make sure that they can back up what they say they know. Give them a quick exam if you have to. The hands-on type, because they probably have your questions memorized.
I still think that IT professionals should try to acquire certifications. Just make sure that you do it for the right reason. Do it to better yourself as a professional instead of just trying to get that "piece of paper". In the end, if you know what you're doing you'll have more paper than before. It'll be the green kind in your wallet.

Monday, March 7, 2011

We've moved!!

After some urging on from some of our followers, we've decided to move to our domain name. Please update your shortcuts and bookmarks. We can now be found at We hope that you make the move with us. Stay tuned for some more posts, coming shortly.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hot Enough For You?

This is a quick one. I actually had a user complain that her heater wasn't working anymore. She had it on top of her computer. I think her computer was more pissed off than I was. It just couldn't tell me anymore...

I'm going to have to borrow a line from Bill Simmons.

Yep, these are my users. SMH.