Friday, January 27, 2006

Being The Problem Solver

Lots of people don't realize that when you are an information technology professional, nearly your entire day consists of problem solving. People come to you to look for answers, and they need them quick. It's important to be connected, so that people can access information as quickly as possible. This is one of the reasons I've got a PDA phone. Can you say putty in my pocket, LOL.

When I was a student, I thought that being a systems administrator would be glamorous. I always looked up to them for being super smart, and always knowing what to do. As a systems administrator myself, I come to realize that my job is far from glamorous. Many times it requires comming in on your day off, staying late, tons and tons of reading, and a heart dedicated to doing this kind of work.

Information technology professionals can enjoy the fact that your job today is not your job tomorrow. What I mean by that, is that technology changes so quickly on a day to day basis that the things you are working on today are going to be tomorrow's ancient history. So it is exciting to get to work on new things, which means that you shouldn't live and die by one routine. For my, it's a learning cycle. I learn the hot technology, support it, implement it, and move on to the next big thing when it gets outdated.

For me, there isn't anything like computers. It's such a hugh industry, with so much to do, that I can't see how anyone would get bored. Don't ask my girlfriend though if computers are boring. She'd probably tell you yes, and then go play Enemy Territory on her PC for hours, LOL.

Part of being a problem solver is having lots of good communication skills. Many times the people you are supporting are in remote locations, even in other countries. It's important to be a good listener. Listening is going to save you time, and save your company money. You've got to sweat the details, if you don't you'll miss that one important thing that the user did just before the system crashed.

Just as listening is important, the ability to give instruction to other people is also important. If you think that you are going to be a sys admin and stay in a dark room with just a PC, then you've got another thing comming. I'm still trying to find that job, and I've been doing this since '97. You are going to have to give instruction and guidance to end users (yuck). If you are like me, then maintaining your patience when the end user doubles his search box as an address bar is going to be your main challenge.

Chances are, you'll be working side by side with managers and company executives. This has lots of positive and negative things associated. One positive is that you work directly with the people that can make things happen, purchases, strategies, policies. A negative effect is probably having to be highly available, very quick on your toes, and being responsible for not just yourself, but probably for all the computer systems that the staff uses. Trust me, you don't want to have a department sitting on it's hands because the network went down. Your boss probably won't like that very much, considering all the money that still needs to be paid to employees that can't work.

Hopefully this post here will give you some insight into the day to day of a problem solver aka systems administrator. If you are into computer technology, please check out my information technology community.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Productive Work Day

Today has been a great day. I got a lot of the small things that I wanted to do, out of the way. I fixed a few cron jobs, changed to a new backup schedule, deleted some old accounts, moved some code, and a few other small little things that I kept procrastinating about.

I also found the time to help a few new clients get started. All in all, it's been a pretty rewarding day. I was also surprised to see I was doing well in all my pay per click campaigns. I manage Adwords for several clients, and also run Google Adsense on my sites too. It's lots of work, but also lots of fun. With the adsense running on my network of sites, it's nice to see the clicks comming through.

A quick top command reassures me that I'm still a pretty decent administrator

22:18:32 up 87 days, 9:40, 1 user, load average: 0.61, 0.72, 0.77

The last time one of my Linux servers was rebooted was when a datacenter tech mistakenly rebooted my server when his monitoring software malfunctioned and thought my box went down. It still pisses me off because I already had almost 300 days of uptime. I still love my datacenter, because they do have my back incase something were to go wrong. Now, that tech did feel embarrassed after he'd rebooted my server, but he does have my respect because he was cool enough to upgrade my Def Con service level. That was very nice of him.

Damn, as if my day wasn't already great, a new Fire Fox entension upgrade fixed my flash support. Now I'm grinning, lol. I guess I should finish this blog post before something bad does happen. The time.... it's always working against me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My New RSS Network

I've been working on my rss news network. Just launched three new sites in one month. Four if I count this blog. I've been coding a news aggregation system. I'd like to build up a few more sites. Hopefully I can add lots of cool features. Right now I've just got the basics in place, but shortly there will be tons of easily browsable content.

If anyone is interested in checking it out, I did the following three new sites. Adsense News is all about organizing news, guides and information about google adsense. I know there's lot of google adsense resource sites out there, but this is one more. I really think that Adsense has been a breakthru program that truly changes the economic balance for the small time webmaster like myself. Google adsense is a great program, which is the reason I created my next site Yahoo Publisher Network News - It wouldn't be fair if I just made a site for adsense, when YPN is also an excellent program. Yahoo YPN is a relatively new program, and therefore there isn't lots of places to get decent information about it (problem solved). I figured that I'd probably be one of the very first sites dedicated to Yahoo Publisher Network. In the future, when this blog post is logged by a million rss aggregators and makes it's way to you, you can look it up for me and let me know if I was really the first.

Lastly I created the rss clearinghouse . The rss clearinghouse is about bringing everyone's news to one central location, where if I find the time, everything could be organized and easily searchable. I intend to create features such as feed mix, and custom feeds from multiple locations. It's pretty sweet being able to have that much uncensored news all in one shot. Very refreshing. If you have any recommendations, I'd definately invite you to post a reply.