Scripting / SysAdmin Survey

July 10, 2008

In repsonse to the “tagging” of my friend Laura Hunter I now respond with the answers to these deep mysteries. But first “tagging”? Is this equivalent to the gang tagging? I hope not!

**How old were you when you started using computers?
**I was 4 or 5 when …
What was your first machine?
My Dad brought home an Atari 800 computer – not the game console all though we did have games they just weren’t as cool as the ones on the game console.
What was the first real script you wrote?
For me the breakthrough came when I was 7 or 8 and I was puzzling through a the Atari 800 book on BASIC and I was able to accept the abtract concept of a variable! Years later in 7th grade when I was introduced to algebra I realized that I had already done the hard part – wrap my brain around this concept of a variable!

So the first script I wrote was a number guessing game in BASIC on the Atari 800 computer.

**What scripting languages have you used?
**BASIC. C-Brief (the C like macro language available in the most powerful of editors Brief from Underware – later bought by Borland – Basic Reconfigurable Interactive Editing Facility (BRIEF), AccessBasic, Rexx, Knozall’s NLMerlin Basic (now Automation Wizard), Turbo C Shell Scripting, Bash Shell Scripting, C, C++, Java, JavaScript, VBScript, VBA, DOS batch files, VB.NET, C#.NET, Powershell, command-line automation with the ds*.

**What was your first professional sysadmin gig?
**By the time I was 16 my Dad had started his own software business. He dragged me into the office, weekly, to muck out the toilets and haul out the trash. After I eclipsed all of the Computer Science courses at my high school (thanks Mrs Crane), one summer day my Dad sat me down at his computer handed me the software manual to FileWizard and said test the software to see that it does what the manual says.

So I began testing, then my Dad’s business partner and one of their other developers starting working me as I would test the software and I would also help them manage the Netware 2.x, 3.x and 4.x LAN. Eventually, I also started writing some code – some small portions of which made it into the products. I even wrote one of the software manuals.

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new sysadmins, what would it be?
The fun thing about IT is the learning does not ever need to stop, but watch out for those for whom the learning has stopped.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had scripting?
Very early in my career, I loved taking a very manual process (print out the payroll numbers for temps and fax it to corporate) and automating it – export the data, transform it, and email it to corporate automatically. I guess I have always been a nut for automating stuff – which is one reason why I enjoy Identity Management. Let’s automate the creation of user accounts! Let’s automate their deactivation!

Who am I calling out?
Chris Calderon
Gil Kirkpatrick