8. March 2009 04:17
One of the weird things that's been happening the last few weeks has been the seeming implosion of people's computers around me.
My philosophy is that people should feel free to use their computers without fear that they'll bust something or screw something up or do their banking on-line and instantly lose their life's savings. I think you have to be in the stock market to do that still.
The problem with this is that people get a very disjointed view of what I actually do at work. I've been having a whole series of piecemeal conversations where I'm trying to explain what I do.
Yes, much of my time is doing updates. Well, yes, it's sort of like running Windows Update, only more frequently and a whole lot easier. Yes, I do backups. Well, no, taking backups is not particularly arduous, but I have to think about what is being backed up, how frequently it's being backed up, and trying to make sure that the important stuff that gets created gets included in the backups. And testing backups is critical - it's no good having a backup if you can't get the data back after you've had some kind of disaster. Much of what I do is to try to learn new ways of being more proactive and averting problems in the first place.
And sure, that's a lot like what I do when I work on someone's home computer. But the scale is a whole lot different. I'm never fixing viruses at work - in fact I'm quite annoyed when I have an infected computer. Okay, I'm royally pissed off, but that's probably because someone did something stupid. I'm never troubleshooting, say, a video card. Suspect hardware usually isn't worth trying to salvage in a business environment. You try to head off issues long before they occur, because inevitably you're going to have the question of "Why doesn't my email come in blue anymore? All of it comes in as read now!" You'll have to go try to figure out what changed, what crazy circumstance is different, and what it actually means.
On the other hand, although I can run circles around just about any Windows issue I get, I've been feeling really stressed out about some Linux issues lately. Mostly I need to spend some time thinking things through and playing on my own hardware and trying to break things and then subsequently fix them. Time invested means value returned. Also true for your computer at home.
I'm pretty good on the server side, but I'm not great and I want to reach that level of greatness. It's harder with all the cruft getting in the way right now, but time + effort brings accomplishment and I'm really trying not to stress over not knowing everything.
So I'm talking about skill levels with a buddy of mine and we get comparing myself to my guru. "Hey," I said, "It's not like I'm Trever or anything. I'm sorta like Trever-in-training."
I get that deadpan look that indicates I've just said something stupid.
"What? Did you just say you're T.I.T?"