Scripting/Sysadmin meme

Andy Schneider called me out on the Scripting/Sysadmin meme that is circulating right now.  The questions are interesting and worth sharing to readers who want to get to know me better, so count me in!

How old were you when you started using computers?


What was your first machine?

A TRS-80.  Oh how I long for the days of fast-forwarding the tape drive until the analog counter reached the position of the program (game) I wanted to run.  The only game that I still remember is Scarfman.  After that it was an IBM PCjr, where I discovered King’s Quest (on a cartridge even, before it was labelled King’s Quest I).

What was the first real script you wrote?

I started learning Basic by writing one-liners that I would learn about in magazines like Compute!  These weren’t quite the same as PowerShell one-liners you find today though.  Then I would evolve those one-liners into more complex scripts as I expanded my knowledge of Basic.  If I recall correctly I think my first real Basic script beyond the one-liner (or several-liner) was one that displayed a menu with a list of song titles and it would play the song you selected (that I had encoded into script by hand), while changing background colors as the song played.

What languages have you used?

Basic, C, Pascal, SmallTalk, Lisp, C++, Delphi, Fortran, Visual Basic, C#, java, VBScript and PowerShell.

What was your first professional Sysadmin gig?

Well, technically I’ve never been hired as a Sysadmin.  My first related full-time job was while I finished University.  I started working at FastLane Technologies Inc., where I worked on FINAL, a scripting language for Sysadmins.  You can read more about that here.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started in IT?

Honestly it’s hard to say.  Over the past 10 years while working in IT I’ve developed a strong passion for the environment, so while I love PowerShell I’d definitely be investigating both IT and environmentally friendly career alternatives.  Plus I love presenting, so maybe I’d be going after some combination of the three: presenting green IT solutions to sysadmins and showing them how to automate them using PowerShell.  Actually, I did that a presentation about that last week as part of the Speaker Idol competition at the TechEd IT Pro week (minus the PowerShell part…it was a 5 minute presentation after all).  I’ll blog more about that soon.

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new Sysadmins, what would it be?

Participate in the community!  Kai Axford and I talked about this to attendees of the EnergizeIT Certification Bootcamp User Group Tour last month…if you’re not participating in the community online and offline, attending your local user group meetings, and meeting other like-minded individuals around you, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had scripting?

I’d have to say teaching myself PowerShell was by far the most fun I’ve ever had scripting.  There is just so much you can do with PowerShell, every day I was encountering multiple “Wow” moments as I grew my knowledge of PowerShell.

Who are you calling out?

Dmitry Sotnikov

Don Jones

Jeffery Hicks

Kai Axford

Thanks Andy for calling me out on this.  It was fun.

Kirk out.

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