Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy SysAdmin Day

July 31, 2009 (Last Friday Of July)

A sysadmin unpacked the server for this website from its box, installed an operating system, patched it for security, made sure the power and air conditioning was working in the server room, monitored it for stability, set up the software, and kept backups in case anything went wrong. All to serve this webpage.

A sysadmin installed the routers, laid the cables, configured the networks, set up the firewalls, and watched and guided the traffic for each hop of the network that runs over copper, fiber optic glass, and even the air itself to bring the Internet to your computer. All to make sure the webpage found its way from the server to your computer.

A sysadmin makes sure your network connection is safe, secure, open, and working. A sysadmin makes sure your computer is working in a healthy way on a healthy network. A sysadmin takes backups to guard against disaster both human and otherwise, holds the gates against security threats and crackers, and keeps the printers going no matter how many copies of the tax code someone from Accounting prints out.

A sysadmin worries about spam, viruses, spyware, but also power outages, fires and floods.

When the email server goes down at 2 AM on a Sunday, your sysadmin is paged, wakes up, and goes to work.

A sysadmin is a professional, who plans, worries, hacks, fixes, pushes, advocates, protects and creates good computer networks, to get you your data, to help you do work -- to bring the potential of computing ever closer to reality.

So if you can read this, thank your sysadmin -- and know he or she is only one of dozens or possibly hundreds whose work brings you the email from your aunt on the West Coast, the instant message from your son at college, the free phone call from the friend in Australia, and this webpage.

Show your appreciation

Friday, July 31, 2009, is the 10th annual System Administrator Appreciation Day. On this special international day, give your System Administrator something that shows that you truly appreciate their hard work and dedication. (All day Friday, 24 hours, your local timezone).

Let's face it, System Administrators get no respect 364 days a year. This is the day that all fellow System Administrators across the globe, will be showered with expensive sports cars and large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work. But seriously, we are asking for a nice token gift and some public acknowledgement. It's the least you could do.

Consider all the daunting tasks and long hours (weekends too.) Let's be honest, sometimes we don't know our System Administrators as well as they know us. Remember this is one day to recognize your System Administrator for their workplace contributions and to promote professional excellence. Thank them for all the things they do for you and your business.

Help Spread the word

Monday, July 13, 2009

EVE Online

The year was 1993 and Wing Commander: Privateer was released by Origin Systems. Here is a game that you flew a ship (in first person) around in space, becoming a merchant, a merc, a pirate, or a military lackey. Throughout the entire game, you were trying to get money to get the better ship and better weapons to protect yourself and serve your greater purpose.

I have been playing a similar game called EVE Online. EVE is very similar in concept to Privateer, Sorry.. No Kilrathi, where you can become the miner, merchant, transport carrier, and/or a mercenary. Instead of you flying the ship, you are more of the commander, giving orders of where you need to go and do. However, it is more of a 3 dimensional 3rd person view. The graphics are stunning and the game play can keep you on the edge of your seat. Especially, when you are up against 4-6 pirates loaded to the teeth, your only hope is to keep them at range and the ability to out run them. Now, this is an online game, like World of Warcraft or Dark Age of Camelot, just in a space genre.

There is a massive user population, I have personally seen anywhere between 26,000 and 39,000, depending on the time and day. The game consists of 4 main races, Amarr, Caldari, Gallente, and Minmatar. Each has their own abilities and failures, such as, sole reliance on power systems or lack of range. In the game, you have to manage your power consumption, shields, hull strength, weapon systems, and the enemy. There are many aspects of the game that I like is, unlike DAOC where you have to train using both money, equipment, constant attention, EVE skill training is queue based. This means, that you set what you want to train and it does it even if you are logged out. The skills are all bases on real time, meaning, if you have a skill that will take an hour, it takes an hour. The trained skills unlock the ability to equip greater weapons, bonus to range and/or shields, or range.

I am currently playing an Amarr female, Qiulinnzu. She is playing both a miner and a mercenary, depending on what I want to do with her. For example, when I mine an asteroid, It takes me about 2 hours to fill my cargo ship. This gives me about 1 million ISK (money in the EVE world). If I do a mission, I can get anywhere from 20K to 700K. However, when I mine, I am not generally being shot at, with the potential of being destroyed. She comes from a race that mainly uses energy, this is both a gift and a curse. The nice thing is that you don’t have ammunition, but, you have to manage your total energy usage. This means that you don’t have to reload, but if your capacitor is dry, you are dead in space. And in a fight, 15 seconds will be deadly! She also has (what I think) incredible range. My other character is a Minmatar, Miriya Loranna, who is just a TANK! She has great firepower and hull strength, but her range sucks. Minmatars are the ones who have to be close to the target, but they inflict massive damage per volley.

There is also a P2P aspect that I have briefly touched on. In low-security space, there is a chance that you will find other races, characters, that are able and willing to turn you into dust. I have not gone up against any real people, just NPCs. The game is lots of fun, but there are times that it is not all shoot, kill, destroy. When mining, there is a lot of hurry up and wait. I find if the computer is on one screen and a movie on the other, it works out very well.

Please come and join in the excitement and if you email me, I may be willing to get you a buddy invite. (14 day free trial – no credit card required)