Posts Tagged 'Blackberry'

September 16, 2010

I'm Your Blackberry!

Although there are many different brands of smart phones, I’m pleased that SoftLayer has chosen Blackberry for our essential operations form of communication. In the last two and a half years my Blackberry has become my right hand. Any tasks involving information technology that I have needed to complete have been accomplished without much hassle. In both personal and work related situations my Curve has proven it can do the jobs of many tools. Email alone has its crucial place in IT and is managed flawlessly through my phone. My notepad, calculator, browser, calendar, camera, SSH device, VNC/SSH device SFTP device, organizer and alarm clock are many names I could give this little six shooter.

Reliable in the battle as well! Just recently I was on hold in a very important phone call (Important phone call meaning I had just won Washington Redskins tickets on a radio station ;D ) when I started to get a warning about my Curve’s battery running low. I was so worried because I had abused the phone that day and I had no way of recharging where I was. My Blackberry held on for over 30+ minutes until it had to drop radio use. I got my tickets and was still able to call the NOC and let everyone know (In a high pitched voice that is). Looking back I cannot think of a moment where I wished for another choice in a phone. My Curve will continue to stay holstered at my side. What type of smart phone do you prefer to use in everyday tasks?

Jonathan M.

SoftLayer Server Engineer in WDC

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March 31, 2010

I Am the Cell Phone Person

Being the “cell phone person” here at SoftLayer has its challenges, to put it mildly. I thought that working with mostly boys (yes, I meant to say boys) would be a breeze compared to a bunch of women (we tend to be a bit ummm, picky?). I was terribly wrong! They are WORSE! Especially with gadgets like cell phones, considering the field we are in. For some reason a lot of them think that because they can configure a server they also know exactly what is wrong with their phone without actually troubleshooting it at all or why they MUST have this phone or that phone.

Reboot?! Why?! Hmmmm that was one of the first things I learned to ALWAYS do. I learned this from Jacob Linscott, my first IT guy back in 1997, who I work with once again; he is our Director of IT – Linux. I learned very quickly that I had better not EVEN think about calling him until I had rebooted my computer. Amazingly enough, I’d say the odds on a reboot fixing the issue with both computers and cell phones is very high, but that’s about the only thing that is similar in regards to issues between the two. I have been amazed at the multitude of varying issues as well as the information you can find online to fix a phone without having to call the carrier; and, that is a real life saver!

What baffles me is that everyone seems to know what’s wrong with their phone without actually researching it. When I say “So you Googled that and found info that said it was most likely the issue?” I get “nah, I just think that’s it.” I just shake my head, take their phone, and walk away. I Google my rear end off all the time! I am as specific as possible when I do a search. Such as, “my 8320 can send SMS, but is not receiving them.” Seems obvious, right? Wrong!

One would think the Geektopia of staff we have would do the same, WRONG! There is a world of knowledge and information out there regarding any number of BlackBerry and iPhone issues if you simply just take a few minutes to type your issue into a search engine. Heck, you don’t have to use Google, you can use whatever search engine you want! I’ve sent out emails regarding tips and tricks, the problem I seem to have is getting people to actually read the info. Admittedly, we get hundreds and hundreds of emails a day, some days thousands, depending on what group lists they are on; so I’ll give a little slack. It’s simply a case of missing the obvious, like when you are trying to fix a computer and it won’t work and it turns out to be the simplest thing that was forgotten, happens with phone issues too. Everyone just goes into panic mode when their phone isn’t functioning, amazing how we lived without cell phones just 20 years ago.

When SL was starting up just a few years ago, our VP of Sales was the cell phone person and he wasn’t too thrilled. He couldn’t WAIT to pass it on to someone else. I was the chosen one or sucker, depending how you look at it. I remember sitting in my cube my first week at SL, which wasn’t too far from his office, and giggling when he had to call the carrier and deal with some phone issues. I don’t giggle anymore. They told me by no means was it a punishment, taking over this particular job duty, but some days I wonder—especially the days when I get stuck on the phone for hours and hours trying to get a phone fixed, repeating myself over and over to 5 different people in 5 departments! It’s a source of some major meltdowns to say the least.

You see, we have about 130 phones throughout the company in four different locations. Dallas has Corporate and the DC and of course Seattle and WDC. So a lot of phones, a lot of folks, a lot of issues; from “My phone got ruined when I went hiking wearing khaki’s and got caught in a rain storm, the rain soaked through and ruined my phone, can I have a better one now?” to, “I lost it at the Christmas Party, sorry” to “If I step on it, does that mean I have to pay for it, because I want a better one?!” Yes, those are just a few of them, and obviously some of my favorites.

I, with the help of a few others, just recently upgraded 31 phones; Lance our CEO is cool like that. You see, the 31 were 8700c BB models, or fondly referred to as “coasters” around here. Of course they were spread across our four locations, so this required lots of coordination with someone on the other end of the line. This upgrade took over a month due to device issues (new phone to market at the time).

The guys in the Dallas NOC all know better than to laugh as they hear my cursing due to being on the phone for countless hours; or if they do, they’ve gotten much better about hiding it. The point of all of this is to remind you that if you have a company cell phone and it has issues, be kind to your cell phone person and know that you are not the only one with an issue. Cell phones break. Cell phones die. Cell phones get dropped on the ground, in the toilet, or, my favorite, thrown across a room in anger every single day. So if your cell phone person can’t get to you RIGHT THAT MINUTE, try trouble shooting it yourself. No, not installing things, but maybe just try and look up your issue, and let them know what you found. Send them the link or print it out. It will make their day. Trust me on this one!

April 9, 2008

Technology - 1 Day

Here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy!

6:10am – Alarm clock goes off. No, I don’t have one of the easy-wake "light up your room slowly" Hammacher Schlemmer alarm clocks. I have the old school buzzer that bounces you off the ceiling. I suppose this is old technology but no servers needed. No kudos here.

6:11am – After wiping the gritty stuff the sandman left in my eyes away, I reach for my Blackberry. We outsource our Blackberry server to our cell provider but it certainly sends me emails all night long and SMS messages, etc. All of that happens on a server somewhere in a datacenter somewhere. And you know what happens in the news when the Blackberry network is down. PANIC! So, here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy that keeps them running!

7:00am – I hit the door and head out to the Echo. There is nothing cool about the Echo, trust me. No XM, Sirius, no Sync just good ole 103.3 sports talk with Mike and Mike. Go Cowboys! From 7am to 8am I am of course only doing two things, watching for the long arm of the law and Dryping. Along the way I pass through 3 tollbooths without even blinking because technology knows that I am there and have driven under it. RF technology is cool and if their servers were down they wouldn’t be able to charge my tolltag. Hmm….nevermind. Again, Here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy that keeps me from having to sit in the pay a buck lane.

8:00am – I am at my desk finally! Where I login to my workstation that uses servers in the background to authenticate me. The same servers then run a few scripts and I have all my data and email at my fingertips. Servers keep working in the background to deliver my email to me and allow me to IM my peeps both in and outside of the company and also give me the very needed - internet access. Here’s to you, our internal nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy!

8:01am – The internet. I feel the need, the need for the internet. In the past I can say I was a junkie. I would just type in http://www.insertacoolwordheretoseeiftheyhaveawebsite.com/ kinda junkie. Sometimes you could find some pretty interesting sites using that trick and others it would just be someone domain parking. Now it is pretty much my bank, which has a ton of servers and technology (they even just rolled out two factor authentication), ESPN.com, our internal portal, webhostingtalk, theinnerlayer, the SoftLayer forums, facebook, and of course our website. Those pages keep me pretty satisfied during the day. So, here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy that keeps them running!

8:02am – Wife calls me on my IP phone. Just to see if I am at work and what I am doing and to tell me that the dog is running in circles. She is at home with 2 kids (4 and 2) so she needs to talk to someone I guess. And you guessed it, the phone uses technology too. So, here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy that keeps it ringing!

8:03am – Coffee, technology - yes – Servers NO! We need some coffee servers here. That is a great idea.

8:04am–11:45am – Open up about 57 different windows on my workstation and simultaneously work on all of them. If a server is down or a link is down somewhere I will know about it because I will not be able to do something…who knows what. So, here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy that keeps the network pinging.

11:45am – Hunger pains, it’s time for lunch. Off to play some Racquetball and get a smoothie. I walk in the door and they scan my retina, wait, I mean they scan my key card and I am free to enter. If their servers or workstations were down I am sure that would be a bad day to work the front desk at a gym. Can you imagine all the "roid rage" when they turned people away. So I whip my brother (Gary) at Racquetball but you have read his blogs, did you really think he could beat me? When we were both much younger he did, then he found numbers and equations and forgot how to play. So, here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy that make sure I get into the gym semi-daily.

12:30pm – Smoothie Time – Jamba Juice is right around the corner so I grab my smoothie and wheat grass shot and it’s back to the echo. I guess a juicer isn’t really cutting edge technology.

12:45pm – Back at my desk (on time as always … of course) and it is back to the 57 windows I have open and working. I tend to not go home until I have closed every window; that is the only way I can keep up with everything I am supposed to do. I have been officially titled the “heywWouldja guy” around here.

2:45pm – Time to head home. Ha! I’m just joking, gotchya.

6:45pm – I have now had enough technology for one day so it’s back into the echo to head home. The first light I come to, I don’t dare run (speaking of lights, without technology they tend to cause accidents and flash a lot, so there are definitely servers involved with them). It has one of those schnazzy new Red light cameras. That is $75 dollars I don’t want to hand them so they can add even more of those technological light cops to another light. Feel free to let these servers go down anytime guys…We are all on the same technical team here right?

7:45pm – Back at home. I walk in to the kids attempting to beat my scores on Guitar Hero and RockBand or playing on Xbox live, a wife cooking supper and a TV with Dish Network blaring. In the other room the 7 year old is listening to Miley Cyrus ..wait, maybe it is Hannah Montana not sure, on her cheapo wanna be Ipod. I sit down in front of the laptop that is on a wireless network and check my tickets and email one more time. Sometimes Dryping gets tough on the commute home because of all the traffic so I have to catch up. So, here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy that keeps the Xbox cool and keep the cool games coming!

9:45pm – Kids are in bed, playing not sleeping, and I settle in to watch an on demand movie instead of having to traverse all the way back to Blockbuster or wait on the next Netflix movie to arrive. They look better in HD anyway. I am assuming that guys that can keep satellites in space are pretty technical. So, here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy that keeps them flying!

Midnight – Set the non-technologically advanced alarm and pass out on the pillow.

So how much of that uses technology, servers, Datacenters, power, IP’s, DNS, etc etc. So, here’s to you, that nerdy IT Sysadmin smart guy that keeps that keep all of this stuff up and running with very little downtime. MY hat is off to you (because I look really funny in hats!)

-Skinman

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