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Thread: IT stories and rants

  1. #1
    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    Default IT stories and rants

    Since this is not widely popular forum and I need from time to time to vent without customers or people knowing I'll be posting my stories and rants from time to time. You can do it too.

    Right now i'm fixing 27 inch iMac. On user OS upgrade partition became corrupted and system became unbootable. I reinstalled and I'm restoring files as I'm writing this. Of course they have no backup and since free iCloud is 5GB while they have around 200GB photos I would guess they don't have most of the files there either. The Mac belongs to as they would say in Italy morto di fame (dying of hunger) designer. I really don't get the people who get Apple stuff and then run out of money, resources or forethought to maintain or back it up.

    When I was traveling in Asia I befriended some Japanese dude in his early 20's. He asked me for directions and I asked where he was from. After saying he's from Japan I explained directions in Japanese to which he was surprised. Following day I messaged him for a drink (Japanese conversation with native speaker for the price of couple coffees) and he told me he broke the lightning cable and has only few percent battery left on his iPhone (Jesus Phone or kami denwa in Japanese ). Since he was a bit helpless I waved a cab and we went to mall. We went to Apple store and another computer store where we found Belkin cable (cost slightly less than Apple). Still the cable cost like 20 Euros.

    I told him: This is what Steve Jobs meant when he said "Stay hungry, stay foolish." You'll buy the cable and skip lunch for a few days.
    Last edited by UtwigMU; 18th October 2018 at 15:23.

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    Administrator Dilitante1's Avatar
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    Default Job search woes

    (rant)Been at same job for 13.5 years. Did tech support for the first 18 months then server/domain from then on. I managed to get MCSA in 2003 server(2007). After that higher ups over IT decided training wasnt worth it to the bottom line, so everything from then on was self study in my vmware lab. My mgr handled any SQL installs and the heavy lifting on Exchange 2010. Didnt bother to show me anything of value on either. He allowed another division in the company to assume control of our backups. Layoff was late January. So I have many years of server administration without any SQL or ground up building of Exchange. All jobs in region are wanting SQL, and Exchange, and Azure, along with Cisco and lots of scripting/programming/VDI/clustering/netapp experience which I don't have either. Feel so far behind in certs and stuff that I am truly concerned about employment possibilities as nothing I have applied for has gotten any notice. No money for schooling available so far and my buffer wont last too long. Unemployment takes forever to see a check due to all the red tape in state govt. Self study is okay but without work history of the subjects in question, employers wont look at you at all. Annoyed as hell, and the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be off until further notice. And now my age may be a factor too......AARP next year (ugg) (/rant)

  3. #3
    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    Dilitante1, it sucks to hear that. What happened to you is my biggest fear since my situation is similar. While my position is safe - I'm head of IT / only IT guy at small company where I also do other non-IT things. My MS and Red Hat certs have expired. I do plan to get recertified and I'm learning new things but being debt free is priority, so this year I spent most of my free time and almost all paid leaves on freelancing, plus it's hard to find motivation to study after hard day at work. While I did set up the Exchange 2010 and SQL servers, I don't do any heavy lifting and this year I realized I don't really know Exchange in depth. So if this company gets sold or bad times come (and I see signs that "Winter is coming") or I get in conflict (I see potential for conflict as management doesn't understand IT) I'm fscked.

    My advice:
    Pick one cert that is the most immediately valuable to you in job search and doesn't cost a fortune (like VMware for example). Pirate book if you can or buy it used for 5 bucks on ebay or 20 bucks new if no other option. Set up lab on hardware, you have or use cheap cloud (if you only use couple hours per day, should be innexpensive or free). Pick the time for exam and study for about 2-4 weeks. IT courses are neat but you can't complete exam on course alone (unless you're at expert level already) without lab work. IT courses get you up to knowledge quicker but you still need to do labs alone - I'm speaking from experience as I taught 2 courses and 1 webinar this year.
    Take any freelance work you can. Sometimes companies have peaks where they need additional admin on a project they're doing. Try finding freelance work online Even fixing people's computers can get you 50-100$ a piece.

    On CVS embellish a little what you did at current company. Everyone is doing it and you're competing with them. Be confident.

    You are not alone. Dan has been through job change recently, during crisis in 2012-2013 when I was self employed times were tough for me to the point I asked for 50 cents to buy 2dl milk for coffee at the office, DZeus and TransformX also changed jobs in last couple of years.

    Take walks and/or exercise, it keeps you from falling in depression.

    Age is not that bad of a factor anymore. We'll have to work until death anyway. When I was in USA the lady working at home depot department was 60+, the waitress at the restaurant ~45. The contractors who helped to set up the booth at the fair were in their 50's. There is still working social network up to 70.
    Last edited by UtwigMU; 30th October 2018 at 03:18.

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear that, Dilitante1...

    Not sure what to advise you...
    pixar
    Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die tomorrow. (James Dean)

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    Administrator Dilitante1's Avatar
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    UtwigMU, thank you for your reply. The ideas are good and I intend to follow thru with more self study(and rebuild my lab proper). The holes in my knowledge are scary as most employers are listing SQL, clustering. powershell/scripting. all items I never learned or played with due to the way things were at the office... I have adopted a pessimistic attitude of late, and need to spin that around fast as well....

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Don't forget that employers ask whatever they want, on the off-chance they find someone that meets it all. In practice, most candidates will only know a subset of what is asked.


    Key thing with SQL is to get in the way of thinking; it is quite different from procedural programming.
    I will check my course material if there are things that could help you (most of the material is to support the lectures, so not so easy to read without the explanation). If you have any questions, just post them here.

    I always advise students to "think stupid" when using SQL: the computer does exactly what the statement says, there is nothing intelligent about it. One example they always get wrong and that may help to see it. Suppose there is a table of clients (client_id, name, ...), and a table of orders they placed (order_id, client_id, ship_city, ...). The client_id in orders is a foreign key to the table clients. If you want all the clients that shipped something to Paris, you could have the query:
    -
    select * from clients where client_id in (select client_id from orders where ship_city='Paris')
    -

    The query between brackets lists all the client id's that are in "orders" (it basically contains all the clients that placed an order) and only retains those where the condition is fulfilled. So it filters the rows to yield a list of orders with the ship_city 'Paris', but then only shows the client_id's. However, if you want all the clients that did never shipped something to 'Paris', many students try
    -
    select * from clients where client_id in (select client_id from orders where ship_city!='Paris')
    -
    This does not work for the following reason. The query between bracktes first filters the rows to retain all the entries where the city is not 'Paris' and then only shows the client_id's. But... if a client has shipped something to Paris and something to London, only the record line with Paris will have been removed; there will still be an entry for that same customer with 'London', so the client_id will be present in the query between brackets, and the client will show up in the end result, even though he shipped something to Paris.
    (in this example it is not so difficult to see, but similar things happen when you join tables and then it is less obvious)
    pixar
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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    SQL goes from being able to install MS SQL server, back up database, restore database, configure services to being able to write SQL statements to being hardcore able to performance tune and optimize. I learned most SQL this year when I needed to parse some folders and gather files and make them available to customers. I spent a month writing bash regex and SQL scripts by googling and twice posting on stack exchange. I took entry level web database design course 2 years ago - I remembered the general principles but was unable to write anything by just that knowledge.

    A lot of SQL demands from job ads lean more towards the 1st grade.
    Last edited by UtwigMU; 3rd November 2018 at 19:59.

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    Crabby Smurf Umfriend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dilitante1 View Post
    UtwigMU, thank you for your reply. The ideas are good and I intend to follow thru with more self study(and rebuild my lab proper). The holes in my knowledge are scary as most employers are listing SQL, clustering. powershell/scripting. all items I never learned or played with due to the way things were at the office... I have adopted a pessimistic attitude of late, and need to spin that around fast as well....
    I am still amazed at how many IT-savvy people know nothing about SQL. IMHO, it is the easiest to come to grips with of all programming languages (granted, the scope of SQL is somewhat limited). It is fun too, I do a lot with it. Pretty sure you'd be able to find something soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by VJ View Post
    Don't forget that employers ask whatever they want, on the off-chance they find someone that meets it all. In practice, most candidates will only know a subset of what is asked.
    This. Basic knowledge and ambition to learn is what gets hired a lot, espeically knowadays.


    Quote Originally Posted by VJ View Post
    Key thing with[...]-
    select * from clients where client_id in (select client_id from orders where ship_city='Paris')
    -
    select * from clients where client_id in (select client_id from orders where ship_city!='Paris')

    (in this example it is not so difficult to see, but similar things happen when you join tables and then it is less obvious)
    Although, JOIN is typically the way to go instead of subquerying. For performance reasons as well as avoiding some pitfalls with subqueries. Master the JOIN and you are almost an SQL-King, a Prince for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by UtwigMU View Post
    SQL goes from being able to install MS SQL server, back up database, restore database, configure services to being able to write SQL statements to being hardcore able to performance tune and optimize. I learned most SQL this year when I needed to parse some folders and gather files and make them available to customers. I spent a month writing bash regex and SQL scripts by googling and twice posting on stack exchange. I took entry level web database design course 2 years ago - I remembered the general principles but was unable to write anything by just that knowledge.

    A lot of SQL demands from job ads lean more towards the 1st grade.
    Again, this. There is so much an organisation may need from SQL, programmers/developers, database designers(DDL), security admins (it is a science by itself nowadays).
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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umfriend View Post
    I am still amazed at how many IT-savvy people know nothing about SQL. IMHO, it is the easiest to come to grips with of all programming languages (granted, the scope of SQL is somewhat limited). It is fun too, I do a lot with it. Pretty sure you'd be able to find something soon.
    It is badly taught at universities. Where I was giving the labs, they initially considered 1 lab session on design, 2 lab sessions to teach the students SQL; and then a bunch of useless stuff or stuff that is possible on your own once you have the basis. I changed it to several classes on design and many on SQL.
    Problem with SQL is that it requires a different way of thinking from procedural and OO languages. Once you can deal with that way of thinking, it is easy, but I saw many students having problems with it. Seeing an SQL solution does not help you that much in creating queries: when they see it, it makes sense, but when they have to write it from scratch it is much more difficult. So in my labs they did literally hundreds of queries, with many simple ones to just get them the feel of basic stuff, and then with increasing complexity as the labs pass.

    Quote Originally Posted by Umfriend View Post
    Although, JOIN is typically the way to go instead of subquerying. For performance reasons as well as avoiding some pitfalls with subqueries. Master the JOIN and you are almost an SQL-King, a Prince for sure.
    Yes. It was just a small example to show a common pitfall that stems from not thinking in tables.
    pixar
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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    Also continuing the rant - the web entry SQL course I took. I paid for the course out of my own pocket (applying early discount) and I was leaving work 1h earlier 2x a week because course is in another town and it's 1h drive to there. Since the higher ups didn't like the idea of me leaving early and since they came with some "urgent" stuff I had to stop going about halfway into the course.

    Some people, especially state workers have courses paid for by employees and get time off, while I have to walk barefoot in the snow both ways uphill.

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    Crabby Smurf Umfriend's Avatar
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    This is an easy and cheap way to start I would say: https://www.khanacademy.org/computin...rogramming/sql
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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    Also if you need to embellish resume with some certs - you can take free exams on brainbench and add them to your Linkedin.

    This year some company I work with was applying for some state project where they needed certified people. They asked me to pass Apache server certification. I actually became Apache certified without much effort (skimmed through book, took exam in one evening).

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    Super MURCer TransformX's Avatar
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    The 'magic' word these days, at least in my case is DevOps.
    Just learn any tool that matches this criteria and put it in you LinkedIn profile (assuming you have one).
    I'm not looking for a job but job head hunters knock on my door daily.
    "For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism."

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