Hardware Guy

While the greater part of my new job involves GIS, I'm also the IT contact for the Midland office. Our IT department is centralized in Denver, and the regional offices don't have IT professionals to handle computer-related tasks. Apparently, because I had worked previously in a technocentric field, they thought I would be the right person to assume those duties.

It's a bit ironic. Website clients regularly asked me for advice or tried to hire me to work on their computer hardware or networks (which inevitably involved Windows), and I always declined to do so, stating that I "wasn't a hardware guy," or "I'm not a Windows guy." And now, of course, I'm both.

To be honest, though, I enjoy it. For one thing, while I'm not a computer professional, I do have working knowledge of most the things I'm asked to do, and during this early period where I'm in a prolonged training mode on the GIS side, it's nice to feel like I'm contributing something of value to the company.

Power ButtonI've done everything from install RAM, hard drives, and video cards to helping the Denver networking guys troubleshoot some problem communications lines. I've hooked up a digitizing tablet, swapped out a ceiling-mounted video projector, and installed several complete dual-monitor workstations, both tower- and notebook-based. And, just yesterday, I installed an HP Lefthand SAN, which is essentially a networked storage unit.

That was something of a daunting task for me. For starters, the unit weighs about 50 pounds, and it had to be installed in a server rack. So I had to install the rails first, then drop (well, that's not the best term to use when referring to an expensive piece of hardware) the unit into the rails. Once that was done, I connected the redundant power cords and the redundant networking cables to the proper switches. I then connected the unit to one of our servers so that the Denver folks could finish the configuration and place the unit in service.

Funny thing about that, though. After I had gotten all the preceding done and was feeling pretty satisfied with my accomplishment, the guy in Denver messaged me. "I'm having trouble finding the unit on the network," he said. "Can you check the connections and make sure they're all tight?"

I knew they were, but I went and checked anyway. I reported back. "Hmm..." he said, "I still can't see it. Maybe we have a bad port..."

Then he messaged back. "Uh...the unit IS turned on, isn't it?"

Like I'm supposed to think of everything? *forehead slap*

In my defense, when you plug in the power cables on that unit, lights start blinking and it gives every indication of being powered up. But it's not; you still have to press the "on" button. D'oh.

There's always something around here to ensure that I stay humble.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on October 19, 2011 9:52 AM.

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