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The Next Chapter...

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Last week, our Network/Database/SysAdmin quit. This week, I have been named part of a two (wo)man team who will be working together - while still maintaining our regular full-time jobs - to replace him. My new partner-in-crime and I both have a full networking education, but neither of us have used our knowledge in nearly a decade.

Today was day one of the long road to competency in the realm of Windows Server 2003, MySQL Server, and Exchange Server. I know there's more out there, but these are the topics we've selected to start re-educating ourselves.

Our first task for today: Set up my server permissions so I'm not ridiculously restricted and can finally have full control of my web servers - both development and production.

Our second task: Print copies of the MySQL Server 5.1 Manual. Each printing required 1,100 sheets of paper. My giant binder wasn't big enough for the massiveness of this brief set of instructions. What's a little light reading, right?
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The third task: Decipher the manual. So far, it looks like we're in for restless nights full of command line terrors as the manual really doesn't say anything about there being any GUI options. I had asked our no-longer-Administrator about phpMyAdmin a few years back. I was told to use Toad for MySQL and deal with it. So that's what I've been doing. And I don't like it. It only successfully connects to the database 50% of the time and it disconnects after 15 minutes in another window (this is a setting that needs to be changed... just as soon as I figure out how to change it). Honestly, I have no idea whether phpMyAdmin would be applicable to my current situation, how much would be involved in setting it up, and how likely we would be to destroy the server in the process.

Fourth task: Brush-up on Active Directory. My last experience with server software was Windows 2000. Now we're on 2003 (looking down the line at a possible upgrade to 2012). There are a lot of terms I remember hearing from my college days, but I'm clueless as to their definitions. Looks like it's time to really relearn EVERYTHING. I started with a PDF download of "Understanding Active Directory Services", page 2: "New Features in Windows Server 2003". What have I learned? The federation is not just a governing body in Star Wars.

Fifth and final task for today: Take it home. For three years, I have refused to take work home with me. It only serves to stress me out and make me feel like I have no life beyond the confines of my industrial carpeted cell, but there's no way I can manage two jobs and a re-education in 40 hours/week. So I'll be reading the nights away in my dim little living room... hopefully my children won't become work orphans in the process.

17 Comments On This Entry

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Sergio Tapia 

10 September 2012 - 01:47 PM
Congratulations on some new job responsabilities. New is always better. Since you're going to increase your workload and duties, now might be a great time to ask for a raise.

I swear up and down on this book. Don't guff at the title, it'll give you working knowledge of Windows Server in very little time. You can expand on that knowledge using other more professional reading resources. If you don't even know what Active Directory and it's terms are, read this book! You'll be happier for it. :)


Good luck!


10 September 2012 - 02:02 PM
How much MYSQL do you need to know? Just the admin work, or all of it? It might be worth snagging a copy of the Murach mysql book (check out the index and what not)... should be good stuff. You might be able get macosx to sweet talk the murach reps for a freebee!

Personally I would have just downloaded the help docs onto an ereader and carried that around with a trusty Avery Hi-Liter.


10 September 2012 - 07:54 PM
You can do it! By the way try MySQL Tools for the Toad replacement part. Yeah, Toad is ugly, though I don't know if you can use MySQL Tools for admin stuff. ^^


11 September 2012 - 06:07 AM
Sounds like fun! I suppose this means you'll be posting a little more in forums that aren't the lounge? :)


11 September 2012 - 06:38 AM
Maybe. But I HAVE been posting more in forums that aren't the Lounge in recent weeks. I've been daily failing at being helpful. :)


11 September 2012 - 06:50 AM
"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

(I heart Beckett!)


11 September 2012 - 08:09 AM
That's no manual... That's a space station!!!

(Or at least a dead treee or three).


11 September 2012 - 08:12 AM
Hmm, can't edit my post here, but I just wanted to add that Sergio is right. I've not used Dummies for Windows Server 2003, but I do have quite a collection of the Dummies books for other languages and so on, and they are great.

And contrary to popular belief, they are not just for dummies.


11 September 2012 - 08:14 AM

windows Server 2003 for Dummies even...

Learn to read Bort!!!


11 September 2012 - 08:44 AM
I have several Dummies books myself - ASP, Facebook Marketing, Adobe Contribute... they've come in quite handy. I don't doubt that Server 2003 for Dummies is a good starting point for the mess I'm about to get into. :)


13 September 2012 - 04:32 AM
Hey! Why the change in the name of the blog?


13 September 2012 - 11:40 AM
1. Wanted to be a little more professional.
2. I'm not old enough to be a Cougar.
3. "Puma Chronicles" just doesn't have the same ring to it.


13 September 2012 - 09:28 PM
How about #ThePumaPardigm ?


15 September 2012 - 05:16 AM
You might wanna check out MySQL Workbench if you don't like Toad, I use it and find it suits my needs pretty well.


16 September 2012 - 04:12 AM


Last week, our Network/Database/SysAdmin quit. This week, I have been named part of a two (wo)man team who will be working together - while still maintaining our regular full-time jobs

Ah yes, the old "we'll just foist this former full-time position onto our other already overworked employees" bit. Sigh. Going to be doing the same thing, along with the boss. We advertised a position for months, and got no decent résumés (actually, that's not really true; we got one with a background almost identical to that of my boss, with 9 years less experience. This person -- in their cover letter -- demanded $250K per year. Yeah, right...don't think anyone in the company makes that, save perhaps the owners). Now the boss and I will be taking those responsibilities on in addition to what we're already doing (at least until we bring someone else on in a position that can take over some of that). I asked the boss if that meant we could split the $250K the other guy asked dice ;)


16 September 2012 - 05:52 PM
No offense but why in the hell did you print out the entire MySQL manual? Leave it online, add a bookmark and search it when you need to know something. As for grasping the concepts, get one of the books mentioned. Half of that documentation you printed there you will never use. Hopefully you printed off the right one for the version you are using too because there are like 4 or 5 versions available all in the same place on their site.

Btw I think it is real crap when any company fires a specialist and then divides their duties to existing people who are not specialists to handle the job. I have had that done to me a few times and while it gives you an opportunity to learn some new stuff, it just makes everyone's job that much harder and you have to take time away from your family to compensate for their negligence in not hiring (or planning) for the event that the specialist will be gone.

But good luck to you! :)


17 September 2012 - 04:20 AM
I didn't choose to print it. The head of IT (aka my new partner-in-crime) chose to print two copies of it. I print cheat sheets and small beginner guide type files... this is not something I would have printed had it been my decision. And the other guy didn't get fired. He legitimately quit (and ironically enough, went to work the same place as our recently departed former head of IT).

There is little - if any - planning to compensate that anyone (specialist or otherwise) may one day be gone. I am my entire department. I'm the only person on campus who can write a line of code. As evidenced by my excessive whining in the Lounge last week, when I'm not in the office, I'm still working... because there's no one else who can do it. Most of the institution operates that way. Almost every post within the school is one man deep. If one person is out due to illness, vacation, emergency, training, etc, the function of that person comes to a screeching halt and everyone else on campus is left in limbo waiting for that person to return so the machine can start moving again.

It's also quite common for my employer to divvy up the responsibilities of one person and spread it out across multiple others... like we're a giant loaf of bread and the former co-worker is just a pat of butter waiting to be smeared across our laps.

While I am more than a little miffed about having to surrender my time with my kids and my time to relax because of a new found need to read manuals and beginner's guides, I'm hoping it will one day give me an edge into a better position or higher pay bracket.

Time will tell, I suppose. But in the meantime, I've been volunteered for multiple freelance projects that I really don't want to tackle right now... which only takes more time away from my kids and my sanity. It would help if I had a little help at home, but as it stands it's me versus the locals... and they think I'm Superman.
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