Being a brief rundown on myself as the author and maintainer of this website. Ego tripping even.
As you may have guessed from the Photo Gallery, married to Dee (two weeks shy of 11 years as I write this!!!) and with one small boy named Corbin. Who seems to have grown 10 cm by every evening. Dee reckons she has two small boys, just one happens to be taller and slightly older than her. I have *no idea* what she means by that.
Career wise I've followed a truely eclectic path.
Graduated from the University of Queensland with a BSc in Computing. Pure Computer Science. None of this business computing nonsense. Based on the profound lack of jobs in Bris-Vegas, moved to sunny Canberra to join the Public Service.
I started my professional working life as a systems programmer on Unisys 2200 series mainframes in the Department of Defence. Cobol or Assembler. What a choice. Had a bit of a shock when I had to do a minor fix to a program that had patches that were older than I was.
A year of that and moved upwards into Defence Security Branch. Spent the next 6 years in DSB doing a huge variety of tasks and roles. Covered just about every facet of IT Security: Policy, Advice, Technical, Documentation, Training (teacher and student) and so on. My other major focus was to sysadmin various servers and such. Initially with VAX/VMS, Pathworks and Dos PC's, this gradually migrated into the joy of Windows 3.1 and eventually Windows NT 3.5, 3.51 and 4. During this phase I started to learn Solaris from a sysadmins viewpoint (where's sys$log!?!?!), and also my initial exposure to firewalls via Gauntlet.
Still in Defence, I moved sideways to the CRISP project for 6 months. Mainly Windows NT sysadmin and desktop support, I was also responsible for building Defence's first official Internet Web Server. Prior to that it had been "outsourced" to ADFA. "So Steve, how much HPUX do you know?" ... err none? "Great! You can go and build our new web server on this spanking new HPUX box". 128K ISDN link to the 'Net. Netscape webserver. All static HTML pages. I still shudder remembering that this was in the late 90's. Amusingly, Dee had also moved over to the CRISP project a few months before myself. She was sysadmining the Intranet server. IIS on NT4. Both Intranet and Internet servers sat side by side in the same computer room in the now demolished Building H. The irony was not lost on us.
A bit more Gauntlet exposure and lots of exposure to contractors and I bade my farewell to the Public Service and left to start work at CSC.
Who promptly put me back into Defence. Tho out at Fernhill Park with DSTO.
Thus began my love affair with sysadmining Unix boxes. Solaris, HPUX and Linux. Even a wee bit of AIX and Irix. We'd briefly toyed with a Slackware Linux PC at DSB, but couldn't find any real use for it. Now I could. Tried real hard to avoid having anything to do with our Novell file and print server till we finally replaced it with Samba. Tried even harder to avoid doing Windows desktop support. Eventually an MCSE was hired to do that so I could concentrate on the fun... err harder stuff. 'Nuff said. Survived Y2K. Did some fascinating work with JWID; and assisting a RAN C3 Ship to Shore system. Finally down at the sharper end! By this stage I was really getting the hang of Perl and even wrote a modest, working SNMP management system. Was also starting to get more involved with designing solutions. And implementing them.
The next job was almost a meld of everything that had gone before. Joined a startup then known as SecureGate. My role was pretty much defined as "Do Stuff. Get Paid." Feels like I did it all over the next 18 months. Firewalls: Firewall-1, Gauntlet and Cyberguard; Intrusion Detection; OpenBSD and Solaris/Gauntlet SOE builds. DNS, NTP and AntiVirus/Email/MTA system design, build and installs. Large scale Gateway issues; Audits; Penentration Testing (timing nicely with a power outage was fun - scared the beejezus out of the hosting ISP). Spent an entire weekend building/designing a hardend webserver build to be used for CHOGM2001. Only to learn a week later that CHOGM was postponed due to 9/11. Sigh.
By this stage SecureGate had become 90East. One of our major design builds we'd been working on throughout 2001, even won an AIIA award in the Telecommunications & Networking section!
We had a slogan amongst the techs at 90East. Was almost a company motto: We Suck Less.
It was felt that it pretty much summed up what we could do for our customers and compared favorably with the competition. Such as there was.
Time to take a breather. Nice timing. Right in the middle of the dot com bust. Still an all, got a lot of the garden landscaping done, and woodworking. Even had one of our nearby, less pleasant neighbours put in a complaint that I was running a furniture business in our garage. Given I completed one (1) stepstool in that period that'd be a really good trick.
I so totally landed on my feet with the next job. It's where I currently am so I have to be nice to them. Over 4 years now. The basic job description is probably best summed up as "Senior Unix Systems Adminstrator". Some days that's even what I do. Mainly it's looking after the various servers that make up the HealthInsite system. Quality, Approved, Consumer Health Information. I still get a buzz from running a system that helps so many Australians. Again, like SecureGate/90East, it seems I do a little bit of everything that's gone before. Not so much on the security side anymore, tho I do get dragged into advice and other issues now and then.
I'm unsure how and when it happened, but I finally managed to reach the point of almost enjoying doing documentation during the past few years at HealthInsite. I try not to own up to that too much tho. Dangerous.
It's from looking after HealthInsite that I gradually "fell" into the Joy of Analytics. Web Site Analytics that is. Hence the Open Source projects you'll find elsewhere on this site. Existing tools and products were either too limited and constricting or effectively out of reach. So I wrote my own. Rediscovering my very rusty C skills in the process. Why WebAnalytics? Make a great site even *better*. I even did a three hour tutorial on the subject at the SAGE-AU 2006 Conference. All 4 attendee's were most pleased!
Outside of work?
A mixed bag. Hobbies move around subject to time and interest. Woodworking - furniture and toys for Corbin mainly. The red guitar in several of the photo's was originally a cardboard one that Dee made. We traced it onto plywood, painted it bright red and thus turned it into one of his favorite toys. He loves rockin' with that guitar to the U2 Live in Boston DVD. Dee's almost trained him to know all their names. Said guitar also accompanied the three of us to a Wiggles concert. Highly recommended for Adults BTW. Kids seem to enjoy them too....
Photography. Not so much as I used to unfortunately. Maybe when Corbin gets older we can get out doing landscapes in B&W and slides again. I still think slides are better than digital.
Garden Landscaping? Not so much hobby as mill stone around my neck. Still it *is* getting close to being finished. Not that you'd notice looking at our backyard.
And I suppose the assorted "Tick Here" geek/nerd hobbies. Including several Open Source projects and the odd bit of coding on the Groklaw website. I just wish I had more time to do more there.
And that's the *brief* summary. You should see the long one.... Just expanding the acronyms just about doubles the length.
30th August 2006