I've got a confession to make. I have two hats. On one hand I run the tech for a large ISP. On the other, well, I'm (whispers quietly) a PC journalist - nothing major, a little comms, a few book reviews maybe, perhaps the odd small peripheral.
So my editor says to me: "You're a sysadmin."
I grunt something non-commital in return. It's 11 am and she wants sense from me?
She smiles down the phone. "How about a seven page feature on Windows 95 networking."
Uh oh. I shouldn't have answered the phone. Unfortunately, I do a few quick sums and work out that this is in fact very good for my bank balance, so I say yes, and wander off to blag a nice fast PC and a pile of ethernet cards. That and two corporate LAN packages.
Three days later and I'm cursing the software. Exported drives that vanish halfway through a session, tech support the other side of the Atlantic, no man pages, and a Windows 95 network client that only talks to (oh horror of horrors) Windows 3.1. My poor old PC is getting quite battered, and has probably learnt a whole pile of new swearwords. I'm running out of espresso, and the next door news agents have just shut for the night, and the cat is trying to eat the length of ethernet that runs down the landing to my housemate's room.
At that moment I was enlightened.
At that moment, I realised it.
I love TCP/IP. I love NFS. I love configuring firewalls and the intricate beauty of ifconfig. I love Unix.
So I stripped out all the fancy network protocols and let the damn thing run on IP packets the way any good network should.
They're changing my medication tomorrow, and I think they'll probably take away my white coat with the funny sleeves too.
At least the house is wired and I can be a BOFH at home as well as at work, and a Sabatier kitchen knife makes one damn fine LART...
(Written back in 1996. And look where I've ended up...)