Feeds

You can't know it all

So ask someone who disagrees with you

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Sysadmin Blog I pride myself on my depth of knowledge. I read quickly, and I read profusely. I study everything from medicine to technology, physics to music. For reasons that are likely part genetic, part neurotic hangover from my upbringing, I have an irresistible requirement to learn and understand everything.

So how exactly did I miss the existence of something as useful as role and policy based management for Unix? It’s the equivalent of being a soldier and not knowing that you can buy rifles with magazines. It might be understandable if you don’t work with Unix anything, but I use various flavours of Unix descendants every single day.

Previous articles covered things like lights out management and remote access. Technological topics with a defined “this is how it works” and “if you push these buttons X does Y.” The current articles, “why group policy matters,” are less about a given technology and more a discussion about different approaches to systems management.

It basically boils down to “the field we work in so unbelievably enormous it is not possible to know everything there is to know about IT.”

In the nineties, I would have very easily put my foot down and said that X was the One True Approach to computing. Y was inherently evil, and anyone who ever did, bought, considered or implemented whatever the Y of the day was should most certainly be branded a fool for all time. I’m not talking here about the vast majority of computer users who simply use the things and get on with their lives. I’m talking about fanatics.

Once I was a technology fanatic. Technology attracts people who prefer to spend their time thinking, philosophising and inventing; exactly the sort of people who might have difficulty growing out of that fanaticism.

The first moment we got our hands on an iPad, an Android phone or Windows 7, every one of us had a good long nerdgasm. We took the new technology for a spin; saw what was cool - and what was not. For all but the most jaded among us, there was a brief moment of “ooooo” before preconceptions and prejudice settled in and we returned to doing things exactly how we did them before.

So it was when I got a chance to play with some of the cool group policy technologies for Unix operating systems. I want to say that I have put away childish things like nerdrage wars and technological predjudice, but the 12-year-old technonerd fanatic in me is at the back of my head screaming that point and click administration of Unix is fundamentally wrong. The supposedly grown-up adult version of me looks at this stuff and thinks about how much easier this will make my life: all the new projects I will be able to undertake, the time and money it will save.

As a technonerd, even though I like to think I have moved past my fanaticism stage, I still suffer from a debilitating disease that strikes many of our kind down: arrogance. My compulsive need to learn everything means I know more about a vast array of topics than most people probably should. A talent for solving unusual technological problems, as well as a knack for MacGyvering everything in existence turns that knowledge into arrogance. A good strong dose of humility periodically can be nothing but a good thing.

So please take the following advice in context. If I have learned anything from the first half of my GPO research project, it’s to not assume you know everything. Maybe you once knew everything, but things change. More importantly, with a field as vast (and growing) as IT, there is no possible way to know everything that is out there.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
AWS pulls desktop-as-a-service from the PC
Support for PCoIP protocol means zero clients can run cloudy desktops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.