Feeds

Meet Antarctic sysadmin Richard Youd

Cisco, VMWare, and maybe helping with emergency surgery, at the bottom of the world

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Live chat While some sysadmins bemoan the lack of training on offer in their workplaces, Richard Youd has just completed several courses, namely:

  • Two weeks studying to be a Lay Surgical Assistant
  • A week of Search and Rescue (SAR) technical training
  • Six days of fire fighting and emergency response training
  • A four-day advanced wilderness first aid
  • Competent crew training for the safe operation of Inflatable Rubber Boats (IRBs)

32 year-old Youd needed that training because his current gig is as a “communications technical officer” at Davis Station, one of Australia’s three permanent Antarctic stations.

The last supply ship for the summer has just left and Youd is now one of 17 people who will spend the winter on ice.

Youd scored the job in the traditional way: he read an ad, applied and impressed in interviews.

Antarctic Sysadmin Richard Youd preparing for a swim on Australia Day

Antarctic Sysadmin Richard Youd
preparing for a swim on Australia Day
Photo by and Copyright Phil O'Brien

It helped that he has five years solid sysadmin experience and friends who had already spent time on the southernmost continent. “Their success and enjoyment of their stint in Antarctica is what prompted me to look more seriously at working on the frozen continent,” he says.

Youd has joked that the job is all about keeping Facebook available over Davis' one megabit per second satellite link back to the rest of the world, as Facebook takes on added importance in a tiny community where the sun won’t shine at all for six weeks of winter.

With the summer season over, Davis’ population has just fallen from 90 to 17, which means Youd isn’t sure if the work he’s been doing for the last couple of months – user technical support, maintaining HF/VHF radio equipment, monitoring backups, Active Directory and Exchange administration, and running the base’s Asterisk VOIP and Cisco switches – will be typical. His work will be diverse: users on base have Macs, PCs, and even some iOS and Android devices have made their way south.

Among his duties are enforcing rules that mean FTP, POP3 and IMAP traffic are all barred. Personal email is webmail-only and Skype is not allowed.

And then there are Youd’s other jobs, including skippering IRBs, Fire Crew member, SAR First Responder, maintaining medical and dental X-ray machines and the possible role assisting surgery. To join us, register in the widget below.

Join us on Wednesday, 6 March at 1300 Sydney time (0200 GMT) for a Live Chat with Richard, in which you can ask him almost anything about his job, life on station and what he’s got planned for the winter.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Germany strikes again over Amazon warehouse pay
Employees to walk out in long-running wage dispute
Phones 4u demise: 1,700 employees laid off with redundo package
'Limited interest in remaining 362 stores', says administrator PwC
Amazon hiring in Australia for 'new and confidential Amazon Fresh initiative'
Is Jeff Bezos moving his grocery business beyond the US West Coast?
Blighty's mighty tech skills shortage drives best job growth in years
Doesn't anyone know anything about SQL? Or Java? Or Linux? Or programming? Or...
Microsoft changes cert test providers, hints at fun new exams
If you really love taking tests with Prometric, do 'em before Christmas
Symantec security chap signs for CSIRO's ICT In Schools
Vulture South is closing in on our goal of 20 new recruits to help teachers and kids
A-level results: Before you smile at that jump-for-joy snap...
Uni-ditching teens are COMING FOR YOUR JOBS
How to promote CSIRO's ICT in Schools in your community
Vulture South is closing in on its target to find volunteers to help teach tech in schools
Everyone's an IoT expert but now there's a certificate to prove it
Cisco creates Certification of Things for industrial sensor-footlers
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.