About Rob

What I do for a living

I’m a senior UNIX systems administrator, currently employed by Bank of America’s Treasury Services Technology Infrastructure division. TSTI maintains computer systems used by some of the bank’s specialty products, such as government tax processing.  It’s not exciting, but it pays the bills.

What I’ve done for a living

Global Crossing: I was a team lead and senior UNIX administrator at Global Crossing in Rochester, NY, supporting the Frontiernet service (before it was sold to Citizens Communications) and gblx.net products. Unfortunately, I was caught in the mass layoffs that followed Global Crossing’s massive bankruptcy.

Eastman Kodak: As a contractor through Mindex Technologies, I worked at Kodak‘s Rochester, NY home base, then known as Kodak Park.  My UNIX administration skills were kept busy conducting Year 2000 compliance remediation and supporting the Analytical Technology Division of Kodak’s R&D area.

ACC TeleCom: As the sole UNIX administrator at this small Rochester, NY telecom firm, I built and maintained ACC’s U.S. Internet service “ACC iNet.”  It had over 7,000 users, mostly at New York universities. ACC eventually became part of the original AT&T.  ACC’s network was discontinued by AT&T in 1999 because of Year 2000 compliance issues with their telco gear, but AT&T still maintains the brand as a discount provider to small businesses.

Xerox: As a contractor, I provided third-level technical support for Xerox laser printers. The “VAR Support Team” was the last line of support before the actual product engineers. End-users calling Xerox for support would first speak to first-level support staff who could help with common problems.  They might then be escalated to more experienced second-level support for unusual problems.  If it stumped them, it came to us.  We had a test lab, units we could disassemble to track down and duplicate problems, and the direct lines to the people that had designed and built the printers.

How I got there

I went to college at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.

When I was young, I picked up the computer bug early. I knew I wanted to work with computers.  By my junior year of high school, I wanted to go to Dartmouth, because of their historic computer science program and their strong affinity with Apple. When the inevitable mountain of college brochures arrived in my senior year of high school, only one of them stood out from the others: UR’s quirky catalog caught my attention.

My grades weren’t quite Dartmouth material, and I wound up going to UR.  I quickly fell in love with the city, snow and all. I learned once I got there that UR had a fine computer science program at the time… as long as you were interested in theoretical computer science. They didn’t offer much in the way of practical computer education, such as a course in the C programming language.  Hunting for a useful major, I tried cognitive science, but at the time it was a just-born field and the curriculum hadn’t quite gelled yet.  As I looked at my course credits and my inclinations, I became a cognitive psychology major.

While at UR, I lived on the Computer Interest Floor.  My postings to the University’s internal USENET newsgroups caught the eye of the computing center staff, and they offered me a formal help-desk student job. That turned into a technical assistant position with the UNIX team, which is where I first became a UNIX system administrator.

Sadly, it’s also the only time in my career I had a private office.  Ever since then, it’s been a succession of increasingly smaller and less-private cubicles.


I like to read.

I like to cook.

I like Apple products. After a long day of working with computers, I like coming home to computers that generally just work and get out of the way.

Computers I’ve Owned

  • Atari 800
  • Apple //c
  • Apple Macintosh Plus
  • Apple Macintosh IIfx
  • Apple Power Macintosh 7100/66 AV
  • Apple Power Macintosh G4 Dual 500MHz
  • Apple Power Macintosh G5 Dual 2.7GHz
  • Apple iBook G4
  • Apple iMac Core 2 Duo 3GHz
  • Apple iPad WiFi 64GB
  • Asus Eee PC 1005HAB
  • A motley selection of cast-off and clearance-rack PCs, all running FreeBSD in a server role

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