Software

Diary of an IT manager: Tanya Buba (Tuesday)

This one IT manager is the entire IT department for her company. That makes it difficult when her child needs to stay home from school with a fever. Find out how she prepares for family emergencies in this installment of the IT Manager diary.


This week, IT Manager Republic will feature the daily diary of Tanya Buba, IT manager for a network affiliate television station in Louisville, KY.

7:00 A.M.
My 13-year-old daughter is complaining of a sore throat. I take her temperature, but there’s no fever. I make a quick trip to the mini-mart for throat lozenges and send her to school.

9:00 A.M.
At the office, I start to go through some e-mail. I usually process about 30-50 e-mail messages a day. Since I’m a one-person department, I prioritize requests more efficiently if I receive them in e-mail because then I can create a virtual to-do list. This process has reduced the number of times that people stop me in the halls to explain their requests.

If a user’s problem doesn’t involve a hardware issue, I can usually return the user’s e-mail with instructions and information. Not all environments can work this way, but because I know each user individually, I know who can handle more complex instructions online and who needs personal instruction.

One project staring me in the face is the long overdue intranet update. I’ve put it off long enough. We’ve had some turnover lately, and I need to remove the names of former employees from the site. I also have two new positions to post on the Job Openings page. I use FrontPage98 with server extensions. We host the server internally, so the updates fall within my domain. The site is quite bland and needs to be pumped up a bit. I wanted to revamp it when I first took this position, but it doesn’t look like I’ll have any free time in the near future.
Get caught up on this week’s diary.
Read Monday’s installment here.
10:00 A.M.
Time to head to the newsroom and start on the laser-printer project. After unpacking five of the six printers, I need to install memory upgrades. The sixth printer will be used as backup in the event that one of the five has to be sent out for repairs.

I ordered 16 MB memory modules to upgrade the HP 4050N printers to 32 MB. What I actually received was 32 MB modules for a total of 48 MB, so now I think the price I paid is even more reasonable! I installed the memory and secured a 9-pin male-to-male gender changer on each serial port. This is the interface we’ll use to connect to the NetPort print server when all is said and done. The gender changer is necessary because I can't find a 25-pin male to 9-pin male.

I need to install a four-port expansion board to the broadcast unit, but I need a different tool. Isn’t that always the case? No matter what you bring with you to do a job, you always need the tool you left in your office. I need a cup of coffee anyway, so I head back to my office.

I notice a voice mail message and decide to retrieve it. We’re knee-deep in the middle of a major renovation project, and it might be a contractor. The message is from my daughter’s school. She’s running a high fever and needs to go home. I track down my boss and give him a heads-up. I plan to be back this afternoon.

12:30 P.M.
While sitting in the pediatrician’s office, my pager goes off. Accounting has a problem with a file they share on the network. Information is being entered, but it isn’t showing up on their end when they open the file. I tell them it sounds like the data entry user is accessing a file on the local drive, and I’ll sort it out when I get back to the office.

1:30 P.M.
Looks like I won’t be making it back to work. My daughter has the flu, and the doctor has given me three prescriptions to fill. The pharmacist tells me it will take an hour or so. Great!

I go home and call my boss. He needed me to get a vendor into the office this afternoon to look at some phone lines that are holding up the renovation project. Thankfully, I remember the vendor’s phone number and our account number. The vendor calls me back to let me know the technician will be there around 3:00 P.M. In the midst of being Super Mom, I also manage to come out ahead at work.

Everyone at work has all of my pager numbers, so I don’t sweat too much. I have my home computer set up for remote access, and I can check in on all the servers, including my desktop, using VNC. It works similarly to PCAnywhere, except that it’s free and IP-based. If you have access to your network, you can use the IP of a system to access it. As with PCAnywhere, both computers have to have VNC installed. It’s a great time-saver to be able to see all the servers from my desk.

We also activated Exchange’s Outlook on the Web, so I can check my e-mail from any Internet connection. I used my AOL account to access my Inbox and responded to all the messages I received since I left this morning. The day may have been a bust, but at least my e-mail won’t get away from me.
Do you have the flexibility to leave work if your child becomes ill? Are employers less family-friendly to the IT department than compared to other employees? Post your comments below or send us an e-mail.

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