Tech of all Trades

Practical advice and useful tips for the IT pro who "does it all" in a small shop.

  • Tim Malone // April 8, 2008, 5:07 PM PST

    Strategic thinking for tactical techs

    Strategic thinking is not the exclusive domain of managers and executives. It takes a real talent to see things outside of the normal daily routine. Tactical procedures can use a strategic review every once in a while. The employee who is closest to the tactical task should be the one most able to suggest a new strategic direction.


  • Tim Malone // April 15, 2008, 1:10 PM PST

    Pros and cons of remote data backup service

    Remote data backup service has been around for several years. This IT Manager has never had a need to consider it seriously until recently. We are updating our disaster recovery plan and looking into remote data storage options. When we sat down and ran the numbers, we were amazed at how expensive it is compared to the value returned.


  • Tim Malone // April 10, 2008, 3:53 PM PST

    I turned down a six-figure job today

    I have been using LinkedIn for about a year. With LinkedIn I have been able to connect with former co-workers and employers. I received an unsolicited invitation the other day to consider a career opportunity that was right up my alley. The pay started at six figures. I turned the job down. Read the post to find out why.


  • Tim Malone // April 18, 2008, 2:30 AM PST

    The MBA tech in the small business

    Small business techs do not usually have the advanced degrees. An MBA in a small business is the exception rather than the rule. There are times when the Fortune 500 mindset gained in an MBA program can be a detriment to success in a small business. SMB owners simply think differently and do not always understand best practices.


  • Tim Malone // April 19, 2008, 2:43 AM PST

    Data centers don't run themselves

    There seems to be a major disconnect between management and tech support people in some small businesses. For some reason, owners and managers don't always appreciate the need for ongoing maintenance and support. Is it just a small business mentality to think that servers and networks take care of themselves? Neglect in this area can be disastrous. It's a risk that some SMB's are managing poorly.


  • Tim Malone // March 20, 2008, 3:50 PM PST

    Here I am Bill Gates - hire me!


  • Tim Malone // March 24, 2008, 10:51 AM PST

    The terrible curse of spam


  • Tim Malone // March 26, 2008, 3:39 PM PST

    Spammers must correct their wrongdoing


  • Tim Malone // April 3, 2008, 8:31 AM PST

    What to do when the batteries run out

    Techs often assume that management understands details about how backup power systems are supposed to work. For example, does your business owner have a clear picture about how long the batteries will last on your UPS? I found out the hard way that he had no clue when the power went out in our business for a few hours one day.


  • Tim Malone // March 28, 2008, 8:19 AM PST

    Yes, I am the Web surfing police


  • Tim Malone // April 1, 2008, 5:24 PM PST

    When the e-mail system fails

    System failures happen. Things break. The job of the tech is to fix the problem. That's what we get paid to do. However, unless you manage the human element of the repair process, you risk alienating your co-workers and give management a bad idea of your professional abilities. This example shows that communication during the emergency is a critical part of keeping the respect of your peers and the trust of the business managers.


  • Tim Malone // April 5, 2008, 4:25 PM PST

    Tech talk, geek speak and nerd words

    Most techs are very comfortable using several acronyms in just about every sentence. When techs talk to each other the acronyms make the conversation go quicker and convey information faster. Unfortunately, most people have not learned the language of technology and are either intimidated, confused or angry by the foreign words. Success in a career means learning how to speak with non-geeks in a way that still gets the message across.


  • Tim Malone // April 22, 2008, 2:39 PM PST

    The three stages of a tech career

    Every experienced tech can relate to these three stages of the tech career. However, it might be helpful for the new or prospective tech to read about them. The list is short on purpose. It makes for quick and easy reading. This is a work in progress. You wise and grizzled vets add your comments. I'll revise it with the best input.


  • Tim Malone // April 30, 2008, 6:44 AM PST

    Even Super Techs have limitations

    Managing tech support expectations can be tricky when you are a generalist. Most small business techs are not in-depth specialists on all the software products that are used in their companies. There's no way we can know everything there is to know about all of them. But our co-workers don't know that. How do we manage this?