What am I doing and how did I get here??? Part 2

April 1995-

S.Korea has come and gone and I’ve rotated back to the states. I am now stationed at Randolph AFB working for (then) U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service. They are now known as just Air Force Recruiting Service.

I spend my first 2 years in the “computer” shop. Fixing hardware and rebuilding UNIX systems which I hated beyond belief. I went so far as to get a UNIX for Dummies book. When it comes to UNIX, I’m beyond help it would appear. To say I was miserable is an understatement. In my world, “UNIX” is a four letter word. After 2 yrs, I find myself transferred to Recruiting Service’s telephone help desk. I went unwillingly, but when you are told what to do in the military, you do it.

Before the move, the NCOIC stopped me in the hall and asked why I didn’t want to work for him. Told him point blank I didn’t like the way he acted to me\us in the computer shop. He told me to wait; it would be different when I worked for him. Talk about an understatement! Those last 2 years were the most fun ones anyone could have at the end of their career. I would talk to recruiters from all over the US. Recruiting has gone from old fashion paperwork (in 6 part) when I came in to a sort of offline database. Recruiters would enter data by day; the servers would remote call-in to each cpu and download the data. By the time I got to the phone desk we were just going live with a fully online database. There were bugs to work thru and we did work thru them.

One of my favorites was when a recruiter would have a “kid” who didn’t know who the dad was. Mom had nothing on the birth certificate for whatever the reason. I went to the programmers and told them they had to modify the database to allow for “Unknown” as a first and last name. Talk about a minor war. Their excuse was that the security clearance paperwork required it. True enough, but I pushed on. My reasoning was “he is a test tube baby, sperm bank donor or ….”. The light came on and I had won. A funny battle to win but it made things easier for the recruiters at the time.

The last 2 years flew by and I found myself at the end of my 20 yrs. It was time to decide what to do now that it was time for me to grow up….

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What am I doing and how did I get here???

That is the thought that ran through my head Thursday afternoon. As I was processing yet more applications\forms for some sort of remote access to our higher headquarters\command whatever they (and we) are.

I started drifting back to the time I did my first hardware upgrade. I had been tucked away into the unit security office that was also an open air office access control point where I checked peoples badges for access to the building. Not the least bit close to anything computer related.

One afternoon the NCOIC of the base SCTC (Small Computer Tech Center) stopped by and I was telling him of the hassle it was to back up the database on the building’s swipe access system. This was roughly the summer of ’92 (so you won’t be shocked by the hardware). The security system was run on a Zenith Z-248 that at most had a 20Mb hard drive. Backing up the database took half an hour or so as it was all done to 5” floppies.

Couple days later the NCOIC stopped by again, handed me a 3” floppy drive and a screwdriver. I looked at them, looked at him and asked when are you going to work on it. His reply was, I’m not, you are. Yup, queue up the dear in the headlights look. With that, told him I didn’t know anything about the insides of a computer. His reply “It’s easy.”. He then told me to unscrew the screws on the back, slide the case forward and then removed the floppy, detach the ribbon & power cables then reverse the process with the new hardware. Slide the case back into place and button it up. So I did and without supervision, I did it right.

Fast forward approx. 4 to 6 months, I was reassigned to the SCTC. At the time, the Comm Sq was upgrading from x386 systems to x486 – from scratch. So I learned how to build a cpu from the case, to installing the motherboard, memory chips, cpu chip, power supply – the works. Took us a while to figure out why the system wouldn’t power up after the case was buttoned up. After several days and assembling the system outside the case on foam pads we learned the mother board was grounding out on the pegs in the case, electrical tape to the rescue.

Few months later, I find myself with orders to S.Korea and my IT life goes on hold for a year….

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The road to becoming a Girl Geek

My name is Lorijo (Lori & Jo run together like BettyJo or BobbyJo) and yeah, growing up just north of Los Angeles made my school years a little rough. My parents just didn’t understand why I went by “Lori”, Lori’s were a dime a dozen. When I joined the military I agreed with that and went back to my full name.

I’ve been in the IT industry since high school. In California the schools have “R.O.P.” (Regional Occupation Program). You get school credit for job experience. During open house during 10th grade, my dad somehow hooked up with the head of the business department and then dad showed me the IBM computers. I was hooked on the spot. Normally you can’t sign up for R.O.P. until 11th grade. Somehow dad (again) got the head of the business department to bend the rule and I started a semester early. Ever generated a computer printout on an IBM printer that used a 2ft x 2ft wired panel? By my senior year the school had what was called a micro-computer, the forefather of the desktop. It measured 12” high, 2ft deep and 3ft across and used 8” floppy disks. The requirement to pass the class, write a program (that worked) in basic. I passed. :)

Jump forward 3 yrs and I enlisted in the Air Force job title of Computer Operator. In tech school I learned how to run a Honeywell main frame. My 1st assignment found me working a Burroughs 3500. Input was via punch cards and 8” magnetic tapes. My 2nd assignment had me doing instructor duty teaching computer operations. Same base, new assignment, found me working first at the base data processing center then moved over to the Base Computer Security Office. Desktop computers weren’t everywhere, but we have a couple hundred on Sheppard AFB in the late 80s. Next stop, San Antonio, Kelly AFB where I finally got into the Small Computer Tech Center aka Base Help Desk. Last assignment before I retired was working the Help Desk for Air Force Recruiting Service at Randolph AFB also San Antonio.

For the last 11 yrs I have been working as an Air Force civilian for a joint military unit in what is now called the Network Support branch. I was hired as the sole civilian for the help desk for ‘continuity’. I’ve created nearly every user account and distro list in the last 11 yrs. I’ve installed software, reimaged systems, gone searching for lost .pst files and repair corrupted .pst files (largest one so far has been over 8Gb) and yes, I told the user she had a serious pack rat issue. Last fall I inherited the mobile comms program and became the manager.

My certifications include: CompTIA’s A+, Net+ and Security+. Microsoft’s MCDST, MCITP(x3). I’ve also attended Wireshark Core 1 and 2 but haven’t had the opportunity to put that training to use. 2 weeks ago I was relocated to the server room so I hope start learning more about the networking side of things.

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Welcome to my blog

I have wanted to write about my I.T. adventures (and the occasional misadventures) for a while. There are just some days that you can’t make up the things that happen. You just sit there and wonder what was someone thinking (or not thinking) when they caused their problem.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy my posts.

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