Sunday, August 27, 2006

As much a refresher for me as any kind of mostly boring glimpse into the world of corporate IT for anyone reading this from (as we in "the business" call it) the "outside", I'm going to talk about what I like to show up with on Day 1 in a new environment.
What does a new IT hire need?
We can assume the network and every device on it is completely broken and non-functional. Anything useful (or interesting) is probably undocumented, hidden, or on a server that no longer works.
Also, in a too-little-too-late attempt to head off malware, adware, trojans, worms, virii and job search sites, the company has most likely created policies forbidding internet access to the tools and supplies geeks need to thrive and do the jobs they have been hired to do.
They may even have created an actual firewall rule that prevents it knowing that employees will ignore those policies anyway.
But this is day one, remember?
Not that there is a problem breaking rules on day one, but if it can be avoided it should be.
It can be a bit overwhelming, certainly. At this point, 10 minutes into the first day and 8 minutes into the first crisis, your average new IT hire will check out his workstation.
What if he doesn't have basic troubleshooting tools installed? What if he doesn't have rights to install them since Desktop Support is on some power trip?
I like to keep a small USB drive with me pre-loaded with useful applications.
My standard collection includes some basic diagnostic tools, some virus scanners and cleaners, and some stuff (image editors, web browsers and assorted tools) from Portable Apps.
It is nice to be able to run Firefox right off my portable drive without having to install anything on the work computer.
This lets me spend more time navigating the new political landscape instead of splashing around the shallow end of the technical one.
Fingers crossed that this knowledge comes in handy soon.


Andrew Moore said...

Duh. It never occured to me to keep aps that make life easier but the boss (for reasons best known to the dark lord of Hades himself) flat refuses to let me install on a damn thumb drive. That's what you're talking about, right? or do you cart in a lacie or something?

The boss changed my access level to "user" and then ordered me to install some software . . . and left town for two weeks. He refused to give me his Admin password over the phone. This was at the beginning of summer. Growl.

Garrick said...

You can fit a lot on a thumb drive and if it runs "portable" it doesn't need to install anything on the actual computer.

There are other less . . . ethical . . . uses.