The MacTech Spotlight: Arek Dreyer, Dreyer Network Consultants
Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 08
Column Tag: MacTech Spotlight
The MacTech Spotlight: Arek Dreyer
Dreyer Network Consultants
What do you do?
I help customers solve system administration problems with Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, and networks in general, then use that experience to help me write and deliver training materials.
How long have you been doing what you do?
I started getting paid to fix computer problems in 1989, but I was a volunteer student administrator for the PLATO/NovaNET system in high school.
What was your first computer?
My Dad brought an Apple ][e home from his high school in the summer when I was in junior high. It wasn't mine, but I got to use it all summer. Sadly, the first computer I actually bought was a junky Windows box.
Are you Mac-only, or a multi-platform person?
Multiplatform; I help people integrate different platforms. For my personal use, I use Mac OS X.
What attracts you to working on the Mac?
Macs have an amazing user experience that uses yet hides the raw power of its UNIX core.
What's the coolest thing about the Mac?
I just help keep Macs running, but in the end, it is all about the users. My hat is off to Mac developers that use the platform to generate amazing stuff, but the coolest thing about the Mac is the Mac users, who constantly generate ever-more amazing content.
What is the advice you'd give to someone trying to get into this line of work today?
Spend time gaining experience: tinkering, exploring, reading. Ask good questions of people more experienced than you, but only after you've confirmed that you can't find the answer on your own. Don't get into this line of work unless you really love it, because it takes a lot of time to gain expertise.
What's the coolest tech thing you've done using OS X?
Imagine an Xserve RAID with two RAID5 LUNS. The client says, take them all out and put the new, bigger drives in. I said, "Show me your archive of this data". The client says, "Oh, we don't need this data." After getting them to swear they really mean it, I put the new 14 drives in the Xserve RAID. But wait! The principal forgot to archive his data, could he have it back? But the old drives are all mixed up, and the Xserve RAID may mark the drives as spares if you just throw them in randomly.
Even though many said it could not be done, I figured out, with help from a student from Drive Savers who took an Xsan class I taught, how to figure out which drives were part of each original RADI5 LUN, and successfully retrieved the requested data.
I am still impressed every time I use the iPhone. Every time I use it, I still feel like I'm living in the future. Except the times when it doesn't work, then I'm reminded that it's not just a beautiful dream.
Where can we see a sample of your work?
I got to write a book about Directory Services for Mac OS X, but I was only a small part of that; I used a lot of the material from the authors of the previous versions of various training materials, and the training group at Apple designed the objectives that the reference guide had to address.
Also articles on afp548.com and posts on firstname.lastname@example.org among other lists.
The next way I'm going to impact IT/OS X/the Mac universe is:
I'm speaking at the European Macintosh System Administrator Conference (macsysadmin.se) about Directory Services in September, and I'm also helping organize the MacIT® Conference, part of Macworld in February 2010. I'm working on updating the training materials for Mac OS X Server Essentials and Directory Services for Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Server, but I can't tell you their release dates.
Anything else we should know?
My first obsolete computer network account was on PLATO/NovaNet; what's yours?
I'm at twitter.com/arekdreyer.
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