In The Trenches With Jim Colestock, Manager Systems Administration at Tacoda Systems
Jim's been with Tacoda founder Dave Morgan since Morgan's Real Media days. "Computers were always a hobby," says Jim. He started work with the ad network in '99 doing general network support, then moving on to systems administration and product development.
At Tacoda, where he's been for about a year, Jim assists the company's Web publisher clients with software installations and other technical glitches, usually remotely from the New York office. And since it's a small operation, he's responsible for everything from site updates and software installations to un-jamming the printer. At least when it comes to fixing the printer, there are tangible mechanisms to inspect. "I'm used to being able to look inside something and seeing how it works," explains Jim, "but with computers you can't do that. It's just a bunch of zeros and ones."
What are your favorite online destinations in the a.m.? Why?
Slashdot.org. It's about the only thing I read all day --or CNN at lunch. But other than that it's pretty much Slashdot. It's gotten to be pretty much a habit. There's stuff about technology--interesting, crazy things that people are creating. Somebody sent me a link to a story about someone turning a boom box into a touch screen computer; those are the kinds of things that show up there.
What other sites do you visit frequently? Why?
As of late, I've been looking around a lot of woodworking sites for furniture plans. I usually hit Google and then wherever it takes me, it takes me. It's a lot less time-consuming that way.
I do computers for a living, but now I do the hands-on stuff for fun. [Jim is in the process of building furniture for his home.]
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Keeping track of everything that's going on. We're small and spread thin; sometimes it's difficult to keep track of what I'm actually supposed to be doing.
I try to manage it all in my head. I've tried doing the Palm Pilot thing, but I usually end up forgetting about it.
What do you like best about your job; what keeps you interested?
As much as it sounds like I might not like it, the fact that it goes in very, very different directions. I like being into the fire at all times. If I have a lot of things to bounce around on, I don't have to worry about getting stalled (I have a short attention span).
From a back-end technology perspective, what are the obstacles to true media integration?
On rare occasions, if publishers want to get information from their offline systems into their online systems [subscriber data, etc.], it can be a problem. A lot of times those systems are old. That's probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks--getting the two universes to come together.
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