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Geek: Intro

NASA and Silicon Valley

In 1989 I took on a 9 month contract to work for NASA in Mountain View.  I rented a room from a couple and their young daughter and slept in a sleeping bag on the floor.  They told me I was the ideal roommate as I was almost always either at work or visiting my girlfriend or my family in Fresno.

I started out as a Vax/VMS systems administrator and added the Unix network of the Information Sciences Division while working on a project plan to migrate the division’s scientists from VMS to Unix.

A friend warned me that budget cuts would likely lead to one of my assistants and me being laid off.  So, when Ingres, a database company offered me a better, more permanent job, I took it.  Ingres was in beautiful Alameda next to a pretty shopping center next to the Alameda-Oakland tunnel.  From many offices you could see ships going through the eschuary.  We had one white building and the ones we called “RBB” for “Red Brick Building”.

At Ingres,  I had a great opportunity to take courses directly in Ingres and to build up my Unix skills as well going to Usenix in Nashville where I met Dennis Ritchie, one of the inventors of Unix, Eric Allman, the inventor of sendmail, and many other top Unix geeks. 

In 1991, Nellina and I were married and moved to Pleasanton.  And in 1993, our daughter, Michelle was born, and my life as a father began with more joy than I ever thought possible.  Meanwhile, at work, I applied myself to studying soft skills in time management, project management, and pretty much anything related to management in addition to the technical courses I took in Unix System Administration, Database Administration, and Development.

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