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July 2007 Archives

A principle in Time Management For System Administrators is that we shouldn't trust our brain to remember things. It's better to write something down, or record it somehow, rather than trust our brain. Besides, it leaves more brain space for important things.

I often recommend that if you don't have a way to write something down, call and leave yourself voicemail. There is a company called that does this even better. You call them, say what you want, and the text of what you said is emailed to you, along with a link to the audio file. They use caller-id to determine who you are. The voice-recognition is pretty good so far. (I've used it twice). They keep an archive of what you've recorded. The UI when you dial in is very good (I like the fact that it is safe to hang up after you hear they've received your message.)

You can also "jott" to other users.

It's now an open beta. Sign up here.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Time Management

I appreciate you!

Today is the 8th Annual System Administrator Appreciation Day. I know this sounds kind of funny, but I really appreciate all the system administrators out there. I meet a lot of system administrators. I visit a lot of sites. I hear stories about heroics, and I hear stories of people who persist even though they are working with terrible management, unappreciative users, and CEOs that treat IT as a "cost center" instead of an investment in future corporate growth.

Last week the 2nd edition of The Practice of System and Network Administration started shipping. The new edition includes a lot of new anecdotes, many from the fan mail we've received over the years. Some of the fan mail is fun, like when we were told that something we suggested helped recover from an outage a few hours faster, which saved his company $100,000. Often we are pleased to receive email from someone who's received a promotion and wanted to thank us for writing a book that was instrumental to their career. But most of all I want to say that I am humbled by the messages we've received from the lonely system administrators: The under-appreciated person struggling to fix a big mess they inherited, with all the responsibility when it fails but none of the authority to fix the larger problems. We received email from one person who, when reading the book, burst into sobs after realizing she wasn't "the only one".

This will be the second year that I'm volunteering to judge SysAdmin Of The Year. Nominations are open, so email the URL ( to all your friends. The first 2500 nominated sysadmins get a free tshirt, which is pretty cool in itself.


P.S. If you are in the Philly/NJ/DE/NY area (or aren't, but like last-minute travel), don't forget that I'l be doing my time-management training classes during the tutorial part of LOPSA's SysadminDays local conference, August 6-7, 2007, in Cherry Hill, NJ (just outside Philadelphia).

Tom will be teaching the half-day version of "Time Management for System Administrators" on Tuesday, July 24, from 1:30-5pm. A book-signing for the 2nd edition of The Practice of System and Network Administration will be at the Powell's booth same day from 5:15-5:45pm. Hope to see a lot of folks there!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in AppearancesArchive

A number of people have reported that their pre-orders have been canceled on Amazon and other book sites. Our publisher says that usually doesn't happen unless the delay is 6 months, which is not the case here. The publisher's liaisons to has been contacted and is going to find out what is wrong. In the meanwhile, please resubmit your order and accept our apologies.

We're told, "The Amazon order is being packed today [July 10] and should ship later today or tomorrow. It should hit their warehouses by the end of the week."

As far as why the book is delayed, we have an update. It seems that the factory put off our book to make room for a higher-priority book that is coming out. I won't say what the book is, but it has something to do with hallows that are deathly.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Book News