’Tis the season when all the geeks and nerds are standing in line at the local electronics stores or going online at Amazon, NewEgg and TigerDirect, buying each other (or themselves) the latest and greatest electronic gadgets. It’s funny – many of the people I know in other fields prefer to get away from their work when they’re at home, but the IT folks can never get enough of computers in all their permutations.
That doesn’t mean any of us want to be stuck in the server room while our families and friends are sitting around the fire, sipping eggnog. But thanks to today’s devices and software, we rarely have to. Even if there are problems with the network, that no longer necessarily means we have to rush back to work. We can often just connect to the corporate LAN from wherever we are and troubleshoot and fix it on the fly.
We don’t even have to leave the festivities and steal away to the computers in our home offices to do it now, either. We can do it from a laptop or tablet or even a smart phone. There are several different ways to do that, of course, but the technologies just keep getting better and better. I love being able to RDP into my servers (and desktops) from anywhere, using almost any device.
Microsoft gave us an early gift in October when they released Remote Desktop apps for iOS and Android, and of course there was already one for my Surface Pro and other Windows 8/8.1 devices. And of course there are third party RDP clients and other remote control technologies such as VNC that we can use to do the same thing.
Even if there aren’t any network problems going on at work, there’s a good chance that during the holiday parties we’ll be the ones who (surreptitiously or openly, depending on the tolerance levels of our “better halves”) are casting glances at our phones or phablets at the same time we’re socializing and indulging in all the calorie-laden treats that seem to proliferate from late November through the first of January. It’s not that we’re lacking in holiday spirit; we just can’t help ourselves. We’re technology addicts.
If we’re really hooked, we’ll be using those phones to take photos of all the celebrations and uploading them to social networks. Of course, geekiness has gone mainstream these days; even grandma is doing that. So those of us who make our livings working with computers feel the need to go a little further – such as streaming video live, and not using some web service but through our own servers.
On the other hand, some of us don’t want to show off our tech skills too much, because we’ve learned from experience what that will get us. Along with the awe and admiration, it gets us twenty relatives asking us to please take a look at their malfunctioning devices or show them how to perform some complex, convoluted task with their phones or computers that nobody else in the world ever had the desire to do before. Then we find ourselves stuck in a back room with an ailing Pentium II that’s running Windows 98 while everybody else is having an after-dinner drink and opening presents.
Of course, if we’re really geeks, that’s exactly what we prefer to be doing anyway. On the other hand, we don’t want to miss out on the gifts because we can’t wait to see how our spouses’ eyes light up when they see that cool new router or the 28 port USB 3.0 hub we bought them. And we’re also keeping our fingers crossed, hoping somebody was thoughtful enough to give us the coffee cup power inverter for the car.
Here’s hoping all the geeks who are reading this have a wonderful high-tech holiday and may this season be filled with love, peace and a large assortment of exciting new electronic gadgets (and all the batteries, power cords and accessories needed to properly enjoy them).