Want to know the people behind the software? Well, you’re in luck. This is the start of a monthly series introducing you to the team behind BackupAssist. Strap yourself in, you’re going to meet some strange characters! This month, we’re introducing Rick – BackupAssist’s Technical Writer.
We asked Rick 10 questions about being a Technical Writer and life in general. Here’s what he had to say:
Can you describe your role in 10 words or fewer?
Making processes easy to follow and complicated technologies easy to understand.
(Interviewer): *Counts on his fingers* That’s 11 words…
(Rick): Oh. Then how about “Making processes easy to follow and complicated technologies easy to…”
(Interviewer): Uh, yeah… much better.
How did you get into Technical Writing?
I started in I.T, originally doing my degree in Information Systems. After two years in a finance company (fun!), I got my MCSE, then did mostly contract work in the UK, NZ and Australia. My last job at HP saw me maintain and create documentation for a regional team and I liked it a lot. No one calls you at 2 am because a server is down when you’re a tech writer! I like technology and enjoy writing so tech writer fits me well!
What’s the most challenging topic you’ve ever had to explain?
VSS! It’s very complicated to explain in detail, and if you try to provide a basic explanation, you just end up being vague. To complicate things even more, VSS is used both to make consistent backups and maintain historical information for incremental backups. It’s not easy trying to explain it in a way that everyone is going to get.
What’s your favorite tech topic to write about?
Anything I already understand well. When you have a new process or technology, you see it in different ways each time you write about it – your perspective and understanding evolves. The more familiar you are with something, the easier it is to write about in a way that is accessible to other people the first time they read it.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give someone looking for backup software?
Test your recovery process! Test it twice. I used to work as a systems administrator, so I know what a pain it can be to spend a whole day doing a disaster recovery of all your systems from scratch –from filling a generator with petrol to trying to get SCSI drivers to work on a server. But what’s worse is having a disaster or an outage and not being prepared for it.
What’s the one thing you think every server room should have in it?
A hardcopy of your processes. There’s no point having everything documented in a PDF, when the PDF is stored on the server that won’t start.
Who is your all time tech hero?
Don’t really have a ‘Tech’ one – closest to tech I could get would be Carl Sagan.
If you could ask that person one question, what would you ask?
Can you sign my Cosmos Blu-ray? Please?
If you could tell Bill Gates one thing, what would it be?
Thanks for spending your money fighting diseases instead of burning it up on ‘start-ups’!
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Trek, and to offend even more – Star Trek Voyager.
(Interviewer): Oh. Seriously? I mean Star Trek, obviously… but VOYAGER? This interview is over.
Want to read some of Rick’s work?
Well, if you’ve ever hit the “Help” button on your BackupAssist UI, you already have! Otherwise, he has a wealth of great articles here on the BackupAssist blog; some recent picks include:
- VMware backups with BackupAssist
- BackupAssist p2v recovery steps
- How to back up your SQL server
- Restoring Active Directory backups with BackupAssist
- 10 tips for best practice Hyper-V backups