A Bash In Atlanta #socs

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One of the highlights of the job I worked at for 20 years, at least when I was still living in Chicago, was the week we spent in Atlanta at the Technical Support Representative meeting. All the TSR’s from the company would get together for a week of meetings where we would learn what the product groups had in store for us and any new technical tricks we’d need to know to get our jobs done. It was also an opportunity for us to see our friends from the other regional offices and from the corporate office and to find out how they were and what they had been up to, usually over adult beverages at a few of Atlanta’s establishments where such beverages were sold. Let’s just say that we’d be in meetings from 8 AM to 6 PM and out carousing around the Buckhead section of Atlanta from 6 PM to roughly 8 AM the next morning. Thursday night was always the big bash at “The Ranch,” a house in Buckhead where several active or former TSR’s lived. It started at around 7 PM and ended when the police came and broke it up.

Looking back on those days, I’m surprised we all lived to tell about it. We only had a couple of casualties: one year, one of the guys was sent home with acute alcohol poisoning; another year, a different guy ended up with stitches as a result of injuries sustained from breaking beer bottles on his forehead.

One year, part of the education we got at the meeting was about the UNIX operating system, specifically the commands that we would need to make the machine work so we could install software on it. We were told that we’d be working within a command shell known as the Bourne shell, usually the default shell because it was the oldest and most stable one. There were other shells, such as the Korn shell and the Z shell, which were variations of the Bourne shell, and the C shell, which was based on the C programming language. It was an interesting day’s worth of learning, after which none of us ever had the opportunity to work with it. Well, as Linux and MacOS X became more of my life, that training came in handy, as both Linux and MacOS were derived from UNIX. They both used another variant of the Bourne shell, the Bourne Again shell, which was abbreviated bash. Interesting how that works…

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17 thoughts on “A Bash In Atlanta #socs

  1. I attended many meetings, conferences, and trade shows where employees would imbibe in too much alcohol. I’ll never forget when one of the employees had waaaaayyyy too much to drink and fell on one of the managers. She didn’t bother to come to work the next day. I learned a long time ago that it’s best to control one’s alcohol intake when at company functions.


    1. In our case, the heavy drinking was part of working there. It was almost expected that you’d enjoy the festivities. At the end of the TSR meeting, they’d rank you on how much partying you did. By the ’90’s (when we were owned by Dun & Bradstreet) the attitude changed tremendously, maybe because of the new ownership, more than likely because everyone reached the point where they said, “yeah, I think we’ve done enough of that…”

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    1. I went to a NAMM show there when I first moved here (’88 or ’89) and never gave it another thought until they told me it had been torn down. That happens a lot here.


  2. “Looking back on those days, I’m surprised we all lived to tell about it.” Sometimes I shake my head and wonder how. Then I thank my guardian angel who must’ve shaken her head a lot. Glad we made it!


    1. It’s almost easier to work with Linux, because each equipment manufacturer tailors its version of UNIX to their machines and you’ll invariably run into something that works on one machine (say an HP) that doesn’t work on another (such as a VAX). Linux is hardware-independent, saving you the aggravation.

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