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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