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  1. #1
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    AntiViews - Vorlin

    Hereís the fifth in a row of AntiViews Ė enjoy!

    Vorlinís profile on Antionline

    Name: Grantland Todd Keller

    Place and date of Birth (or age): Augusta, Georgia 1975 (29 years old now)

    Current place of residence: Tampa, Florida

    Marital status: Single, but that's probably changing within this year, hehe...




    AO: How did you get into computers?

    Vorlin: I knew when I was 12 years old, I wanted to be into computers. It was my life all the time, tearing apart old machines, working basic code, playing every game I could find, jumping onto the internet as soon as I could when I was 14. Working the bbs', playing telnet-based MUDs which got me into the unix side (VAX/VMS to begin with) and light programming. All that led me up to my first job.

    AO: What is your area of specialty?

    Vorlin: If I had to pick an area of specialty, that being defined as one the most liked and worked, it would be unix administration (or *nix administration, if it's broadened a bit).

    AO: What do you do for a living?

    Vorlin: Official title is Unix Administrator but where I'm now, I do a bit of everything from PC repair to PostgreSQL database administration, to 2000/XP administration, etc...

    AO: How did you get into your career?

    Vorlin: My first corporate (official) job was in December 1995, starting as a systems operator for a company called FYI Online in Washington, DC. From there, it was a simple task of starting to learn from those who were unix admins. I was definitely enthralled by the ability of the shell, what you could do with it, the flexibility and more efficiency than anything else I had run across.

    AO: Describe your education and/or training?

    Vorlin: Not unlike a lot of those like me, I have zero training. Everything I've done or learned has been self-taught. I read rather voraciously, whether it's mythology, history, fiction, military, sci-fi, or education and all that helped. When I went to my first job, I had bought the first version of the "Unix in a nutshell" by O'Reilly and wrote down over 100 commands and what they did, not knowing what they were, but it helped nonetheless. I believe in the school of life where pertinent and relevant information is more important than taking four years of a college of stuff that you may or may not ever use (and from what I see, it's the latter not the former). My training is self-education and I accomplish that by writing things myself, finding out everything I can, whatever... You can never know too much!

    AO: Do you plan on staying where you are (career-wise) or are you still in school / working on certs to get into another area?

    Vorlin: I plan to one day get the esteemed "Senior Unix Admin" title and if I had my way, I'd be in charge of a data center or at the very least, work in a very big data center. I had been able to be in complete control of a build where two RP8400s with 8 procs and 16gb of ram apiece working alongside an XP512 which already had over 300 disks in a variety of RAIDs from 0 to 1 to 5. That was fun and something I want to do a lot more of.

    AO: What one piece of advice would you offer to others who may be interested in following a career path or educational path similar to yours?

    Vorlin: Never give up when it seems like it's impossible. Many many times I've had to rethink my strategy and wonder if what I was doing was "what I wanted". You have to REALLY want to get into unix administration, because it's nothing like a normal job. It's not 9 to 5, it's not one specific path, it's everything and nothing at the same time. It's programming, security, administration both for users, software, and hardware, and it's a very thankless job. The 600+ users you may keep going with your knowledge and your diligence and dedication won't ever see you. It's late nights, weekends, caffeine, and frustration. Never stop learning. Work your own server, write your own code, and keep going up that ladder.

    AO: What skill do you think is invaluable in your area of specialty?

    Vorlin: Troubleshooting, the most base of my job, has taught me, in more ways than I can even count, how to look at everything from six different angles that nobody else thinks of. I still surprise myself when I can take a problem that's causing issues with others and dissect it down to minute pieces and fix it without having too much information. When that seeps into your regular life and you're much better at things because of it, you'll know what I mean, hehe...

    AO: Describe one of your best / most effective security practices.

    Vorlin: It'd have to be through the education of those around me. To have someone who's wanted to learn recite something or watch them fix their own issues is amazing and they spread the wealth out. To be known for educating people on little things they can use to help themselves out in the computer world is a great thing. To hoard it and keep it to oneself like I've seen so many other "IT professionals" do, because they think that makes them invulnerable and more knowledgeable, well...that's pretty lame and I don't associate with them at all.

    AO: Do you have a little-known fact about yourself (personal, hobbies, tech-related) that you would be willing to share?

    Vorlin: I used to live in Saudi Arabia for 10 years and have gotten to see more countries than there are states in the US. I've been to London 49 times, Paris 28 times, have gotten to see the Eiffel Tower before the nets went up, got to touch Stonehenge before they roped it off due to vandalism (did you know the rock that Stonehendge is made of isn't found for 300+ miles in the surrounding area? Hmmmmm....interesting!), have gotten to see the entire inside and all levels of Notre Dame and Big Ben.
    Got to fly on the prince of Saudi Arabia's 747 and our family got approached by the guards on the plane (which were all wearing AK47's) and the prince, who knew my dad by name from his own informants, and we got to go upstairs to spend the flight with him and his harem (no kidding!).
    I wouldn't trade my sights and views for anything.

    AO: How did you find Antionline?

    Vorlin: I somehow hit the link entirely by accident in a search and the title "Hackers know the..." got me interested so I started reading. It's been one of the better sites I've been on, ever.

    AO: Anything else you'd like to share?

    Vorlin: While we've all been to, have seen, and will see bad people on message boards of all types, the people I've been able to meet and share knowledge with on AO have been invaluable and I'm sticking around for thelong term. I won't miss a lot of those who've just come and gone like so many fly-by-night dot coms.

  2. #2
    Leftie Linux Lover the_JinX's Avatar
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    Good to see more untrained professionals around
    Vorlin: While we've all been to, have seen, and will see bad people on message boards of all types, the people I've been able to meet and share knowledge with on AO have been invaluable and I'm sticking around for thelong term. I won't miss a lot of those who've just come and gone like so many fly-by-night dot coms.
    Can't agree with you more !!
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    Macht Nicht Aus moxnix's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by the_JinX
    Good to see more untrained professionals around
    Trained ~ Untrained doesn't matter. What is good is to see more professionals around and Vorlin is one. A well traveled professional at that.
    \"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!\"
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    WOW, 30 and look at all the places he's been to already.
    Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself.
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    Master-Jedi-Pimps0r & Moderator thehorse13's Avatar
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    LOL. Good read although my visit to Saudi Arabia wasn't quite as nice. No harems for me, only hot lead.
    Our scars have the power to remind us that our past was real. -- Hannibal Lecter.
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    No ****... Augusta 'eh? Ever been to Tompson? They call that area "walmart" now

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    Originally posted here by moxnix


    Trained ~ Untrained doesn't matter. What is good is to see more professionals around and Vorlin is one. A well traveled professional at that.
    Thanks, although I try to maintain a level of humility. As the quote goes, "Unix administration is a lesson in humility everyday." and I've learned that hard a few times, hehe..

    Originally posted here by alamuru420123
    WOW, 30 and look at all the places he's been to already.
    Would love to see more, actually. We moved back to the US in 1988 and since then we've only been able to travel out of the country once. I'm glad for my childhood because of my experiences; it's just a sad shame that it may not happen again.

    Originally posted here by thehorse13
    LOL. Good read although my visit to Saudi Arabia wasn't quite as nice. No harems for me, only hot lead.
    HAH! I know what you mean...it took a long time for my dad to be accepted by the guards and the police, both of which communicate all the time. Americans in SA aren't exactly received very well until they know you're there for the long haul. Dad had just gotten brand new 5% tint on his back windows on his 1977 Land Cruiser and within a week was stopped and forced to take it off. Guards scratching all over it with their keys, it was crap. Combining that with the fact that every time you leave or enter the country and you're an american (and they don't care if you're black, white, asian, etc), you get entirely searched. Oh your wife wears see-thru thongs? Yeah, the entire airport police will know AND they'll laugh in your face AND they'll take all of them and if you're smart, you won't argue but you'll pay 50 bucks a pair just to get them back. Living over there for 10 years taught me how completely "free" we are and it's a lesson 90% of the people I know haven't had to learn and definitely don't appreciate.

    Originally posted here by TheSpecialist
    No ****... Augusta 'eh? Ever been to Tompson? They call that area "walmart" now
    Yeah man, that's like 40 miles west on I20 past Fort Gordon...haven't visited in a while, hehe..
    We the willing, led by the unknowing, have been doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much with so little for so long that we are now qualified to do just about anything with almost nothing.

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    Interesting!

    Interesting! Being here in Saudi Arabia is very challenging especially in your way of life. Your experience here I could imagine (especially dealing with the policy and such), Iíve been here for more than 2 years now and I miss my home sooooo much!

    About the last part, itís great hearing you guys out here who really want to give a hand for those who REALLY need it. Of course, learning by yourself is essential, but itís really really nice to hear most of you here in AO care to contribute for security awareness entirely.

    Nice interview!

    Yo!
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  9. #9
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    LOL, looks like there are quite a few security professionals associated with Saudi Arabia in some way or other
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  10. #10
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    Re: Interesting!

    Originally posted here by scratchONtheBOX
    Interesting! Being here in Saudi Arabia is very challenging especially in your way of life. Your experience here I could imagine (especially dealing with the policy and such), Iíve been here for more than 2 years now and I miss my home sooooo much!

    About the last part, itís great hearing you guys out here who really want to give a hand for those who REALLY need it. Of course, learning by yourself is essential, but itís really really nice to hear most of you here in AO care to contribute for security awareness entirely.

    Nice interview!

    Yo!
    Nice, it's good to see that there are several other AO members that've seen a part of what SA offered. It was a great learning experience and not one I'd give up, but there were also so many other things that most here in the US can't fathom. I remember all the times when the TV and all radio stations would cut to prayer and the mosques would play the pre-recorded "hymn". Only in Meccah (which I've seen once) is there an actual guy singing it. There was no other religion. You were either muslim practicing the islamic religion and culture, or you weren't and you kept your mouth shut. We respected all the holidays and traditions they had, even Ramadan, which is a 30 day fast in which the men did not eat during the day (but watch out for those parties after dark, haha). We didn't even drink water in bottles at the pool. Some of it was weird...they didn't allow beer or liquor, but you could make your own wine. Nothing like having a distillery right next to the front door, hehe...maybe that's why I like white wine?

    We were in Jeddah and flew out all the time through Riyadh or Dahran. Saudia Airlines was the airlines he worked for so we had standby tickets 75-90% off anywhere they flew so that allowed us to travel all over God's creation... And since my dad worked for the school system part of the airlines, we had a pretty flexible system for days off, etc...school was Saturday through Wednesday with Thursday and Friday as our now Saturday and Sunday, hehe... The US Embassy that got attacked a few months ago was literally 6 blocks away from where the school was.

    Security was good though. We left our front door cracked by accident one year and it was open for the entire two weeks we were in Europe and nothing but the sand entered. Guards know who lives where and not even neighbors will risk closing the door out of kindness. You don't want to know what their "jail" system is like...

    One thing that I've learned across the board when it comes to women, hehe...while over there, the man can have more than one wife, it does pay to break a bit off tradition and give them some rights, hehe... The guy next door had six wives, didn't make them wear the full abayas (black robes generally covering everything from toes/fingertips and all of the face except the eyes and even some horrendous ones had a super thin veil over the eyes too), didn't make them walk behind him with eyes cast down, and actually had conversations with them while waiting in line for foods or whatnot. He said "If they could drive, they'd all have cars...life is so much easier when the women are happier!". Words to live by!

    We could learn a lot from some of their "no mercy" system (like their criminal system) and they could learn a lot from ours, but such is the difference in politics.
    We the willing, led by the unknowing, have been doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much with so little for so long that we are now qualified to do just about anything with almost nothing.

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