Josh Work U-Michigan The University of Michigan, Information Technology Division

I spent four years attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I was a Computer Science major, and thanks to the wonders of AP credits, I managed to graduate in four not-too-overloaded years. I decided that college was more than just taking classes, so I also worked (to provide spending money and to pay the bills) and socialized with friends, which I hadn't done a lot of in high school (for a variety of reasons).

While working at the U, I actually held three distinct jobs. First, I was a monitor in the dormitory computing cluster. In Winter term of 1988 (February through April, specifically) I worked 1 or 2 shifts a week, assigning people to computers, answering hardware and software questions, and making sure things worked and didn't get stolen.

Second, I worked nearly full-time for the Computing Center's Consulting group (later, Information Technology Division (ITD), User Services (US), Consulting & Support Services (CSS); I hate reorgs). I worked the telephone support help desk (then, 764-HELP) as well as on-site support (at the 4 major computing sites) of the faculty, staff, and students, from November 1988 through my departure in June of 1990. Major tasks included answering questions and troubleshooting problems for Macintosh, IBM-PC and compatibles, and the mainframe, which ran a home-grown operating system called the Michigan Terminal System. In addition, I was the manager of the local network node (Merit Secondary Communications Processor (SCP) CRC1), and frequently the shift supervisor (which made me senior-most manager-on-duty after 5pm). I advised the Diversity Steering Committee on their first-ever Diversity Session on Sexual Orientation (held in April 1990). I learned a lot there, and decided that what I wanted to do in the "real world" would involve helping people and computers, somehow. A few of my more memorable calls may be of interest.

Third, starting in summer term (May) 1989 and continuing through my departure (June 1990), I was a summer intern with the Computing Center's MTS programming group (later, ITD Research Systems). My main project was to adapt twenty R-type system subroutines to allow them to be called using the S-type calling convention. (One of the joys of IBM System 370 assembler is that there are two different means of passing information to a subroutine, known as R- and S-type. All system calls except these twenty were callable both ways.) I wrote and tested the code, recompiled the operating system (several times), and finally rolled the routines into production in the fall of 1989. (I was one of the few undergraduates to actually and intentionally get to IPL an IBM 3090.) I continued on the RS payroll, helping out with various minor tasks, until my departure from the University in June 1990.



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Last update Apr24/02 by Josh Simon (<jss@clock.org>).