Way back in 2000, Network Computing Magazine just happened to have a Real World Lab in the basement of the building I still work in at Syracuse University. I was fairly new to my campus network support job back then, having started in 1998, but I found the “NWC” lab utterly fascinating. As one of only a few such facilities in the world, there was also sorts of serious performance testing afoot here, on everything from servers to network switches to KVM systems. I hit it off with the gents running the lab (who actually were way up there in the magazine management structure, too), and was invited to try my hand at a bit of freelancing based on my previous writing experience (a lot of technical stuff in the Air Force) and my love of networking.
And my life was never the same after that.
The first piece I wrote for NWC was a single-page review of the original Fluke Networks’ Net Tool handheld tester. I went on to do hundreds of pieces for Network Computing, ranging from a couple of hundred words to dozens of pages. I gained exposure to networking components from every side and niche of the industry, got mentored by incredibly talented editors, and felt electrified every time I saw my own “stuff” go from draft to polished print and e-version.
My freelance career with Network Computing has enriched my life and networking knowledge in countless ways over the last fourteen years, and is up there with things in life I’m most thankful for. Being able to write professionally was actually one of my childhood goals; being able to write for Network Computing made that more rewarding than I could ever imagine. Sure, there has been a freelancer’s paycheck along the way, but it’s always first and foremost been about working with awesome people, developing my critical thinking and technical analysis skills, and being able to have ins to the networking industry in ways most geeks can only dream of. It has been simply wonderful. Though I’ve also picked up all sorts of other writing work along the way, Network Computing has always been my proudest affiliation. I’ve learned as much from my own writing projects and in editing and reading the work of other NWC writers as I have from all of my other sources of training and education.
Now, Network Computing is reborn.
Though the Lab and the print version of NWC have long been casualties of the same forces that have reshaped the greater media landscape, the tradition of quality industry analysis continues with a fresh web presence and new talent in the mix. As with the NWC of days gone by, it’s still about the people to me. Content is what we consume, but the people behind the content at Network Computing are really smart, and good at what they do. They make it worth following. The writers are still rooted in the real world, the editorial staff are great at their craft but also have keen technical acumen themselves, and Network Computing remains one of my favorite resources for staying on top of a fast-changing technical world.
Congratulations on the new site, Network Computing! Here’s wishing you (and us) well!