I've been asked on occasion how I got here. It all started circa 1997, during my sophomore year at Indiana University at South Bend. One of my friends, during our high-school friendship (92-96), had developed and run a BBS entitled 'The Point of No Return'. In '97, our sophomore year, he dropped out college, and moved away to found DNS Online (long since sold). I didn't own a PC all through high-school (in fact, I believe I was still tinkering with my old Commodore 64), and so I didn't have much of an interest yet (my major was Audio Production, back then). However, I soon had a break-in on my car, and insurance coughed up $1,000. The quick cash drop (plus the rising need for internet access at home stemming from my mounding term paper assignments) drove the need for a PC. So I picked up a (even back then, this system was pretty cruddy) Compaq Presario 4510.
Windows 95 OS, Intel P133 (no MMX), 16X CD-ROM, 1 GIG HD (Quantum Bigfoot - quite possibly the slowest and noisest hard drive to ever exist), integrated 16-bit soundcard, integrated 2 MB videocard, Internal Winmodem 33.6kbps
Okay, so you can already guess that I had numerous problems and upgrades with this system. On several occasions, I took the system to my friend's office and while I was there, got a feel for a hand-grown ISP, and all of the complexities of the management and operation therein. I remember private peering decisions (Qwest/UUnet/BBNPlanet?), user-to-modem ratios, bandwidth capping, policies, and several different OS configurations. He went from a full install of Microsoft BackOffice (running the now IIS, Exchange, Proxy Server, etc.) running on multiple servers, to an all Slackware-based architecture running off of an incredible single machine with 128 megs of RAM and a single IDE harddrive. (No data-striping, no RAID drive arrays, and no backups!) Several iterations later, the ISP was strong - 900 customers (some large companies hosted there), a new link with Sprintlink, that directly peered a dedicated T1 with Chicago's NAP (which I believe was operated by Ameritech), and backup/redundancy everywhere.
But the story doesn't end there - after a poor course at Ivy Tech, I decided to enroll at Clark's Career Institute as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (numerous ads had, by 1998, largely convinced impressionable youth like myself that one could make salaries in the $40k range if they had a cert.) After finishing schooling (and massively in debt), I was disillusioned, finding real employers refuse me on the lack of 'real-world experience'.
So I had plans to finish college (this time, with a Journalism degree, as my math aptitude is sorely deficient.). Working at a boring job and armed with my love for the catalyst of the World Wide Web's graphical proliferation (Netscape), I began testing binaries of Mozilla (I started with M3.)
I saw an open req on Netscape's corporate site and on a whim (and with much hand-holding from several key people working on Mozilla) applied, and I've been here since November 13th, 2000.