Alex Stoevelaar likes to take his work home with him.
The IT manager of Paeroa-based Hauraki District Council has “about six” PCs at his Hamilton home, a network of computers he has assembled using parts from a variety of sources.
“I tend to have acquired them over the years from different places I have worked at. I ended up with old systems right up to the latest I have put together,” says Stoevelaar.
“I run a small network I use for testing and training. I have a test server to store data [and] a Linux server I am experimenting with, for just networking stuff and implementations. It’s just an extension of work,” he says.
A Computerworld straw poll of IT managers reveals many have home PCs for their family and quite a few take work laptops home. It might not always be a case of the cobbler’s shoes — professionals often put up with lesser quality equipment at home — but their home systems usually lag what they use at work.
ENZA IT manager Adam Hunt says it definitely is a case of the “cobbler’s shoes” with him, having a “kamikaze” PC he made from various unbranded bits and pieces. “It runs Windows 2000 Professional and works fine. It’s faster than my Dell at work,” he says.
Lower Hutt-based Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences IT manager Graham Alderwick says “you have to be kidding” if you believe IT managers have the best home-based PC systems. “I’m an avid gamer. I have had a Pentium II 450 I made myself a couple of years ago. I also have a Pentium Celeron 333 that my daughter uses that I networked together for the internet,” he says.
Other IT bosses don’t want for quality gear.
Lyttelton Port Company IT manager Darren Bain has a new Toshiba Tecra he takes home, adding to a four-year-old Compaq used by his partner.
MetService IT manager Marco Overdale has a month-old Apple Power-book G3 for home use while his wife has an iBook. “They are pretty powerful and meet all my needs,” he says.
Auckland’s Carlton Hotel IT manager Simon Davies has a “standard” Compaq that is used by his wife for surfing, internet banking and kids’ programs.
Mike Hart, IT manager of Dunedin City Council, has an IBM ThinkPad from work plus a home-made Digital-based PC the kids use for the internet.
Tony Darby, CIO of Auckland Regional Council, meanwhile, uses a three-year-old Tecra 800 notebook while the children use his “old” Compaq Deskpro 95 running Windows 95 for the internet and Encarta CD encyclopaedia.
“I don’t need the latest and greatest. Those go to the people within the organisation who need them. At home if you don’t go upgrading the software to the latest and greatest you don’t need the type of grunt you need at work,” he says.
Waitemata Health CIO Ray Delany has a “decent” two-year-old Pentium II, plus a few older 486 and Pentium computers, networked and backed up for printer sharing. “I wouldn’t consider any of it particularly flash, but they are very low cost and pragmatic,” he says.
And far from setting an example, ITANZ chief executive Jim O’Neill is typical of our sample. He uses an 18-month-old portable Compaq Armada as his home PC, his wife keeps a Toshiba laptop as a spare and his daughter has a Compaq 486 mostly for homework.