Once a month we'll shine our virtual spotlight on one of the CA DevTest community's members. It's just a fun, easy way for us to get to know one another a little bit beyond our work-related interactions here on the site. This month, we're featuring Rick Brown, Pre-Sales Application Delivery Team, CA Technologies.
Attached photos are Rick with his three daughters, at his eldest daughter’s wedding, a couple of years ago. Also one with his wife at their wedding this autumn.
I’m a CA employee, based out of the UK, but my role is EMEA, so I could be in Spain, Slovakia, Belgium, Denmark, etc. I live 30 minutes drive from London Heathrow airport, so it’s no trouble getting a red-eye service for a day working in continental Europe.
Pre-sales in the Application Delivery team. I joined iTKO in December 2009, so I have been working with LISA for 6 years, since v4.6.
For 10 years, I was pre-sales at Mercury Interactive (EMEA SE of the Year, 2000). When we were acquired by HP, I decided to move to a smaller company. I chose IBM. I soon discovered that I was not an IBM person, so after a year at Rational, I went to Oracle, and from there to iTKO. For all of these, I was pre-sales for testing tools, so if you want to know about WinRunner, Quality Center, Rational Quality Manager or Oracle Application Testing Suite, I’m your man. I suppose you could say that I’ve been arguing with testers since 1997!
It’s great being able to play with CA’s DevTest every day, because it’s a great framework for testing, as well as having the marquee service virtualization capabilities.
One word that describes how you work:
Laconic (is that a commentary about this question rather than a description of how I work, though?)
How do you use CA Communities and any suggestions for others?
We need repositories of user-centric information. We’ve always needed it, and I’ve always tried to be active, regardless of whether it’s CA Communities, Twitter & Facebook, or, historically, forums, BBS systems (and even Usenet for others like me who have grey hair).
As a suggestion, don’t forget to vote all my ideas up! If we don’t engage, and engage fully, Product Management won’t be able to decide which ideas get the highest priority when looking for next features.
Mac or PC?
When I joined iTKO, I was given a free choice. I asked about Windows, and was told that Lenovo machines were supported. I had worked for IBM, so I knew about the build quality changes that were happening with Lenovo laptops, so I asked instead about Linux. I was told that Linux was supported … on Lenovo laptops. I therefore fell into Mac use simply to get away from Lenovo. Frankly, I am constantly surprised by the hardware quality of the MacBook Pro, and I would hate to be forced back to Windows now!
My work phone is an iPhone 4S. It works, and I haven’t found a need to upgrade. This might be because my personal phone does everything I need; it’s Android, I’m on a plan that includes calls, texts and data in 17 countries, and I’m currently using an LG G3 (with 128Gb SDXC expansion to give me music to listen to when I’m traveling).
Apps/software/tools you can’t live without?
At home, I have a couple of things I can’t live without. One is my Amahi server (LAN server, DNS, DHCP, everything you would expect a network administrator to look after) and the other is my Proxmox server (virtualization, allowing me to run VPN server, Plex media server, websites, provisioning new machines within a few seconds, and everything else for a media-centric life). I built both of these servers, with hot-swap disk drives, mini-ITX motherboards, and multiple versions of Linux, and I’m pleased that they both “just work”, with little required maintenance. I even have them (and my wifi router and network switch) attached to a UPS, so my home LAN is running even if we have power troubles.
Besides your phone and computer, what's your favorite gadget?
I’m an anti-coffee-snob. I prefer instant coffee to filter coffee. As such, a fast way to get hot water is a must, and we have an induction water heater, giving me nearly boiling water within 3 seconds, taking about 30 seconds to fill a mug. I think it’s the gadget I use most, apart from computer and phone.
What’s your daily work space like?
I’m pre-sales, so I live out of a backpack. I’ve found that having no desk is the only way to keep my work area tidy at the end of a day. Before I learned to work like this, when I had my own desk, my desk would be cluttered with X.400 & X.500 books, the K&R C manual, print-outs of everything I hadn’t finished with, and columns of empty disposable coffee cups. I’m sure everyone appreciates me being a hobo!
How do you balance life/work?
A lot of people I need to communicate with are a number of hours behind me, so I am often sending emails and updating Communities discussions in the middle of the night. To offset this, and to make sure I don’t start to hate computer screens, I try to use the Internet for relaxation as well, playing an online browser-based RPG. I am a lapsed lindy-hopper, although I’m sure I can still “Shorty George” with the best of them!
Best advice you can give and you have received?
When asked this question in interviews, I never answer “Don’t let the bastards grind you down!”, although I often think it (it’s a quote, by the way, from the 70s British comedy series, “Porridge”).
As I’m sure is common around the world, the vicar who married me the first time, gave the advice “don’t go to bed angry”. The marriage lasted for nearly 20 years, so I suppose it was good advice.
The best advice I can give to anyone I meet is to always assume that my wife is right. This statement might sound inflammatory, but I mean it! I can count on two fingers the number of times I’ve been right when discussing facts with her, and we’ve been together for 9 years.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I am pretty sure I’m better at being a rubbish cook than just about anyone else. I even have a personal blog about the cookery disasters I have.