The “Geek of the Week” blog series highlights one of our exceptional community members each week, so you can get to know more about them, and what they do in and for the community!
Our Geek of the Week is:
Virtualization Practice Manager
Kansas City, Missouri
How did you begin your career in IT and what was your first role?
My first real IT role was back in 2000 when I was working for a company in Omaha, Nebraska as a technical specialist. I was working desktop support and was given an opportunity to grow into another role. The company had a bunch of auditors and recruiters spread out the across the US. Every day they would connect back to corporate using VPN or dial up access to download market updates using a homegrown application that took forever to update. I was tasked with finding a better way to use the application and improve the update process. I researched and tested several solutions including Terminal Services, MetaFrame 1.8, Tarantella, and a few others. In the end, MetaFrame 1.8 running on Windows 2000 Terminal Services was the chosen solution. That was also my first experience with Citrix. I learned a lot from the Citrix forums and community blogs/websites out there. That is why I post in the Citrix forums, blog, and help out in the Citrix IRC Channel. Those resources helped me out a lot learning Citrix so I just want to pay it forward by helping others the same way it helped me.
What genre of music do you like the most and who is your favorite musician?
I listen to a wide range of music from 80s/90s Rock to Techno to Hip Hop to Blues to Metal to whatever is on the radio that catches my ear. My favorite musician will change from time to time but I always come back to Rage Against The Machine.
What’s the Citrix IRC Channel and why do you think it’s important?
The Citrix IRC Channel is an Internet Relay Chat channel on Freenode that is driven by members of the Citrix community. In the channel we have admins, engineers, consultants, Citrites, etc. from all over the world helping each other out or just discussing Citrix technologies. Day or night you can see everyone trying to help each other. I think it’s important because everyone has different experiences with Citrix products trying to overcome different challenges so it’s helpful to see their perspective and be able to tap into their knowledge. It’s nice to have a real time option like Twitter but not limited to 140 characters to discuss ideas, get help, or give help without waiting on an email reply or support forums reply. Sometimes you just need a quick answer to see if someone else has seen a problem you are experiencing or need a quick thought on different ways to deploy a Citrix product. Come check it out at join.citrixirc.com.
What’s your favorite video game (past or present)?
I used to love to play the fighting game Killer Instinct. I would spend hours playing that game on Nintendo 64 or at the arcade. I really wish they would bring that game to newer consoles like Xbox and put it on Xbox LIVE to be able to play people all over the world. Close runner-ups are Quake and Unreal Tournament. Nowadays when I have time, I play Modern Warfare, Halo, Gears of War, etc.
What’s the scariest rollercoaster you’ve ridden and would you do it again?
I don’t remember the name but when I was a child there was a rollercoaster ride at King’s Dominion in Virginia. I was so scared I threw up. My dad was laughing the entire ride. Ever since that day I was scared of all rollercoasters until I was 22 and went to Las Vegas with some friends. During that trip I overcame my fear of rollercoasters and rode every one on the strip. If I am ever at King’s Dominion again I will definitely ride the rollercoasters.
If IT didn’t exist, what other industry interests you and what job would you pursue?
If IT didn’t exist I would definitely be in the food industry as Chef. I love to cook and try out new dishes/recipes I see on TV, in magazines, and at restaurants. I can sometimes spend hours watching the Food Network to get different ideas on what to try and cook. There was a time earlier in my career where I even considered going to back to school for a Culinary Arts degree. I sometimes think about doing a food truck on the weekends as a hobby.
What’s the best vacation that you’ve ever had and what made it memorable?
I have a sister in the Air Force and she was stationed over in Germany for a few years. While she was stationed over there I was able to go visit her. That was the first and only time I have been to Europe. During my visit I was able to go to London, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Munich. While in Munich I was able to go to Oktoberfest. It was great to be able to visit different countries and see different cultures. It was also a lot of fun to spend a few days at Oktoberfest and experience that first hand. I would love to visit Europe again some day, take my family there, and visit more European countries.
What is your favorite feature of Citrix XenDesktop and why?
My favorite new feature of XenDesktop is Remote PC. I have been doing Remote PC feature like installs for a while now and there has always been issues with Windows 7 display/video drivers. I have had customers publish RDP in XenApp and start moving towards the Remote PC like route before the feature was announced so I was really excited when I found out about Remote PC. Remote PC gives another use case for XenDesktop customers to get all the features and functionalities of XenDesktop without having to stand up all the infrastructure at first, but be able to transition to hosted virtual desktops over time as needed.
Who or what has inspired you most in life and why?
For me I have always enjoyed working with people. Being able to understand their challenges/issues and finding ways to help them get to past them inspires me. Knowing that you were able to make a difference for a friend, a stranger, or a company through volunteering or through work is a great feeling.
What was the biggest Citrix deployment you’ve architected/implemented, and what were the takeaways?
I have done a lot of XenApp deployments over the years. Instead of talking about the biggest one I am going to talk about one of the most memorable ones. Very early in my consulting career I did a design and implementation for a customer that had users spread across multiple sites with different shifts that had different capacity needs for each shift. The takeaways from that deployment were automation is key, always spend a day in the end users shoes, and find that balance between IT needs and end users needs.
Who is your favorite character in the Star Wars saga and why?
R2-D2. He has been through it all and seen it all. He is the ultimate support technician.
What was a important moment in your life that led to where and who you are today?
When I was working for that company in Omaha I mentioned above and tasked with finding a solution to make the user experience better with that homegrown application was a very important to my career and has led to where I am today. That gave me the opportunity to grow and start working with hosted shared applications and desktops. I had to write the business case for it, evaluate different products, do user acceptance testing, implement the selected solution, and train end users. That experience led me to where I am today.
What is your all-time-favorite TV series (past or current)?
Voltron. I still have the toys today.
What is your favorite IT topic to discuss at Geek Speak events in 2012?
I would say Desktop Virtualization and Cloud Computing.
If you could have a beer and chat with anyone you want (alive or passed), who would it be and what would you talk about?
I have thought about several famous people but for me it would definitely be my grandparents on my mother’s side. I was never able to meet my grandmother since she passed away when my mom was a child. My grandfather passed away when I was 10 years old. I have fond memories when my grandfather would come visit us. I don’t know a lot about my family history. The most family I know about past my siblings are a few aunts and uncles. It would be nice to know more things about my family history, find out what my mother and uncles were like as kids, and just sit and have a beer with my grandparents. Recently becoming a father, it would also be nice to know for when my daughter has questions about her father’s side of the family.
Find out more about Jarian by:
- Checking out his blog where he shares lots of helpful Citrix technical content: JarianGibson.com
- Following him on Twitter @JarianGibson
- Meeting him in person at Geek Speak and other community events
- Attending his session at BriForum Chicago next week!
- Catching up with him online at the Citrix IRC Channel
Citrix Systems, Inc.
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