SysAdmin song of the year: Is it in you?

First let me say as much as I write about networking and computers, I have no systems administrator skills. And second, let me say as much as I write in general, I have never attempted to write a song (maybe some mediocre poetry in college, but never set to music) so my respect goes out to systems administrators in general -- and in particular those tempted to write a song for the latest contest designed to challenge the talents of today's IT technicians.

A new contest spun out of the SysAdmin of the Year competition asks participants to craft their own version of the SysAdmin Rockstar song. The song idea perhaps spun out of contest sponsors' query, "Is your sysadmin a rock star?" And now a Web site dedicated to the song contest challenges potential sysadmin song-writers to come up with original lyrics.

Lyrics posted on the site and credited to Eric "Maverick" Garner go a little something like this: "I may look like an average guy/ Truth is, I am more than that/ I can cd to your directory/ and quickly read your files with cat/ I can ping your IP address/ login and set you local time/ I can grep to ps to find your process/ and stop it with a kill-9."

And the chorus solidifies the rockstar status of sysadmins everywhere: "SysAdmin Rockstar, I've got command-line skillz/ SysAdmin Rockstar, just watching me will give you chills."

Here at Network World, I am not sure if any of our systems administrators can write songs or sing, but one of our esteemed IT staff did win the company talent contest a few years back with his awesome guitar riffs. I think mentioning the types of acts he was up against (no one here should do stand-up comedy ever again) would only diminish his much-deserved win. We haven't had another such "talent" contest since, but I believe his guitar skills are used to score some of our audio and video casts.

Those sysadmins interested in showing off their song-writing chops should record their own vocal track and enhancements to the SysAdmin Rockstar posted here. The contest winner will receive a $500 Amazon.com gift certificate and three runners-up will each get a $100 Amazon.com gift card.

Judges include Jeff Bates, co-founder of Slashdot, Nagios creator Ethan Galstad and last year's SysAdmin of the Year Michael Beck, among others. Criteria for judging include song originality, quality and degree of "sysadminism" -- or sense of humor regarding IT, according to contest officials. Submissions must be e-mailed in an MP3 format with details such as name, address and e-mail by Oct. 12.

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