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11-Year-Old Becomes Network Admin for Alabama School

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the hope-he's-salaried dept.

Security 345

alphadogg points out a story about 11-year-old Jon Penn, who took over control of a 60-computer school network in Alabama after the old administrator suddenly left. Penn provides technical support, selects software, and teaches his classmates about computers. From NetworkWorld: "The first thing Jon found as he leapt into the role of network manager was that he had to map out the network to find out what was on it. He bought some tools for this at CompUSA and realized there was an ungodly amount of computer viruses and spam, so he pressed the school to invest in filtering and antivirus protection. 'These computers are so old they don't support all antivirus programs,' Penn says. The school took advantage of a Microsoft effort called Fresh Start that offers free software upgrades for schools with donated computers, switching from Windows 98 to Windows 2000."

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But does he post to Slashdot? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912008)

No, he says he's too mature.

Re:But does he post to Slashdot? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912030)

not too mature to claim first post if given the opportunity!

Re:But does he post to Slashdot? (5, Funny)

amccaf1 (813772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912826)

With apologies to the Marx Brothers...

Salesman: This network is so easy to administer, an 11-year-old child could do it!

Groucho: Great! [quietly, to his aides] Quick, someone run out and get me an 11-year-old child; I can't make heads or tails of this O'Reilly guide!

Re:But does he post to Slashdot? (5, Funny)

EvilNTUser (573674) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912256)

Bah. He has the whole school eating out of his hand and he didn't even TRY to install Linux. Corporate whore.

He's probably had sex too. Bastard.

I'd call him a paytard (-1, Flamebait)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912338)

but he's actually too young to know better. Give him a year or two and he'll have that virus and spam churning mess fixed with free software.

Re:I'd call him a paytard (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912494)

Wow, an 11 year-old kid goes out of the way to do some good for his school, including scoring his IT department free-as-in-beer software, and you act like a jackass because you don't like his methods.

This might actually be a new low for you.

Re:But does he post to Slashdot? (5, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912378)

He's probably had sex too. Bastard.
Well, if you controlled the whole network, wouldn't you go to redtu... Oooh, you mean with one of these females I keep hearing about.

Yeah, he's a bastard!

Re:But does he post to Slashdot? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912766)

He's probably had sex too.

If that were the case we would all be reading about this on Fark, not Slashdot.

While these stories are interesting... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912026)

They always play on the 'boy genius' BS. He's just a normal kid making inexperienced mistakes along the way.

BTW, couldn't he have just downloaded some free Windows or Linux based A/V rather than buying crap at CompUSA?

Re:While these stories are interesting... (4, Insightful)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912114)

BTW...crap at CompUSA

You said it yourself, he's making inexperienced mistakes along the way.

Re:While these stories are interesting... (2, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912514)

Oh really? At the rate he's going I think he might be CIO of a multinational company soon.

Re:While these stories are interesting... (2)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912704)

Couldn't you read the article?

"describing how he picked out the McAfee Secure Internet Gateway Appliance after evaluating it in a 30-day trial. He also looked at the Barracuda box a tad more costly and tried the Untangle open source product, which he said didnt meet the schools needs as well."

Vista upgrade (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912048)

"The school took advantage of a Microsoft effort called Fresh Start that offers free software upgrades for schools with donated computers, switching from Windows 98 to Windows 2000."

Either this is an old story just reported or MS is really taking the whole Vista damage limitation thing seriously.

Re:Vista upgrade (4, Insightful)

drosboro (1046516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912112)

Or the computers are donated and ancient, and can't run XP or Vista...

Re:Vista upgrade (3, Interesting)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912128)

>.....or MS is really taking the whole Vista damage limitation thing seriously.

If they made the schools get vista, they couldn't really install it on machines designed to run Win '98.

Also, support for Win2K ends in 2010. Microsoft has thus successfully kept a school away from the alternatives, without giving them the next 5 years free.

First Godwin Post (1, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912238)

Also, support for Win2K ends in 2010. Microsoft has thus successfully kept a school away from the alternatives, without giving them the next 5 years free.

Well, you know how it is - get them while they're young. Worked for the Hitler Youth with the current pope ...

Re:First Godwin Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912352)

This post is such a sad troll that I almost hope you get modded up.

Re:Vista upgrade (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912132)

I think it's pretty safe to assume that those computers don't meet Vista's minimum system requirements.

In fact, I thought that XP required 128MB of RAM with 256MB recommended. If those computers were running Windows 98 they could have 64MB RAM or less. I don't remember what Win2K's requirements were but obviously the machines are running it now.

I did not RTFA, so maybe it's more specific as to what hardware they were running on.

Re:Vista upgrade (5, Funny)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912302)

If those computers were running Windows 98 they could have 64MB RAM or less.


I'm currently running the Windows 98 SE upgrade on a Windows 95 laptop with 16MB of RAM. So far it's only been upgrading for 11 days, and has already reached 10% completion. (It's a Dell Latitude P133, fyi...)

"11 year Old Network Gets Admin in Alabama School" (5, Funny)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912474)

I think they got the title mixed up.

The "old" administrator... (5, Funny)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912052)

... was 12. He was ready for a career change after so long in IT.

Are they paying him? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912452)

The article doesn't say, and if I had to guess, it would be no... so your comment may not be too far off the mark. Shoe string budget indeed. I wonder how often they pull him out of classes and interrupt his education to rescue the network. Child prodigy or child slave labor?

Re:Are they paying him? (1, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912508)

Well, the good thing is that learning all of that network jargon is practically eternally valuable knowledge compared to, say, learning about the lessons of the second world war, or algebra, or how to "read good".

Re:Are they paying him? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912756)

Well, the good thing is that learning all of that network jargon is practically eternally valuable knowledge compared to, say, learning about the lessons of the second world war, or algebra, or how to "read good".

I rest my case.

Re:The "old" administrator... (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912500)

The old administrator graduated from middle school, someone had to take over!

Re:The "old" administrator... (1)

notnAP (846325) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912678)

Actually, I was wondering what organization the old admin works for now, and whether or not their data is of any interest to the Russian Mafia.

Oh, wait. Found him. [slashdot.org]

Re:The "old" administrator... (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912800)

I guess he "suddenly left" for the seventh grade. I'm sensing a pattern.

Baptist, eh? (5, Interesting)

decken (883938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912078)

Good for him, though comments like "technical people must have 'integrity and character,' and should use their skills for beneficial, not malicious purposes" and "It's his job to fight the bad guys" make his parents sound a bit loony.

Re:Baptist, eh? (4, Interesting)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912106)

Given that I'm sure the "most important server" is the one which handles their "Knee mail" (http://www.victorymillbrook.com/prayer.php), what do you think?

Re:Baptist, eh? (4, Funny)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912566)

Great, now they'll be getting a bunch of prayer requests from /.

"Dear God, please let my next emerge go without error..."

Re:Baptist, eh? (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912880)

Encouraging children to do the right thing makes you a loony?

Goes to show (4, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912098)

That if you give kids responsibility early on, they'll step up. My last crop of interns at work were college juniors, and couldn't be trusted to make copies, much less administer anything.

Re:Goes to show (5, Insightful)

krewemaynard (665044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912410)

When Victory Baptist School, a small private school in Millbrook, Ala., was struggling to keep its computer network together last year, an 11-year-old student named Jon Penn stepped in as network manager.
Goes to show that if you can't afford a real IT guy, there might be a student who will do it for free. I didn't see anything in there about his parents getting a tuition break, Jon getting lunches...no kind of compensation was mentioned at all. And don't tell me "Well, he's getting experience..." He is, but I think the school is getting much more out of the deal.

Having said that, I do understand that private schools sometimes struggle to make ends meet, especially on the IT side of things. But this situation still bothers me a bit.

Re:Goes to show (1, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912420)

My last crop of interns at work were college juniors, and couldn't be trusted to make copies

That's because college juniors have to start with the basics ... making coffees, not copies.

And if you think I'm joking, we had a breaker reset twice Friday because someone plugged a kettle into the same circuit as several desktops and a server ... they learned that a watched kettle never boils /* grumble grumble */

Re:Goes to show (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912840)


That if you give kids responsibility early on, they'll step up.

It does? I think it shows there's some kids out their that are ready and interested in this responsibility.

My last crop of interns at work were college juniors, and couldn't be trusted to make copies, much less administer anything.

Sounds like you hired a bunch of idiots. I used to be a college junior working in a computer lab 10+ years ago. We were all extremely competent and very well able to administrate the network, the PCs, the servers, and even develop some software to help us administrate the system and provide functions to the users. We got a pretty big leash from the Head Guy (who generally knew less than us about the systems), and we used it well to learn all the systems.

It's got nothing to do with age, and everything to do with the individuals.

network admin is a misnomer (-1, Flamebait)

holon67 (230212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912102)

sorry, finding a bunch of MSuck viruses w/ commercial tools in not the definition of being a network admin.

please delete this absurd post.

Re:network admin is a misnomer (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912144)

sorry, finding a bunch of MSuck viruses w/ commercial tools in not the definition of being a network admin.
I agree this is more desktop support level 1 -- Network admin is $50k+ while a level one Desktop Support is more like $18K a year. HUGE difference in salary and competence.

Re:network admin is a misnomer (2, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912574)

Is he administrating a network? Yes. Then he's a network administrator.

Just because you require more from an administrator doesn't mean he isn't one. Don't piss on the kid's parade.

Translation: 11-year old's parents get him a job (5, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912110)

Translation: his mother works at the school, and his dad's a civil engineer, no surprise that they'd have something to do with this. Child prodigy stories always gloss over the part you'd really want to know about, like how anyone in the administration figured it would be ok to have a minor sign contracts. Obviously he's not really the admin, his mom is, and he's just doing the work or something like that. An 11-year old isn't legal to work, there are these pesky child labor laws in this country (duh).

Re:Translation: 11-year old's parents get him a jo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912202)

Nepotism-tastic.

Re:Translation: 11-year old's parents get him a jo (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912226)

Way to screw up a Feel Good story with the facts, Sherlock! I'm surprised you didn't home in on the Microsoft Solution and bleat about Linux.

Re:Translation: 11-year old's parents get him a jo (2, Insightful)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912246)

Poor kid. The Wesley Crusher similarities are horrifying. "Wesley, go to your room!" [somethingawful.com]

Re:Translation: 11-year old's parents get him a jo (4, Informative)

JonWan (456212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912388)

An 11-year old isn't legal to work, there are these pesky child labor laws in this country (duh).

The child labor laws don't stop you from hiring children.(tho your insurance might complain) They limit the types of jobs and the hours they can work. I have a 17 year old working for me at my store when she started she was 16 just above the cutoff point but still regulated as to what kinds of jobs she could do. She only works weekends for a few hours a day but it gets her use to the idea of getting to work on time and doing her job (well when she's not being a giggly teenage girl).
You can find the rules here:
http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor/ [dol.gov]

Re:Translation: 11-year old's parents get him a jo (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912810)

Well i have seen 13 year olds working in malls before... they might have just looked 13, but people can lie about their age when they're hard up for cash because one of their working parents gets sick... hard to tell, but of course i don't live in the big city in question, but i've gone shopping there often enough to wonder at the ages of quite a few workers...

if the kid is being driven to work by an older sibling, or is withing walking distance, it's hard to really tell what age they might claim to be (no Driver license, birth certificates can be forged easily enough if they even bother with proof of age etc..)

IS SHE HOT? -nt- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912836)


 

Re:Translation: 11-year old's parents get him a jo (4, Insightful)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912512)

Of course it's legal - if they don't pay him! They merely treat it as any other unpaid student-held post, like Yearbook Editor or Class Secretary.

Re:Translation: 11-year old's parents get him a jo (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912544)

> An 11-year old isn't legal to work

At least the school isn't bound by any of the contracts he's signed with Microsoft!

work? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912554)

Kids can't work in *some* places until they are like 18, but work in general, nope, totally legal. I started working at 8 doing lawns and snow shoveling, at 9 full time-that would be full as in long ass days- on farms in the summers, at 15 full time in a car wash on the weekends and at 16 full time after school 3 pm right after school to 11 pm every night mon-fri at an ice cream shop. It's mostly to do with osha standards and still being able to go to school where limitations are and it varies state to state with some fed regulations, but there are zero outright bans on kids working, not in the US anyway. Tons of kids work, from chump change to millionaire kids who are actors or entrepreneurs and run their own businesses. They may need a trustee to help handle financial affairs, but they can work. Heck, look at all the kids who work as cashiers/stock clerks/burger joints, etc.

Re:Translation: 11-year old's parents get him a jo (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912776)


Obviously he's not really the admin, his mom is

That's a very odd defintion of "real". My definition of a real administrator would be someone who acts as the adminisrator. Titles be damned. I'd say someone who "select and install a gateway security appliance largely by himself." and "maps out the network to find out what was on it." and "is now the technical support much of the time on everything from printer jams to setting up an external drive to backing up the school's most important server. " is acting as the administrator.

like how anyone in the administration figured it would be ok to have a minor sign contracts ...
An 11-year old isn't legal to work

Who said that? I'm sure his parents signed the contract (assuming they've made this all nice and legal, which I hope they have). As someone already pointed out, it's perfectly legal to have children work. There's just special rules to protect them. Did you think all those child actors were breaking the law?

Great...there goes my business. (5, Funny)

qcs-rf.com (952717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912118)

If any of our clients ever see this article, they're going to start hiring 11-year-olds and pay in comic books.

"School Saves Money with Child Labor" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912126)

This headline had my interest until I read the summary. If the kid is so damned smart, why wasn't he using any of the many free online/ported tools instead of buying off the shelf crap at CompUSA? A move from Win98 to Win2k? Get real! There is nothing to see here except that the school is using child labor, and perhaps that the child is MORE qualified than the person they paid before him. That last part comes as no surprise, but it also doesn't say much.

Moving on.

Re:"School Saves Money with Child Labor" (4, Insightful)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912260)

Translation:

"I'm very very jealous that an 11 year-old has the knowledge and skills to land a network administration job and I'm still stuck at the helpdesk."

Re:"School Saves Money with Child Labor" (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912700)

If the kid is so damned smart, why wasn't he using any of the many free online/ported tools instead of buying off the shelf crap at CompUSA?
Yes, I know this is Slashdot, but RTFA:

"We spent $2,158," says young Penn, describing how he picked out the McAfee Secure Internet Gateway Appliance after evaluating it in a 30-day trial. He also looked at the Barracuda box - a tad more costly - and tried the Untangle open source product, which he said didn't meet the school's needs as well.

Why pay for the software? (2, Informative)

Kelgann (1007537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912134)

He should have used open source and free software instead of going out and buying things. Norton and McAffee and other commercial anti-viruses are a nightmare. I've been using AVG Free for a long time, and it's top notch. http://free.grisoft.com/doc/download-free-anti-virus/us/frt/0 [grisoft.com]

Re:Why pay for the software? (1)

jscanzoni (1264644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912290)

You must not have read the licensing for AVG. Besides, he wants to centrally manage all of this stuff eventually. No free products are going to have that capability.

Licensing * AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, single computer use only. The use of AVG Free within any organization (including non-profit organizations) or for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. * AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is not for use with any type of OEM bundling with software, hardware components, or any other services. * Your use of AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition shall be in accordance with and is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition License Agreement that accompanies AVG Free.
I am surprised though that Microsoft didn't give Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs with their Fresh Start program.

Re:Why pay for the software? (5, Informative)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912298)

AVG Free is free only for personal use. To deploy it across an entire network of computers belonging to a budgeted organisation, rather than purchase a license, is abusing Grisoft's generosity. It's not really excused by the fact that this is an educational organisation rather than commercial. I quote:

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, single computer use only. The use of AVG Free within any organization (including non-profit organizations) or for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited.

If you don't want to pay for your AV, why not go with ClamAV rather than leech off Grisoft's update servers? The restrictions of AVG Free (won't run on server OSes, won't scan network drives, etc) probably mean it's not optimal for the school network anyway.

That said... I use AVG Free myself for my personal computer. It really is good, and I'm grateful to Grisoft for it. Oh: one other thing. AVG Free is free as in beer, but it's not open source. I suppose some people might care about that.

Re:Why pay for the software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912300)

No need to tip your hand way in advance. He'll show themn his mad skillz later, from the safety of his newly established panic room. 'And about that raise I was thinking about...'

Re:Why pay for the software? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912316)

Except... I do believe that AVG (and Avast) aren't free for anything other than personal use.

Re:Why pay for the software? (1)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912340)

I agree with you about AVG and recommend that and Zonealarm to windows people as free (cost) alternative.
I just think it's funny how both websites hide the free versions to the point what it's easier to google 'free AVG' or 'free zonearalarm' (if you don't want to run through the maze the websites put you through).

Re:Why pay for the software? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912356)

In reality, he probably could have set up many of the computer (that are acting as email/websurfing terminals) as Ubuntu/Edubuntu boxes perhaps and the rest (since they are getting swiped clean anyway) have no A/V software and just install that one one central (preferably Linux, preferably new) computer running something like Clam A/V where all the internet traffic goes through. Install Firefox or Opera as the default browser, restrict privileges, and away you go! Oh, and a way to image them nightly/weekly as stuff still gets on those Windows boxes.

A/V slows down computers horribly, especially old ones. Off loading the task to one would have been much more efficient.

Anyway, good luck to him. I don't fault his inexperience, he's providing a free service and probably having a good time. It would be nice if there was someone to guide him though (hopefully he goes on some forums/mailing lists for help).

Kudos (2, Interesting)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912140)

This young man reminds me overwhelmingly of myself at the same age, except in my case, it was maintaining a "shadow network" of some 35 Apple IIe and II+ machines that my school moved to the classrooms when our lab got upgraded to brand-spanking-new 486/33s, maintaining the PC network when our admin wasn't available (which was frequently, as he ran five other schools too), and managing the student Web access program. I didn't figure out Mom's work computers till age 5, though I could program a VCR and hook up a NES or a 2600 at age 3.

Glad to see that precocious geekery hasn't died out with this generation. Kudos to you, kid!

Skills needed for network maint (3, Insightful)

Taulin (569009) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912166)

This either means he is smart, or there are a ton of people out there who are overpaid (probably the latter).

Re:Skills needed for network maint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912652)

running a network is an incredible amount of busywork, but isn't difficult. As for the tech aspect, I and many of my friends were writing Apple ][ assembly language programs by 11 or 12 and my 6 year old nephew already knows the basics of networking (he's also pretty much been glued to a console or computer since age 3). In fact, I have an old friend that was hired to program professionally at age 12 (he was ungodly - he could write the Apple ][ boot from memory and was a fairly notorious pirate) - he and another guy also got in a bit of trouble for cracking the school's Corvus hard drive (which held grades, among other things).

It sounds like the previous person running this network was incompetent and/or didn't care.

I'm sure a lot of 11 year-olds could do this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912186)

All through my current school (started at 11, now 16) I've been outsmarting my school's team of 5 dedicated IT technicians managing 400 computers, all of whom are highly qualified and stringent.

The kind of things I do aren't highly technical, but its all done from a different point of view from a young mind. They all sit up in their room of servers and look down on the network, but I wriggle up through the restrictions on my student user account and find vulnerabilities in practice rather than theory.

Now I have uncensored access to the net using the school's own gateway server, remote shutdown power on all computers (haven't tried it on the servers), administrator passwords and vnc access to all computers and servers, blah blah blah.

So probably an intelligent 11 year old does have a good perspective on it all.

Re:I'm sure a lot of 11 year-olds could do this... (3, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912264)

Hmm... Maybe I'll check out Slashdot. Oh! There's a heartwarming IT story. [Pause. The sound of counting the technicians we have. Quick check of the numbers that we're administering.]
    "Hey, John? Can we get a list of all the 16-year-olds on the network? Yeah, thanks."

     

I'd hire him (2, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912188)

If the systems work well, I'd want to see his resume as soon as he's legal to employ. He'd beat the tar out of a lot of MCSE's I've seen in the last 5 years.

Has anyone offered to send the school a box of Ubuntu live CD's, just to ease this young man's workload of maintaining Windows boxes?

First mistake (1)

Bootle (816136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912198)

He bought some tools for this at CompUSA

Easy? (3, Insightful)

antimatter15 (1261618) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912212)

I'm not much older than him, and I've started ~3 open source projects, and contributed to several, I know around 5 programming languages, and I set up/configured my 6 computer home network when I was 8. "We spent $2,158," Why not go do everything for *free*, and save money in the future for not being trapped to antivirus subscriptions?

Re:Easy? (5, Insightful)

seann (307009) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912430)

In this life you will learn that it's not about how easy something is to do, but if you get the opportunity to do it.

Re:Easy? (2, Informative)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912684)

"We spent $2,158," Why not go do everything for *free*, and save money in the future for not being trapped to antivirus subscriptions?

When you grow up, and start having to work with groups of people, you will realize the value of having a multiple points of contact for some things. 2k is nothing to know that if this kid is sick, dies, is unreachable or just moves on that the person who comes in after him or subs for him will be able to get support if something goes wrong without having to scour the kids notes on which version of which beta open source project he compiled on each system.

I used to do some work for a university that decided to go the free route to fix a problem. The only real problem with it was, only one person in the entire university knew everything about the free route implementation. If he was absent, any problems that went outside the standard scope that the lower admins were involved with went unanswered until he came back. On the other hand, any of the paid solutions we had at least had an 800 number for support.

Bah (4, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912218)

I'm not that impressed. I was maintaining a lab of 16 Atari 800's when I was roughly his age. If he were smart, he'd switch to a less virus-resistant platform - I mean, we never had any problems.

Re:Bah (2, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912234)

he'd switch to a less virus-resistant platform
(That's less, by which I obviously mean more.)

His fellow students won't remember him for this .. (4, Insightful)

Stick_Fig (740331) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912228)

... they'll remember him for being the sniveling little snot who got MySpace blocked.

I bet this kid gets shoved into so many lockers for being a suck-up to the administration when NetworkWorld isn't writing articles about him.

I remember this kid when I was in school. He was not a popular kid.

Re:His fellow students won't remember him for this (1)

ACDChook (665413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912370)

I was this kid when I was in school. He was not a popular kid.
There, fixed that for you.

Re:His fellow students won't remember him for this (1)

quibbler (175041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912460)

Yeah, hate to tell you, most slashdotters *were* this kid. If you weren't, consider for a moment that you spent way too much time being popular and not nearly enough time burning your hands with soldering irons and reading Radio Shack's electronics books- go read wired [wired.com] instead.

Re:His fellow students won't remember him for this (0, Troll)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912790)

I spent plenty of time burning my hands on soldering irons, but I was more of an art geek overall. Besides, I was smart enough to beat the shit out of anyone who thought of bullying me. No sympathy should be rewarded to those that are stuffed into lockers, even if they do block access to something as horrid as MySpace.

Re:His fellow students won't remember him for this (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912476)

... they'll remember him for being the sniveling little snot who got MySpace blocked.

I bet this kid gets shoved into so many lockers for being a suck-up to the administration when NetworkWorld isn't writing articles about him.

... or he'll be the kid who knows how to change that 'F' you got to an 'A', and he'll be VERY popular.

Re:His fellow students won't remember him for this (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912820)

Shoved into lockers? HA! He'll be clobbered HARD. He'll feel the wrath of the whole school upon him. It won't be the occasional brutal teasing and beating, it will be harsh punishment. He'll be forced to call his mother names before the whole class, they'll make him eat dog feces, they'll bang his head against locker doors until he passes out.
He will be dragged kicking and screaming into the stalls, where he will be punched and kicked, spit upon and slapped. They will twist his arms hard and step on his testicles. They will shove his head into the toilet until he almost drowns in the shit-laced water.
They will cut his skin with rusty blades, they will take turns pissing on him, and then they will shit on his face.
And post the video on YouTube.

Impressive but NOT a good thing (0, Flamebait)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912244)

11-Year-Old Becomes Network Admin for Alabama School

...Thus saving the school from hiring an actual qualified professional, while bordering on violation of child labor laws.

Clap.
Clap.
Clap.


Way to teach the snowflakes about capitalism, comrades...

Re:Impressive but NOT a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912364)

Are you saying this school is privately funded?

If not, how would the outcome have been under a noncapitalist model? Would you perchance have notified a company (read: labour collective) that you were going to reassign one of their network admins to the school? Or would you have assigned enough people to study IT in the first place that there was no lack of them?

Is this really unusual? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912312)

This situation might be somewhat extreme due to his age, but doesn't every school have a go-to student which actually ends up fixing most the screwed up crap anyway? I know that when I was in middle school and high school they used me as the unofficial tech due to the school district only having so real techs backing up the whole system. Hell I got to be on TV about "hacking" because of it.

Oh and we used to take over the systems with back orface! Oh man those were the days. Posting anon now :)

Sad (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912360)

So fucking sad to have 11 year olds waste time fighting viruses and other things that I haven't had to bother with since I said Windows goodbye something like 11 years ago. So sad...

Win2k?! (2, Interesting)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912366)

I thought you can't get security updates for win2000 any more? If so that's a BAD upgrade path.

Re:Win2k?! (2, Insightful)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912418)

I agree, the future for Windows 98 has so much more going for it.

Re:Win2k?! (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912436)

Yeah, but how old are their computers? They mentioned Windows 98! XP requires a few hundred mhz and in reality 128MB ram (even though it's lower on paper).

The kid got them on the NT tree and it's still a security improvement. They just got real user accounts!

I agree with comments about using Linux this case and I'm a BSD guy.

Re:Win2k?! (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912640)

While you might not be able to get updates, if their machines are still weak then it's likely Windows 2000 is all they could run at maximum.

On top of that, I still have two Win2K boxes up and running. One's uptime is almost hitting two years, now. Show me an uptime like that with Vista or XP. Hell, show me a Vista uptime of longer than two weeks!

kids need to become their own example nowadaze (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912390)

not many 'grownups' to set any for them. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Re:kids need to become their own example nowadaze (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912576)

Didn't lemon demon sing this once?

Bad idea (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912396)

One word: experience. He might be a genius and doing this all on his own merits, but a 200 IQ doesn't make up for never having seen things go bad.

Shuda Known (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912400)

I didn't even have to click on the article to read the comments to know that this would be a flame the guy for MS software

Well guys - no offense - BUT
I agree that linux is free
I agree that linux is probably better in some types of environments
I agree that MS software has it's problems

However unless you are willing to go door to door and convince the local business to ditch their software first, then somehow convince the textbook companies to change their textbooks over to open source, and then you might be getting somewhere.

Until the local businesses (which dictate what many of the educational institutions teach as far as applications are concerned) and the textbooks that have to be used can be changed this isn't gonna happen.

I have always said they should teach THEORY instead of application specific skills. But sadly no one listens to me on that.

Let's just hope that... (1)

harshmanrob (955287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912402)

I hope he does not get outsourced!

I really hope this isn't too surprising... (1)

quibbler (175041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912408)

...or else I'm reading the wrong rag.

I was more competent with computers than any friends I had back in the C64/Apple ][ days, and yeah I was about 12. Schools didn't have them, but I was running my school's networks as soon as they *had* networks when I was about 16ish, and the rest is history.

Honestly I really miss the days before "IT" was an industry and before these damned cert's. Now, every weenie and his brother after quick cash goes and reads a few books and gets their MCSE and despite not truly understanding subnet masks, masquerading, latency, or collisions, gets a job building networks that I, or someone else with clue, eventually comes along and fixes.

I'd take a natural 12-year old geek over a "thoroughly-trained" MCSE any day.

I'm also a little distressed that this kid is called a network admin when it seems that his main accomplishment is cleaning up M$'s piece-of-crap operating systems.

Who want's to take over (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912416)

Who wishes to take over his spot next year?....yep thought so..

invested in filtering and antivirus protection (0, Troll)

tokul (682258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912450)

So they got some noob who wasted money instead of using free tools.

Get him some books or training courses. Not in CS, but in Economics. He is already good enough at buying stuff at compusa. Now it is time to learn how to save stuff.

admirable, kinda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912462)

First the kid's mom works for the school. I'm sure he's considered a "computer whiz" because he's able to keep the computer at home running, he's able to google up which services are necessary and unnecessary to keep Windows secure and configure confusing and abstract concepts such as IP addresses.
Had the kid set up a headless BSD box as a gateway and firewall then cleaned the computers and network with a purchased, proprietary point-and-click software package then I would've been impressed with the feat.
All he did was google stuff, buy stuff and take advantage of Microsoft's generosity, selected a few radio buttons and clicked "Finish". Just surprising that an eight year old wasn't able to do this.

The telling point (4, Insightful)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912582)

It's not just about an 11-year-old who took over a network admin job. Note the parts of the story about updating the computers, updating the (much needed) virus protection, and getting a gateway appliance to make sure that didn't happen again.

It's about an 11-year-old who took over a network admin job and immediately started off doing a better job than his predecessor. Kind of makes you wonder who that sad sack was, doesn't it?

Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912604)

I'm a fifteen-year-old freshman; I've been reading /. since I was nine; I regularly beat seniors at computer science competitions; I've been my teachers' unofficial tech support since kindergarten; I downloaded, burned, and installed my first Linux distribution when I was 10 (Debian woody); I first used IRC when I was eight; I've been making PowerPoints since second grade; I ran a server off my laptop for a while when I was thirteen; and hell if I have a Slashdot article. Although, maybe I'm just jealous and trying to reinflate my busted ego. :(

Uh-oh.... (4, Funny)

happyslayer (750738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912610)

Wait until the PHBs hear about this one.

Network Admin: My job is hard; I want a raise.
PHB: Why? Your job is so easy, an 11-year old can handle it!
Network Admin: ...sputters incoherently...

Every IT manager will have to live with this nightmare, until the Jedi really start getting a headache.

Obi-Wan: I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

Greeeeaaaaat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22912676)

All well and good for him, but at a minimum, all I see coming out of this is another bloated and exaggerated resume. "Network Manager|Network Administrator" my ass. Note how the article dismisses the previous employee as "IT systems overseer", yet in a few days he is a "Network Administrator" Had I known that was all it took to become a network administrator I would have qualified when I was young too. Pfff. Of course he knows nothing about content filtering required for schools, HIPAA, CIPA, Title programs, and the myriad of other privacy, security, and student management issues involved access to student information(e.g. IEPs) in schools. I can't wait for the school to be sued into the ground, and his life turned to shit for the rest of his life just for violating any one of many state and federal laws if he hasn't already. Adolescent criminal records never get expunged like the police like you to think. Good luck getting a job after this, anywhere. The shortest IT career in history!

gad! (0)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22912688)

oh come on, this is /.

a large proportion of us were all tech kids and geeks at young ages and did this sort of thing - thought for me it was on a Commodore Pet, and then BBC B's at school.

but, never, not once would I of considered blocked my entire school from MySpace - I bet he gets a wedgie once an hour for that. dear god, he may be smart with computers but he's nothing about getting on with the other kids.

"This is kind of a small school, and I'm known as the computer whiz," - gad! he even sounds like an insufferable little whiny, snot.

I'm not knocking him for getting on with stuff, sorting out the network and helping the stupid teachers out, I'm knocking him because nobody likes a smart ass little kid.

Still, if it gets him into college and looks help gets him his first real job then I guess the last laugh is on him.
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