What Erik Fair does to Pay The Rent

News Flash!

I was laid off from Apple Computer on Tuesday, March 18, 1997, along with a lot of other people.

For some, this is an unhappy or traumatic event. Not for me; Apple's severance package is generous (which means it's time for me to get away from formal employment for a while), and I'm fortunate to have skills which are much in demand these days, so I anticipate no trouble landing another job when I decide it's time to do that. I'll post a resume here in these pages when that time comes.

In the mean time, it's time to rest, relax, and recharge. You, gentle reader, can take the remainder of this page as a brief overview of what I used to do. I'm thinking about what comes next (or NeXT?) for me right now. The most basic criteria are fascinating, significant, and lucrative, probably in about that order...

Apple Computer, Inc.

Picasso Mac Happy Mac MacOS logo

One of the small perq's of working at Apple Computer is that we get to pick our own titles. Many people use this opportunity for whimsy, so if you get a card from an Apple employee, read the title before you put it away - you might be amused.

When I hired on at Apple Computer in July 1988, I joined Engineering Computer Operations (ECO) Systems Group, to be the Postmaster ("We want you to fix E-mail on apple.com, and make us a ``big site'' on the Net"). So, I put "Postmaster & UNIX Wizard" as my title on the first set of business cards.

In the five and a half years I worked in ECO, I was Postmaster, Hostmaster, chief netnews keeper, network designer, network security officer (which, among other things, included designing, implementing, and operating the Internet firewall systems that endeavor to keep the urchin cracker hordes out of the Apple Engineering Network), and UNIX systems programmer extraodinaire. Although ECO was chartered just to handle the needs of the Apple Engineering division, we handled all Internet matters for the entire company because no one else seemed to be able & inclined to do so (least of all the corporate MIS department).

My current business card reads "Internet Architect", which is actually a fair description of what I have been doing since I rejoined the Apple Advanced Technology Group (ATG) in April 1994 - trying to convince the company that their future in networking is in TCP/IP (and the Internet) and not in AppleTalk or other proprietary protocols.

I also try to make an ongoing, positive contribution in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The most recent things of consequence I've been involved in are the MacMIME effort, which has resulted in RFC 1740, and a debate over private IP address space assignment and use.

I had fun working operations in my old job at Apple, and I learned a whole lot in the process. Sometimes, I miss the hands-on nature of that work - you got to see the results right away (instant gratification!) and it had effect on very large parts of the corporation.

My current job is not quite as directly satisfying because of the indirect, persuasive, even political nature of it, although I console myself with the idea that if I do succeed in putting the right words into the right ear, it'll be a big win for everyone.

Erik E. Fair <fair@clock.org>
March 30, 1997