I'm a long time user of the internet, but new to actually publishing content of any kind. I've done system administration in one form or another for about 11 years now, and know about as much as there is to know about running a unix environment for an ISP. I've accumulated a considerable amount of expertise in that time frame and I'd like to work on giving back.
I am a long time lover of the programming language perl - it's such a wonderful tool, and making it do your job for you is a lot of fun. I was introduced to the language back in '96 by Nathan Torkington - not long after converting many of us to the Perl cult he went on to write the Perl Cookbook an exceptional guide to doing Useful Things(tm).
In my pursuit of doing "Useful Things" I coauthored the Mailarmory spam and virus filter system, it's heuristic analysis engine is loosely based on the excellent work of the SpamAssassin project. My favorite aspect was in designing progressively adaptive automated response systems that proactively identifies spammer IP's and works to stop them.
In all of my work in perl the one consistent limitation I have always encountered is user interface. Mostly I've built command line interfaces, and if your a unix guru that is fine, but it really isn't a good answer. Beyond that I've built backend API's for use by web developers to make pretty user self-management tools. I remain dissatisfied with the lot of it though.
Which brings me to now - I'm finally catching up to the modern era and starting to learn how to code on Windows. My current pursuit is learning to use Visual Studio 2005 and write in C# and the DirectX libraries. There are a few reasons for this, but mostly it comes down to trying to maximize the possibilities for learning how to do new "useful things". I'd like to see what new doors open up when a hardcore server junky crosses over into 3D design. I won't go into details yet, but if you have ever had to manage an enormously complicated system and couldn't wrap your head around all the details, consider what being able to view that problem in 3D could do for you.