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A peek into the backpack of… Taco and Craig

Our DBA Consultants come to many different customers and work in just as many different environments. That means they live out of their backpacks, but at the same time they need to be able to access everything at all times. Flexible working anno 2020. Curious how these men do it? In this blog we take a look inside the backpacks of Taco Zoetemelk and Craig Healey, two of our consultants.

Craig Healey

DBA Consultant en Database Reliability Engineer
Craig Healey - DBA Consultant en Database Reliability Engineer

1 Een waterfles van Klean Kanteen

Taco: “I drink a lot of water in a day. To save plastic, I used to refill my bottles with tap water. But I noticed that after many refills, the water started to taste strange. So I bought another plastic bottle anyway. At some point I was done with this and opted for a stainless steel water bottle from Klean Kanteen. This bottle is reusable, washable and you don’t see them very often either (unlike the bottles of another brand of water bottle which I won’t mention here ;-).’

2 Noise-canceling headphones

At the top of Craig’s backpack is his noise-canceling headphones. Craig: ‘That way, when working in noisy offices and busy flex spaces, I can create my own silence or listen to some background music. Also useful, of course, during conference calls and webinars.’

3 Pen and paper

Even a DBA Consultant still sometimes uses old skool pen and paper. Taco: “I still prefer to take my notes analog. Later, I still translate my cocksucking notes into digital information. On paper I can make connections between my notes more easily. Even if they are barely legible to others.’

4 Notepad++

Both men swear by Notepad++, a handy and advanced text editor with numerous features and plug-ins, such as SQL syntax highlighting and file comparison.

5 Phone charger

Taco doesn’t leave his house without a phone charger. ‘Because I regularly work breakdown shifts, my phone must have (or be able to get) sufficient power at any time of day. In the weeks when I am on breakdown duty, I make sure that I put my phone on the charger as early as about thirty percent battery. That way I can always be sure I can be reached for the breakdown service.

6 Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

Craig: “Many systems run on Linux. With WSL, I can run Linux on my Windows laptop without having to start a full virtual machine.’

7 Folder of useful scripts

Taco: “On my computer is a folder ‘scripts’ with useful scripts that I (and my colleagues) have collected over the years and use a lot. These are for example database scripts, but also shell scripts. Thus, for common problems I often already have a script available that I can use with minimal effort or modification for the issue you are running into. We share and improve these scripts with each other in Confluence.

8 Confluence

At OptimaData, we use Confluence’s wiki as a documentation tool. Taco: “Documentation is very important when you are serving multiple clients with multiple colleagues. Besides documenting what environments look like and what procedures we use, at OptimaData we also use Confluence to share our work with clients.

That way you can quickly see who did what for a particular customer and when. Moreover, we use Confluence as a knowledge and expertise center where we can record and retrieve all kinds of technologies, tests, scripts, how-to, reviews, tips, tricks and in-depth background information. We can also keep overviews, tests, schedules and scripts – such as, for example, different combinations of technologies like MariaDB in Azure with Grafana Monitoring or PostgreSQL in Kubernetes – there.’

9 Docker (plus VirtualBox)

Craig: “With VirtualBox, you can create a complete virtual machine on your laptop that runs on a different operating system. But that takes a lot of resources.’ Taco: ‘Also, with Docker, you can run almost any database without the overhead of VirtualBox – provided you don’t need the other aspects of a full machine – and without having to reinstall and reconfigure each database.’

10 Rambox

Finally, Craig has Rambox in his – virtual – backpack: “We have a lot of communication programs: Slack, WhatsApp, Teams, you name it. Rambox combines all those programs in one app, so you don’t have to switch constantly.’


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