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MacGyver Moments

Total Badass

We may have never saved the world with a paper clip, chewing gum, and duct tape, but many of us are MacGyvers in our daily lives. Perhaps we’re stuck with SQL Server 6 or running on ridiculously old equipment, for whatever reason we’ve had to make something out of junk.

I was reminded of this the other night. I called a friend and co-worker at my previous employer. I asked him how things were at the shop and he indicated that they were going fine, with the exception that the fax server needed to be replaced. That made me smile because I was tasked with building a fax server approximately 8 years ago with no budget whatsoever. I re-used a retired desktop computer (rather than a server), with Windows 98, with a paltry amount of RAM and hard drive space, and a Pentium II Processor. I stripped other retired computers of their dial up modems to use for faxing and filled all of the motherboard slots with them.

I purchased and installed ActiveFax, which I had heard about from a fellow M2M Admin, because it was so much cheaper than M2M’s officially supported product. At one time that “server” was e-mailing and faxing notifications of invoices, sales orders, and other documents to customers automatically. I integrated it into ordering software I wrote and Customer Service could automatically fax questions to customers as well. It handled incoming faxes as well and acted as a secondary fax machine for two departments, directing those faxes to various network printers. ActiveFax never went down. It rarely needed to be upgraded. There were no maintenance fees as lifetime maintenance and upgrades were included. It just simply worked.

Building this server was actually one of the best decisions I made during my time there. This was one of my best MacGyver moments.

I’m tagging three Microsoft MVP’s that I follow on a regular basis Brent Ozar, Tim Mitchell, and Aaron Bertrand to challenge them to share their MacGyver Moments.

I also challenge my readers, both of you, to share yours. So, what are your MacGyver Moments?

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