All people stepping foot on JCR seek Johnnie the IT guy, because he is the one who makes sure you can receive and send email during the cruise (and we are all addicted to email). In the computer room on the JCR we have two desktop computers that have internet access, very highly in demand since there are only TWO. The connection speed is comparable to the dial-up modems we had in the 90s; if you absolutely need to visit a site or download something, you can eventually do so (it takes a while). Email, however, is a different story. Johnnie the IT guy sets everyone up to send and receive email (using Thunderbird) in the privacy and comfort of their cabin and downloads very fast. And then when you have gone out to the ice and worked a 12-hour day to do your science and come back with a wind-slapped face, he is again the one to make sure you can store your precious data on the correct drive on the network, which he makes sure is backed up and will be safe until we reach port.
When I met Johnnie for the first time in Stanley, he said “oh my god, you’re SHORT!”. I didn’t think it was funny then, and I certainly didn’t think it was funny when, during an emergency drill, he suggested I use a booster seat inside the life boat. Here is a little bit more about Johnnie the IT guy other than his poor sense of humor.
DA: We know you as “IT Johnnie”, but who are you and where are you from?
JE: I was born in Clydebank, Scotland. Grew up in Elgin Scotland where I went to Moray College studying computing. I now live in Cambridge UK and have been with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) BAS about 10 years. I have a daughter, 16, and a son who is 13 both in the UK.
DA: What does an IT guy onboard a ship do?
JE: Well, it is mostly the acquisition of science data for the ship. There are many instruments log data continuously. What’s called the “Ocean Logger”, for example, has different sensors around the ship that record things like light level, air pressure, air temperature, sea surface temperature, fluorescence. I look after systems like this, do the networking etc. There are about 9 IT people with BAS, 4 of which are shipgoing so I am one of them. I have been to the Arctic and the Antarctic over a dozen times now (might be 2 dozen, I lost track). BAS has two ships, the Shackleton -which is mostly a logistics ship- and then the JCR. Although as the IT guy, I am not allowed to go out on the ice and help the scientists.
DA: A couple of days ago, we heard the captain announcing you to the bridge immediately. Were you in trouble?
JE: He called me to switch on the multi beam echo sounder. I don’t really have set work hours, I am on call 24/7. When we go to bases, I usually end up being dragged to fix problems there too.
DA: Out of your dozens of trips north and south, do you have one that was more memorable than the others?
JE: I enjoyed my first cruise to Antarctica the most. On the way, I had my first “rare” steak in Montevideo, Uruguay. In the UK steak is always very well done; dry and hard. When I ordered, I hadn’t specified I wanted it “really well done” so when my steak came, there was blood everywhere. I said “This steak is bloody” but enjoyed it after that.
DA: It’s nice that you brew coffee for everyone several times a day, with cardamom in it too. What else should we know about you?
JE: I like to poetry and like (Mevlana Celaleddin) Rumi a lot these days.

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3 Comments on Johnnie Edmonston – the IT guy

  1. Canan Usuloglu says:

    A heartfelt thank you to “IT Johnnie” from “the cousin in Istanbul” for making sure that we can get Derya’s wonderfully addictive writings about her trip. Cheers to you for making me smile each day (or every other day, depending on Derya’s workload I guess..)when I visit the blog and find something new added on.

  2. elif usuloglu says:

    i have a question have you seen any polar bears
    love the penguins.

  3. An interesting blog. Im impressed.
    Also impressed Derya went to plaza de Pablo Neruda.
    Hanu and I were talking about him before leaving the ship.
    I completely forgot he came from there.
    It wont be conincidence, no doubt Neruda came to Hanus mind when he thought of Chile.
    rambling….
    I hope this entry conveys the (correct) impression that this I.T. guy is an idiot.
    He has seen polar bears, and likes penguins too. There are as dumb as a bag of hammers, and therefore kin to him.
    They now make me wonder what Derya would look like in a tuxedo….. 😉
    (idiocy confirmed)

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