About Patrick Toal (aka Sage905)

Considered wise by some, and a wise-ass by others, he was given the online handle "The Sage" by a childhood friend, back in the days when BBS' [1] were all the rage. This is a reference to a character in the most awesome of comic books, Groo the Wanderer by the talented Sergio Aragon├ęs. (Iron Man may be cooler, but Groo brings more laughs). "905" is an anachronism used by old BBS’ers to uniquely identify themselves. It is merely the telephone area code he lived in at the time.

Patrick has been involved with Internet technologies in one form or another since the mid 90’s. During the early part of the 90’s, he was employed by a local computer shop called "Rentronics", where he met a colleague who was a student at McMaster University. This fellow shared his McMaster user account with Patrick, for which he will be forever grateful. This was his door to the Internet, which would forever change the course of Patrick’s life.

The Internet allowed Patrick to learn the basics about Unix and shortly thereafter he discovered Linux. Countless hours were spent installing, compiling, formatting and starting over again. All the while, new skills were being developed that would open even more doors in the future.

The Hamilton-Wentworth Freenet was a project which made Internet access and community information freely available to people from all walks of life. As a volunteer and later a staff member, he helped design, build and operate the service, and was able to work with many very bright people who freely shared their knowledge with him. This gave him connections to a couple of people who opened the next door in his career.

At the dawn of the Broadband Access era, he was fortunate to be hired by a forward-looking cable company when Cable Modem technology was in infancy. Over the course of 5 years, Patrick was the Server and Network Administrator, responsible for everything from Server and Router installation and operation to software development, Tier 3 support, and on-site installer. After 5 years, the company attracted the attentions of a wealthy suitor, and the cable assets were sold off. It was time to look for a new path.

Thanks to connections made at the cable company, Patrick was able to get an interview (well, five, actually) at Cisco, the juggernaut of the Internet at that time. This new opportunity turned into a 16 year career of helping customers design, deploy and operate massive networks to provide Internet access to Canadians. He worked on a countless number of amazing projects involving Network Design, Cable Access, UI/UX Development, Server Automation and dozens of other technologies involving industry buzzwords. It was a truly amazing time, working with amazing people.

Patrick is preparing to start a new chapter in his life, and perhaps this blog will become part of it. There’s an equally good chance that it will fall into disuse as he becomes enveloped by whatever the future holds. Either way, he’s looking forward to some exciting times.


1. Wikipedia entry on BBS’s for those who are not digital dinosaurs

All Post by Sage905

My Politics

This post was prepared or accomplished by Sage905 in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of, well, anyone else, really. I mean, if we all shared the same opinion, what would we complain about?

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