Meet Virgil Titarenco
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Today I have the distinct pleasure of highlighting Virgil Titarenco. Virgil is a bit of a renaissance man; skilled in many diverse fields, he puts his broad knowledge to use in his daily job as a Rational Support TSE. From web design, literature, digital arts or even the sciences, if it is an intellectual pursuit you can bet Virgil will be interested if not already researching it! Read on to learn more... and don't forget to check out our previous interviews to learn even more about the faces of Rational Support
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
My name is Virgil Titarenco and I work as a TSE in Rational Client Support mostly for the requirements management applications.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
I have worked for IBM in Rational since the company I was working for previously, Telelogic, was acquired by IBM in 2008. I worked for Telelogic since 2005.
Have you had any other roles in Rational?
Yes. I was working as Customer Care Manager, a role that I performed both in Telelogic and during the first 2 years after the transition into IBM.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working, as I mentioned previously, as a TSE and part time I’m assisting the CSPO office with different client issues. The main goal of my activity is assuring the IBM Rational clients have a positive and beneficial customer support experience when dealing with our products and services.
Describe a normal day for you.
I think a normal day for me is no different than the normal day for any other TSE: nothing spectacular. Reviewing the PMRs that I need to work with that particular day, working them, contacting IBM clients via phone or email, testing different problems from the clients, creating technotes, finding time for the necessary training and enablement sessions. In my “spare time” I try to create some IEA modules or to catch up with lower priority emails.
What project are you the most proud of?
I am very proud of the Customer Orientation Webinars and Webcasts I did while in Telelogic and during the transition into IBM Rational. I received much positive feedback from clients for this. Also I’m proud to be the creator of the first IEA modules for DOORS in IBM Rational.
Do you have an "on the job" hero? If you could "follow" anyone for 24 hours, who would it be?
I’m afraid I’m still in search for that.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
Funny, the word “gadget” reminds me of my childhood; I used to receive the French “PIF Gadget” comic magazine and every issue contained a gadget you were able to build yourself. It was amazing. In terms of electronic gadgetry I think I’m more settled now than I was 10-20 years ago. I still have one of the first handheld PSION II (model LZ) – one of the ancestors of handheld organizers of today. I used to program on it. I built many computers by myself, more than I can remember, including my last powerhouse i7. I also have an iPhone and I enjoy photography with a Canon EOS 40D. I still dream about a biological microscope to connect to my PC - a remnant of my love for microscopy during my university years.
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
Let’s be serious, humans lived without electricity and electronics for thousands of years. I’d survive without them. It would be much more difficult for me without paper and pen, or without books.
What's the coolest piece of tech news you've heard lately?
I think is the new driverless car tested by Google, and the 3G/4G wireless broadband mobile hotspots.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
Discovering new people and things both inside and outside IBM.
What inspires you in your work?
The sacrifices I made to come to the US from my native country.
What are you passionate about?
Family, success, money, and discovering the essence of things.
Tell me about the biggest problem you've solved?
I don't know, there are several. Moving when you are 35 with all your family over an ocean and start a new life learning and absorbing the American way of life. Moving a whole website from a home made structure to Drupal CMS. Actually I like solving problems and managing the journey to success. I can be pretty stubborn when fixing my eyes on a goal.
Tell me about the biggest problem ahead for you?
Achieving a career in IBM. Buying a house in California.
How do you define success?
Success (from my perspective) is achieving what you are made for, against all the odds. I think each of us reaches the maximum potential when we are able to arrive at a place and a role that matches our internal structure and energy. Then is when we can say there is harmony between the external and internal universes. And in the same time there is harmony between our "cause" and our "effect".
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
Poetry, philosophy, theology, history, politics, web design (Drupal, mysql, php), literature, photo and digital art. I also built, own and manage an international 500 member literature website/e-zine. And sometimes fishing and painting.
Have you worked on any projects that you feel were exceptionally exciting for you?
I’m very proud of my first published book of poetry – Mirabile dictu, that won a national first prize in Romania. Also during my college years I was the first to take photographs of animal chromosomes in my university.
Do you have any big plans for the future?
Translating my poetry and publishing it in English, and writing prose. And, of course, as I said previously, a career in IBM.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
Is there any technology that you think should get more respect and adoption but does not?
Any new technologies that you think are about to break into the big time?
I think this is as much a technology question as a socio-psychological question. I think technological success has to do economic and cultural circumstances but also with human nature. Generally speaking I classify the people in two categories: people who like to customize and control technology, and people who just want to us it. However, I think there are more people who just want to use things without the need to control them. So I think technologies that appeal to this human aspect will be more successful in the future. I also believe the technologies that will be able to fully integrate TV, Radio and phone into a fast and reliable wireless Internet service will have success in the future.
What future technology would make your life easier?
4G (or more) and reliable house remote control. Or maybe something like a "home computing cloud". Also the holographic display. I also think the Internet is now full of poorly designed websites and services. Basically I think the whole Internet experience is in it's infancy. Something like the "iron age". There will be a time when computing will be not only science and technology but also art and skill, a real extension of human behavior, relations and experience. That’s why I think the future will bring up a new art/science of building a successful and reliable web presence. Also the way the web will be developed will be molded more around the human nature and not vice versa (as it happened until now).
How do you grow your technical skills?
Mostly reading and testing new tools and technologies. I like to experiment. Ask my grandma the way the old family "cuckoo clock" was taken to pieces. Or my father about the old pick-up radio or his wristwatch. All of them "enjoyed" the growing pains of my technical skills.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions?
Dictionary.com, Google, Wikipedia, Refdesk.com, CEO Express. And the old fashion way of searching inside books.
How are you using social networking today?
Not very much. Sometimes I use Jumpino.com. I use mostly my literary website for this. It's where I post my literary texts and interact with others. I built it on Drupal CMS and it has all that a social network can offer. And of course I always can add more modules.
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ...
Talking about all these, I was around and I remember using BBS, mail list, majordomo, etc. Philosophically speaking I believe technology is just a shell, a tool, a way of doing things. And history showed us many times that the scarcity and the technical limitations of our tools are beneficial for the quality of what we create. There was a time when digital photography didn't exist. During those times a single shot was expensive and time consuming. During those years the art of photography was in its prime. Now we can take brilliant thousands of digital photos a day. I don't know about the art of photography anymore, or the effort to make each one of these photos to be perfect. Talking about blogosphere and all the networking tools out there; they are great. We live in an amazing age. Our parents made the greatest leap in the history of the technology. Some of them remember electrification and the dawn of radio and tv. On the other hand their grandchildren can produce now an entire tv show on the net just pushing a button. The only question is about the real quality and value all this brings to human life and experience. How shallow or how profound we became as human beings. How much real value and progress for each of us individually and for the humanity as a whole. Homer, Shakespeare or Bach didn't have all these, and we (or at least some of us) are still reading or listening to them. I think technology is an amazing tool if it creates or enhances value in human experience whether individually or as society.
What publications / websites do you read / visit?
Hermeneia.com, Aldaily.com (Arts & Letters Daily), drupal.org, cnn.com, Wikipedia.org, Google news, etc.