About Me

Posted by Thomas Gideon on 2 January 2006

What's to tell, really? I've been hacking since I was ten or eleven. I guess I'm a little unusual for my generation in that I grew up with both the PC and one of the last mini-computers. My Dad used a DG mini for his business, so we always had green screen dumb terminals, an honest to God teletype and acoustic coupling modems in the house. While I used programs on the mini, most notably Adventure, I thankfully cut my teeth programming PCs.

I toyed with other fields of study in college, thankfully or regrettably avoiding getting a CS degree, depending on how a feel on any given day. However, I did work for Technology Services for three out of my four years, and that experience landed me my first job out of school, with a small, wannabe body shop style consultancy.

I shifted to programming full time from network engineering and desktop support at that first job becoming the company's webmaster and sole web developer. I worked on a couple (literally) interesting web development projects there, which only served to whet my appetite for that particular area of development. I was doing CGI with Perl and just learning ASP, right when version 3.0 was released. As far as I know, Microsoft never released any real documentation on ASP 2.o, where I started, so that was also my first experience at reverse engineering, working their sample code backwards to understand how the technology worked.

I worked at USWeb, next, which became USWeb/CKS, then marchFirst. It was a valuable experience I hope to never repeat. I got married shortly before that job and thanks to it, almost divorced. It was also responsible for my missing about a month of my first son's life. Can you say, "Never again?" I knew you could.

Along with financing a hefty down payment for the purchase of my modest home, my USWeb experience cemented my love of hacking in general, as a profession, and more specifically web development. While there, I witnessed first hand the problems inherent in trying to scale ASP and COM to handle the load required by some of the biggest retail commerce sites. This prompted my first explorations of Java for the then relatively new J2EE capabilities.

I had been toying with Java for some smaller pieces of larger projects, like a GUI product designer applet and several parsers and crawlers. The switch to Java and J2EE was the last major professional technology shift I've made.

I have also worked with plain C, professionally, and personally, my curiosity and interest is pretty much unbounded. For home use, I switch from Linux, which I'd been using since about 1999, to OS X within the last year or two. Enjoying the operating system and applications so much, this past year, 2005, I taught myself noth AppleScript and Objective-C.

What else do you want to know? I've been interested in security since I got an email from a stranger claiming he'd discovered Netsky (a Windows malware) running on my Linux server. I quickly taught myself iptables and learned a good deal about file integrity databases, rootkits, and security assessment and monitoring tools. I think this rapid introduction into tech security also sparked my hacktivist explorations.