Sixteen Things

  1. I have never been tagged for an Internet meme. Until now. That is kind of odd since I have been around the Internet so long.
  2. My dad taught me to count in alternate bases well before I had any formal exposure to binary, octal and hexadecimal. I am passing that tradition on to my own sons.
  3. I used to be a Microsoft developer. Not at Microsoft, but with their technologies. Back when it was just ASP, with no .NET, and COM. I even earned a certification. I will still concede they make it very easy to get started, assuming you can afford or pirate their development tools. My main reason for moving on was the frustrating inability to build web applications that scaled well with Microsoft’s platform. The issues with their business practices and closed licensing were realized later.
  4. I used to pirate software. A few years into my career I came to a realization all on my own that if I wanted others to respect the license choices of myself and my employers, I had to stop.
  5. I used to teach medieval and early Renaissance dance. Not professionally but I had (and still have) a copy of Orchesography. My first fencing instructor also did a great deal of research into period dance and taught it to his fencing students as an aid to foot work.
  6. My wife and I met at a medieval and early Renaissance dance class. I wasn’t teaching it, a friend of hers was. Period dances were essentially a socially acceptable way for young men and women to flirt so are very laden with subtext and meaning. This was one of the few moments where I had a first hand appreciation of this fact.
  7. In college I pretty much lived on Bitnet Relay, then IRC.
  8. One day I would like for the code I write for my living to be open source or better yet free software. So far, this has not reconciled well with the practicalities of paying for a mortgage and being sole provider for a family of four.
  9. I interviewed for a job with the Creative Commons towards the end of last year. The timing just didn’t work out, unfortunately, though everyone I talked to there was great. I hope I get another chance at some time in the future. I now count that possibility as one of my future dream jobs.
  10. When I was little, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote some horrible fantasy around the same time I was playing D&D. When I tried my hand recently at writing fiction, I had a better grasp of how much time it would take me to get any good at it. I had to balance this against the years and years of time I have already sunk into coding, both professionally and as an avocation.
  11. When I was little, we had green screen, dumb terminals (yes, plural) in the house with primitive modems that my parents used in their work to connect to a Data General mini. My dad owned a research company that crunched circulation and advertising data on that mini to produce marketing guides and reports. My mom worked from home helping collect that data from medical journals. That’s right, Dad’s business was essentially reverse engineering data on pharmaceutical marketing spending.
  12. I actually did study computer science briefly in college. I did extremely well with my first year of courses, taken during the Summer session. I bombed out of my second year courses (just for CS, not for my undergrad degree) due to personal distractions. I think being self taught beyond that makes me a better professional developer, but I still wonder what it would have been like if I had stuck with it. I occasionally entertain thoughts of going to grad school for an MSCS. Again, the practicalities of mortgages and family have prevented more than just contemplation of the idea.
  13. I am listed on a patent. I don’t feel I had any real hand in “inventing” the subject matter of the patent. In fact, I prefer not to talk about either that patent or the employer for whom I did that work.
  14. I did some graphics work on an Ultima clone, like vintage III or IV, in college. If you can find it, Larix has some of my graphics work in it.
  15. I have beta tested a couple of Linux ports of games. Before I started the podcast, my credits for doing so were some of the higher ranking hits for my name on Google.
  16. I still have moments, even after all of these years, where I marvel that I get paid to write code.

Wow, I didn’t think I had sixteen random things that would work well with this meme. I would have been happier if I could have kept all of these more closely related to my career and the subjects of this blog and my podcast, but I don’t think I did too bad.

Now I am supposed to tag sixteen more people. I tag Randal Schwartz, j0ni, Chris Miller, Kevin Crosby, Dan Brown, Vaskin Kissoyan, Eric Christensen, Justin Grimes, Dennis MacDonald, Braz Brandt, John Cmar, Laura Burns, Cory Doctorow, Jim Van Verth, segphault, and Alex Bischoff.

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