The earliest memory I have of ‘programming’ is in the early/mid 90s when my father brought home a computer from work. We could play games on it … so of course I took the spreadsheet program he used (LOTUS 123, did I date myself with that?) and tried to modify it to print out a helpful message for him. It … halfway worked? At least I could undo it so he could get back to work…
After that, I picked up programming for real in QBASIC (I still have a few of those programs lying around), got my own (junky) Linux desktop from my cousin, tried to learn VBasic (without a Windows machine), and eventually made it to high school… In college, I studied computer science and mathematics, mostly programming in Java/.NET, although with a bit of everything in the mix. A few of my oldest programming posts on this blog are from that time.
After that, on to grad school! Originally, I was going to study computational linguistics, but that fell through. Then programming languages (the school’s specialty). And finally I ended up studying censorship and computer security. That’s about where I am today!
But really, I still have a habit of doing a little bit of everything. Whatever seems interesting at the time!
Years ago, when I was in grad school, I had something of a flexible schedule. I took advantage of that to go see a movie in theaters every week or two. Sounds crazy in the times of COVID-19, but I enjoyed it. My goal then was to arrange the movies I saw in a year into a ranking (unique to that year). More recently, I decided to start watching and reviewing movies again, albeit this time without the theaters…
Also… I read a ridiculous amount. Hundreds of books a year. A few years ago, I decided to start reviewing everything I read. Several hundred posts later… here we are. :)
I’ve always had a soft spot for photography. I borrowed my mother’s camera in high school and eventually bought my own. These days, I mostly use my phone (it’s amazing how good those have gotten), but I still pull out my years old DSLR from time to time.
I love to take things apart and put them back together. It’s one of the reasons I work in computer security for a living. But more recently, the dropping prices of 3D printing and entirely not dropping prices of wood working have led to a few new hobbies. :D
I am a writer. I wrote my first novel in 2011. I’ve started 14 more since then, finishing about half of those. One of these days I’ll actually try to find someone to publish them (or just do it myself). Onward!
(If anyone would like to be a beta reader, feel free to drop me a line).
Once upon a time, I was on track to get a PhD in censorship/computer security. I was ABD (all but dissertation) when my advisor decided to leave and go into the private sector. When that happens… you either find a new advisor or you go with them. I decided to go with them, move to Silicon Valley, and join a startup. It was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to me. While I sometimes regret not having the extra letters after my name, I love the practicality of working in the ‘real world’. Not to mention the job prospects are better. :)
So for the most part, these posts are archival, but there are still a few gems in there.