feldspar is currently certified at Apprentice level.

Name: Dave Seidel
Member since: 2000-01-14 15:37:21
Last Login: 2008-11-28 00:24:17

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Homepage: http://www.superluminal.com/dave/


I've been working as a developer in the world of mostly-proprietary software for about 15 years. Until a few months ago, I worked for NuMega Technologies (makers of SoftICE, now part of Compuware), where I worked on the BoundsChecker and JCheck products in the roles of senior developer and eventually development manager. My experience is primarily in the DOS and Windows environments, but I've also worked with CP/M, Xenix, OS/2 and OS/390, using mostly C and C++ (but also some REXX, Java, and other stuff). Now, I just Linux (most of the time). I am the webmaster for for the BEAST/BSE project and for my local LUG (www.monadlug.org). I'm starting to contributor code for BEAST. I'm also the co-author of a small but useful Python utility called makefaq.

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to elise:

I'm the other Simon's Rock alum; I was there '74-'78. When did you attend?


Is anyone else frustrated by the flakiness of the Gnome mailing lists, especially the cvs-commits list? I'm not talking about the content of the lists, but the administration. The anoncvs server can be a pain too, but maybe that's just me. I know RedHat is busy, but given their commitment to the Gnome effort, can't they get someone to allocate a little more time to keeeping these resources in good working order?
college thread

OK, my $0.2: I went to college at age 16. Not because I was unnaturally intelligent or anything, but because:
  1. I hated high-school and was ready to drop out.
  2. I found a school called Simon's Rock (in western Massachusetts) that operates under the philosophy that the last two years of high school are essentually wasted, so why not start a four year BA program after 10th grade.
I was a music major (theory and composition). I did work some computer work with Basic on a PDP-11 machine with a paper teletype terminal with paper tape storage (this was 1974, so PC didn't really exist yet). I had the romantic idea that I would be a composer, probably supporting myself through academia.

Anyway, after graduating in 1978 at age 20, I moved to NYC and worked at a succession of shitty, demoralizing jobs in the hi-tech industry, doing music at night. After 3-4 years of thism I had had enough. Having had a decent amount of on-the-job computer experience, I realized that if I became a programmer, I might at least be able to enjoy the work I did, even if it wasn't music.

So I started reading every magazine in existence (there were some great ones then, e.g., Programmer's Journal, Computer Language, Byte, DDJ, etc.), also K&R and other stuff. I also took a two-part night class on C programming at New York University -- this was (and remains) the extent of my formal training as a programmer. But the bulk of my learning has been self-taught and experiential. And that's how I've been making a living since the mid-80's. :-)

What's interesting in the context of this discussion is that while I didn't take time off before college (just the opposite!), that fact that I became a programmer deliberately, after a few years of "real" work experience, meant that I was highly motivated. My music degree was partially based on a rather abstract view of my future, whereas my change of career was based on a more realistic outlook. Fortunately, I quickly found out that, for me, writing code is just as much an aesthetic experience as writing music. (I still write and play music, BTW.)

In conclusion, I guess I could say that I would encourage people to take some time off before launching into their university-level work. Even though I did things somewhat differently, I benefitted from the time I spent in the non-academic world, in the sense that it allowed me to find out what I could do and what I wanted to do, and it gave me the motivation to learn in a very intentional way.

To fatjim: don't you believe it. I'm 41 (gulp), and I did get Legos for Christmas!

Tim just released version 0.3.2 of BEAST as he gets ready to go to Paris. I updated the website, as well as the Gnome applist and freshmeat. However, when I went to the project page on Advogato and clicked on the edit button, it didn't encode the spaces in the URL, so I had to add the %20's manually. I probably shouldn't have used spaces in the name, but if I'm allowed to do that, it should be supported consistently. So Raph, this is a bug report.

Timj just reminded me that I hadn't posted for a while, which is true, so here goes.

Last week was pretty non-productive. The kids were home all week with school vacation, and I had several appointments that ended up clustered together. Also this is the time of year when winter really starts to become tiresome (epecially when you live in a place like New Hampshire). But enough complaining.

I took on a small contract job for a local company, web stuff with PHP and mySQL, so I'm spending some time on that in between work for my company. The nice thing is that all this work uses the same set of technologies, so it's easy to make transitions back and forth.

I need to do some more work on BEAST soon. It's funny that that this is currently the only thing I'm working on these days that where I'm using a compiled language! :-)

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