with my wife Janine, the remnants of our brood who haven’t already struck out into the world for themselves, and a floating contingent of foster children to keep Janine on her toes.
I’m a professional software geek. I first got my hands on a computer in a trainee course around 1975. It was a fridge size monster programmed with mark/sense cards, but it was enough to spark a passion for software that led me to telco development roles in Fortran on Honeywell and Control Data mainframes.
Then came the “microprocessor” and everything changed. With a modest background in electronics I was able to cobble together a living, breathing computer of my own, which in 1979 was something like building your own gene sequencer would be today – really cool but what the hell would you do with such a thing?
Since then I’ve explored Z80 assembler (There wasn’t much choice anyway in 1979), C, C++ in the hope that it was next logical step from C (…shudder… boy was I wrong), Java, and a motley assortment of side distractions such as Pascal and Visual Basic.
I have now settled for a comfortable mix of dynamic languages such as Perl and Ruby.
I’m still looking for that elusive, hyper productive language and I keep finding myself drawn to various flavours of Lisp such as Clojure. When I mention this to some software people they go all quiet as if I’m considering joining a cult, so I’m keeping it to myself.
I spent twenty years banging my head against Microsoft Windows. I kept expecting it to get better, but it turns out the solution was to “stop doing that”. I am now ensconced in a comfortable world of Unix (FreeBSD, Linux, OS X) and Mac hardware. My only regret is that I didn’t make the obvious leap twenty years ago.